Windows 10 comes equipped with plenty of useful features that are meant to help keep you organized across all of your Microsoft-powered devices. However, they do require access to quite a lot of personal information which you may not feel comfortable sharing in the online world. To protect your privacy on your Windows 10 device, here are a few quick and easy precautions you can take:
Manage Cortana’s Permissions
Cortana is the Windows’ digital assistant, who is always on hand to help you set reminders, send emails, easily search the web and carry out numerous other useful tasks to make your life easier. It’s a great app that can really help to keep your organized, but it requires access to a lot of information. If you want to protect your privacy, turning it off is quite easy.
Just click on the Cortana icon in your taskbar and then click the notebook icon. Select Permissions and you can choose the information to which Cortana can and cannot have access. This includes location, contacts, email, calendar, browsing history and more.
Disable Advertising Integration
To prevent Microsoft from collecting information from cookies to personalize the ads that you are shown, you can change your privacy settings. This is a two-step process, but it is quite a quick fix.
Visit Settings > Privacy > General and turn off the option that says “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.” Then, open your browser and visit this page where you can turn off the option to have “personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account’ and ‘personalized ads in this browser.”
Manage All Privacy Settings
While you’re taking a look at your Settings, you can also customize a wide range of other privacy permissions. Have a look through the General options before taking a look at the options for Location, Notifications, Contacts, Calendar, Call History and more. Some of the most pertinent privacy options to turn off are:
- ‘Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.’
- ‘Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future.’
- ‘Let apps access my contacts’
- ‘Let apps access my name, picture, and other account info’
Set Up A Local Account
You can go back to the way things were done in Windows 7 by setting up a local account that has little connection with the cloud. Head over to Settings > Accounts. When you click Your Info, there is an option to “sign in with a local account instead” which allows you to login to your device without using your Microsoft account.
With a local account, you can still use many useful Windows 10 features like the Mail app, but you won’t be able to use the Windows Store or sync information to your other Windows devices.
Turn Off Wi-Fi Sense
Wi-Fi Sense is a handy Windows 10 feature that allows your device to connect to any Wi-Fi networks that your contacts have previously connected to – even if you don’t have the password. Some Windows 10 users argue that it is more secure to use Wi-Fi Sense than to tell your friends your passwords, as this feature keeps the information hidden from your contacts themselves and only shares the data with their devices.
Still, it is understandable if you don’t want this information being shared over the internet. To turn off Wi-Fi Sense, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Wi-Fi Settings. Then turn off the following two options:
- ‘Connect to suggested open hotspots’
- ‘Connect to open networks shared by my contacts’
Look Into VPNs
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are useful tools in protecting any personal information that you share over the internet. So, if you happen to miss any of the above steps in securing your Windows 10 privacy settings (or have reasons for not following through with them), a quality VPN will keep your information safe when using the internet by encrypting any online communications. To find out which VPN best suits your device and your own personal needs, check out this VPN Review from Secure Thoughts.
Following these steps will help you keep your Windows 10 device secure and maintain your privacy in the online world. What steps do you take to keep your data private? Leave us a comment and let us know your tips!