Windows 10, a friend who wants you good? The latest Microsoft OS is much too “sticky” according to many users. In question, the collection of personal data and their sharing at all winds makes cringe. Fortunately, the setup options detailed below significantly reduce the amount of information sent to the outside. 

Here are some tips to disable the most intrusive Windows 10 features for your privacy. Some options were implemented during the update Creator’s Update, under the command of the CNIL. Others will prevent some services from running at 100%, like Cortana or AutoComplete. But at the end,

Change the privacy settings of Windows 10

Most of the options to disable are located in the privacy settings. To access it, open the Start menu and click on the wheel icon (to the left of the menu) to open the “Windows Settings”. Then click on “Privacy” . The options below are listed in the left column:

General

This tab allows you to disable the Windows 10 advertising ID . This particularly maligned feature allows advertisers to target their ads when you’re online. Of course, this involves the collection of a lot of personal information. To avoid this, simply disable the advertising ID by clicking on the “Enabled” button.

Location

Do you take your PC everywhere with you? Do you feel that Microsoft and its geolocation services do not need to know where you are in real time? This tab makes it possible to avoid being tracked in your travels . 

To turn off geo-tracking for all programs, click the “Edit” button, then the “On” button. If you prefer to customize the permissions, scroll down and clear the option only for the software of your choice.

From the same window, you can access the history of information collected on your geolocation. Some are stored locally: you can delete them by clicking “Delete” below the “Location History” space. For location data stored in the cloud, click ” Manage my location information stored in the cloud ” and manually clear your history.

Camera and Microphone

By default, all Windows 10 applications can access the camera on the PC. If you prefer, it is possible to limit the image taking to the software of your choice (Skype, Viber, etc …). To do this, click on “Camera” on the left column, scroll down and allow only the applications of your choice. 

If you prefer to disable the use of the camera for all applications, click the “On” button at the very top of the window.

You can do the same for the microphone of the PC, by clicking on “Microphone” in the left column and repeating the operation.

Account Information, Contacts and Calendar

Windows 10 allows any application to view your personal information , including your account information. The “Account Information” tab allows you to disable this. Click the “Enabled” button to ensure the privacy of your private data on Windows 10 .

Then repeat the operation for each of the following tabs: “Contacts” and “Calendar”.

Comments and diagnostics

This tab is dedicated to telemetry: it is diagnostic data sent to Microsoft to improve your experience. You are free to deactivate this function: to do this, click on the “Activated” button in the “Diagnostic data” area.

Disable information collected by Cortana

Cortana is your personal assistant on Windows 10 : like Siri at Apple, it allows you to perform basic tasks by voice command. It’s also one of the most worrying features of privacy advocates: Cortana can be activated by voice (saying “Hey, Cortana”), the microphone is always open … 

If this idea gives you urticaria, know that it is possible to disable this function. First open the voice assistant settings by clicking on ” Cortana ” from the Windows Settings.

In the first tab that appears, go to the “Hey Cortana” option and click the “On” button. This allows the voice assistant to work, but not to be called by voice command.

Cortana itself is a very intrusive option: the assistant collects data about your activity in order to best meet your requests. Do you want to be clear? Click on “Permissions and Logs” in the left column. There, go under the “Permissions” area and click ” Manage information that Cortana can access from this device “. Then deactivate the options of your choice.

Customize Microsoft Edge, which is a little too indiscreet

The new Internet browser from Windows is not devoid of qualities, but it tends to be, too, a little too indiscreet. It collects a large volume of personal data to enhance the user experience by making it more predictive and responsive. 

To make it less intrusive, you can disable some minor features by accessing the browser settings. To do this, click on the three small dots at the top right of the window, select “Settings <” and click on “Show advanced settings”.

In order to limit the data collected by Microsoft Edge, it is advisable to disable the following options:

  • “Save form entries”;
  • “Allow Cortana to help me in Microsoft Edge”;
  • “Show search suggestions and sites as I type”;
  • “Use page prediction to speed up navigation (…).”

Disable synchronization with other devices

Windows 10 offers synchronization of your data between all the devices you use from the same Live account. Concretely, this means that the following information is automatically transmitted from one device to another: theme, settings, ergonomics options, personal info, history … 

If this function can be useful for some, it also means that your personal data is stored on Microsoft’s servers . To delete it, it’s very simple: from the “Windows Settings”, click on “Accounts”.

In this window, you can enable or disable the items you want to synchronize, one by one: theme, web browser settings, passwords, language preferences, usability options, Windows settings … 

If you prefer, you can also completely disable synchronization between devices . At the very top of the window, click the first “Enabled” button to remove it.

These tips will help you disable the most intrusive options of Windows 10 . This is not enough to prevent it from communicating your personal info to Microsoft servers: other parameters require manipulations reserved for expert users, or the installation of third-party programs, such as DoNotSpy10. That said, by applying these tips, you will have already taken a big step towards improving your privacy under Windows 10 !