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How to Control your Privacy in Windows 10

It’s been three weeks since users gained access to Windows 10, however there has already been a steady increase in the number of complaints about privacy in Windows 10. The new platform has been designed to give the user a more secure and robust experience but this comes with some concerns.

Privacy in Windows 10

With this in mind, we’ve noted down seven simple actions that can be used to combat some of the many privacy concerns users have complained about:

  1. Think Twice About Cortana- Cortana operates using machine-learning techniques that pick up on how you work and adapts to your needs. In order to do this, privacy in Windows 10 must be relaxed enabling Cortana to view your private information including your emails, contacts and other data. This information feeds back to Microsoft to help them adapt and develop Cortana as time goes by.
  1. Adjust the Diagnostics and Feedback Reporting Engine- When Windows 10 crashes, it sends automatic crash reports to vendors detailing the issue along with a memory dump that could potentially detail some of your data. By altering the reporting tools to the ‘basic’ setting, it will minimalise the amount of data that gets sent and controls some of your privacy in Windows 10. Unfortunately this feature can’t be fully disabled.
  1. Custom Install During Setup- Windows 10 comes with a useful ‘express install’ setting that creates a swift download, however it also downloads many ‘auto-features’ which could cause you issues relating to your privacy in Windows 10. By selecting the ‘custom install’ option you have more control over what gets installed. The express install will configure Windows 10 to share speech, typing, contacts and calendar, as well as location data and advertising ID to Microsoft and its partners.
  1. Install a Local Account- One of the main features of Windows 10 is that it’s a Cloud-orientated operating system where users can auto sign in with their Microsoft accounts and sync some private data with the Microsoft Cloud. By creating a local account, users can bypass this process by unplugging the internet cable or turning off the Wi-Fi and click the ‘Next’ button when prompted.
  1. Antivirus- As soon as your Windows 10 account is set up, you should consider installing a reliable and suitable antivirus solution. Windows 10 requires a compatible antivirus and will automatically disable an outdated solution after the update process is complete.
  1. Protect your Account Data- A major concerns with the Windows 10 privacy settings is that it allows some of your account information to be shared with third-part applications. This can include your name, picture and other general information. To turn this setting off click Start -> Settings -> Privacy -> Account Info.
  1. Modify the Peer-to-Peer Update System- Once a Windows 10 update is complete, Microsoft have allowed computers to be able to ‘seed’ to other computers inside and outside the home network. This may help Microsoft lower the strain to their servers, but could cost the user if they use a 3G / 4G modem or a fixed bandwidth subscription. This can be amended to ensure updates are only available to the chosen network.

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