Windows 10 Privacy Settings: Take control of your personal data

The recent controversy surrounding Windows 10 default privacy settings underlines how important it is to control what Windows 10 does with your information. Here we show you how to gain control over the confidentiality of your Windows experience.

The good news is that all default privacy settings can be adjusted. The bad news is that it requires a bit of effort to modify all the relevant settings.

Control How Apps Access Your Data

Many privacy settings determine how apps gain access to your information.

[Click] Start StartMenu, SETTINGS, PRIVACY, GENERAL to control how your advertising ID, tied to your Microsoft account, and your language lists are used by apps to offer personalized ads or content. You can also assert more fine grained control if you [Click] the MANAGE MY MICROSOFT ADVERTISING AND OTHER PERSONALIZED INFO link.

In this section you can also turn off Internet Explorer’s malware filtering SmartScreen technology (not a good idea) and prevent your typing and writing data to be sent to Microsoft.

Use the LOCATION section to control how your location data is accessed globally and by each app. Here you can also clear your LOCATION HISTORY should you need to.

You can control which devices your apps have access to in the CAMERA, MICROPHONE and RADIOS sections. The OTHER DEVICES section allows you to control how apps share and sync data with paired devices such as smartphones or game peripherals.

The ACCOUNT INFO, CONTACTS, CALENDAR and MESSAGING sections give you control over how apps use their data.

Change What Windows 10 Sends to Microsoft and the Cloud

Microsoft collects data about your speech and typing patterns to create better search results for you. To control this behavior select SETTINGS, PRIVACY, SPEECH, INK AND TYPING. In this section you can also [Click] the GO TO BING AND MANAGE PERSONAL INFO FOR ALL YOUR DEVICES link to globally manage how Bing uses your personal data.

You can also [Click] SETTINGS, PRIVACY, FEEDBACK & DIAGNOSTICS to control Microsoft’s feedback requests and to control how much diagnostic information is sent to Microsoft.

Cortana, Microsoft’s new personal digital assistant, collects a considerable amount of personal information so it can tailor search responses to your specific patterns. To control this behavior [Click] the CORTANA taskbar icon, the SETTINGS icon then the MANAGE WHAT CORTANA KNOWS ABOUT ME IN THE CLOUD link. The same settings section gives you access to Bing’s SafeSearch settings.

Share Your Wi-Fi Passwords?

One of the more controversial features of Windows 10 is the ability automatically give contacts access to your Wi-Fi network by anonymously sharing its credentials. To manage this [Click] SETTINGS, NETWORK & INTERNET, WI-FI then [Click] the MANAGE WI-FI SETTINGS link. In the WI-FI SENSE section you can turn off the entire feature. Or, you can choose which network to automatically share with your contacts by [Clicking] the network name then SHARE. Warning: Clicking FORGET will delete the network from Windows 10 which will require you to log in again as new with that network’s password.

You can also decide to share a new network when you first connect to it by [Clicking] SHARE NETWORK WITH MY CONTACTS.