Windows 10 is quickly becoming one of the most ubiquitous operating systems in computing history with 67 Million users and counting already. The OS has some privacy and user tracking functions that some security experts are concerned about and Wired Magazine recently did a feature article on the important settings changes all Windows 10 users ought to consider making immediately.
Hit Start, find Settings and then click Privacy. From the Privacy menu you can control the way your computer uses information from your location, microphone, camera, etc. You can also choose to set the Feedback & Diagnostics system to “never” and the Diagnostic and Usage Data to “basic.” Doing this will helps prevent Microsoft from gathering some information about you, though it is not yet entirely clear exactly which information is saved or discarded.
The Edge web browser included in Windows 10 sends your entire Internet browsing history to Microsoft. This is done to “help Cortana personalize your experience” according to Microsoft. To disable this feature: click on the ellipsis button in the top right corner of Edge, then go to Settings > Advanced Settings > View Advanced Settings, and in the Privacy and Services section turn off Have Cortana Assist Me in Microsoft Edge.
Another potential privacy trap is that Windows 10 prompts you by default to create a Microsoft Account. By opting not to create an account you can keep your activity and information local on your computer. Having an account creates a constant link for Microsoft to use while piecing your metadata together as it gathers it all back to assemble an image of your digital identity.
As operating systems and other software become increasingly complex and intrusive, many users are willing to give up a great deal of privacy for the many conveniences that these new services enable. Whether you choose to be open or closed to those services is all up to you, but Microsoft and others should definitely do a much better job of ensuring that the choices you make are fully informed decisions rather than breeze-through accidental or unknowing checkbox clicks that many consumers hardly notice along the way during installations or upgrades.