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Most tech companies, such as Microsoft, collect certain information about their users so they can provide better, more personalized experiences. However, these companies also often use the data they gather for advertising purposes. The good thing is that as a Microsoft user, you have a fair amount of control over your own privacy. In fact, you can disable Windows 10’s intrusive privacy settings — here’s how.

Turn personalized advertising off

Windows 10 assigns each user an “advertising ID” that is used for ad personalization based on your recent browsing history. If you’d rather see generic ads targeted to you based on demographics rather than your ID, we recommend turning this feature off. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the search box at the bottom left of your screen. If your search bar is hidden, right-click the taskbar and select Search > Show search box.
  2. Next, type in “Privacy,” then click on Privacy Settings and select General.
  3. Turn off the option that states “Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app activity.”
  4. Lastly, open your web browser and go to this link. Once there, turn off the “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” and “Personalized ads in this browser” options.

Following these steps resets your ad ID, letting you surf the web without targeted advertisements.

Disable Cortana

Voice-controlled digital assistants have become big business. Microsoft aims to capitalize on this market with Cortana, an incredibly resourceful built-in assistant that allows you to quickly set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among many other intuitive features. However, the way it uses the information it collects can become overbearing at times. Here’s how to disable Cortana:

  1. Type “Task Manager” in the search box, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. In Task Manager, click the Startup tab and find Cortana in the list of programs.
  3. Right-click the row and click Disable.
  4. Open the Start menu, then find Cortana under All Apps.
  5. Right-click on Cortana, select More, and click on App settings.
  6. Toggle the switch under “Runs at log-in.”

Once disabled, the Cortana option disappears and you’re now left with just a search bar, which you can use to search for things online or on your desktop.

Stop peer-to-peer file sharing

With peer-to-peer or P2P file sharing enabled, Windows 10 shares downloaded updates to your PC with other Windows 10 users in the same network by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. However, if you are unhappy with your files being used by other users, you can turn P2P sharing off.

  1. Click the Windows icon and head over to Settings.
  2. Click on Update and Security then choose Delivery Optimization from the sidebar.
  3. Under “Allow downloads from other PCs,” switch the toggle to “Off.”

If you want to share your files with PCs on your in-house network only, leave this option on and select the option that says “PCs on my local network.” For more detailed instructions on how to stop P2P updates, click here.

Blunt Microsoft’s Edge

Microsoft Edge is chock-full of features — such as Cortana Integration and typing prediction — that send data back to Microsoft. To turn off these intrusive functionalities, open Edge and click on the three dots in the far right corner.

Then, click on Settings > Cookies and site permissions. There you have the option to disable a bunch of settings, such as those related to ads, automatic downloads, and location sharing.

These simple security tips will stop Microsoft from tracking your online activities for good. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for all matters security-related.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Windows 10 helps users by giving useful suggestions as they type and by displaying ads based on their online searches. But these can feel invasive after a while. To ensure your privacy and keep Microsoft’s watchful eye off your computer activity, follow these tips.

Turn off personalized advertising

Windows 10 assigns each user an advertising ID to personalize their ad experience based on their recent browser history. You can turn off the advertising ID feature by doing the following:

  1. Click Start Settings > Privacy > General.
  2. Toggle off the option “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.” This will reset your advertising ID.
  3. If you don’t want to receive locally relevant content from websites, toggle off the option “Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.”

Disable Cortana

Microsoft has ventured into the market of voice-controlled virtual assistants with Cortana. This personal assistant allows users to set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among other tasks. Every time you use Cortana, it collects information about your computer activity — “learning” it, so to speak — to improve user experience. But if you find this feature intrusive, you can disable Cortana completely with these steps:

  1. Search for the Windows Registry editor in the Windows search bar, or press Windows + R, type “regedit,” and click OK.
  2. Copy and paste HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows into the address bar at the top.
  3. Look for the Windows Search folder. If it doesn’t exist, create it by right-clicking the right-hand pane, then choose New > Key. Rename the folder “Windows Search”.
  4. Select the Windows Search folder, then right-click the right-hand pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it “Allow Cortana,” and make sure the Value Data is set to zero.
  6. Restart your computer.

Stop peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing

Windows 10’s P2P file sharing feature enables your PC to share downloaded updates with other Windows 10 users by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. To turn it off, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered.
  2. Note that the default setting is “Updates from more than one place.” If you want to disable this feature entirely, toggle off this option. If you want to share your files with PCs on your home network, leave this feature on and select PCs on my local network.

Change Microsoft’s Edge settings

Microsoft’s relaunched browser is chock-full of features, such as web experience personalization and typing prediction. Such features may make you uncomfortable since they all send back data to Microsoft. Here’s how to turn them off:

  1. Open Edge and click on the menu icon (three dots) in the upper right corner.
  2. Next, click on Settings > Privacy and services. Scroll down and switch on the “Send ‘Do Not Track’ requests” option.

There’s also a bunch of privacy and services settings that you may want to disable, such as tracking services, navigation error resolution, block potentially unwanted apps, and more.

For more tips on keeping Microsoft from tracking your online activity and more information about how to safeguard your security and privacy, drop us a line today.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE