Protecting Your Privacy in Windows 10
Windows 10 is the latest operating system offering from Microsoft, and it has been getting a lot of press lately. From the fact that Microsoft is offering the upgrade for free to many users, to the problems some users have had when downloading and installing it, there has been plenty of information going around.
One thing that has gotten less press is the fact that some of the default privacy settings in Windows 10 are less than private. Privacy experts have been sounding the alarm and complaining to Microsoft, but these issues have flown under the radar of most ordinary users. If you have downloaded Windows 10 recently, or if you are thinking about doing so, here are some privacy tweaks you might want to make right away.
Check Your Sync Settings
Microsoft sells its Windows 10 sync settings as a great leap forward in terms of convenience, but not all users are seeing it that way. When you download and install Windows 10, Microsoft asks you to link your Microsoft account to the new operating system. When you do so, the software giant automatically backs up some critical information — like the browsing history on the new Edge browser, your favorites, and most critically, your passwords.
If you are comfortable with that arrangement, you do not need to do anything. In fact, some users may actually like the easy synchronization. If you have multiple devices, you will be able to log on to any machine running Windows 8 or 10 and have all your account information at your fingertips.
Some users, however, may not be willing to share so much information to gain a bit of convenience. If you are not comfortable with so much of your personal data in the Microsoft cloud, you can switch off sync by going to the Start button, clicking Settings and choosing Accounts. From there just find the Sync setting and switch off the settings you want to change.
Windows 10 Scans Your Software
This is another one that many new Windows 10 users have been complaining about. One of the selling points of Windows 10 is its compatibility with gaming services like Xbox Live and the physical Xbox console. But the license agreement for the new upgrade also gives Microsoft the right to scan your computer for unauthorized peripheral devices and pirated software.
Even more troubling, that license agreement also gives Microsoft the ability to shut down those unauthorized peripherals and disable software they believe to be pirated. To date Microsoft has not shut down any software or disabled any peripherals, but the fact that language allowing it to do so is in the license agreement troubles privacy advocates.
While no one wants to use pirated software or plug potentially harmful peripherals into their computers, many people think that this is going too far. If you want to avoid this scanning and opt out of the agreement, you can switch your Microsoft account to a user account and disable the Cortana personal assistant. This may cause you some personal inconvenience, but the extra privacy could be worth it.
Microsoft is touting Windows 10 as the latest innovation in operating system technology, and in many ways it is. Unfortunately, some of the privacy settings in the new operating system are less than stellar. If you want to enjoy the great things that Windows 10 has to offer, making a few privacy changes can help you do just that.
When it comes to computer privacy and protecting your online life, our experts can assist. For help, call our office at 805-964-3235 and ask for Scott or Monte.