Last night, I decided to activate and use Microsoft’s answer to Apple Siri i.e., Cortana. This Application doesn’t support my region yet but activating it is not a rocket science. To get Cortana working on your machine, change your region to the United States. Now right-click on the Windows logo, navigate to settings and click on the Cortana’s toggle button. When you do this, Cortana will be enabled, and it will prompt you to enter a nickname.
During the setup process, you will have to accept some confusing terms and conditions. The user will also have to grant several permissions to Cortana. I was surprised to find that this app collected user’s information, search history, location and sent it to Microsoft Corporation. Before it starts collecting your data, Cortana will display a message claiming that information of the user is gathered to improve features and UX.
While activating Cortana, I came across one of the most important modules of Windows 10 – the privacy control center. I was amazed to see how well the Windows privacy management feature has been implemented. If you’re an Android user, you’ll get a feeling that the privacy settings in the latest Microsoft OS have been inspired from Permission module of Android.
Here’s what you can do to keep your vital information private on the Internet wth Windows 10 operating system.
Disable location access for useless apps
Applications like MSN weather and Windows map must access your site else they won’t work. The weather app will detect your position, and it will display climate details of your area. If you’re traveling with the laptop, the map software can be useful for you. You can get details of the city, state you’re moving to. You can also find information on nearby hospitals, fuel stations with the same. Open Privacy settings in Windows 10 and disable the location access for the apps that shouldn’t be detecting your geographic details.
Manage Camera and Microphone permissions
Windows 10 comes installed with some third-party applications which may use camera or mic of your device when needed. For example, the preinstalled Twitter app for Windows has been granted these two permissions my laptop. I’ve disabled the same because I don’t create short videos on Twitter. Some applications include voice search feature; you may have to activate the mic permission for them.
Modify Feedback and diagnostics privacy settings
Windows 10 will send the details of your machine to its development team when your PC is connected to the internet. It is tough to disable data logging, but you can limit what data is being sent. To do this, just choose the basic option from Feedback and diagnostic settings in the OS. To disable this feature completely, follow these tips shared by the Reddit user C-RON.
Disable Syncing with device permissions
Windows 10, by default, will sync and share your information with all wireless technology enabled devices that are in the same area/place as your machine. It can also detect handsets, projectors, gaming console and smart televisions were connected with your Win 10 computer. Some applications will try to sync your information with these devices unless you disable the permissions for the same.
Control Account Information Access
When you Install Windows 10 OS, you will be prompted to select a profile picture, username, password, etc. Some apps will try to read these details (the operating system will not share password). You can disable this through Information Access section of Windows 10 Privacy settings.
Change Contacts permission:
Your friends, co-workers, may become a victim of internet fraud if a hacker manages to get their email address or any other vital contact details from your PC. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, turn off contact sharing permission for all the untrusted apps from third-party developers.
You can trust top Internet companies because they’ll never spam you. For example, Microsoft will send emails to the users only when they subscribe to the official Newsletter. The top email service providers are now allowing users to block spam email within a few seconds.
Firewall is one of the most important security features of Windows. If you’re not using premium security applications, you should make sure that the firewall is active because it will block malware, viruses and many other threats when your machine is connected to the internet.
Use powerful Internet security applications
If you’re using a computer to make online transactions, transfer money, pay bills, etc, I would suggest you to install a good security suite software. If you can’t afford to buy one, activate Windows Defender/Win 10 updates and stay away from dangerous websites. You can also download and install the best free antivirus software. I’ve shared reviews on some of the top security applications for Windows. You can go through them by following the below links:
- Bitdefender total security 2015 review and full features
- Avast Antivirus 2015 review – fast and powerful
- Malwarebytes free version review – detects unknown threats
Conclusion: Microsoft Windows 10 is one of the finest operating systems I’ve ever used. Though it is good, I’m not very impressed with data logging feature of the OS, and I don’t like Cortana’s module to collect user search activity. You can disable these two functions by following the tips I’ve shared in the above paragraphs.
Microsoft Windows 10 privacy management is better and much easier than what it used to be in the predecessors of this OS. Users are allowed to assign permissions for the apps. This is an excellent feature.
Microsoft is improving Windows 10 OS. They’re releasing updates to fix privacy related bugs and improve your security. This is what we all expect from the tech giant.