How To In Windows 10: Change privacy settings

I’m a big spy movie fan. But that doesn’t mean I want to be spied on. Especially not by my operating system.

There are ways to minimize the amount of information that flows back to Microsoft through Windows 10. Here, we’ll discuss four of them: application permissions, personalized advertising, Cortana and OneDrive.

Turning off permissions may affect how some apps work.  Turn off the location permission in Maps, and it won’t be able to find you … makes sense! Click on the Start Menu, then Settings. Select Privacy.  Now click on Feedback and Diagnostics. Change the “Feedback Frequency” to “never” and “Diagnostic and Usage Data” to “basic.” Now you can manually choose the information you want made available like location, camera and microphone, speech, inking, typing and calendar.  

Now to adjust the personalized advertising section.  ome may find this feature a little intrusive – the system learns your habits and tailors third party ads to match your preferences. To disable it,  go to Settings, then Privacy and click on General. For the option that says “Let apps use my advertising ID for experience across apps (turning this off will reset your ID)” slide the toggle button to “Off.”  Next step, open up your browser and go to  Select “Off”  for “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” and for “Personalized ads in this browser.”

If you use an ad blocker or an extension, you may have to turn it off because the “turn off in-browser ad personalization” feature selection may not appear.

Windows 10’s handy virtual assistant, Cortana, makes her Canadian debut later this year. Cortana gathers a ton of information about you in order for Microsoft to personalize your experience. This includes your browser history. If you haven’t asked for Cortana’s help, no problem!  She’s already off.  

If you want to disconnect, click on the Cortana circle icon, then click on the notebook icon on the left side menu. Next, click Settings.  See the top option that says “Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts, and more?”  Slide the toggle to off. Almost there, now go into Settings, then to Privacy, then Speech, inking and typing. Click the “Stop getting to know me” button to stop the function. This will delete any collected data on your PC and stop dictation.

If you don’t want to store your files on the Microsoft OneDrive.  Simply click on the upward facing arrow found in the system tray on the right-hand side. Right click on the OneDrive icon and select Settings. A new window will open.  Uncheck “Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows”.

Many like the personalized experience that Windows 10 can provide.  Some find it intrusive and want to protect their personal data from the prying eyes of Microsoft.  With a few adjustments, it’s nice to know you may have either with this new system.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jody Blinoff
Jody Blinoff
A video production intern at, Jody is completing her diploma in broadcast journalism at Seneca College and loves reporting through digital media. With her eyes on tech, other interests include health care and all things Canada. She loves running, camping, crosswords and puzzles.

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