Managing Your Privacy in Windows 10

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: February 25, 2016

win10privSince we told you in our prior post about the continued surge in Windows 10 upgrades, let’s continue the theme today (we’ll call it Windows Week) by sharing a few tips culled from another ComputerWorld post about protecting your privacy – a topic of increasing interest to most folks these days.  Following are a few of the tips noted by Preston Galla, author of dozens of Windows books, in his article.

  1. Turn off ad tracking. Windows 10 uses an “advertising ID” that gathers info about you when you browse the web, but also when you use Windows 10 apps.  You can change your privacy options by clicking on the Start button then going to Privacy > General.  There you’ll see the advertising ID slider which you can move to Off.  You’ll still get ads, but they will be generic, not targeted, and your interests will no longer be tracked.
  1. Turn off location tracking. Wherever you go, Galla notes, Windows knows you’re there.  If you don’t like this (and some folks do), launch the Settings app and go to Privacy > Location.  Click to change the setting and move the slider to Off.
  1. Turn off Cortana – if you really want to. Cortana is a handy digital assistant, but to do its job well, it needs to know things about you.  It starts off by default (you’re given a choice at installation), and you may want to leave it that way.  If you turn it off, Cortana will stop gathering information about you, though it will continue to know what it previously stored in the cloud.  But that’s okay, there’s an option to “Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud” by logging into your Microsoft account.
  1. Making Sense of Wi-Fi Sense. Here, Galla notes, “One of Windows 10’s most misunderstood features is Wi-Fi Sense. It’s designed to let people easily share Wi-Fi connections, but some people believe it will allow friends of friends to log onto your network, and possibly do nefarious deeds.”  What it actually does is simply let you share your network bandwidth with specific people.  It can also automatically connect you to friends’ shared Wi-Fi networks.  Still, you can turn it off by launching the Settings app and clicking Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Wi-Fi Settings.

What else? While at Settings > Privacy, you’ll see an area on the left that shows various areas where you can drill down in even more detail.  At “Account Info” for instance you can stop apps from accessing your name, picture and other account information.  Or in “Call History” you can stop apps from accessing your call history from Skype.
All these tips combined take only a few minutes to implement.  So if you’re worried about your privacy, start here.  Spend some time in your Settings app reviewing the many options there.
Perhaps at least you’ll get a small sense of control in the big digital world.

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