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William George (Product Development)

My Privacy Preferences in Windows 10

Written on September 4, 2015 by William George

There has been a lot of talk about privacy concerns in Windows 10 lately, and several good articles have been published covering what settings are available to restrict the amount of information being sent back to Microsoft. I don’t presume to be able to do a better job than any of those authors, but having now had a few customers ask me about this stuff I thought it might be nice to share what settings I personally change on my Windows 10 computers. I will also provide links at the bottom to some of the other articles out there which I used to determine what settings to change, and a couple of tools that the Windows community has made to change these and other options in Windows 10.

Here is the list of the privacy settings I change, where they are, and what they do:


Settings -> Privacy -> General

Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps - OFF This prevents tracking for the purpose of personalizing ads you see

Send Microsoft info about how I write - OFF - Prevents sending info about how and what you write to Microsoft

Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list - OFF - Prevents websites from seeing what languages you have installed


Settings -> Privacy -> Location

Location for this device is - OFF - Turns off location tracking for all users of the computer


Settings -> Privacy -> Account Info

Let apps access my name, picture, and other account info - OFF - Prevents Windows Apps from being able to access this info


Settings -> Privacy -> Feedback & Diagnostics

Windows should ask for my feedback - NEVER - Seems self explanatory :)

Send your device data to Microsoft - BASIC - Minimizes the amount of diagnostic data sent to Microsoft; this cannot be turned off entirely (at least from this interface) except on Enterprise versions of Windows, and it may interfere with Windows Update working properly


Settings -> Windows Update -> Advanced Options

Choose how updates are delivered - ON, PCs on my local network - This lets your PC share Windows updates with other computers on your network, but not with remote PCs on the internet; some people might also prefer this OFF, I suppose, but leaving it on should reduce bandwidth uses for Windows Updates if you have multiple Windows 10 computers in your home / office


Cortana & Search Settings

Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts, and more - OFF - Disables the Cortana voice assistant, which otherwise can collect info about what you ask it

Search online and include in web results - OFF - Makes the Window search option return local file results only, which presumably keeps what you search for from being reported to Bing (the default search engine for web results)


Settings -> Privacy -> Speech, Inking, & Typing

Stop getting to know me - Click to disable - Disables collection of certain personal info and typing habit data. Also turns off dictation and clears what Cortana has learned about you on this device.


That is pretty much it. I'm sure there are some options I am not aware of, and so have not covered - so if you have any additional settings that you change for privacy in Windows 10 please share them in the comments section below!

Additional Reading (articles outside Puget Systems):




Community Privacy Setting Tools (use at your own risk!): 




Tags: Windows 10, Privacy, Settings, Tools

This is one of my favorite tools for this: http://www.oo-software.com/...

Posted on 2015-09-08 14:41:41

That is a really nice program. We've been talking about coding our own scripts to set all these privacy settings for customers, but this program looks like it does almost everything we want. I wish it had a way to save custom "packages" of different settings so we could easily customize it, but the recommended settings look pretty good actually. I especially like the descriptions for each setting they have so it is easy to tell what each one does.

Nice find!

Posted on 2015-09-08 17:38:03

Yes, I wish I could do the same for my clients as well. I'm still pretty happy with the defaults right out of the box though. It's the best app I've found yet for this.

Posted on 2015-09-08 17:55:25

Google and Microsoft are two large evil monopolies. Since 2007 I began learning their so-called 'activities' which are well known across a few circles, say Cypto research groups. Windows RNG was quite a big revelation which shocked many bright folks out there. Microsoft got its hands muddied by dipping into too many nasty things. E.g., here is one bookmark:

Windows random number generator is so not random

Anyway, I realized (post Snowden outbreaks) that there is no way any Windows version can be trusted again. Hence, I made many critical decisions in 2014 such as:

1) Windows 8.1 release will be last MS OS to be used on 20% machines (Office PCs, Laptops etc).
2) Windows 7 Pro will be the last R&D platform in all businesses (Workstations etc).
3) The present Windows based SDLC to be completely phased out by the end of 2016 FY.
4) All Windows machines cease to exist by the end of 2017 FY. Windows has 20+% share (of 500+ machines); Linux and OS X dominate in my business ecosystem.

The following already got 'extinct' on my networks:

1) Windows 7 Pro based Workstations made completely isolated, augmented to triple level IT security.
2) Windows 8.1 based executive Laptops
3) Outlook became an unknown word!
4) Public Cloud: Data doesn't go out! Deployed couple of high-end NAS Servers (ZFS; OpenSolaris & BSD OSes).
5) No more public e-mail access from the company networks
6) No personal Social media on the company networks -- protect data, privacy and IP.
7) Google is no more default search engine. Like IE, Chrome became history too! (Firefox dominates).
8) USB dongle
9) Rampant WiFi network sharing (no more Mobile devices on the networks).

In a nutshell: Windows 10 adoption is out of question for the business purposes. For a few home machines, oh yes! But I really doubt about that too (in two minds); perhaps only on one or two machines to play Games etc.

ps: this is an isolated machine. Currently, I'm 'evaluating' Disqus because observed a few 'interesting' things. Not paranoid at all.

Posted on 2015-09-12 14:21:43

What about the numerous articles like http://thenextweb.com/micro... that analyze traffic AFTER turning off all the anti-privacy options and show that Windows 10 STILL tries to send insane amounts of data to Microsoft?

Posted on 2016-08-30 00:02:06