By default, Windows sends a lot of your information to their servers sometimes without asking you to opt-in. Follow this guide to fix Windows 10 and restore your privacy.
1. During installation
1. Settings customization
2. Use local account with Windows 10
2. On installed system
1. General privacy settings
2. Feedback & diagnostics
3. Windows Update
4. Windows Defender
5. Wi-Fi Sense
6. Cortana & web search
7. Telemetry services
8. Edge browser
1. Do NOT use Express Settings. Click "Customize Settings", and make sure EVERYTHING is turned off.
2. It's strongly preferred that you use a local account with Windows 10. You can do it while "Make it yours" screen appears by clicking "Skip this step". After that it's safe to follow instructions.
1. Head to Settings > Privacy, and disable everything, unless there are some things you really need (like allowing websites access to your language list). At least pay attention to "General", "Speech, inking & typing" and "Location" pages.
2. While within the "Privacy" page, go to "Feedback & diagnostics", select Never in the first box, and Basic in the second box.
3. Head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered, and turn the first switch off.
4. While within the Update & Security page, go to "Windows Defender" and turn off "Cloud based Protection" and "Sample submission".
5. Head to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Wi-Fi settings. Turn off both switches to disable Wi-Fi Sense.
6. Disable Cortana and web search in "Search bar" by clicking on it, going to Settings by pressing on a cog icon, and turning off both switches.
7. To disable telemetry open Command Prompt as administrator by clicking right mouse button on Start button or by pressing Win+X shortcut, and enter the following:
sc delete DiagTrack sc delete dmwappushservice echo "" > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection" /v AllowTelemetry /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
8. It will not be superfluous to set up Edge browser. Open it, then go to More Actions > Settings > View advanced settings. Enable Do Not Track requests and disable search suggestions, page prediction and SmartScreen filter. Make sure that Cortana is switched off too.
If you did everything correctly, this banner will show ads that is not based on your interests and search requests:
9. If you're using Microsoft account, it's preferred to convert it to local account by heading to Settings > Accounts > Your accounts and clicking on Sign in with a local account instead and following the guide.
If you can't do this, turn off sync settings. Head to Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings and switch it off.
Microsoft introduced a lot of new great features in Windows 10 such as Cortana. However, most of them are breaking your privacy. For example if you're using the default settings, each time you start typing in search box in taskbar (to open an application or search for a file on your computer), your local search terms and location are sent to Microsoft, some of which advertise to you.
Windows have to protect user privacy by default. Since it doesn't, you can follow these steps to disable the parts of Windows which are invasive to your privacy.
Does this banner show ads based on your interests? If yes, you have been tracked. Don't forget to enable DNT.