DoNotSpy10 helps you protect your privacy on Windows 10

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This category controls whether Windows, apps, browsers and more can track your location. On a desktop PC, this is obviously rarely useful, but on laptops this could be nice when using apps that recommend restaurants or other useful Points of Interest near you. This applies ONLY to new Windows Store apps and not traditional apps like Skype for Desktop or Google Chrome, so if you want to make sure that no app can use your webcam , turn it off using Device Manager or use a webcam protection software. Just like the webcam setting above, you can decide which Windows Store apps can use the microphone.

You can turn it off or on for all apps, but you can also decide on an app by app basis. Turning this off essentially turns off notifications from some apps that need access to the notification features. If this screen does not show any apps, then none are using the notifications. Cortana, keyboard suggestions and pen input for touchscreens are all dependent on cloud-based learning. Each of these categories controls which apps have access to your calendar, contacts, emails and tasks.

A bit confusingly labelled, this controls which apps or even Windows itself, can use Bluetooth to transmit data. These settings have the most impact on your privacy. It includes very detailed information about how you use Windows, applications, Cortana, the file system and more. Specifies which apps are allowed to run in the background. If, however, you can live without all these benefits and want to be as offline as possible, you can use the Sign in with a local account instead option and be done with it.

Windows 10 promotes paid Wi-Fi hotspots that Microsoft has probably partnered with. You can switch this off by:.

But why bother when you can use more full-featured alternatives like Spotify , MediaMonkey and MusicBee? Going back to the main menu, you can also turn off cloud syncing for your bookmarks, top sites and browser settings with a switch under Account:. However, check back again as these settings change every year or so with every major new Windows 10 release…. Everything you should know about malware, how it works, what it does and how to remove it. Find the best anti-malware and malware removal tools here!

Worried your phone is getting too hot? Click any image in this story to enlarge it. Sign into your Microsoft account at the top of the page.

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Wherever you go, Windows 10 knows you're there. Some people don't mind this, because it helps the operating system give you relevant information, such as your local weather, what restaurants are nearby and so on. But if you don't want Windows 10 to track your location, you can tell it to stop. Doing that turns off all location tracking for every user on the PC. If you click the Change button, you can turn off location tracking for every user on the Windows 10 device. This doesn't have to be all or nothing affair — you can turn off location tracking on an app-by-app basis. If you want your location to be used only for some apps and not others, make sure location tracking is turned on, then scroll down to the "Choose apps that can use your precise location" section.

You'll see a list of every app that can use your location.

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Move the slider to On for the apps you want to allow to use your location — for example, Weather or News — and to Off for the apps you don't. When you turn off location tracking, Windows 10 will still keep a record of your past location history. To clear your location history, scroll to "Location History" and click Clear.

Even if you use location tracking, you might want to clear your history regularly; there's no automated way to have it cleared.

How to Stop Windows 10 Spying On You

In order to do that, Windows needs to gather information about all your activities on each of your machines. At that point, Windows 10 no longer gathers information about your activities. However, it still keeps information about your old activities and shows them in your Timeline on all your PCs.

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  • See the section later in this article on how to use the privacy dashboard to do that. Cortana is a very useful digital assistant, but there's a tradeoff in using it: To do its job well, it needs to know things about you such as your home location, place of work and the times and route you take to commute there.

    Start by opening Cortana settings: place your cursor in the Windows search box and click the Cortana settings icon it looks like a gear that appears in the left pane. Click the content you want Cortana to stop tracking, then follow the instructions for deleting it. However, that doesn't mean you can't turn Cortana off — it just takes more work. If you use any version of Windows 10 other than the Home version, you can use the Group Policy Editor to turn it off. Launch the Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.

    If you have the Home version, you'll have to muck around in the Registry.

    How to protect your privacy in Windows 10

    Before doing that, though, create a Restore Point , so that you can recover if anything goes wrong. Once you've done that:. It will be given a name such as New Key 1. Right-click it, select Rename, and then type Windows Search into the box. Type AllowCortana in the Name field. Click OK. You'll have to sign out of your Windows account and sign back in again or restart Windows to make the setting take effect.

    So, for example, when you make changes to your settings on a desktop PC, those changes will also be made on your laptop the next time you log in. And maybe you want to cut your ties as much as possible to anything Microsoft stores about you. Follow its instructions to create and use a local account. You can, however, download and install free apps from the Windows Store.

    Windows apps have the potential to invade your privacy — they can have access to your camera, microphone, location, pictures and videos. Click the app whose permissions you want to control, then click Advanced options and set the app's permissions by toggling them either on or off. And of those that do, not all let you customize your app permissions. Click any of the listed items — for example, Microphone. At the top of the page that appears, you can turn off access to the microphone for all apps. Any app with access has a slider that is On. To stop any app from having access, move the slider to Off.

    As you use Windows 10, data is gathered about your hardware and what you do when you use Windows.

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    Microsoft says that it collects this data as a way to continually improve Windows and to offer you customized advice on how to best use Windows. That makes plenty of people uncomfortable. In the Diagnostic data section, you can choose between two levels of diagnostic data to be gathered. Here are your two choices:.