How to Stop Windows 10 From Spying on You

You bought it, but you still paying for it…

Bitidentify
May 12 · 7 min read

Windows 10 collects more information about the user than any previous version of Windows, and it’s impossible to turn it off completely. After the initial release in 2015, Microsoft faced over two years of harsh criticism about what data it covertly collects from both the EU and private entities. After the initial backlash, they overhauled the privacy settings, introduced new tools, and disclosed some of the data they gathered in a blog post.

European Union data protection watchdogs warned that Microsoft didn’t go far enough to protect user data, while France has ordered Microsoft to stop tracking its Windows 10 users. Seeing how valuable user data has become, there exists an air of uncertainty around Windows 10 and how truthful Microsoft is.

There are several steps you can take to minimize tracking and data leakage in Windows 10. We’ll start with simple privacy settings and then move on to more advanced Group Policy and Registry Edit modifications.

Disable Ad Tracking

How to disable:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then General.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.
  3. (optional) If you have an Online Microsoft account.
    Visit https://choice.microsoft.com/en-us/opt-out and turn off the option that says Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account.

Disable Location Tracking

How to disable:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Location.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.
  3. Hit Clear under Location history to clear previous location data.
  4. (optional) Allow apps to access your location
    Some applications need location to function; by enabling this function, you can customize what apps get location access further down under:
    Choose what apps can access your precise location.

Disable Camera

How to disable

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Camera.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.

Disable Microphone

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Microphone.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.

Disable Timeline

How to disable:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Activity History.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.
  3. Hit Clear under Clear activity history to clear previous activity history.
  4. (optional) If you have an online Microsoft account.
    Click Manage my Microsoft account activity data and you’ll be sent to Microsoft’s Privacy Dashboard where you can clear your data on Microsoft.com

Disable Connection Sharing

How to disable:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Network & Internet and then the WiFi tab.
  2. Scroll down to Releated settings and click on Change adapter options.

3. In the new windows that pops up, right-click on your WiFi adapter and choose properties on the bottom of the menu.

4. Click the Sharing tab in the new windows that pops up.

5. Disable Allow other network users to connect trough this computers Internet connection and hit ok.

Disable Update Sharing

How to disable:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Update & Security and then Delivery Optimization.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.

Change Diagnostic & Feedback options

How to change:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Diagnostic & Feedback.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.

Manage Background Apps

How to change:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Background Apps.
  2. Disable the following Windows 10 apps:
    3D Viever, Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Camera, Films & TV, Mail & Calendar, Maps, Messaging, Microsoft News, Micsrosoft Photos, Microsoft Solitare Collection, Microsoft Store, OneNote, Paint 3D, People, Snip & Sketch, Sticky Notes, Voice Recorder, Xbox Console Companion, Xbox Game Bar, Your Phone.

Disable Account Info

How to disable:

  1. Go to Settings and click on Privacy and then Account info.
  2. Disable all settings as shown in the picture.

Disable Telemetry (Advanced)

For Windows 10 Home edition — Registry Editor method:

  1. Press WIN + R keys to launch the RUN dialog box, type regedit in the dialog box, and press enter. The Registry Editor will now open.
  2. On the left pane, find the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\
  3. Right-click on the Windows folder and select New and then Key and name it DataCollection
  4. In the right-side pane, right-click and create a new DWORD (32-bit) and name it AllowTelemetry
  5. Double-click on AllowTelemetry and set Value Data to 0
  6. Close Registry Editor and restart your computer before the changes take effect.

For Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, IoT and Service editions — Group Policy Editor:

  1. Press WIN + R keys to launch the RUN dialog box, type gpedit.msc in the dialog box, and press enter. The Registry Editor will now open.
  2. Go to:
    Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Data Collection and Preview Builds
  3. In the right-side pane, double-click on Allow Telemetry and select Enabled option.
  4. Now select 0 — Security from the drop-down list under options.
  5. Close Group Policy Editor and restart your computer before the changes take effect.

Congratulations!

This makes Satya Nadella sad.

Original article can be found on Bitidentify’s Blog: https://www.bitidentify.com/blog/how-to-stop-windows-10-from-spying-on-you/

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