Windows 10 come with many welcome changes, including a new Settings app. One of the best changes includes the Privacy Settings which give a privacy control to users. Microsoft has said that Windows 10 data collection cannot be stopped. So how can we harden it at least? In this post, we will take a look at the privacy control and settings available and how to configure & fix default Windows 10 Privacy Settings and adjust & configure Microsoft account, location, camera, messaging, Edge, Cortana, etc. settings, in order to protect your privacy.
Read: Windows 10 Privacy Issues: How much data is Microsoft really collecting?
Windows 10 Privacy Settings guide
To access these privacy settings, click on the Notification icon in the lower right corner of your taskbar and click on All Settings to open the main Settings app.
Next, click on Privacy link to open the Privacy settings panel.
The main overview of Privacy Settings shows options like General settings, Location, Camera, Microphone, Speech, inking & typing, Account info, Contacts, Calendar, Messaging, Radios, Other devices and Feedback.
General Settings allow you to adjust the privacy settings and decide if you want to – Let Windows apps use your personal details, turn the SmartScreen filter ON or OFF, Send Microsoft info about how you write, If you want the websites to access your language lists and if you want Windows tips enabled or disabled.
Turning these settings ON won’t risk your online security, but you can choose the options according to your privacy concerns. These settings are turned ON by default and if you want to change your advertising settings, you can click on the link Manage My Microsoft advertising and other Personalization info. It takes you to the Microsoft website, where you can set your preferences.
If you see Your location is currently in use icon, you might want to turn OFF the Location of your device because keeping it ON may allow your apps to access your location. Also, your PC Stores your Location history if the option is turned ON, but you can clear the history just by clicking on Clear.
Scroll down to set if the apps like MSN News, your web browser Spartan, Weather, Windows Camera and Windows Maps can have an access to your location or not.
Camera and Microphone
This section is all about your webcam and the microphone of your device.
You can toggle On or Off the setting – Let apps use my camera and select which of the available apps can use your webcam and microphone. You can turn them On or Off whenever you want. Here are more tips on how to configure Windows 10 Privacy settings.
Speech, Inking & Typing
This section lets you adjust the settings with your digital virtual assistant Cortana. You can turn it off, by clicking on Stop getting to know me and Cortana will stop collecting your info like contacts and calendar events. You can manage the info for all your devices by clicking on Go to Bing and manage personal info for all your devices. This will take you to the Bing page where you can manage Bing privacy settings like personal info, saved browsing history, interests, places and your settings with Cortana.
In this section, you can select which apps can access your account info like your name, photo, and other account details.
Contacts, Calendar, Messaging, Radio
In these sections, you can allow or disallow the apps to access your contacts, calendar, and events, messaging and control your radios. Allowing the apps to access your message may let them read or send messages.
Here you can allow your apps to share and sync info with the wireless devices that aren’t paired with your PC. You can also choose apps that can sync with other devices. All your connected devices will appear under this section. Let your apps use Trusted Devices.
This is what Microsoft loves – Your feedback! The feedback section lets you decide how often you want the company to ask for your feedback.
It is set to Automatically by default, but you can select it for always, once a day, once a week or even never. Also, you can select if you want to send the complete PC health, performance and diagnostic reports to the company or the basic ones. If you wish you can also disable feedback in Windows 10.
Harden Microsoft Account Privacy Settings
Microsoft Account is used to sign in, into your Outlook.com, Hotmail.com and other email IDs. It can also be used to sign into other Microsoft services and devices like Windows computers, Xbox Live, Windows Phone and so on. Take a look at how to harden Microsoft Account Privacy Settings.
Harden Edge browser privacy
Having done this, you might want to also take a look at and configure Privacy settings in Edge browser.
If you do not use Cortana, you can turn Cortana off. Click inside the taskbar search box. The Cortana settings box will appear as shown below. Move the slider to Off position. Now to delete all that Cortana knows about you, click on the Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud link, sign in to your Microsoft Account and then do the needful.
Adjust Bing Privacy settings, Opt out of personalized ads
This post will show you how to opt out of and stop Personalized ads in Windows 10. There are more suggestions here – Opt out of Data Tracking & Targetted ads.
It is always recommended to check and adjust these privacy settings carefully once so that you can maintain your online privacy.
Want to turn off Wi-Fi Sense?
This post will tell you what you need to know about Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10 and show you how to turn it off if you want to.
Use Ultimate Windows Tweaker tool
Our Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 will let you easily tweak Windows 10 Privacy settings & more. The Privacy tab lets you disable Telemetry, Biometrics, Advertising ID, Bing search, Cortana, Windows Update sharing, Feedback requests, password Reveal button, Steps Recorder, Inventory Collector and Application Telemetry.
Here is a list of some more Windows 10 Privacy Tools & Fixers that help you harden your privacy.