This may be the reason why Windows 10 is free to upgrade – it’s tracking your every move

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Users are not going to like it, especially those who bought their copies. Windows 10 is secretly selling your personal data, probably not even letting you know barring some fine print hidden in their T&Cs. Previously, when we ran the Windows 10 update seeding story we thought it would be the end of that, well other than the articles about the WiFi Sense feature. We were wrong.

Microsoft has announced since early this year that Windows 10 would be free to upgrade, within one year of its launching for those running Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. One can draw a conclusion that their new strategy would be bombarding Windows 10 users with targeted ads.

Verging on intrusive to say the least, Microsoft’s Windows 10 has fairly distrustful monitoring that includes watching your locational movements, any info from messages, calendars and even going through your contact list. Anyone who wants to dig deep into the privacy and service agreement, feel free to do so but to simplify things, the OS will associate you to a unique advertising ID that is tied to your e-mail address. In turn, tailoring ads specific to your usage of your device.

Usage of Cortana will further intensify the harvesting of your personal information. Though, the likeliness of you ever noticing this breech of privacy will be low, as it’ll appear in Windows Store apps – a newly launched venture that hasn’t picked up much traction, yet. As sinister as all this is, there are a handful of settings you can tweak to limit the amount of personal data leaking out on the inter-webs.

How to opt out?

Officially, it’ll take a lot of tweaking and reading to fully understand what settings will exactly serve what purpose but if you’re absolutely sure about not wanting anything to get out, you can just set everything to “no”. The case is much easier for those who have yet to install Windows 10, just ensure you decline the “Express setting” and take your time to set the options yourself manually. Do ensure you refuse the OS or apps to access your location and turn off Cortana search. To those who went express and have Windows 10 already installed, just follow the easy how-to below.

Step 1

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Go to Settings > Privacy and individually go through the 13 tabs on the left. The “General” tab will have the most important settings to look at, while users should consider the calendar option, based on their intentions to use syncing of birthdays, scheduled appointments and so on.

Step 2

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Cortana isn’t readily available in Malaysia yet but those who listed United States as their current location will have the feature enabled. As mentioned earlier in the article, Cortana will be one of the huge culprits when it comes to capturing information about you, so users should think wisely whether they truly need this application.

Step 3
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The following step is the most important one that affects your browser(s). Funny thing though, it’s located on an external (Windows) website under settings. It won’t be hard to miss but no one would expect Windows to add a hidden toggle switch in a place away from your computer settings. Just set both options to “Off”. It is a must to create a Microsoft account/use an existing one when setting up Windows 10, and the fact that you’re constantly signed on when using the OS.

Step 4
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The last step is quite extreme and it is only for those who are paranoid of anything going up to the cloud. You can opt to remove your Microsoft account entirely from Windows 10 and instead, use a local account. This action will limit features of the following:

-synchronisation of settings across all PCs using the same account
-authorisation from Windows Store and OneDrive

To do so go to Settings > Accounts > select local account.

For further reading on the subject head on over here

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