Windows 10 is the main operating system around the globe. It can be hard to get a computer to do all you want that doesn’t use Windows.
As good as the OS is there are still plenty of things inside Windows 10 you can disable to help improve your privacy and prevent your computer from sending your personal data and computing habits back to Microsoft.
Much of this, they do openly and state that they will preserve personal data unless there is reason to refer the matter to law enforcement etc.
While you can disable most of these items during installation, most users already have their OS installed. Here, you can learn what to turn off in Windows 10 to increase privacy and possibly make your Windows faster.
How Do I Turn Off Windows 10 Features?
You will find a few features installed you don’t need on your installation. Here are the instructions to turn these on or off; and how you find them.
- Click on your start menu icon
- Start typing ‘Control Panel’ and open
- Click on Programs and Features
- On the left, select ‘Turn Windows Features on or Off’
- Uncheck any boxes of features you don’t use
Here are things safe to disable in your Windows settings unless you know you need them:
- Internet Explorer 11 – superseded by Edge (Add an Ad-blocker for more privacy)
- Legacy Components (Direct Play) – Only used on old games from years ago
- Media Features – Windows Media Player – Good, but doesn’t support all formats. You might want to use VLC instead.
- Microsoft Print to PDF – Feature is in Microsoft Office
- Remote Differential Compression API Support – Used for server support
- Windows PowerShell 2.0 – Superseded by PowerShell 5
- Windows Process Activation Service – Regular users can turn this off
- XPS Services and XPS Viewer – designed to replace PDF, turn off if you don’t use them
What Should I Turn Off in Windows 10?
Here are the things you should disable in Windows 10 settings to get back some of your Windows privacy.
All major companies come out with voice assistance. Cortana is Microsoft’s voice control. Unfortunately, she can store and access personal information in the latest Windows update. Microsoft took away the ability to disable Cortana in the Win 10 settings and to do so; you need to edit your registry.
However, you can limit what she can do in your settings on Windows 10.
- Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc (Can also right-click on start menu, and select Task Manager)
- Click on Start-up Tab
- Select Cortana and in the bottom right-hand corner, select the Disable button
2. Turn Off Ad-Tracking
- Click the Start button
- Click “Settings” icon. (little gear)
- Click “Privacy” in the Settings menu.
- Click the “General” option.
- Disable “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.”
Also, turn off
- “Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting…”
- “Let websites provide locally-relevant content by accessing my language list.”
- “Let Windows track app launches to improve Start and search results.”
- “Show me suggested content in the Settings app.”
3. Disable Location Tracking
It is used to pinpoint your exact location on mobile devices.
- In your settings app, click on Privacy
- Select ‘Location’ in the menu under app permissions
- Click ‘Change’, and you have the option for on or off.
If you leave it on, you can scroll and set permissions for each app
4. Disable Access to Camera
Hackers can access the camera without your knowledge
- Head to your Privacy app in Settings again click ‘Camera from the menu
- You can turn it off, or you can set permissions for which apps can access the camera
- Some individuals take to sticking tape over the lens to make sure
5. Disable Your Microphone
Head to the Privacy app in Settings again
Disable altogether, or scroll down and select any apps you use that access your mic
6. Disable Speech, Inking, and Typing
Here, you may find some devices use this more than others do. Be it an app from the Microsoft app store, or a Surface device. Your typing history can be used to make better suggestions, as can your handwriting.
In the Privacy app, select Inking & Typing personalization and disable.
7. Control Diagnostics & Feedback
It is evident what this section does, and it is where info is sent back to Microsoft.
Like some other things, they take away the ability to disable it altogether. You can though click on the ‘Basic’ button to reduce the impact.
Underneath, you can see the ‘Let Microsoft provide more tailored experiences…,’ you can toggle this to off.
Scroll to the bottom, and you have options for Feedback Frequency. Select off if you never wish to send any feedback.
How Do I Disable Unwanted Services in Windows 10?
For the last item (Number 8.), you need advanced options, so you need to go into your services manager. It is here, there are many settings Windows 10 uses, and needs, although a couple you can change default settings.
- Search for and open the ‘Services manager’ app
- Look for the following ‘Windows Error Reporting Service’
- Right-click and select ‘Properties’
- Change Startup to ‘Manual or Disabled’
- ‘Connected User Experiences and Telemetry’
- ‘Diagnostic Tracking Service’
You can set all these to ‘Manual or Disabled’
If you can’t see any entries for any, don’t worry, as they may not be installed.
Boosting Windows 10 Privacy
Some of the settings you change may have a direct impact on performance and give your Windows 10 faster startup. This is welcome, yet it is just the side effects of disabling a few things that use memory and processes in the background.
Besides, once you go through the above, and disable in Windows what you can. You will stop any apps installed on your operating system, accessing your Microsoft account, calendar, contacts and much more.
To boost your privacy, you can use a VPN. While you can do this in Windows 10, it is better to use a premium third-party VPN provider.
You won’t find anything better to secure your internet privacy, and the best VPNs for Windows 10 come packed with lots of other benefits such as bypassing geo-restrictions and spoofing your location.
When you setup Windows 10 VPNs, you can do this in minutes before you receive full protection. Besides, the top VPNs run on more than one operating system, so you have lots of device choice.