Protect your privacy in Windows 10

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Guides' started by BoraMurdar, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. BoraMurdar

    BoraMurdar Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 30, 2012
    Doctor of medicine
    Windows 10
    Actually Windows 10 allows you to configure lots of settings to improve your privacy at the time of Windows 10 installation as well as after installation. That's why we are dividing this tutorial in two parts:
    • PART 1: Configure Windows 10 Privacy Settings at Installation Time
    • PART 2: Configure Windows 10 Privacy Settings after Installation
    Here are the details of both parts:

    PART 1: Configure Windows 10 Privacy Settings at Installation Time

    If you are going to install Windows 10, then PART 1 will be very helpful to you. But if you have already installed Windows 10, you can skip to PART 2 to configure privacy settings.

    When you run Windows 10 setup, after a few minutes of installation the OOBE (Out-of-Box Experience) wizard starts to allow you customizing various settings related to Windows 10.

    It contains 2 buttons: Use Express settings and Back. Most of the people click on "Use Express settings" button but they miss a tiny link "Customize settings" given at the bottom-left corner of screen. I wonder why Microsoft put that essential link there? They should have put the link near Express settings button to help users.


    Anyway instead of clicking on Express settings button, click on Customize settings link so that you can configure various privacy settings at installation time.

    After clicking on Customize settings link, you'll be provided with a screen where you can turn various privacy options on or off according to your requirements.

    The first screen contains privacy options related to Personalization and Location. To maximize your privacy set all available options to Off:
    • Personalize your speech, typing, and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft - OFF
    • Send typing and inking data to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform - OFF
    • Let apps use your advertising ID for experiences across apps - OFF
    • Let Skype (if installed) help you connect with friends in your address book and verify your mobile number. SMS and data charges may apply - OFF
    • Turn on Find My Device and let Windows and apps request your location, including location history, and send Microsoft and trusted partners some location data to improve location services - OFF

    Click on Next button and you'll be provided with another screen where you can customize privacy settings related to Connectivity and error reporting. For maximum privacy, you should set all options to Off:
    • Automatically connect to suggested open hotspots. Not all networks are secure - OFF
    • Automatically connect to networks shared by your contacts - OFF
    • Automatically connect to hotspots temporarily to see if paid Wi-Fi services are available - OFF
    • Send full error and diagnostic information to Microsoft - OFF

    Again click on Next button and you'll be provided with another screen where you can customize privacy settings related to Web browser, protection and Windows update. For maximum privacy, you should set the first option to On and set remaining options to Off:
    • Use SmartScreen online services to help protect against malicious content and downloads in sites loaded by Windows browsers and Store apps - ON
    • Use page prediction to improve reading, speed up browsing, and make your overall experience better in Windows browsers. Your browsing data will be sent to Microsoft - OFF
    • Get updates from and send updates to other PCs on the Internet to speed up app and Windows update downloads - OFF

    Above are the all privacy settings which can be customized at Windows 10 installation time.

    PART 2: Configure Windows 10 Privacy Settings after Installation

    If you have installed Windows 10 but didn't customize above mentioned privacy settings at installation time and clicked on Express settings button, there is no need to worry.

    You can still configure those privacy settings along with many other settings using Settings app:

    STEP 1:

    Open Start Menu and click on Settings option. It'll open Settings app. Alternatively, you can direct open Settings app using WIN+I hotkey.

    STEP 2:

    Now click on "Privacy" section. Here you can tweak and customize several settings to improve your privacy in Windows 10.

    For your convenience, we are providing an easy list which will tell you which option should be set to On and which should be set to Off:


    Leave the second option enabled and disable other remaining options:
    • Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps (turning this off will reset your ID) - OFF
    • Turn on SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use - ON
    • Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improving typing and writing in the future -OFF
    • Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list - OFF

    If you don't use any app which requires your location, set the option "Location for this device" to OFF. Just click on Change button and turn the option off.


    Also clear the location history by clicking on Clear button.

    Camera, Microphone, Account info, Contacts, Calendar, Call history, Email, Messaging, Radios, Other devices:

    Set sliders in all these sections to OFF for maximum privacy settings.


    If you are using any app which requires these options (such as Mail app may require contacts, calendar details), leave that option enabled. Otherwise disable these options.

    Speech, inking, & typing:

    If you don't use Cortana (digital personal assistant), click on "Stop getting to know me" button to turn off the option.


    Check out METHOD 3 in following tutorial to learn more about this option:

    Feedback & diagnostics:

    If you want to help Microsoft in improving Windows 10 by providing your valuable feedback, you can set the option "Feedback Frequency" to Automatically, Always, Once a day or Once a week. If you don't want to provide feedback to Microsoft, you can set the option to Never.


    Set "Diagnostic and usage data" option to Basic.

    PS: Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, IoT and Server edition users can completely turn off the sending of diagnostic and usage data using Group Policy Editor. Type gpedit.msc in RUN or Start search box and press Enter. It'll open Group Policy Editor. Then go to:

    Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Data Collection and Preview Builds

    In right-side pane, double-click on "Allow Telemetry", select Enabled option and then set the value to "0 - Off/Security" from the drop-down list. Apply changes. On other Windows 10 editions such as Windows 10 Home (Core) or Pro edition, this method has no effects.

    Background apps:

    In this section, you can customize which apps can run in background to receive updates, info and send notifications.

    Set all apps to Off to conserve power and improve privacy.


    STEP 3:

    Now go back to Settings main page and click on "Network & Internet" section. Now select your Internet connection in Wi-Fi tab and click on Manage Wi-Fi settings link.

    Now set the three options present in "Wi-Fi Sense" section to Off:
    • Connect to suggested open hotspots - OFF
    • Connect to networks shared by your contacts - OFF
    • Get online when you're on the go by buying Wi-Fi. When turned on, Windows will temporarily connect to open hotspots that aren't secure to see if paid Wi-Fi is available - OFF

    STEP 4:

    Again go back to Settings main page and click on "Update & security" section. Now inWindows Update tab, click on "Advanced options" link.

    Again click on "Choose how updates are delivered" link and set the slider to Off given under "Updates from more than one place".


    Check Step 6 in METHOD 1 of following tutorial to learn more about this option:

    STEP 5:

    Also disable telemetry options in Windows Defender tab as mentioned in following tutorial:


    STEP 6:

    Again go back to Settings main page and click on "System" section. Now in Notifications & actions tab, set "Show me tips about Windows" option to Off.


    STEP 7:

    Again go back to Settings main page and click on "Personalization" section. Now in Lock screen tab, set "Get fun facts, tips, and more on your lock screen" option to Off.


    Again in Start tab, set "Occasionally show suggestions in Start" option to Off.


    STEP 8:

    You can also set "Windows Error Reporting Service" to MANUAL using Services Manager to prevent Windows 10 from sending error and diagnostic information to Microsoft.

    Also set "Connected User Experiences and Telemetry", "Diagnostic Tracking Service" and "dmwappushsvc" services to MANUAL or DISABLED in Services Manager to turn off telemetry and data collection in Windows 10.

    Check out following tutorial to learn how to configure Windows 10 services using Services Manager:

    STEP 9:

    Also check out following tutorial to disable secret "Customer Experience Improvement Program" (CEIP) which automatically collects and sends usage data to Microsoft:

    That's it guys. After customizing all these settings, you should not be worried about privacy issues in Windows 10. You are good to go.

    Thanks to AskVG
    Anubis, looneta, L S and 44 others like this.
  2. frogboy

    frogboy Level 61

    Jun 9, 2013
    Heavy Duty Mechanic.
    Western Australia
    Windows 10
    If i ever try to install Windows 10 again i think i will follow this guide. Thanks. :)
  3. Sr. Normal

    Sr. Normal Guest

    Thanks @BoraMurdar :) Very, very, very good guide. It is added to bookmarks in my browser
  4. JM Security

    JM Security Level 28

    Apr 12, 2015
    SecureMyBit Developer
  5. RmG152

    RmG152 Level 12

    Jan 22, 2014
    Be careful, dont use this settings:

    If you use Windows defender: Windows Defender: Rise of the machine (learning)
  6. mc anzures

    mc anzures New Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    thanks for this thread!!
  7. frogboy

    frogboy Level 61

    Jun 9, 2013
    Heavy Duty Mechanic.
    Western Australia
    Windows 10
    I am now implementing the tips in this thread as i have made the leap to Windows 10. ;)
  8. jamescv7

    jamescv7 Level 61

    Mar 15, 2011
    Web and FileMaker Developer
    Windows 10
    For me the cloud protection of Windows Defender will be beneficial in the case where it can gather more samples and detect any possible False Negative, again in my view only. ;)
  9. shmu26

    shmu26 Level 53

    Jul 3, 2015
    here's a dumb question:
    why should I care what microsoft knows about me?
    I don't live in the US, and I don't have bing in my windows search results.

    aside from just standing on principle, should I actually care about privacy?
    monsterturckpa, DJ Panda and Moose like this.
  10. jamescv7

    jamescv7 Level 61

    Mar 15, 2011
    Web and FileMaker Developer
    Windows 10
    @shmu26: Of course we have our right, it only depends for now since we are just ordinary savvy users but if you are in the highest position on a company then considered to conduct privacy check.

    Microsoft and other big companies does not contain any privacy which are far from the connection of improvements of program and collective statistics, cause if you found one of them like gathering the PIN code of your ATM then that's the time you need to take attention seriously.
    Andytay70 and monsterturckpa like this.
  11. shmu26

    shmu26 Level 53

    Jul 3, 2015
    if someone is storing their passwords on their PC in an unencrypted text file, or something like that, then I can see that they have reason to worry. But in such a case, they should be worried even without microsoft's long arm reaching into their computer.
    monsterturckpa and DJ Panda like this.
  12. Dirk41

    Dirk41 Level 16

    Mar 17, 2016
    Windows 10
    #12 Dirk41, Mar 24, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
    hi guys and thank you @BoraMurdar for the guide.
    i'd like to ask a question regarding point 5: my settings are all on and i can't change them.the possibility to change them is disabled. may it be because i am using a standard account right now? or Bill decided Italians should not be allowed to change them?

    anyway i agree with @jamescv7 ,if it helps MS to create a better av...but i suppose the if they really wanted to do that, they would already have done it

    edit: and i can't find step 8 and 9 in italian settings
    monsterturckpa likes this.
  13. Sher

    Sher Level 10

    Mar 17, 2014
    Windows 10
    #13 Sher, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    Nice guide! However, I prefer using "O&O ShutUp10." It does the job in just one click.
  14. Anker_by

    Anker_by Level 4

    Jun 23, 2015
    Windows 8.1
    Nice guide, i will follow step by step, i didnt know about this, Thank you
  15. ElectricSheep

    ElectricSheep Level 12

    Aug 31, 2014
    Professional Woolly Jumper
    Planet Earth
    Excellent guide Bora! Thought I had it all covered, but I'd obviously missed a few things!:D
    They're a sneaky lot ain't they?:eek::p
    monsterturckpa and frogboy like this.
  16. Bogdan Duman

    Bogdan Duman Level 1

    Mar 24, 2015
    Excellent guide Bora! Tks ;)
    monsterturckpa likes this.
  17. jack feten

    jack feten Level 1

    Mar 16, 2017
    united states
    Windows 10
    I do this to every windows 10 VM I have.
    monsterturckpa likes this.
  18. Telos

    Telos Level 8

    Jan 29, 2017
    I almost want to upgrade just to do this. Nice contribution. Thanks.
    monsterturckpa likes this.
  19. randj89

    randj89 Level 4

    May 7, 2014
    Master Control Operator
    US, East Coast
    Windows 10
    I've done this but I opted into using o&o shutup and then I found spybot anti-beacon to be a better option.
  20. DJ Panda

    DJ Panda Level 29

    Aug 30, 2015
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Windows 10
    Looks pretty good. I never bothered doing this. I don't use Defender but if Avast has problems and needs uninstalling. WD is protecting me. :)
    arnab21, monsterturckpa and ispx like this.
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