How do you prevent Windows 10 from spying on you?


Windows 10 collects more information about the user than any previous version of Windows, and it is impossible to turn off spyware completely.

Since its launch in 2015, Microsoft has faced sharp criticism for more than two years regarding its user data collection tools. After the initial weak adoption of Windows 10, Microsoft has had to revamp its privacy settings, introduce new tools, and disclose the data it has collected so far and for what purpose. Whether or not you think that Microsoft and its systems are violating privacy, you definitely want some information to be purely personal and not in the hands of companies. Here are some tricks on how to increase your security and privacy with Microsoft and its advertising partners.

Get rid of your Microsoft account and use a local account

During the installation of Windows 10, the installation wizard tries to convince you to use a Microsoft account. The local account is a poorly visible option that many users easily miss. If you choose a Microsoft account, all your settings are stored on the organization’s servers and can be used on all connected devices. So if you change the settings on your desktop computer, the same changes will be recorded on your laptop. Convenient feature, but in return it allows storing your data. However, you are reading the article because you want to get your uncle off the background, so we recommend using a local account.

Do this in Settings under Accounts > Family & other users. Then click Add someone else to this PC. On the screen that appears, select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information. On the next page, select Add a user without a Microsoft account, then follow the instructions to create and use a local account. Note that without a Microsoft account, you won’t be able to use OneDrive and paid apps from the Microsoft Store, but you’ll still be able to install free apps.

Windows 10: How to turn off ads?

High on the list of many users’ privacy concerns is what data is being collected and why. With this information, Microsoft creates a person profile that many companies use for targeted advertising. Windows 10 does this using what’s called an advertising ID. The latter collects data not only when browsing the web, but also when using its applications. If you wish, you can turn off your advertising ID.

Go to System Preferences. Under the Privacy tab, select General to see a list of options. The first option controls the ad identifier. Disable this option, but this means that you will not see targeted or personalized ads, but you will not see more general ads. For more privacy, disable all other features under the same menu and go to Microsoft Control Panel. Click on the “Ad Settings” section and manually disable the “Show ads you are interested” feature.

Turn off the site

Windows 10 follows you wherever you go, provided the site is turned on. Some people are not bothered by this, because in this way Windows can provide more accurate information about the weather, events, nearby restaurants, and the like. However, you can stop being tracked.

Go to Settings again and go to Privacy > Location. Under Allow location access on this device, tap Change and drag the slider to Off. This turned off location tracking for every logged in user.

If you don’t want to turn off location completely, you can manually set which apps have permission to use location. In the same tab (enable location first), scroll down to Allow apps to access your location and enable it. Select apps like Weather or Maps and give them permission to track. However, this does not apply to desktop applications for which you must manually enable or disable the permission to use location. Do this at the bottom of the list of options. When tracking is turned off, Windows 10 will still have your previous activity in storage. To clear your history, under the Location History section, click Clear.

Windows 10: Clear Activity History and turn it off

Activity history is a feature of Windows 10 that allows you to view and resume activities and activities, such as opening files on all connected devices. Of course, in turn, you allow the system to store said data. If you are concerned, you can turn off this feature on the Privacy tab > Activity history and turn off the fields that appear. However, you can delete all the history you’ve collected so far using the clear activity history feature at the end of the tab.

Monitor and delete diagnostic data

When you use Windows 10, Microsoft collects information about your devices and the activities you do. The company says that it collects data in order to improve the user experience, improve the operating system, and because it can give you personalized advice on the best use of the system.

Due to the huge amount of data involved, many users are justifiably concerned. If you’re one of them, you can have some control over the types of diagnostic data that Microsoft collects. Go back to Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics and Feedback. You can choose between two levels, neither of which allows you to completely disable the sending of diagnostic data. The first option only provides certain information, such as device information, settings, etc. The second option gives Microsoft the freedom to collect data and we don’t recommend it. This way, Microsoft can access information about the websites you visit, how you use apps, features, and more.

Change app permissions

Windows apps can violate your privacy: they can access your camera, microphone, location, photos, and videos. Fortunately, you can set which apps have certain permissions. In Settings > Apps, you will see a list of installed apps. Click on the app, select Advanced options (when available), and set permissions as desired. As you will notice, not every app allows you to change permissions, and some only allow you to change certain permissions that are not important.

Use the Microsoft Privacy Control Panel

Microsoft has created a great but somewhat unknown online tool to track and delete many of the personal information you use for advertising. To access it, go to https://account.microsoft.com/privacy. As mentioned, you can turn off targeted ads, delete browsing history, site activity, voice activity, and more here.

Congratulations, your computer is now more secure from curious people and Microsoft. It’s not a complete solution (it doesn’t exist either), but you raised the bar for privacy anyway. However, you can completely abandon Microsoft and boldly make the transition to Linux.

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