From the beginning of Windows 10, Microsoft has been trying to be more transparent in terms of privacy. They have been simplifying privacy settings a lot in their upgrades and there are more to come. Every user has the privacy concerns, so we’ve come up with some settings which you can perform to get a more secure experience in Windows 10.
5 Windows 10 Privacy Settings
Follow the given instructions to make Windows more personal:
- Stop location services
- Disable ad tracking
- Turn off Cortana suggestions
- Enable private network
- Disable data syncing
1. Disable Location Services
These days more people use laptops than desktop because of their mobility and easy to use. Many apps online will be asking for your location, it’s ok that you turn it on for them. But, it’s not necessary that you make your location available to third-party apps all the time. Windows 10 stores the history of your location. You can control your location from the given settings. To control location settings:
- Press ‘Win + I’ keys to open Windows Settings app.
- Navigate to the path ‘Privacy > Location’.
- Click on the ‘Change’ button and turn it ‘Off’.
- Turn off ‘Location service’ option for apps.
- For specifying your location to Windows 10, simply click ‘Set default’ button and it will open maps app for you. Set your precise location here.
- Under ‘Location history’, click on ‘Clear’ button to clear the current location history of your device.
- You can choose the app which can use your precise location also.
Related: 10 ways to speedup your Windows 10 PC.
2. Ad Tracking
Your Microsoft account has an advertising ID for you. This ID is unique for every user. It lets Microsoft collect the information regarding your interests which makes ads more interesting for you. It totally depends upon the usage of apps by you. You can turn this option off which will stop Microsoft from using your interest-based info. To make this option disable:
- Open the ‘Settings’ app as shown in the previous point.
- Navigate to the path ‘Privacy > General’.
- Simply, toggle ‘Off’ the first option ‘Let apps user advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app usage’. Ads will still be visible but they won’t be using your interests.
Related: Learn how Google tracks your activities.
3. Cortana Search
Cortana is a world-class virtual assistant which is running over millions of devices in Windows right now. It takes information regarding your interests and tries to know you better. Moreover, it uses your voice to manage different tasks on the PC. It shows many suggestions based on the interests and preferences you have. You can turn these options ‘Off’ in order to maintain your privacy.
- Go to ‘Settings’ through the ‘Start’ menu.
- Navigate to the path ‘Privacy > Speech, inking & typing’.
- Click on ‘Turn off speech services and typing suggestions’.
- Click on ‘View user dictionary’ link and then click on ‘Clear dictionary’ button.
After this, Cortana won’t be able to find out more about you and your previous searches, typing suggestions will no longer be available.
4. Private Network
Every piece of data you send from your PC to anywhere on the internet, it goes from the servers of the ISP. While traveling also, you connect to some unknown Wi-Fi networks that invade your privacy concerns. You should be more careful while using Wi-Fi networks. Using a VPN connection is more secure in these conditions (Link it with your VPN connection article). By default, mostly new Wi-Fi connections are public, you can make them private:
- Go to ‘Settings’ and navigate to this path ‘Network & internet > Wi-Fi’.
- Click on current connection and make it ‘Private’ under ‘Network profile’.
5. Data Syncing
When you sync your data with cloud once and after that it’s always running in the background. Windows 10 sync your data like saved passwords, personalized settings, themes, etc. with OneDrive. If you’re using a Microsoft account then you can turn sync settings off. To do this:
- Go to ‘Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings’.
- Turn ‘Off’ the option ‘Sync settings’ under ‘Sync your settings’.
- If you want to turn off specific settings then it’s possible too.
- You can also turn ‘Off’ the OneDrive app completely so that it won’t be able sync other folders like documents, pictures etc in the background.