There has been so much hullabaloo about online privacy and NSA spying on our online presence in recent time. Undoubtedly we are indebted to Snowden for his ground breaking and NSA shaking revelations. In other way he has made all of us paranoid about our privacy and this new kid in the neighbour aka Windows 10 is earning quite a reputation for gathering the data and sending it back to mommy Mirosoft datacenter.

This is the guide for you to stop this naughty kid to gather your information (geolocation, contact details, online browsing history etc) and let it flow across the wire on the other side of the globe. Are you ready for getting this kid fixed. Lets get started.

If you don’t fancy new Windows 10 Cortana digital assistant and puts your privacy above all then you can also use an offline account while setting up Windows for the first time. 

You can use Local accounts over Microsoft Account
You can use Local accounts over Microsoft Account

Disable Sync

While setting up your new Windows 10 you must have specified your Microsoft account to proceed. Once its done your computer will start syncing data with Microsoft servers including browser history, favorites, mobile hotspot/Wi-FI networks names and passwords etc. Sounds scary? isn’t it? You have a way out.

Privacy Settings in Windows 10
Privacy Settings in Windows 10

Head into Privacy available under Settings and you will find 13 different pages to restore your privacy. There are different sections for controlling the usage of your inbuilt hardware by apps and sharing your advertisement ID, geo location, email and calendar etc. Review each setting carefully and turn it off which you find intrusive towards your privacy.

Disable Cortana (Protect Privacy)

I am pretty sure you must have heard the great thing Cortana does for you in Windows 10 like Siri for Apple. There are some nice tricks it can do for you by bargaining your private information. Cortana accesses your browsing history, contacts, calendars. It does not stop there it also watches your moves on your device and captures how you use your device like your favorite shopping websites, lock screen of your device, music which you listen to etc. It may not be concerning for you if you ain’t a privacy advocate but this definitely helps Microsoft in delivering the advertisements especially for you.

Disabling Cortana on Windows 10
Disabling Cortana on Windows 10

You can click on search option right next to your Start menu and click on the setting icon as you can see in the snapshot posted above. You will find the way to shut this spy down.

Turn Off Geo Location

Windows 10 is capable of using your geo location and if your device has inbuilt hardware then nothing like it. You can stop tracking of your geo location by heading into privacy settings and hit “Location”. You can turn off location tracking for your device which may affect your ability to use maps and other apps which rely on your location.

You can also selectively allow applications to use your location by choosing from the list of installed apps. That may look something like this.

Location Tracking in Windows 10
Location Tracking in Windows 10

There are other important settings which you can configure similarly. Remember that apps can use your camera, microphone and radios. Make the best use of this information and stay safe online and enjoy Windows 10.

I am an experienced technology enthusiast. I am a technical trainer in an MNC in Delhi NCR. What fascinates me are the machinations of technology’s biggest companies. Got a question? Contact me on Twitter , Google+, my professional Facebook page.