You finally installed Windows 10 and are now one of the 70+ million people worldwide who have done the same. You’ve only been using Windows 10 for a day or two now but you’re starting to notice weird things your web browser and Microsoft applications are doing.
When you search Bing for something to do today, it already knows your location and your hobbies. Every single banner ad you see is geared directly towards something embarrassing you may have been searching Amazon for. And to top it all off – Cortana, the coolest new feature Windows 10 and Microsoft have to offer, knows your name, the name of your cat, and where you were yesterday.
How is this possible?
Maybe you think this is a little out there, but with the information you agreed to allow Microsoft to collect about you when you installed Windows 10 (check the TOS) it’s reality. Windows 10 collects pretty much every bit of information it can from your browsing and buying habits to any phone calls or video chats you use your computer for.
So many people choose not to read, and understand, the Terms of Service (TOS) because they are long, boring, and intentionally confusing. Companies know this and take advantage of it. To better protect your information with Windows 10, here are three security tips you need to know.
Turn Off Tracking
To help prevent Microsoft from gathering random information, especially about your location or location history, head over to your privacy settings.
Hit Start, and then click on Setting and Privacy from there. From the Privacy menu you can choose exactly how your computer uses the information it collects from you. One last thing you’ll want to do while still in the Privacy settings is to click Feedback & Diagnostics and change the Feedback Frequency to “never” and the Diagnostic and Usage Data to “basic”.
Doing these things helps prevent Microsoft from collecting loads of random data on you.
Safeguard Your Internet History and Habits
If you happen to be using the new Microsoft Edge Internet browser, know that it sends your complete browsing history to Microsoft so it can “help Cortana personalize your experience.”
Turning this off is a cinch by clicking on the ellipsis button in the top right corner of Edge, then go to Setting > Advanced Settings > View Advanced Setting, and under Privacy and Services turn off “Have Cortana Assist Me in Microsoft Edge.”
Another thing you should turn off is the “use page prediction to speed up browsing, improve reading, and make my overall experience better” option.
Tread Carefully With Cortana
Admittedly, Cortana is a pretty cool feature of Windows 10. Unfortunately Cortana is very nosey and will snoop through anything on your computer and your browsing history. But hey, it’s all in an attempt to “get to know you better”.
The worst part about what Cortana does is how it saves all of this information about you, including audio and video files, phone calls, and literally everything. It’s all stored in the Cloud.
If this is something that seriously creeps you out you’re able to adjust your setting by logging into your Bing account. All you’ll need to do is clear the “interests” data that Cortana and Bing have ‘learned’ about you, and also clear the Cortana data that includes “Speech, Inking and Typing”.