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All you need to know about privacy and settings in Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge

In lieu of Microsoft's updated notes on user privacy in Windows 10, we're republishing this help and how-to guide for new users!

Microsoft's Windows 10 OS adds and simplifies many things for the user including security and privacy settings. Indeed, Windows 10 is both more secure and yet shares more data than any previous operating system.

The interesting part about security and privacy in Windows 10 is that Microsoft is very transparent on what data they collect, store, use and how they use it. Additionally, the company gives users many ways to opt-out of such data collection. The downside in a user doing this is it disables many of the OS personalization that makes Windows 10 so significant.

Let's break it all down.

Microsoft's Privacy Statement

Before we get started make sure you take a moment to read Microsoft's very public and thorough Privacy Statement : http://www.microsoft.com/privacystatement (opens in new tab) as well as a more general statement on Trustworthy Computing (opens in new tab).

Microsoft is very clear on what they collect, why the collect it and what they do with it. It is up to you to decide what are the boundaries of acceptance and to know all the details. There are lots of interesting bits, though, and we will highlight a few by using the July 2015 terms for reference.

  • Children and Advertising - Microsoft does not deliver interest-based advertising to children whose birthdate in their Microsoft account identifies them as under 13 years of age.
  • Data Retention - For interest-based advertising, Microsoft retains data for no more than 13 months, unless they obtain your consent to retain the data longer.
  • Data collected includes your name, how to contact, demographics, payment info, usage, contacts and relationships, location, and some content
  • How Microsoft uses your personal data : providing services, service improvement, security, advertising

How to opt-out of interest-based advertising

To be clear, Microsoft is using this information for advertising, even for targeted marketing. In some ways, this is not a bad thing. If you have to see ads would you rather see something mildly interesting or something unrelated to your age or interests? I do not know. It is your preference.

Obviously no ads are the ideal but Microsoft is offering a lot of free services, and they are not immune to this popular business model. To wit:

"Many of our services are supported by advertising. We use the data we collect to help select the ads Microsoft delivers - whether on our own services or on services offered by third parties. The ads we select may be based on your current location, search query, or the content you are viewing. Other ads are targeted based on your likely interests or other information that we learn about you over time using demographic data, search queries, interests and favorites, usage data, and location data - which we refer to as "interest-based advertising" in this statement. Microsoft does not use what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail, or your documents, photos or other personal files to target ads to you."

That last point about not using your email is still a vital difference between Microsoft and other competitors in this area. Even if you opt-out of targeted advertising on Gmail you may still see "contextual ads based on the message you are reading as well as other relevant ads".

Luckily, you can easily opt-out of this Microsoft targeted marketing at http://choice.microsoft.com{.nofollow}. At that site, you can choose to turn off personalized ads for your browser and your Microsoft Account.

Mind you, no matter what you choose you still see ads. The option merely chooses between ones relevant to your interests or wild guesses. If you decide to opt-out, do not be shocked to see ads for senior services even if you are in 20's.

Ironically, choosing to turn off 'Personalized ads in this browser' does not work in Microsoft Edge, or rather, it does not stick. I have already brought this issue up with the Edge team, and a ticket has been created to fix it.

The important takeaway here is this: Microsoft is very open about what they are doing with your data. It is, however, a lot of data. Whether you are okay with that is a personal choice, which is why we will now walk you through ways of controlling your privacy and data.

Microsoft Edge privacy

Microsoft Edge

Besides opting out of targeted ads through your Microsoft account, you can also adjust some settings in the Edge browser.

  1. Open Edge Browser
  2. Tap the ellipsis button at the top right corner (the '…' button)
  3. Choose Settings
  4. View advanced settings

Here you can find a few privacy options that you can toggle on or off. Specifically:

  • Offer to save passwords
  • Save form entries
  • Send Do Not Track requests
  • Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge
  • Show suggestions as I type
  • Cookies: Block all, only third parties, or don't block

Technically, all of those pose some privacy risk. However, only the Do Not Track (DND) requests and 'block only third-party cookies' are the ones you should turn on to reduce ad tracking. Blocking all cookies could cause login issues on some sites, so be careful if you choose that one.

The rest, including saving passwords and word prediction, do send information to Microsoft. However, the convenience of using those services is hard to give up. Regardless, the choice is yours so think it through.

Windows 10

Microsoft offers many options to control your privacy settings in Windows 10. In fact, Privacy has its own section under Settings making it very obvious where to find these things. The notion that Windows 10 and by extension Microsoft is being dishonest in any way has yet to be demonstrated. Nothing is buried, and nothing is hard to understand. Sure, you may not like some of the defaults but that is another discussion.

For now, we are going to go through the various privacy settings in Windows 10. Here is where you can find them:

  1. Open All Settings in Quick Actions or type Settings in the search bar
  2. Open up Privacy

All of this is rather basic. Going down further, we can see no less than 13 pages dedicated to this topic. This abundance of options is both a reflection of the amount of data Windows 10 collects and Microsoft's transparency in letting you turn things off. Here are those categories and what they do.

General

These are the main settings for your advertising ID for apps, SmartScreen Filter, how you write, and language settings. There is also a link to manage further your Microsoft Account settings that jump to the Microsoft Choice page mentioned earlier.

Users can safely turn off advertising ID for apps and language if they have a primary language. The typing one is a bit controversial as this helps with word prediction, which is crucial for mobile. However, if you are concerned, you can turn that one off as well.

SmartScreen Filter is probably best to leave on as it helps detect malicious websites.

Microsoft SmartScreen Filter FAQ (opens in new tab)

Location

The location info is critical for mobile devices as this how things like maps for GPS works. However, for your home PC it is not needed nearly as often. Under this area, you can turn off location for that device and even control whether location gets shared with other apps and services. Think of weather apps or restaurant finders.

Users can also clear their location history with a single button and choose which apps can use your location. There is much fine grain control here

Camera

Most computers these days have a webcam. Do you want the PC to access it? Toggle that switch here. Like location, you can also pick which apps specifically can access the camera.

Microphone

Like camera above users here can enable or disable the microphone system wide. Users can also control access through each app that requests permission.

Speech, inking, & typing

This area is controversial. On the one hand, Windows 10 and specifically Cortana collect info like "contacts, recent calendar events, speech and handwriting patterns and typing history".

At first blush, this sounds controversial. However, letting Cortana have access to your contacts and calendar is how the service enables you to send emails or reminds you of an appointment. Same thing with learning your voice patterns.

If you disable this function, you gain some privacy but lose out on Cortana. Choose wisely.

Account info

Have you noticed how some apps like MSN News show your Microsoft Account information and image? This section is where you can control that behavior. Most users want this universal login for apps, but not everyone trusts it. Switch it off if you do not want apps to access your name, picture, and "other account info".

Contacts

This one is self-explanatory. Control which apps can access your contacts. Things like Mail and Calendar, App connector, and Windows Shell Experience are the basics.

Calendar

Like microphone and camera, this setting lets you enable or disable apps having access to your calendar system wide or on an app by app basis. Once again, App connector and Mail and Calendar are the basics here.

Messaging

Windows 10 for PC currently has no way to send SMS or MMS messages through your phone. However, the feature is rumored to be coming later this year. Don't like the idea of Windows 10 accessing your SMS messages? Disable it in this area. For now, however, this does nothing as there are no apps that utilize this feature.

Radios

Some apps evidently can control your Bluetooth or other radios. This section includes a system wide switch to turn it off or on an app by app basis. Currently, we do not see any third party apps that can utilize this feature.

Other devices

This section is rather large. It lets you decide if you want your Windows 10 apps to "share and sync info with wireless devices that don't explicitly pair with your PC, tablet, or phone". Currently, this feature is not very active so you can likely turn it off for now.

Users can also control external cameras and USB access through other apps.

Feedback & diagnostics

Do you find those Microsoft pop-ups asking you for feedback on Windows 10 annoying? Here is where you turn them off. Additionally, if you happen to be chatty Kathy, you can set it to always, once a day, once a week, or automatic.

'Diagnostic and usage data' is another red flag for some privacy gurus. Microsoft is very clear that they collect data on how you use Windows 10. This collection is referred to as telemetry and is critical to the Windows team.

You can, however, control that data in this section by selecting Basic, Enhanced, or Full. Some of the information collected contains data on "how frequently or how long you use certain features or apps and which apps you use most often".

Unless, of course, you are in the Windows Insider program. If you are enrolled in that program, you are surrendering more data as you have volunteered to be a test subject for Microsoft to help shape their OS. Luckily, you can always opt-out of the Insider program under Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options > Stop Insider builds. Opting out results in no longer getting new features before the general public.

How Insiders can stop receiving new builds after Windows 10 launches

Microsoft is very explicit in what they are collecting, and you can read about it here:

Windows 10 Feedback, diagnostics, and privacy: FAQ (opens in new tab)

Long story short, for those on the Insider program or if you have chosen Full, this is what you may share with Microsoft:

"…system files or memory snapshots, which may unintentionally include parts of a document you were working on when a problem occurred. This information helps us further troubleshoot and fix problems. If an error report contains personal data, we won't use that information to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. This is the recommended option for the best Windows experience and the most effective troubleshooting."

As to who sees the information, Microsoft says this on their FAQ:

"Microsoft employees, contractors, vendors, and partners might be provided access to relevant portions of the information collected, but they're only permitted to use the information to repair or improve Microsoft products and services, or third-party software and hardware designed for use with Microsoft products and services."

Whether or not you are comfortable with any of this is a personal decision. Just know that Microsoft is using the data to improve the Windows 10 experience and not targeted advertising. At least you now know what you are sharing and how to turn it off.

Background apps

Background apps are relatively benign. This section is a master control area to enable or disable apps from running in the background. This field is helpful to save some resources or make sure some app is not running in the background that should not be.

There are many settings there and depending on your level of paranoia or just concern over privacy, you can spend a good 45 minutes going through all of them

Sync your settings

Users can go to Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings to control whether or not certain aspects of their OS (like the theme, web browser settings, passwords and more) are passed to the Microsoft cloud to be synchronized with other computers associated with your account.

Technically this is a very useful service but some concerned with privacy may want to turn these off.

Disable Wi-Fi Sense

Wi-Fi Sense is nothing new as it has been around since Windows Phone 8.1. However, the ability to share your Wi-Fi password with friends and family without actually giving them the password is a nice feature. Some shoddy media outlets reported that this sharing is on by default, and while the service is, users have to opt-in to do any network sharing.

Still, if you are concerned, you can disable the feature under Settings > Network & Internet > Manage Wi-Fi Settings. There you can find the ability to toggle off 'Connect to networks shared by my contacts' or the various social networks like Skype, Outlook.com, and Facebook friends.

Cortana

Finally, for Cortana there are also numerous settings you can disable if you are concerned about privacy.

However, remember that disabling these settings shuts Cortana off as a personal assistant. The service cannot at once be personalized and tailored to your needs and also be cut off from collecting and using data about you. This choice is similar to anonymously hiring a secretary who cannot know anything about your life.

Here is where to go though if you don't trust Microsoft:

  • Open Cortana
  • Open Notebook
  • Settings
  • Disable Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders alerts, and more (This turns Cortana off; Cortana is already off by default in Windows 10)
  • Disable Hey Cortana (off by default) – This disables the always-on microphone ability so that users can operated Cortana by just using their voice. Probably a good idea to disable on laptops due to the battery drainage.
  • Disable Find Flights and More – This prevents Cortana from tracking your flights through email searches

Takeaway

Windows 10 is a very powerful operating system that is also very personal. Personal means getting to know you. Automating tasks, reminding you of events, sharing things with contacts, and more are all services that people want. However, all of this convenience comes at a cost, which is you are sharing lots of data with Microsoft.

There is no evidence that Microsoft is abusing this information or using it in any way that contradicts their Privacy Statement. Indeed, the company is very transparent on what they are doing and have given users many tools to control that data collection.

Some people may not be happy with the defaults, but even there, Microsoft walks you through these processes when the OS is setting up. Still, ultimately it is up to you to read their documents and configure the settings to something you are comfortable with using. From that perspective, we feel that Windows 10 does a good job of being open about what it is doing.

Do you agree? Have you disabled any Windows 10 services because of privacy concerns? Let us know.

**Note: This guide was originally published on August 10, 2015. However, we are republishing it due to renewed interest in privacy and Windows 10. Thanks!

If you think this guide is helpful, we have many more posts like this in our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or try our massive Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help!

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

133 Comments
  • Thanks for posting
  • Seconded. Excellent useful article.
  • Thirded. Excellent stuff Dan. This responsible, top quality journalism sets you apart and is a must read (especially for hacks).
    But Dan, you don't really cover what Microsoft shares with 3rd parties (other than maybe the telemetry bit), if anything.
    This is a key omission.
    It is one thing to entrust my privacy with Microsoft. It is another to understand whether they are sharing information about me to others.
    That really gets my goat re: Google and Facebook, hence why I avoid Google entirely and only really read Facebook.
    Please can you rectify?
    And please can you confirm my understanding that with Microsoft, MY data (rather than anonymised information about my online behaviour) SHOULD be 100% secure and private with Microsoft (security failures and NSA requests aside), i.e. my documents, email, photos, messages, voice calls, data files etc.
  • This info is tougher to come by but we're looking into it for a deeper look.
  • How are you getting on?  The Win 10 privacy noise is likely to be ongoing without someone cutting through it objectively.  I think an infographic comparing Microsoft, Google and Apple would be awesome.  There is so much ignorance on the privacy topic, even with highly experienced tech bloggers.  You seem to be on the right tracks, but this desparately needs clarification.  
  • The reason why this is hard is because MS won't tell.  That, in and of itself, is damning. MS has seriously dropped the ball here and undermined my confidence. Regardless of what they say they are doing with our data, the privacy policy makes it quite clear that they can, at any time, do a whole lot more.
  • Whether you have ads on or off, there is specified ads coming to you from your pages you viewed earlier I don't see a difference just Microsoft being transparent here
  • Daniel you are acting more and more like a MS employee
  • I'm more own master here and I don't write to please people. If anything here is non-factual, let me know. Otherwise, move on. What I hear when people attack my personal character: "oh, you said something I don't agree with...something must be wrong with you".
  • I completly disagree with brorim, you have written a great article covering most of what privacy concerns need to know. Instead of just scare mongering like a lot of other sites have done.    Does Windows 10 share data , yes,  can you tun it off, yes, like all versions of Windows you get a lot of options to customize things. If stating facts makes you look like a MS employee, o well so be it :)   
  • Daniel, thank you for a well written and informative article. Re the sharing of data I can tell you the agreement one agrees to entitles msft to parse all data and use it as they see fit. I say this as a lawyer and I have had my lawyers work with msft in order to work out whether we'll be deploying w10 (in a limited capacity) at an investment firm I own. Conclusion: No, unless everything msn and Cortana is turned off and blocked aggressively. That's using w10 Enterprise. For consumers, I'd also refer everyone to rockpapershotgun, who also have an excellent article detailing the privacy concerns. And these are real concerns. But then MSFT want the advertising dollars google et al get, and fair enough. This is the price of convenience, one loses privacy. Personally I'm keeping w10 on a surface pro 3 as a tester, but I'm going to wait and see how w10 progresses. I am in the corporate finance and investment sector (though retired) and the conversations I've been having are rather damning. But anyway, thank you for addressing this most important of issues.
  • I think the original commenter might be referring to phrases like "The important takeaway here is this: Microsoft is very open about what they are doing with your data." They occur over and over and make it seem like you are apologizing for Microsoft's policies. Whatever, though, to each their own.
  • And yet at each point I mention that it is up to YOU to decide what is and what is not acceptable. At no point do I say "eh, this is not a big deal" or "ads are so awesome!". C'mon. Microsoft gives away a free OS, no one complains. Are their privacy concerns? Definitely, but at least they are open about it and give you options to control things. It's not apologizing for them, just explaining. Users need to take some responsibility for their own lives.
  • I wasn't criticizing your article, man. I thought it was very informative, just peppered with the sort of language that might inspire comments like the one above. You get really defensive for the main writer of a big tech blog, you know?
  • Dude, he didn't mean you...he was just responding, not uh, rebuttaling(?) you. lol...I mean maybe you'd have felt a little better if he said, "sure man, but..." although stick around long enough and you get a better sense of how he really is, check out the vids too =p
  • Last I checked Windows 10 is not free. You needed to have bought a license to a previous version or pay towards of $100 for a license. These settings are not dependent on how much you paid. Even people that paid for Windows 10 are subject to ads and targeting. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You wouldn't know a Microsoft employee if they came over to your house for dinner... =\
  • Fix: Is it true that wifi sense can automatically share passwords to facebook contacts?***
  • No. I mention that here. Those are novices and shoddy journalists aiming for headlines. You have to specifically pick a network and opt in to share it with your contacts. Wi-Fi sense is on by default, but it shares nothing unless you take action. Even then they never see your password. That's the point. You give them internet access, but they never learn your security. Of course, you can opt-out and unshare a network at any time too.
  • Thanks! I'll reread.
  • Like I said, you need to pick a network and choose to share it, even with FB contacts. It is 100% on you to make that happen. The OS does nothing for you without your consent.
  • Hello Daniel. Can I know please how to share my connection by using Wi-Fi sense with in my Lumia? Thanks. And sorry for disturbing
  • Whenever I ask a question here to Daniel, he never replies. Sigh
  • He's a busy dude. I'd suggest asking your question in the forums instead.
  • Twitter is a sure shot... ;)
  • Yeah I reread. Idk how I missed that. It was so clear. But thanks a lot.
  • Every time you add a new WiFi network you get a questio if you want to chare it, and the check box for doing it is not checked by default, so it is a very activ thing you need to do and agree to .
  • Since most of the time my tower is off the grid I could care less, bur was the first thing I dis was to disable all the sharing and crap. MS is turning into google. What's a shame
  • "MS is turning into google. What's a shame"
    I disagree with this 100%, in fact, I point out numerous differences in this article. I also don't see how making so many things under user control is a bad thing. None of this blatant data stealing, it is all to make the OS do certain things that people want. This is the future. We no longer have dumb terminals and most people don't care about having an air-gapped PC.
  • "There is no evidence that Microsoft is abusing this information or using it in any way that contradicts their Privacy Statement. Indeed, the company is very transparent on what they are doing and have given users many tools to control that data collection." You can easily substitute Google for Microsoft in that paragraph. Microsoft is definitely following the Google path here. Do you really think Microsoft is somehow more benign when they collect the exact same data and use it the same way? Either one has too much to lose to do anything stupid with your data. Google probably has more to lose as it is the basis of their business. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Still, ultimately it is up to you to read their documents and configure the settings to something you are comfortable with using. "
    Own up to YOUR responsibility here and quit acting like a calf in the field, a helpless bystander with no power. Read the documents. Choose your settings by using the easy to read menus. Take control over your digital life. Don't act like a victim and choose your place.
  • With Google, you are the product that they sell to advertisers. There is very little you can actually buy directly from Google. With Microsoft (and to be fair, Apple too), you are the customer. Yes there is advertising, and an important revenue stream to MS, but it's a secondary business. Microsoft's main revenue streams comes from what they sell to users.
  • Now Microsoft is also selling you to advertisers. You are both the product and the customer at the same time. You paid to be Microsoft's product. They are making out here, assuming Windows 10 actually is a success. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • @bleached, yes, Microsoft sells advertising, but it's a question of loyalty and focus. They make much more revenue from users paying for services. That means their priority incentive and core loyalty is to users. Google's is to the advertisers. Incentives drive the business philosophy and decisions. Also, there are zero ads in any of Microsoft's paid services. The ads support the free stuff, but again, because that's the minority of their revenue stream, it doesn't drive the company's pro-user philosohpy. Instead, MS wants to you to like the free stuff enough that you will become a paid user. Totally different business model from Google. Microsoft has a much more pro-user business model.
  • "Now Microsoft is also selling you to advertisers."
    You do realize this is only for web browsers and their News app, right? The OS itself has no advertising in it. You can also choose to not use MSN News or Edge. Oh, you'll still get ads, because that is how the web works, but sure, you won't get them through your Microsoft associated account. That is your choice.
  • The future is targeted ads in a paid OS? The future is loads of options, which all require a user to opt out? Do-not-track was once activated by default. Today, the user has to activate it. This little detail sums it all up pretty good:
    The future is Microsoft being privacy-reluctant. This is a shame.
  • Do-not-track disabled by default is not Microsofts' fault. Other companies even people criticized Microsoft for enabling it to the point of web servers just ignoring it because "the user must explicitly opt-in" BS  
  • Do-not-track was an idea. A weak one of course. Microsoft was the only one to act against the industry when they activated it. It was a bold move, doing something that solely served the user. Today, Microsoft clutters it's software with options which by default serve Microsoft. It's not my job to make their products better. It's not my job to give them data for their work. Telemetry does nothing for the user. It should be an optional opt-in. Google always arguments with "better service quality" when asked about data collection. OK, so does Microsoft.  The advertisement ID is another example. It serves Microsoft and their business partners. Not the user. And it is activated by default. I had hopes Microsoft would be a privacy-by-design-company one day. What a silly idea.
  • Ads in the browser, not really the OS in general. Kind of like what you get when you use Chrome. The level of data collected in NOT the same. MS does not read your email, chat and other personal communication for advertising.
  • "The future is Microsoft being privacy-reluctant." that is absolutly untrue .   
  • I had started writing something pretty lengthy but erased it.  The gist is that I recently began working as a developer for MS and from the inside I can tell you that PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is sacrosanct here.  I'm a bit of a privacy nut to the point that I made a dummy email account just to come post this message, but after seeing how MS treats personal data I would have no problem clicking Yes to sharing anything/everything if the benefit is worth it. In practice I don't value a lot of the things that clicking Yes gives, so I've turned those things off.  For the ones that either intrigue me (Cortana) or I value (location services for weather, directions, etc.) I've turned them on with no worries at all. Edit: tl;dr MS is no Google when it comes to privacy.  Every request has a customer benefit associated with it first and foremost.  If there is an MS benefit (advertising) we will tell you that we're going to use it, we'll not do advertising or other things that benefit MS with information that should remain private (such as email) and we'll do our best to keep all the data as secure as we would want our own data to be.
  • I leave all the options as default, that's because I trust Microsoft with my data, it gives me a lot back in return. I don't trust Google at all with anything let alone my personal data. It's a preference, choose a company or companies that you trust and use their services, software and devices. At least Microsoft is being transparent here and providing a way to disable pretty much everything if you chose to, does Google let you do that? If they did, might they just ignore your choice and "accidentally" collect a bunch of data anyway? At the end of the day it's possible for any company to be "evil" or make a mistake that leads to sharing or sale of data whether or not the user agrees in the first place, if you don't trust any company out there then just leave technology behind, it won't kill you, would just be boring as hell!
  • The worst thing for me is the P2P Windows Updates.
  • By default, this is off for metered connections and there is no evidence of data hogging. In fact, I have seen no empirical evidence that this doing much or causing a burden on users.
  • I don't like that feature either. I opted for the PCs in my own network since I only have 2.
  • Turning off P2P Windows Updates is a really bad idea. If you need that 3% of upload speed used by win update when your pc is idle overnight set it to share over your local network at the very least. It won't affect your internet upload in any noticeable way regardless, but turning it off entirely will make updates download slower
  • Why will updates download slower? Won't each PC just download the updates needed at the same speed the connection allows as was the case before Windows 10 came along?
  • Does it really hurt that much to share something you don't need :). P2P gives you insane speed. It's the only way to use all you bandwith. But it can not work if people don't want to share :). Also, I have 4 win10 PCs at home. So, instaed of downloading same update 4 times, you can allow them to share files between them. Imagine office with hundreds of PC. That will help not only M$ servers, but your YouTube and FB experience on job, because company bandwidth won't be occupied with win update. 
  • It's the fact they hidden it, so for that I disable it. 
  • Nice article Rubino reggae boy.
    I of course think all these privacy crap should die, I know I know, some people complain and make things up, it's internet, but sometimes it's just too stupid to think Microsoft reads, cares and watches everything I do and say and sing and dream.   But it's a good article, I wish just "journalists" took the time to really research and stop misleading people. we already know there are alot of haters that care about privacy on Windows 10 but still install Chrome, or have a smartphone, and say Windows 7 is the best (like if it didn't have feedback and telemetry stuff as well).
    But it gets worse when the haters are stupid journalist that don't know what they are talking about and just want to spread false information.
  • I agree. This seems to happen too often in many subjects (outside the technology industry too :/)
  • Note regarding jurisdiction: FREE services (FB, Google, free MS services as Outlook, Bing, MSN, etc.) - U.S. laws PAID MS services (Office 365, etc.) incl. Windows - country laws (note: Skype - Luxembourg laws) i.e., to avoid U.S. laws paid MS services could be usefull
  • I hope they fix the battery drain issue with "Hey Cortana" or maybe that's not something which can not be corrected. At the very least have an option to turn that feature on and off based on power source. Hmm...i may just submit that idea if it's not done already
  • WUDO (Windows Update Delivery Optimization) technology should be mention as well. "Your PC may also send parts of downloaded Windows updates and apps to PCs on your local network OR on the Internet." (default Internet) To avoid: Settings - Update&Security - Win Update - Advanced - Choose how updates are delivered
  • Doing a separate article on that topic.
  • I don't care about privacy but I need PREVIEW back in my context menu. Why Micrososft killed it? Not very smart move.
  • Whether you have ads on or off, there is specified ads coming to you from your pages you viewed earlier I don't see a difference just Microsoft being transparent
  • Thanks for the info, very detailed. Privacy or the lack of it, is a concern for everyone who uses the Internet particularly when it comes to BANKING applications which many of us use constantly. Just wondering how or if any improvement has been made with HTML security using Windows 10 OS, say compared to Windows 7 for desktop or laptop or indeed Windows 10 for mobile as compared to Windows 8.1 for mobile. I'm currently an Insider but awaiting more time to pass before installing Windows 10 on all my devices. Your detailed security analysis has certainly given more confidence in doing so. Thanks
  • Look, the article is very good in detailing all the privacy switches on Windows 10, but I just have to complain a bit about this complacent attitude towards advertising on MS services. Im a sworn WP diehard fanboy. I do want MS to succeed with their universal strategy. I own the SP3, Lumia 640 currently and 2 PCs with Win10. Also an Office365 subscriber. So I believe I got some legitimacy to complain as a costumer. All these arguments stating that serving targeted ads based on this monstrous data collection is justified because other competitors do the same are stupid and hypocritical. If you are referring to Google practices, they are not quite the same. There is a fundamental difference that everyone seems to be forgetting between Google and Microsoft: when I sign up for a Google account or buy an Android phone, I don't have to pay a damn thing to Google, not a single cent. All their services are free, hence the tradeoff for ad targeting.  Au contraire, I actually paid for my W7 and W8 licenses that were subsequentially upgraded to Windows 10, plus an annual fee for O365. I believe the minimal expectations of a paying costumer is that after wasting his hard-working money on a product that costs a hundred dollars, he shouldn't have to be subjected to data collection and interest profiling for ad targeting?! So here is the question everyone should be asking: Why the hell does my data still has to be collected for targeted ads on a product for which I paid for? Are people losing their brains? Even if MS doesn't look at chats and email, targeting ads based on "search queries", "interests", "internet favorites" and "usage data" is not much different, is it really? One thing is using this data to improve services and OS functionalities, another thing is take that data for third-party advertising purposes.  And privacy is the least of my concerns. I have zero expectancy of privacy while using Microsoft, Google, Facebook or Apple's products, because as the Snowden scandal revealed, unless you're encrypting everything from end to end, there's no point in worrying about NSA - they will get your data if they want to and major US companies will comply with their requests. The end. What I am really concerned about is the day when I wake up, turn on my laptop to work and all of the sudden I'm greeted with ads all over the place - lockscreen, start menu, store, Office, wherever else. Is this acceptable to you? I am aware that services like Cortana need to get to know me in order to improve. The sad thing is Cortana doesn't even have a promised date of availability on my country. is  So it seems that this data collection is serving much more of MS interests than those of its costumers. And before you reply me with "should've read the terms & conditions before upgrading", let's not forget that a small update was silently rolled out to W7 and W8 users to enable data collection as well. I don't remember signing up for that bullsh1t back when I purchased those licenses. We are all being scroogled unless we pay for an Enterprise license or join a company domain. How people willingly accept all this after those Scroogled campaigns is beyond me. Yet another sign that MS only will ever care about its big cash cow: the enterprise.
  • If you're getting ads on the Windows Explorer or on Excel then you probably have an adware problem. Ads are shown only on free software and services like f2p games (solitaire), MSN website and apps, OneDrive and the free Outlook web mail.
  • And, the data collected for those ads is limited. Everything MS collects doesn't go towards the ad platform, only a very limited subset. With Google, they are vetting everything about you. Its what they do. Its where their money comes from.
  • http://www.bidnessetc.com/49100-microsoft-corporation-edge-browser-heres...
  • when I sign up for a Google account or buy an Android phone, I don't have to pay a damn thing to Google, not a single cent. All their services are free, hence the tradeoff for ad targeting. 
    Yes, their services are free and you can turn off the data collection which will prevent Google targetting ad (you'll still get ads, but not targetted ones.) And you can, of course, install an ad-blocker. Looking at the data MS collects, one thing strikes me - they constantly use the phrase "this includes..." This leaves me wondering what else does it include that they're not telling us about? They need to be absolutely honest, so perhaps the phrase "this is limited to..." would be a better choice. I have tried moving my email account over to outlook.com, but now I see there is no benefit to using outlook over using gmail. In fact, outlook is slower, often reports IMAP errors, and often doesn't sync correctly with my phone.
  • "Yes, their services are free and you can turn off the data collection which will prevent Google targetting ad..." Not sure I agree with that statement.  You might be putting the cart before the horse.  As far as I'm aware, you can only opt-out of targeted advertising.  You cannot stop Google from collecting information about you.    
  • @EBUK, that's not true. Google scans your e-mail and targets ads to based on what they think you like based on your e-mail. Microsoft does not touch the insides of your e-mail. For Google, you are the product they sell to their main customers -- advertisers. Google only cares about users to the extent that more of them help them generate more advertising revenue. For Microsoft, most of their revenue comes from users paying for products and services. That means their focus is on the UX first and foremost. Advertising revenue is a secondary consideration. That makes all the difference in the world.
  • @OldAndBusted, links toscreenshots below show thesettings that are available. As you will see, I have them all turned off. Additionally, I opt out of targetted advertising (no screenshot of this, however.) All settings are available from your account dashboard, and Google makes it easy to manage privacy settings, including removing devices and sites associated with your google account. You can also delete google google services; for example, if you don't want to use gmail, you can delete just that service. As far as I can see, Google and Microsoft both collect the same type of data, both use collected data for  targetting adverts, and both allow you to opt out of having certain data collected. They are both as bad as each other. https://copy.com/Y4rbjaj6hQ3PQYcm https://copy.com/t6TnL9CJsICYfukp https://copy.com/Md34whTJlGkj2AB9 https://copy.com/SP9xD8IY4fyeoD8d https://copy.com/3AaZHPsKfWArnVpe  
  • I don't think this is true. Microsoft never scan the contents of an email to deliver ads according to their Privacy statement. Here is what Google says about ads in Gmail:
    "You can opt-out of the use of additional information from the Ads Preferences page. If you do opt-out, you may still see contextual ads based on the message you are reading as well as other relevant ads."
    That is very different. They will always scan the contents of your emails and deliver ads even if you opt-out.
  • What's not true, Daniel? That you can opt out of data collection and still use Google's services, or that Microsoft doesn't scan your emails. I've posted links to screenshots demonstrating the first point; for the second, just read Microsoft's privacy policy. I never said that Microsoft scans emails with the intent of targetting ads (their privacy policy states that it doesn't, but not that it won't at some time in the future.) But please clarify, are you saying that Microsoft won't deliver ads if I opt out of their data collection? The quote you have pasted only says you may see relevant ads, not that you will see them. I'd bet that the same would happen with Microsoft's ads: you might see relevant ads, or you maight not. Like a weather forecaster saying there's a 50% chance of rain! Google collects data. Microsoft collects data. Google scans your emails. Microsoft scans your emails. Google doesn't sell your data. Microsoft doesn't sell your data. Google doesn't buy your data. Microsoft DOES buy your data (but from whom?) Google targets ads. Microsoft targets ads. Google gives away a free OS. Microsoft gives away a free OS. Opt out of Google's data collection, and you may see relevant ads (relevant is not the same as targetted) Opt out of Microsoft's data collection... who knows what you'll see? There are more similarities than differences. Should I sell my soul to the Old Evil Empire that now claims to be the Good Guy. Or do I sell my soul to the New Evil Empire (whom the Old Evil Empire is copying?)
  • Erm... google does buy and sell your data. There was an article about it on the net too some time back. Bing it and you'll see.
  • "What's not true, Daniel? That you can opt out of data collection and still use Google's services, or that Microsoft doesn't scan your emails."
    To quote myself:
    "Microsoft never scan the contents of an email to deliver ads according to their Privacy statement."
    This is empirically true. I did not, however, say they do not scan emails (of course they do, how else do virus and spam blockers work?) I said specifically to serve up ads even if you opt-out (which just means they don't associate the data with your Google account, but they still scan). I stand by that and it is, in my opinion, a legitimate difference. You may disagree if it is important or not, but it is a difference.
  • Why does NO ONE else see that the reality of GvM is that anything Google has done *Business-wise* has been to usurp Microsoft by becoming them...MS doesn't need to "copy" Google because they've done it all already. If it seems that MS is copying G because they lost relevance to the current generation, read a damn tech history book or something because that's just ignorant of the past 30 years. So Google came along and acted cool and won the hearts of consumers with their search king and free services by saying "We're not Microsoft lol", don't kid yourselves, they really aren't doing anything different, besides getting away with it MUCH easier. The fact that they get little to no hate or scrutiny is so much more sinister in my book =\
  • If they don't scan your emails, how does the spam filter work? They just say they aren't using your emails data for advertising. Doesn't mean they aren't scanning it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • @bleached, I'm sure you see the difference between performing a bulk run of all e-mails for terms known to be spam or malicious code to protect users based on users security and anti-spam settings, from using the content of each person's e-mail in conjunction with other activities to build a profile about who that person is, what they like, who their contacts are, etc. and then using that information to sell advertising to maximize the amount of money that person will spend on a customer's (advertiser's ) products and services. I'm not saying Google is doing any unethical -- if people are willing to live with Google's rectal probing in exchange for free stuff, good for them and Google. That's a fair exchange. But to suggest that it's the same as what MS is doing in blocking spam is really quite absurd.
  • The double standards here is just astounding, if Google had done this everybody would have been screaming about what an evil company they are. If Microsoft does it they are given free pass. The fact that you have to sift through so many settings to stop Microsoft collecting data on you is just ridiculous.
  • Exactly my thoughts.
  • Thumbs up!
  • Completely agree. MS came out strong with the "do not track" option, bit now they make you spend 30 minutes scouring through every menu just to maintain your privacy. Its crap. If the data collection isn't so bad and of most people are cool with it, make it an opt-in.... At the very least, give us a powershell script to disable all sharing
  • Scouring every menu? You mean going to Settings - Privacy?
  • @pallentx, no - pay attention. There's more than what's in the settings menu.
  • Like the clickable links with more info for our convenience?
  • It was not Microsoft's choice to change that default setting.  They did that in response to all the backlash, unfortunately, not the consumers but from partner companies and developers.  The setting is not hard to find.  Gosh.
  • Google already does this and much, much more and no one complains.
  • "If Google had done this..."   Google does WAYYYYYYY worse than this. Go on your Google services or Android devices and try to disable any of the privacy settings you see here. That's right... you CAN'T. A quarter of them are burried in menus and the rest are non-existent.   Microsoft does not read your personal emails and communications.  Google does.
    Microsoft doesn't sell your data to third-parties.  Google does.
    Microsoft provides a very transparent privacy policy and settings to opt-out of pretty much everything.  Google doesn't.
  • "Microsoft does not read your personal emails and communications". Why don't you take a look at this news item: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26677607 So basically Microsoft respects your privacy only when it's convenient for them.
  • And here's the result: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mobile/privacy/privacy/policy/privacy-policy/ Look at Mandatory Disclosures point number 4.  It says: (4) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.   So let's recap.  MS had reason to believe someone had proprietary MS information (they did), they did a legal search and caught them, realized it was a lot of negative publicity and decided to completely alter the way this happens in the future.  So, even if they believe someone is stealing their proprietary information they won't even perform a legal scan themselves.  Instead they'll allow law enforcement to proceed from there.  If that's not bending over backwards for privacy I don't know what is. Full disclosure: I am a MS employee.
  • "Microsoft does not read your personal emails and communications... We swear Cortana is learning your flight schedule only using Tarot cards and crystal ball"
  • ...they don't read it for targeted advertising. That's the key difference.
  • It only reads you personal mails and communication if you turn on Cortana.   how do you want Cortana to do anything usefulif you refuse to give it any informaiton.   If you hire the best personaly assistant in the world, but refuse to let them take part of any information, like meetings, client informaion,  when you are going to be at work, phone numbers, personal preferences .. how good do you excpect that assistant to be at their job?
  • I was just pointing out that the statement that Microsoft is not reading your communication is inaccurate. They DO. Now you may argue that what they do with the info is different from Google, but the first statement is still false (like it or not).
    On the other hand, if all this info is only needed for Cortana, could you please explain why the "Get to know me" setting is still on by default in countries where Cortana is not available?
    BTW, if I hire the best assistant in the world, I would not expect him to go immediately on strike if he doesnt know where I am for one minute. Do you know that even Google Now performs basic functions with location disabled ? If MS was so respectful, they would give a little more granular choice about what Cortana can and can't do and how "personalized" you wish her to be . But MS is sticking with the all or nothing. No, I will not remind you take the cake out of the oven in 30 mins if I don't know where you are! No way!
    But I cannot even comment how good and useful Cortana could be. It is not available in my country. I briefly tried to set the phone to US just to try, but as Bing has zero local search capability in Belgium and geofencing is not working, the utility was abysmal. I also rely a lot on "Outlook today" in my daily routine and the fact that Cortana reminders are not visible in Outlook is a huge negative point for me (again, I would not expect a real world assistant to behave like that). So I quickly gave up and restored the phone to Belgium setting.
    So at the moment, as I cannot see how this data collection could benefit me in any way, I turned off the "get to know me". I will revisit this when Cortana will be available (not holding my breath )
  • Wrong on every count. Android DOES have selectable privacy options for every installed application, though Google has hidden them. Install App Ops to make them accessible again. Google does not read your email. Nor does MS. But BOTH do scan them for key words. Google sells NO data. It sells targetted advertising. Company X wants to market Product B to a certain demographic; Google serves the ad accordingly. Exactly what MS wants to do, thoughMS is BUYING demographic from a third party (now, which company will have the most complete set of demographic data...) Google has a tansparent policy. https://www.google.com/policies/privacy/ Google provides all the tools you need to opt out of data collection. Just visit https://myaccount.google.com/ and it's all neatly laid out for you. Now, what's the difference between Google and the New Microsoft?
  • ad1 Crucial difference is business model, "ad oriented" with Google vs "subscription oriented" with MS. Simply, "ad oriented model" means higher presure on data privacy. ad2 Second difference is jurisdiction, U.S. laws with Google vs country laws with MS (I mean, paid Windows plus all paid services as Office365)
  • "Google provides all the tools you need to opt out of data collection." I believe this to be an inaccurate statement.  Google does not allow anybody to opt-out of data collection.  You can only opt-out of targeted ads.  Google is still going to collect as much information about you as they possibly can.   
  • Yes you can. See these screenshots of my account: https://copy.com/Y4rbjaj6hQ3PQYcm https://copy.com/t6TnL9CJsICYfukp https://copy.com/Md34whTJlGkj2AB9 https://copy.com/SP9xD8IY4fyeoD8d https://copy.com/3AaZHPsKfWArnVpe
  • As noted above (and linked in this article) Google still scans your email's contents for ads. It's right in their privacy document
    "You can opt-out of the use of additional information from the Ads Preferences page. If you do opt-out, you may still see contextual ads based on the message you are reading as well as other relevant ads."
    Microsoft never does this. Contextual or Targeted, one way or another Google is collecting ad data on your emails. Is this a big deal? I don't know, I'm just saying it is different than what Microsoft does. They are not the same.
  • Dan, you are spreading misinformation just like those sloppy journalists you rail against. Let's look at what it says on the Ads Preferences Page: With Ads based on your interests OFF: You will still see ads and they may be based on your general location (such as city or county)
    Ads will not be based on data Google has associated with your Google Account, and so may be less relevant
    You will no longer be able to edit your interests
    All the advertising interests associated with your Google Account will be deleted That word 'may' is very interesting. It does NOT mean 'will' (which is what you imply.) Daniel, you are propagating falsehoods; very disappointing journalism.
  • Not implying anything. The quote above is linked to Google's own privacy statement on Gmail. I know if you opt out it's not associated with your account. Instead, they scan your email and serve up ads based on the context and contents of your message. So they don't associate with your Google account? That's good. Scanning your email for context to serve ads is still scanning your email for ads, which is something Microsoft does not do. I stand by my remarks and disagree with yours.
  • There is an ethical point as well. If you agree with "free and ad oriented business model" of Google then it's not "fair" to opt out of data collection. On the other hand, with paid MS services you have always a choice (btw. that's could be important for enterprise business).
  • True. Pretty sure that this opt out model is also illegal in some jurisdictions. What made me most worried is that update from W8.1 resets privacy settings to slurp all, very sneaky and google/alphabet like.
  • You're so funny, like they haven't and everyone doesn't just LOVE them for every little thing they've done. Gosh, they're such tech darlings of Silicon Valley... =3
  • Awesome, thanks so much for this. I know these changes wont do much but at least its something!
  • Just got 10 tonight. Simply put I freaking love it.
  • Wonderful article, Dan!  Thanks for clearly outlining and providing instructions for all the privacy settings.  I love how transparent Microsoft is about it.
      P.S.  Did anyone else notice "NinjaCatMode" on Dan's desktop???
  • Nice run down. Thanks. Frankly, I am one of those unfortunate souls who believes that nothing is safe when exposed to the internet. As a result, my expectation of privacy in the realm of the world wide web is virtually nil. Still, it is nice to know how my data will be used. Thanks again.
  • How to add
    " Extensions / Ad Blockers "
    For MS Edge.. ? ? ?
  • That is coming later this year, likely in October.
  • Edge currently does not support plugins, but this is coming fairly soon. You can still use another browser with adblock support for now if you want 
  • People really need to stop over-reacting.  You give up a profitable amount of privacy anytime you access anything that connects you to any other entity or service. The real solution to all these privacy concerns is for everybody to understand all the options themselves. If you don't, you will always be comprimised.   Opt in to what you want, opt out of what you don't, but don't do either until you understand the consequences of your choice.
  • I also recommend becoming friends with a lawyer and just asking them to sort it out for you...I have a couple of friends that are, very handy to have around lol =p
  • I really don't understand what the whole fuss is about regarding privacy, I mean nothing online is really hidden. Just because MS is making it obvious. Google has been sniffing through our emails for years! The world has not stopped. If u don't want to be known, then stay away from gadgets, even ur bank too.
  • Thanks for the article Dan. I have shared this with 3 non WC readers who had read some rubbish on a click bait site. Hopefully this will enable them to understand the privacy policy.
  • An article worth sharing.  Thank you Dan! 
  • Interesting article. Do you know what is v10.vortex-win.data.microsoft.com ? It is 2nd most common dns request in my opendns log.   http://i.imgur.com/LDPZKKg.png  
  • "Microsoft is very clear on what they collect, why the collect it and what they do with it." Not sure I agree with that statement.   From Microsoft's privacy statement:   "We share your personal data with your consent or as necessary to complete any transaction or provide any service you have requested or authorized. We also share data with Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries; with vendors working on our behalf; when required by law or to respond to legal process; to protect our customers; to protect lives; to maintain the security of our services; and to protect the rights or property of Microsoft." "with vendors working on our behalf" seems pretty open-ended to me.  I do not consider that "very clear".  Which vendors?  Doing what?  What will they be doing with my personal data?   "with your consent" is also a bit of a lie, as their privacy settings require you to opt-out.  By default, they're already collecting information and sharing it before you get the opportunity to request that they stop.   And if haven't read this article, you might be screwed.    
  • Microsoft also uses the vague phrase "this includes..." They have not explicitally stated EVERYTHING that it includes, or what it excludes. They could easily add more to the list as that wording is open-ended. It's the type of language politicians use.
  • Regarding the Windows 10 Privacy settings applet,: "we can see no less than 13 pages dedicated to this topic" That level of granularity is commendable, but what about those of us that don't want to slog through all of that?  And don't necessarily understand what is being set?  For instance, what exactly is being agreed to when we say that we want to use Cortana?  What data is collected to allow that functionality to perform?   Why can't Microsoft provide one big red button that says ANONYMOUS MODE.  One single setting that informs Microsoft to stop collecting all data for any purpose.  And what about partial privacy settings?  I want better controls for cookies with Edge.   Why can't I have a setting that allows me to block all cookies except for those that I designate as acceptable.  And provide me an easy to find control on the Edge toolbar to allow that cookie?  Why can't Microsoft provide a full function cookie manager with Edge?      
  • "That level of granularity is commendable, but what about those of us that don't want to slog through all of that? " "And what about partial privacy settings? I want better controls for cookies with Edge. "
    You do realize you are saying things are too complex while at the same time asking for more granularity? You do see the issue here with adding detailed controls vs. giving people an easy to read system. At each page of those 13 pages there is a direct link to the privacy statement. I'm sorry if you don't want to "slog through that" but you just got a free OS, didn't even pay a dime, and you are using new services that need to use your data. You can't please everyone.
  • "You do realize you are saying things are too complex..."     No, that's not what I said.  Well, not what I meant to say.  I think it would be better to state that Microsoft has made this purposefully complex.  For those that want to go through each and every single solitary setting, Microsoft provides the tools.  They're probably hoping nobody will slog through all those settings.   That's why I still want a single "Get off my lawn" button. A single button to tell everybody to butt out - including Microsoft.   But with simple ways to override when necessary.  Perhaps a second button that let's me accept a cookie from amazon.com while I'm on their site, etc.  And the cookie is quickly deleted when leaving the site.  I want the customer first, not Microsoft, not vendors, not advertisers.  
  • "...but you just got a free OS"   Does this really mean that I must sit down, shut up, and eat my damn vegetables whether I like them or not?  No criiticism allowed unless I buy the product?  So suppose I do buy the product - either separately or with a new PC, do I get to state my thoughts then?  
  • Of course you can criticise. You can also not upgrade. You can also opt-out and disable all of these things in Windows using the guide here. You can also downgrade back to 8.1. The point is, you have choices and Microsoft is being, in my opinion, very clear on what they are doing. Whether you like it or not is your decision and yours alone.
  • There is nothing in life that is that simple, sure technology can make things more convenient...but the really important matters, like privacy is for so many is not simply an all or nothing issue. It is vital that if any of us is to take part in this new landscape that we do our part to be certain that we can make sound decisions and understand what is happening at any age. If it's difficult, or one cannot be bothered, then get a friend or family member to do the work for you, but any business is only beholden to sway opinions that can magically separate you from your hard earned dollars. I know they don't care about me but they will do their best to stay out of trouble with the governing bodies to make sure they can continue to operate their business. The best way I can look at this and sleep at night is they took the time to make me feel better about it, and quite honestly the last and final word for yourself is with you. Where there's a will there's a way...I hope that gives you some ideas. =\
  • Very thorough and much appreciated! Thanks Daniel.
  • now Microsoft edge support web.whatsapp.com as default. thank you Microsoft
  • This os ome of the best Windows 10 How-To I've seen. Excellenr job!!!!
  • I somehow thought MS was better than Google or Facebook regarding privacy, but their newest privacy statement made me realize they are just as bad. It makes me reconsider which of their software and services I use. At this point I am tending towards not upgrading to Windows 10 and severely limiting any use of OneDrive or an MS email or other online services. In addition to some of the things already mentioned in other comments, here are some of the things that stood out for me. Even though they don't use the content of your emails or documents for targeted advertising, they still collect your content: We collect content of your files and communications when necessary to provide you with the services you use. This includes: the content of your documents, photos, music or video you upload to a Microsoft service such as OneDrive. It also includes the content of your communications sent or received using Microsoft services, such as the:
    •    subject line and body of an email,
    •    text or other content of an instant message,
    •    audio and video recording of a video message, and
    •    audio recording and transcript of a voice message you receive or a text message you dictate. We collect data about your contacts and relationships if you use a Microsoft service to manage contacts, or to communicate or interact with other people or organizations. Even though MS browsers have a Do Not Track setting, Microsoft ignores:
    Microsoft does not currently respond to browser DNT signals on its own websites or online services, or on third-party websites or online services where Microsoft provides advertisements, content, or is otherwise able to collect information. MS does not only use cookies to track your surfing, but other technologies that allow tracking if you don't allow cookies. You can opt out of targeted advertising. If you don't want to surf with an active MS account, they store that selection in a cookie for the particular browser you used when making the setting. So if you block or delete cookies or use a different browser, you are automatically opted in again for targeted advertising. They don't only collect data about you, they also buy additional data about you from other companies. They combine the data collected through their different services. They match their own data with the data an advertiser might have about you:
    For instance, Microsoft uses a service provider to match your Microsoft cookie ID and account data with data an advertiser may have about you. They may sell personal information they have about you:
    We may also disclose personal data as part of a corporate transaction such as a merger or sale of assets. And as someone already mentioned, many of their statements are vague, using words like "such as", "for example", "including" when it comes to which data they collect, use, and share. Their main privacy statement alone had more than 30 pages when I copied it into a Word document. This does not include additional privacy statements for specific services or the privacy statements of other companies that collect data on MS sites. In my view MS has clearly failed if they were really serious about what their General Counsel said in a blog post:
    We are simplifying the services agreement and privacy statement because we believe that real transparency starts with straightforward terms and policies that people can clearly understand.
  • My brother I humbly beg you to consult a business or law professional and ask their opinion, not a writer, artist or common user. You clearly are quite perplexed and should get a really good handle on how these things really work...you honestly expect any business to be different than any other business, you will clearly be disappointed. =[
  • The language in Microsoft's privacy policy that I object to is "Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:..." (emphasis added)and lists four reasons the prior actions might occur (i.e., legal process, protecting customers from fraud or loss of life, protecting property rights).  However, Microsoft's statement that it only requires its own "good faith belief" to access private content is beyond alarming. I have contacted Microsoft several times to address the troubling language and have not received a response that addresses my concerns. And there is no provided mechanism from opting out of the requirement that Microsoft invokes a unilateral right to access content, including private content. I should mention that I am an attorney and cannot agree that Microsoft is entitled to access private, legal materials that were within my possession, prior to Microsoft changing its privacy policies. Although I had initially downloaded Windows 10, I have now returned to Windows 7. And I will continue to try and communicate with Microsoft about their privacy policy which I cannot agree to.    
  • One question regarding: "Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:" etc. four reasons ... "emails, other private communications or files in private folders" -->  Only in cloud or in PC as well ?  Thanks.
  • I have contacted MS about this and their answer was: ----------------------------------- Hello- Thank you for your inquiry. At Microsoft, your privacy is our priority and we appreciate you voicing this concern. Our privacy statement describes the reasons that we may share personal data. When we say that we may access or disclose "files in private folders" when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary for the purposes stated in our privacy statement, we are referring to files that are stored on Microsoft servers, such as files stored in OneDrive, for example. We are not talking about access or disclosing files that you have stored on your personal Windows device. -----------------------------------    
  • There are a ton of privacy settings.  But, this is a very good article, well researched, informative, not the FUD I'm seeing on other websites about Windows 10. I'm not sure if it is for everyone.  But I can appreciate the transparency.  One thing that is for sure, if other operating systems are collecting this much information you're not aware of it. Another thing; because we're not told upfront we have no way of knowing what other operating systems are doing, unless we're a developer or a programmer.  We can only assume.  I would rather know what data is being collected upfront, than to find out the hard way. It is not the worst thing in the world.  If you don't like it, you can go elsewhere.  Microsoft will still retain you as a customer through the services they offer. 
  • Usually you can find the "Fine Print" in the usual places, there is no business that can operate without there being so...I understand it can be trying or troublesome but if you seek, you shall find. I think you will find that in any book of wisdom. =[
  • This is a valuable list of how to change these settings. I do agree with others that the premise that because the managers at MS have clearly explained what they intend to do and have provided ways to change settings that are set by default, that all is NOT OK. They are telling us what they are doing so it is OK that they do it. This is a false premise. A quick analogy: I buy a house. It comes with a warranty that includes a list of default settings and instructions as to how to change them. I find all the windows open, doors unlocked, and open, the water running, the furnace on full,...... All of these "settings" are described in the warranty. Also included in the warranty: the builder will reserve the right to enter, for any reason deemed appropriate by the builder, and record, and/or remove, anything deemed important by the builder. The builder will use this authority and information as the builder determines is in the interests of the builder. I use the list to learn how to close and lock the windows and doors, stop the water and furnace running,....Spending many hours. The next afternoon after returning from work I find some of the windows open, the water is on again, my furniture moved,.... And this is OK because the builder told me that they will do this if they think it necessary.   Windows is NOT like using Chrome. Windows is the basic OS. I can uninstall Chrome. It is effectively impossible for most users of Windows 10 to spend hours every month verifying and changing settings the managers as MS have changed, via auto updates, based upon the EULA. All of these settings should be OPT IN, not OPT OUT. Thereby the user can actually become responsible for what they want to do. I know, as a nearly 30 year tech supporter of MS products, at this time it would take me at least two extra hours of configuration per machine for my business clients to feel as though their computers are not owned by MS. I have instructed all of my clients to not "upgrade" until significant fixes, and tools are available to quickly change, and maintain, all settings that can be changed by the insanity of auto-updates.   So far everything about 10 increases user attention to the OS and the interface. MS is effectively a monopoly for computer OS, and office, applications. They should not be allowed to do whatever they want. I am interested in what is happening in the EU where OPT-IN is the default. I find it frightening the number of people, like those writing here, are congratulating the MS managers, because their representatives are informing us in advance of their intention to take whatever they want from us, to use however they deem appropriate, because we have "chosen" to purchase their products. I think this is primarily not about privacy as it is about theft. That they are being upfront about the theft in no way changes the action.   ================= RE: cortana The similarity is more like a secretary who takes home, and records all information gathered, to use as she sees fi, without oversight. There is no reason cortana, and the other stuff, cannot be confined to the local machine, to learn as the user allows.          
  • ?
  • Installed Windows 10. Hate the interface -> Installed Windows Classic shell. (It's great, I can pin programs to the LEFT side of my start menu again....among other things) Disabled ALL data collection options. Disabled Cortana and prevented the process from running on my PC. Disabled UAC (Via the registry which apparently disabled a bunch of windows 10 specific applications...including the Edge browser)   I don't know why they decided to keep any portion of the Metro interface as I don't know of a single person who likes it, and from the adoption rate of windows 8 I would say that many people outside of those I know dislike Metro as well.