Using Windows 10? Here’re 5 Privacy Settings You Need to Change Right Now


Microsoft Windows 10 has been installed on more than 400 million devices in the slightly over a year period it has been around.

However, there are probably lots of things you still don’t know about this Windows 10 OS, especially when matters of privacy are on the table. The many ads you see are because your personal data is somehow being shared with Microsoft.

Even though it is not possible to solve all problems associated with Windows 10, there are a number of things you can do improve your privacy with the platform. Here’re are 5 privacy settings you need to change so as to be sure of your privacy when using the new OS from Microsoft.

Lock your lock screen

The lock screen is the actually the face of your PC and it is the first thing seen whenever a PC is opened. For some, this is the place they store their information for easy and fast access, but this could also mean that everyone can easily access the same information in your absence, especially if you have an unlocked lock screen.

For starters, ensure that your notifications are not showing up on the lock screen by going to the Settings>System>Notifications & actions and while in there, turn off the “Show notifications on the lock screen” option. Until you unlock your device, no notification will be visible. Also ensure that Cortana is disabled from working on the lock screen. This is available via the assistant’s “Settings>Use Cortana even when my device is locked” options. It is possible to control what she can do when on the lock screen rather than turn her off completely.

Turn off your location

Like you’d do with a smartphone, you can also turn off location in Windows 10 PCs so as to prevent the OS and other third-party apps from knowing where you are. Of course, there are apps that will need access to your location in order to work better, but this doesn’t mean leaving it on all the time. Windows 10 will store your current location data for the next 24 hours and in so doing, other apps can access and use the same data over the said period. Alternatively, you can also set a default location that apps can use whenever need arises.

This can be done via Settings>Location, where you can also clear your entire location history from the device as well as limit the apps that can see your location status. An easier way to access the Location switch is via the Action Center.

Windows 10

Don’t let Cortana get to know you

Cortana is an interesting character. She will always want to know more about you, the moves you make, what you are up to and so much other stuff. While this can be cool, it is the easiest way to give away your private details to Microsoft. When Cortana asks to “get to know you”, don’t be tricked to jump in for this feature will let Windows 10 collect all sorts of information about you, be it your contacts, location, calendar and even browsing history.

So, to prevent this, don’t let Cortana get to know you, but this will come at a price. You won’t be able to talk to her. This can be done via Settings>Time & Language>Speech, inking & typing>Getting to know you>Stop getting to know me and that’s it. By going to Cortana’s settings menu, you will also be able to clear any other information that she had stored in the cloud.

Disable syncing

Windows 10 does a lot of syncing, especially if you have signed in to your Microsoft account. The OS allows for your entire settings, notifications, and passwords to be synced across devices that use the same account.

You can prevent this by turning off syncing, but this will also mean you do things like entering passwords manually every time. This can be done through Settings>Accounts>Sync your settings. The good thing is that you can easily toggle individual sync settings on and off or simply turn off everything. When it comes to turning of synced notifications, go to Cortana’s Settings menu and hit the Send notifications between devices option. Clicking Edit sync settings lets you manage your entire list of signed-in devices.

Windows 10

Turn off advertising ID

As long as you have a Microsoft account, you have a unique advertising ID. With this, the Redmond Company is able to collect data about you so as to give you an experience that is tailored towards you. Well, you can turn this off in Windows 10 by going to Settings>Privacy>General>Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.

While this move prevents your data from being shared with Microsoft, it does nothing to stop the ads, which will now show up without considering your preferences. Those using a Microsoft account on other platforms can get rid of these ads by going to the company’s advertising opt-out page.

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