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.
If that sentence sent shudders down your spine, don’t worry. As invasive as it is, Microsoft does allow Windows 10 users to opt out of all of the features that might be considered invasions of privacy. Of course, users are opted in by default, which is more than a little disconcerting, but let’s focus on the solution.
Rock Paper Shotgun has broken things down into four main bullet points that will guide you through regaining control of your personal data.
First, you’ll want to open Settings and click on Privacy. There, you’ll find 13 different screens — yes, 13 — to go through, and you’ll want to disable anything that seems worrying. The blog notes that most of the important settings can be found on the General tab, though other tabs are important as well. For example, you’ll definitely want to adjust what types of data each app on your system can access.
Next, users should consider dumping Cortana. Yes, the voice-driven assistant is easily one of the best new features in Windows 10, but it also plays fast and loose with your data. As a result, many users will find that the benefits do not outweigh the risks.
For the third task, you’ll have to venture outside the confines of your PC and hit the web. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to check out Microsoft’s nifty new Edge browser. In it, click on this link and set both “Personalised ads in this browser” and “Personalised ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” to off. This will disable Microsoft’s Google-style ad tracking features.
The last tip is one that most users will likely forgo, as it is a bit excessive. Rock Paper Shotgun recommends removing your Microsoft account from Windows 10 completely and using a newly made local account instead. This way, Microsoft doesn’t grab hold of all your data to sync it across machines. To us that’s a great and useful feature, but if you want to kill it just follow the link below in our source section for complete instructions and plenty more details."