Windows 10 Privacy Settings

September 03, 2015


It’s been almost 2 months since Windows 10 came out, and if you didn’t know, they’ve updated their privacy settings for the upgrade and have gotten a lot more invasive! However, they don’t intrude on your privacy without your consent, as you can either allow them access to or block them from snooping through your privacy settings.

You can easily access the privacy settings by clicking the Windows logo on the bottom left corner of your screen, choosing settings, and then clicking Privacy. From here, you will see 13 tabs you can select and edit. However, before you try changing anything, keep in mind that Windows has these settings not to spy on you but rather to help improve their services such as spell check, voice recognition, and Cortana’s suggestions.

If you still want to change your settings even after knowing Windows’ reason for them, then you should focus your attention on the “General” tab. It’s here that the major privacy-invading settings are found. Here you will find that Windows has actually assigned you a unique advertising ID. The ID is used to identify you to Windows app advertisers, similar to a web browser’s cookie. You can’t actually tell Windows not to assign you an ID; however, you can choose to turn it off, which tells Windows not to share it. You can also head over and click “Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalisation info” to prevent Windows from accessing your browser history and interests.

If you don’t want Windows to know where you are, you can easily turn off this setting in the “Locations” tab.

If, on the other hand, you are someone who doesn’t  want your keystrokes or voice recorded, you can head over to the “Speech, inking, and typing” tab and deactivate things from there. However, if you do disable this feature, you will also be disabling Window 10’s voice-activated assistant, Cortana. But if you ask me, I’d rather keep my information private than risk Cortana hearing or reading it. You should also head over to Windows 10 Input Personalization if you choose to disable this feature.

Cortana, Windows 10’s best but creepiest feature, is the one thing that you should be most concerned about. By default, Cortana is enabled and will try to determine where you are, your interests, your keystrokes, and your schedule; it will also listen to your voice with the good intent of helping you when you ask for a suggestion such as where a good place to eat would be. If you don’t find it disturbing but rather helpful, you can just keep it activated. I find it very disturbing that Cortana knows so much about me and chose to turn it off in its settings.

I hope this guide has somewhat helped you in making Windows 10 less invasive of your privacy. Let’s always keep in mind that Windows is doing this to help us and has given us the freedom to deactivate these features if we choose to.

If you want some more tips, click here.