Since the release of the new version of the OS from Microsoft, a lot of information has appeared on the Internet about the surveillance of Windows 10 and that the OS spies on its users, inexplicably uses their personal data and not only. The concern is understandable: people think that Windows 10 collects their personalized personal data, which is not entirely true. As well as your favorite browsers, sites, and the previous version of Windows, Microsoft collects anonymous data to improve the OS, search, and other system functions ... Well, to show you ads.
If you are very concerned about the security of your confidential data and want to ensure their maximum security from Microsoft access, in this manual there are several ways to disable Windows 10 surveillance, a detailed description of the settings that allow you to protect this data as much as possible and prevent Windows 10 from spying on you. See also: Using Destroy Windows 10 Spying to disable sending personal data .
You can configure the transfer and storage of personal data in Windows 10 already in the installed system, as well as at the stage of its installation. Below we will consider first the settings in the installer, and then in the system already running on the computer. Additionally, it is possible to disable tracking using free programs, the most popular of which are presented at the end of the article. Attention: one of the side effects of disabling Windows 10 espionage is the appearance of the inscription in the settings. Some parameters are controlled by your organization .
Configure personal data security when installing Windows 10
One of the steps in installing Windows 10 is to configure some privacy and data usage settings.
Starting with version 1703 Creators Update, these parameters look like in the screenshot below. The following options are available for disconnecting: location, sending diagnostic data, selection of personalized ads, speech recognition, collecting diagnostic data. If desired, you can disable any of these settings.
During the installation of Windows 10 versions prior to Creators Update, after copying the files, first rebooting and entering or skipping the product key (as well as possibly connecting to the Internet), you will see the “Increase Speed” screen. If you click "Use standard settings", then the sending of many personal data will be enabled, if you click "Settings" in the bottom left, we can change some privacy settings.
Setting parameters takes two screens, on the first of which it is possible to disable personalization, sending keyboard and voice input data to Microsoft, as well as tracking location. If you need to completely disable the "spyware" functions of Windows 10, on this screen you can disable all items.
On the second screen, in order to exclude the sending of any personal data, I recommend disabling all functions (forecasting page loading, automatic connection to networks, sending error information to Microsoft), except for “SmartScreen”.
This is all related to privacy, which can be configured when installing Windows 10. Additionally, you can not connect a Microsoft account (as many of its settings are synchronized with their server), but use a local account.
Disabling Windows 10 surveillance after installation
In the settings of Windows 10, there is a whole section "Confidentiality" for setting the appropriate parameters and disabling some functions related to "surveillance". Press the Win + I keys on the keyboard (or click on the notification icon, and then - “All Settings”), and then select the desired item.
In the privacy settings there is a whole set of items, each of which we will consider in order.
On the General tab, I recommend that healthy paranoid patients turn off all options except the 2nd:
- Allow apps to use my ad recipient id - turn off.
- Enable SmartScreen Filter - enable (this item is not available in Creators Update).
- Send my writing information to Microsoft - turn it off (the item is not provided in Creators Update).
- Allow websites to provide local information by accessing my list of languages - turn off.
In the "Location" section, you can turn off location determination for your computer as a whole (it is also disabled for all applications), as well as for each application that can use such data separately (later in the same section).
Speech, handwriting, and text input
In this section, you can disable tracking of the characters you type, speech and handwriting. If in the section "Our Acquaintance" you see the button "Meet me", this means that these functions are already disabled.
If you see the “Stop Learning” button, then click it to disable the storage of this personal information.
Camera, microphone, account information, contacts, calendar, radio, messaging and other devices
All these sections allow you to switch to the "off" position the use of the appropriate equipment and data of your system by applications (the safest option). Also in them you can allow their use for individual applications and prohibit for others.
Reviews and diagnostics
We put “Never” in the item “Windows should ask for my feedback” and “Basic information” (the “Main” amount of data in the Creators Update version) in the item on sending data to Microsoft, if you do not want to share information with it.
Many Windows 10 applications continue to run even when you are not using them, and even if they are not in the Start menu. In the "Background applications" section, you can disable them, which will not only prevent the sending of any data, but also save battery power on your laptop or tablet. You can also see an article on how to remove embedded Windows 10 applications .
Additional options that may make sense to disable in the privacy settings (for Windows 10 Creators Update):
- Applications using your account information (in the Account Information section).
- Allow applications to access contacts.
- Allow apps to access your email.
- Allow applications to use diagnostic data (in the Application Diagnostics section).
- Allow applications to access devices.
An additional way to give Microsoft less information about yourself is to use a local account rather than a Microsoft account .
Advanced privacy and security settings
For added security, a few more steps should also be taken. Return to the “All Settings” window and go to the “Network and Internet” section and open the Wi-Fi section.
Disable the items “Search for paid plans for nearby recommended open access points” and “Connect to suggested open hot spots” and the Hotspot 2.0 Network.
Return to the settings window again, then go to “Update and Security”, then in the “Windows Update” section click on “Advanced Settings” and then click on “Choose how and when to receive updates” (link at the bottom of the page).
Disable receiving updates from several places. It will also disable receiving updates from your computer to other computers on the network.
And, as a last point: you can disable (or manually start) the Windows service “Diagnostic Tracking Service”, since it also sends data to Microsoft in the background, and disabling it should not affect the performance of the system.
Additionally, if you use the Microsoft Edge browser, look at the advanced settings and turn off the data prediction and storage functions there. See Microsoft Edge Browser on Windows 10 .
Programs to disable Windows 10 surveillance
Since the release of Windows 10, many free utilities have appeared to disable the spyware features of Windows 10, the most popular of which are presented below.
Important: I highly recommend creating a system restore point before using these programs.
DWS (Destroy Windows 10 Spying)
DWS is the most popular program for disabling Windows 10 surveillance. The utility is in Russian, constantly updated, and also offers additional options ( disabling Windows 10 updates , disabling Windows 10 Defender , uninstalling embedded applications).
There is a separate review article on this program on the site - Using Destroy Windows 10 Spying and where to download DWS
The free program for disabling Windows 10 O&O ShutUp10 tracking is probably one of the easiest for a novice user in Russian and offers a set of recommended settings for safely disabling all tracking functions in 10-ke.
One of the useful differences of this utility from others is the detailed explanations for each disabled option (called by clicking on the name of the included or disabled parameter).
You can download O&O ShutUp10 from the official website of the program https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10
Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10
In the initial version of this article, I wrote that there were many free programs to disable the spyware features of Windows 10 and did not recommend using them (little-known developers, quick exit of programs, and therefore their possible incompleteness). Now, one of the fairly well-known companies Ashampoo has released its AntiSpy utility for Windows 10, which, I think, can be trusted without fear of spoiling anything.
The program does not require installation, and immediately after launch you will get access to enable and disable all available user tracking functions in Windows 10. Unfortunately for our user, the program is in English. But in this case, you can easily use it: just select the Use recommended settings item in the Action section to immediately apply the recommended personal data security settings.
Download Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10 from the official website www.ashampoo.com .
WPD is another high-quality free utility for disabling surveillance and some other functions of Windows 10. Of the possible shortcomings is the presence of only the Russian interface language. Of the benefits - this is one of the few utilities that supports the version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB.
The main functions of disabling "espionage" are concentrated on the tab of the program with the image of the "eye". Here you can disable the policies, services and tasks in the task scheduler, one way or another connected with the transfer and collection of Microsoft personal data.
Two other tabs may also be interesting. The first is Firewall Rules, which allows you to configure the Windows 10 firewall rules in one click so that Windows 10 telemetry servers are blocked, access to the Internet of third-party programs, or disable updates.
The second is the convenient removal of embedded Windows 10 applications.
You can download WPD from the official website of the developer https://getwpd.com/
Possible problems caused by programs to disable Windows 10 surveillance (create recovery points so that you can easily roll back the changes if necessary):
- Disabling updates when using the default settings is not the safest and most useful practice.
- Adding multiple Microsoft domains to the hosts file and firewall rules (blocking access to these domains), subsequent possible problems with the work of some programs that need access to them (for example, problems with Skype).
- Potential problems with the operation of the Windows 10 store and some, sometimes necessary, services.
- In the absence of recovery points - the difficulty of manually returning the settings to their original state, especially for a novice user.
And finally, the author’s opinion: in my opinion, the paranoia about Windows 10 espionage is unnecessarily bloated, and much more often it is necessary to face the harm from turning off surveillance, especially for novice users using free programs for these purposes. Of the functions that really interfere with life, I can only note the “recommended applications” in the Start menu ( How to disable recommended applications in the Start menu ), and of the dangerous ones, automatic connection to open Wi-Fi networks.
Especially surprising to me is the fact that no one scolds their Android phone, browser (Google Chrome, Yandex), social network or messenger so much that they see, hear, know, transfer where it should and should not and actively use it it’s personal, not anonymized data.