On Windows 10’s launch day, I spoke about WiFi Sense which shares your WiFi access with others by default. That’s a serious lack of privacy. But there are other options that are just as bad as WiFi Sense and unless you made the effort to turn them off while installing Windows 10 by not using the “Express Settings” option during the installation of Microsoft’s latest OS, then you’ve given up a fair amount of privacy right out of the gate. But fear not! You can get it back if you’re willing to put in about 10 minutes of work to do it. Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to the Settings app and click the Privacy button. Then you need to turn off everything but the SmartScreen Filter. This stops Microsoft from gathering info on how you use Windows 10 and offering you everything from tips to advertising. Plus it stops allowing Microsoft to use your usage of Windows 10 to improve the product. And if you’re wondering why I am telling you to leave the SmartScreen filter on, that is supposed to stop you from downloading malware or visiting websites known to be infecting PCs. But only if you’re using Internet Explorer, Edge, and apps from the Windows Store.
- Next you have to stop apps from divulging your location. Inside the Privacy app, click Location and turn everything off.
- At the bottom of the Privacy app, click Feedback. Then set the Feedback frequency to Never. What this does is stops Windows 10 from reporting back to 1 Microsoft Way every time an app crashes or anything else that might be considered to be negative happens to your computer.
- The next thing to consider is if you want to disable Cortana or curtail what (she?) it can do. I admit that not everyone will want to turn off or limit how much Cortana is capable of. But consider that everything that you do with Cortana gets sent to the cloud which means that Microsoft is potentially collecting info. Now that’s no worse than Apple’s Siri which works exactly the same way. But if the way that Siri works bothers you, then Cortana should as well. To tweak Cortana or turn (she?) it off, hit the Start button. Type Cortana and the Start screen will be replaced by a grey search window. Click the cog icon to reveal Cortana’s settings pane. You can turn Cortana off from here or scale back what (she?) it can do.
- The last thing is WiFi Sense. In my case, I simply turned it off as there is no logical reason why it should be on. I did that by going to the Start button and tying Wi-Fi and then clicking on Change Wi-Fi settings. In the settings app, click Manage Wi-Fi settings. You can then turn off WiFi Sense. But if you wish, you can tweak your settings to limit sharing to your Facebook, Outlook, or Skype contacts. But if I were you, just turn it off. You’ll thank me for that tip once hackers figure out how to leverage WiFi Sense for their own evil purposes.
Have you got any other Windows 10 tips? If so, please leave a comment and share what you know with all of us.