Since its release nearly two years ago, Microsoft’s Windows 10 has been a huge success with the buying public.
However, the full extent of Windows 10’s data sharing has also been in the spotlight ever since its release – as everyone who installs the programme is automatically subject to the full range of personal data sharing that is built into Windows 10.
Privacy advocates have argued that Windows 10 sends back location, text input, voice input, touch input, websites you visit, and other telemetry data to Microsoft.
And in the past year or so, Microsoft has been forced to reveal some of what it does with the personal information it receives through Windows 10.
This newfound transparency is a response to governments worried that Windows 10 is intruding on your privacy.
For example, French regulators believe the software’s data collection has gone too far by tracking non-essential information like app running times – while the European Union (EU) is concerned that improvements in the ‘Creators Update’ are not good enough.
Fortunately, there is a way to prevent your computer being subjected to Microsoft’s scrutiny – as the computer giant does give you the option to ‘opt-out’ of any features you think may be invading your privacy.
So for those users or businesses worried about their privacy – here are some steps to prevent Windows 10 ‘spying’ on you:
1: Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Privacy’. From there you need to go through 13 different selection screens, turning everything that may concern you to ‘off’. These selections range from whether you want specific Windows apps to access your messages, camera and calendar, to several other areas. There are also some other important settings listed under the ‘General’ section.
2: You may wish to change Microsoft 10’s ‘Cortana’ settings by turning every option to ‘off’; especially if you do not find this feature useful.
3: At www.choice.microsoft.com/en-gb/opt-out there are two selections: ‘Personalized ads in this browser’ and ‘Personalised ads wherever I use my Microsoft account’. Both of these should be turned ‘off’. At the same time, it is also recommended that users wishing to protect their privacy opt out of all Microsoft ‘ad preferences’.
4: Finally, for those seeking better privacy, you may also wish to remove your Microsoft account completely from Windows 10, and instead use a local account. This will however, remove features like ‘synchronisation’ across other devices such as ‘OneDrive’ and ‘Windows Store’.
To remove your Microsoft account, go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Accounts’ -> ‘Your Account within Windows 10’.
Lastly, for those people who may still be uncertain about how much of your personal information Microsoft 10 can access, here is a list of areas:
- Anything you type – as Windows 10 includes an embedded key logger
- Any credentials, including logins and passwords to websites, social networks and data storage
- Your current GPS coordinates (AGPS or approximate IP-based coordinates)
- Your entire web browsing history and search queries
- Wi-Fi access points and their passwords
- A list of installed apps
- Your address book, calendar entries, events and meetings
- The contents of emails and chats (encrypted messengers like Telegram are also vulnerable)
- Your content preferences – including the names of audio tracks and videos you may be playing.
With Mike Peeters Media