Windows 10 by default is highly popular to strip you off your privacy. Oh Wait! You don’t know that? Please be known that Windows 10 by default has permission to sent lots of your data back to Microsoft servers and you’ll never know when and how the data transfer took place. And not any antivirus or malware could stop that but it’s you, who need to do some manual settings for protecting your privacy. And not just that, even Windows 10 has a keylogger too, which is recording every stroke of data you’re typing back to Windows 10. That includes all the usernames and passwords too which you type in websites and other places.
Although keylogger in Windows 10 was supposed to be in Windows 10 Technical preview editions only which log and send “voice information” as well as “typed characters” and was there for testing purpose only. But that news comes out to be False!
Even though Microsoft has added so many features which are really useful in long-term, but for the betterment of those products or features, they collect a good quantity of users data, and one of the biggest source of it is Cortana which personalize it’s features depending upon your need and collect your voice inputs, contact and calendar entries. Windows 10 also collects data from the features which are connected to cloud and hence it becomes an necessity for an operating system to collect data, filter and exclude your personal information and send it to Microsoft Servers. But who’s comfortable with that? I am Not!
Ultimate Guide to Turn off Windows 10 Privacy Settings
Turning off data mining features in Windows 10 is easy, all you need to know where those toggles are and you’re good to go. But it’s a good list to follow before you may get rid of all the data mining features of Windows 10. There are 2 ways to do so. Either use a free application we recommend or do the manual way which requires few steps.
How to Turn Off Windows 10 Privacy Issues Using an Application (Easiest Method)
There are over 35 privacy issues in Windows 10 which users needs to address for protecting their privacy. If you leave those as is, a good amount of data is sent back to Microsoft periodically. If you have selected “Express Settings” while installing Windows 10, you gave permissions to Microsoft to gather data of following types:
- Location Data
- Biometrics and Handwriting data
- Advertisement and its Tracking Code
- Apps access to your personal information
- Windows Defender and Sample submissions
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Cortana & Web search
- Telemetry services
- Webcam and Microphone Access
- Sync Data with other Devices
- Using Microsoft account, Instead of local account
- Sending Feedback & diagnostics reports to Microsoft
- and many more…
To disable sending data from all above types, install a software application named
DoNotSpy10. This is the first software app in my knowledge which is an antispy tool for Windows 10. This app gives you a fair choice of what data you’re fine sharing with Microsoft and What NOT. And i won’t recommend you to turn off all the features and some are required by OS to function properly and to manage a proper communication with other apps and for checking of updates. There are 37 settings currently which you can disable using this app as follows:
- Disable Telemetry
- Disable Biometrics
- Disable Handwriting Data Sharing
- Disable Handwriting Error Reporting
- Disable Application Telemetry
- Disable Inventory Collector
- Disable Steps Recorder
- Disable enabling Lock Screen Camera
- Disable and Reset Cortana
- Disable Location
- Disable Sensors
- Disable Web Search*
- Disable Windows Media DRM Internet Access
- Defer Windows Upgrades*
- Disable App Notifications
- Disable Password Reveal Button*
- Disable and Reset Advertising ID
- Disable SmartScreen Filter for URLs*
- Disable Sending Writing Info
- Disable Access to Language List*
- Disable App Access to Location Info*
- Disable App Access to Camera*
- Disable App Access to Microphone*
- Disable Getting to know me
- Disable App Access to Account Info*
- Disable App Access to Calendar*
- Disable App Access to Messages*
- Disable App Access to Radios*
- Disable Sync With Devices*
- Disable Windows Feedback Requests*
- Disable Windows Update Sharing
- Disable Windows Update for other Products*
- Disable WiFi Sense
- Disable Windows Defender*
- Disable Automatic Windows Updates*
- Disable OneDrive
- Disable Automatic Driver Update*
- Disable Automatic Windows Store Updates*
- Enable Do not Track in Edge
- Disable Malicious Software Removal Tool via Windows Update*
- Disable KMS Client Online Validation
- Disable Retrieving Device Metadata
- Disable Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program
All features marked with * are the one we don’t recommend to disable it.
Choice is yours.
How to Turn Off Windows 10 Privacy Settings (Manual Method)
So, you have chosen to turn of Windows 10 privacy settings manually, Good Enough! Following are the ways to do it:
Be Selective During Windows 10 Install
During Windows 10 installation, when Windows 10 asks you if you want to use Expressive Settings or want to Customize it? Here’s what Windows 10 clearly asks you to agree for:
Personalize your speech, typing and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft. Let Microsoft use that info to improve the suggestion and recognition platforms.
Let’s Windows and apps request your location, including location history, and use your advertising ID to personalize your experiences. Send Microsoft and trusted partners some location data to improve locations services.
Help protect you from malicious web content and 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.
Automatically connect to suggested open hotspots and shared networks. Not all networks are secure.
Send error and diagnostic information to Microsoft.
So, rather than selecting Express Settings, select Customize Settings and you can select toggles as per your requirement and comfort. First screen would give you following options:
- Personalize your speech, typing and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft – Select OFF.
- Send typing and inking data
(The Keylogger)to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform – Select OFF.
- Let apps use your advertising ID for experiences across apps – Select OFF.
- Let Windows and apps request your location, including location history, and send Microsoft and trusted partners some location data to improve location services – Select OFF.
Click Next. Now you’ll be presented with options pertaining to customize your privacy settings related to Web browsing, connectivity and error reporting.
- Use SmartScreen online services to help protect against malicious content and downloads in sites loaded by Windows browsers and Store apps – Select ON. (This option is recommended to use)
- 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 – Select OFF.
- Automatically connect to suggested open hotspots. Not all networks are secure – Select OFF.
- Automatically connect to networks shared by your contacts – Select OFF.
- Send error and diagnostic information to Microsoft – Select ON. (It’s safe to use this option)
Turn Off Privacy Settings in Windows 10 After Installation
Just in case, while installing Windows 10, you didn’t customized the settings as i mentioned above, you can do it now by following below given steps:
- Open Start menu and select Settings. Alternatively you can press Windows key + I to open Settings directly in Windows 10.
- Open Privacy and you’ll be present with a long list of options you need to take care of.
- By default, General tab would be opened. Select options as follows:
- Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps (turning this off will reset your ID) – Select OFF
- Turn on SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use – Leave it as ON
- Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improving typing and writing in the future – Select OFF
(This is the Keylogger)
- Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list – Leave it ON. (I don’t see any issue leaving it ON as this option would enhance user experience).
- Moving on to Location Tab, ideally you should leave the location ON. Choice is yours. As location access is required by many apps like Windows maps, News, Weather etc or many other apps from other niches like Banking, Search etc.
Choice is Yours.
- On Camera Tab, it’s usually required by apps like Browser and others. If you turn it OFF, then may be when you’ll install Skype, you’ll not be able to do video chat, as all apps would be blocked to use Camera. Hence ideally you can leave this ON.
- Microphone can also be left ON. I don’t see any issue leaving it ON as it would be required for doing voice chats via apps.
- Speech, inking & typing (Getting to know you) helps Windows and Cortana to get to know you better by collecting data like Contacts, calendar entries, speech, handwriting patterns and typing history. Immediately turn this Setting OFF.
- Account Info should be turned OFF, as we are not sure, what use of this information any app would do.
- Contacts access can be turned OFF for most apps. Although it’s required by email application and would help you in getting enhanced user experience in Windows 10 and if you use email application of Windows 10, you should leave it ON, and turn it OFF for other apps.
- Calendar is again required by email applications and to remind you of activities while you’re busy doing other works. Ideally i would leave it ON.
- Messaging must be turned OFF. I do not see any valid reason for giving any app access to your personal messages.
- Radios again should be turned OFF. I don’t want any app to use my bluetooth without my explicit permission.
- Other Devices (Sync with devices) should be turned OFF unless if you use devices like Beacons which is a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. Also, if you have a xBox or other devices which sync and pair with your tablet or PC having Windows 10, you can leave this ON.
- Feedback & Diagnostics can be turned OFF. You’ll need to select
Neverfrom the drop-down menu of “Windows should ask for my feedback“. Or if you’re kind enough to give Microsoft your valuable feedback, then you can turn this setting ON by selecting
Once a Weekfrom the dropdown.
- Background apps – Ideally i don’t like to allow so many apps to keep running in the background as these consumes battery and creates distraction at work. Turning off Apps background activities can enhance battery life a lot. Be wise in selecting which one to Turn OFF and which not.
Turn OFF WiFi Sense
Open Settings and then “Network and Internet“. Navigate to WiFi tab and select your current wireless connection and click Manage WiFi settings. WiFi sense is a big threat to your privacy and must not be left ON. Read more about it here, why WiFi sense must be turned OFF.
To turn OFF WiFi sense, just toggle OFF both settings i.e.
Connect to suggested open hotspots and
Connect to Networks shared by my contacts.
Turn OFF How Windows 10 Updates are Delivered
- Open Settings and select “Update and Security“.
- Open Windows Update Tab and select Advanced Options.
- Click “Choose how updates are delivered“
- Turn the Toggle to OFF for “Updates from more than one place“.
Also read: How to Stop Automatic Updates of Windows 10
Turn OFF Windows Error Reporting Service
To turn OFF windows error reporting service, you need to set it to manual setting.
- Open Run command box by pressing Windows key + R.
- Type in following command:
and Enter. Services dialog box would open up.
- Select Windows Error Reporting Service to Manual by double clicking on it and selecting Startup type to Manual from dropdown menu.
- Also select “Diagnostic Tracking Service” and “dmwappushsvc“ and set both to Manual or Disabled for Startup type. Stopping these two would stop
transfer of telemetry and data collectionin Windows 10.
Turn OFF Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)
Customer Improvement Program is a hidden service which collects information about your computer hardware and your usage pattern, collects that data and send it to Microsoft secretly. You might get shocked to know that, this program could even count how many times you opened Start menu or how many programs you have pinned in your Taskbar. This is one the biggest privacy buster program in Windows 10. To turn this feature OFF, do following steps:
Also read: How to Stop Automatic Updates of Windows 10
- Easiest way to access this setting by type it in on the search bar of Windows 10.
- Type in: customer experience improvement and select result of “
Change Customer Experience Improvement Program Settings“.
- Select NO, i don’t want to participate in the program.
Since i had Windows 10 Enterprise activated, so these options are grayed out for me permanently as you can see in the screenshot.
Turn OFF Cortana or Remove it Completely
Last you need to turn OFF Cortana as it’s of the biggest program which collects users data and send it to Microsoft. Here’s a guide to completely disable Cortana and removing it from Windows 10.
I hope you may follow all steps given on this ultimate guide to turn OFF windows 10 privacy settings.