Stop Microsoft from spying on you in Windows 10. Opt out of data collection & personalized ads by in Windows 10 PC, Phone, Mobile, Apps, Browser, Bing & Microsoft Account. In this post, we will see how to block or turn off ads from Cortana, Lock Screen, Start Menu, Action Center, Ink Workspace, Skype, OneDrive & other personalized ads in Windows 10, and tighten Microsoft Account & Bing settings too.
Not all Windows 10 users may know, but they are being watched by default. However, Windows 10 claims to be a very secure operating system with detailed privacy settings, there are still many things one needs to be alert about. Windows 10 actually collects more of your browsing data, location history, communication history and contacts details from messages and apps, than its predecessors.
Whenever you visit a Microsoft website, the tracking cookies get installed on your PC and tracks all your web browsing. This data is then sent to Microsoft servers and used by Bing.com to fire targeted advertisements at you. It does not matter whether you are using Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge or any other browser, Microsoft is always tracking you.
To turn off or remove ads in Windows 10, you will have to:
- Visit Microsoft Account & Bing Dashboard to harden your privacy settings.
- Open Settings > Personalization and disable ads for Lock Screen, Cortana and Start Menu.
- Follow this procedure to turn off ads in Windows Ink Workspace, Skype, OneDrive in Explorer, Action Center, etc.
Stop Microsoft from spying on you in Windows 10
In short, Microsoft tracks and adds your data to your Advertising ID. Everything you search, every program your download, every app you use and every website you visit is tracked and sent to Bing and Windows Store.
In fact, if you are signed in with your Microsoft Account, you are sending much of your personal data to Microsoft servers, including the list of devices you are using. Microsoft Edge even stores every character you type to search anything.
Thankfully, you can opt out of data collection & personalized ads by Microsoft in Windows 10, Phone or Mobile devices, Apps, Web Browser & Microsoft Account.
Google has its Google Dashboard, which offers a view into the data associated with your Google Account and lets you change your Google Privacy Settings. You can also manage your Facebook ad preferences. Microsoft too offers a Personal Data Dashboard, which we had covered earlier. Since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft has added more features to it, which we will take a look at now.
Turn Off Personalized ads in Windows 10
Go to choice.microsoft.com/en-us/opt-out and adjust the settings in the right panel.
You will see three settings:
- Personalized ads in this browser
- Personalized ads whenever I use Microsoft Account.
- Personalized ads in Windows
While you can turn of the first one even when you are signed in to your Windows computer using a local account, to turn off 2 and 3, you need to be signed in using your Microsoft account.
“To opt out of personalized ads in this browser, your browser must allow first-party and third-party cookies. Instructions for enabling cookies may be available in your browser’s settings, privacy, or help documentation”.
If you want Microsoft to deliver you the ads, click On. To show “generic” ads, click Off.
“To create a more customized online experience, some of the ads you may receive on Microsoft websites and apps are tailored to your previous activities, searches, and site visits. You’re in control and here’s where you can make the advertising choice that’s right for you”.
Bing Privacy Settings
The second option is to adjust your Bing privacy settings.
Go to bing.com/account/personalization and sign-in using your Microsoft account.
Clear your Saved places, your personal information, search history, etc. Go to the link and click on ‘Clear all‘.
Also, check your settings with other Microsoft services like Xbox, OneDrive, Outlook and Microsoft Advertising. Click on the relevant links and adjust the settings according to your own preferences. These Microsoft services also save your data.
If you have Cortana enabled on your devices, you are unknowingly giving all your personal data like contacts, locations, calendar and browsing history to Microsoft servers. Click on ‘Clear’ to flush all your data and you won’t get the Cortana recommendations on your device.
More tips here: Opt out of Data Tracking & Targetted ads.
Block ads in Windows 10
Windows 10 Privacy Settings
We have already seen how to change Windows 10 Privacy settings in details. Let’s go over the relevant one’s here again.
Tap Win +I to open Windows 10 Settings. Go to Privacy and change privacy options.
Turn off Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps. Doing this will also reset your Advertising ID.
On Windows 10 Mobile, go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising ID. Turn off Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.
Remove ads from Windows Ink Workspace
To remove ads from the Windows Ink Workspace, open Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink.
Under Windows Ink Workspace, you will see Show recommended app suggestions. Toggle the switch to the Off position.
Remove Cortana ads
To remove ads from Cortana search box, open Cortana and click on its Settings icon and then Turn off the Taskbar tidbits toggle switch.
Remove Get Skype notifications
To stop the Get Skype from nagging you, you can open Settings > Settings > Apps & features and uninstall the Get Skype app here.
Remove ads in Action Center
To remove ads from the Action Center & Notifications, open Settings > System > Notifications and Actions.
Under Notifications, you will see Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows. Toggle the switch to the Off position.
Read: Remove ads in Skype.
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