Join this column to the end of last week’s column, and it will make sense, as the quest continues for privacy using Windows 10.
As it goes with the Camera, the same goes for the Microphone, as well. I turn off everything except for Skype, and you may not even need that. I mean, seriously, why does the Microsoft Store need access to my microphone? It doesn’t! Notifications, Spech, Ink & Typing, Account Info, Contacts, Calendar, Call History, Email, Tasks, Messaging, Radios and Other Devices all get the “No” treatment.
Under Feedback and Diagnostics, select Basic (which checks to see if you need Windows Updates), Off and Never for the three adjustable settings. Background Apps is a shocker for most folks when they see the long list of stupid apps that Microsoft thinks should run in the background. None of those things need to run in the background; all that would do is slow down your computer and compromise your privacy. Ugh. App diagnostics can be set to Off, as well.
The various programs that are part of Microsoft Office, like Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, etc., have privacy options that should be changed, too. View these settings in each Office product by going to File/Options/Trust Center/Trust Center Settings/Privacy Options.
To turn off ridiculous ads, you’ll need to look at two different places. Go to PC Settings/Personalization/Lock Screen. In the Background section, click the down arrow and selct either Picture or Slideshow, instead of Windows Spotlight. You’ll see that suddenly, you have an added option. Choose a picture, and then turn “Get fun facts, tips and more…” Off.
Next, you need to disable what are called File Explorer ads. Open File Explorer (from the Desktop, it’s the yellow folder in the bottom taskbar). Click View/Options (on the far right)/Change Folder and Search Options. Click the View tab again, scroll through the Advanced settings until you can un-check “Show sync provider notifications.” Click Apply and OK. Now, visit PC Settings/System/Notifications & actions (on the right). Turn them all Off.
Finally, if you really want to be thorough in the quest for Windows 10 privacy, there are some Windows Services that need to be disabled. Windows Services are background programs that basically make the whole ball of wax function. But, as with many things in Windows, some of them you need, and some you do not. To disable the privacy problems in Windows Services, you will be going to Control Panel, found by clicking (or sometimes, right-clicking) the Start button. Some versions of Windows 10 have hidden Control Panel in the Windows System folder, found in the All Programs list.
Once you have located Control Panel, go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Services. Double-click the following Services, select Disabled, click Apply and OK. The services you want to disable are: Connected Devices Platform Service; Connected User Experiences and Telemetry; Device Association Service (no, this will not hurt your Wifi); Geolocation Service; Windows Biometric Service; and, Windows Push Notifications.
I hope this helps! I take care of these things all the time for people, and now I’m showing you how you can do it yourself. I know it seems like a lot of work, but, like I tell folks, it’s not as much work as rebuilding your credit history. Someday, I may do a list like this for Apple Mac devices, as they have their own set of privacy problems.