Steps To Limit Giving Away Personal Data to Microsoft

Just like other tech giants, Microsoft might also use your data when you use Windows 10. No one likes intrusion, but can we escape it? Most of the computer using generation use Windows, and with support ending for Windows 7 in 2020, people have no choice but to upgrade.

Well, if you agree on the intrusion thing, then you surely want to prevent Microsoft from sneaking up on you and collecting personal data, if it collects any. For that, you need to make changes to your privacy settings.

If you have still not upgraded but planning to, then you must know if you choose Express settings, it means giving permission to Microsoft to collect your data. We don’t want that, do we?

So, to avoid that, you need to make necessary changes while the installation or even already have installed Windows 10 version.

Note: While installing Windows 10, it is important that you read all the options so that you get the kind of settings you like on your Windows computer.

Don’t Go For Express Settings

This will help people who have not installed Windows 10 yet. Go for Custom Settings instead of Express Settings. This will allow making necessary changes in privacy settings.

This will give you complete control of information that you might want or don’t want to be accessed by Microsoft. You can also choose not to store your data on the cloud, you can simply choose not to login with Microsoft account.

Restrict Cortana

Microsoft’s digital assistant can be proved to be useful at customizing a lot of things such as sending emails, calendar events, contacts, reminders and more. Irrespective of the advantages, indexing and storing of information locally and in the cloud is a giveaway as the stored data can be accessed by Microsoft.

You can restrict Cortana’s functionality by disabling its options. For that, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows and I to open Settings.
  • Choose Cortana.
    Restrict Cortana
  • In the left panel, you will get four options and a different on/off toggles in the right.
    Restrict Cortana -1
  • Talk to Cortana, you can disable Hey Cortana, Lock screen, and Keyboard shortcuts.

Permission & History

You can modify what Cortana knows about in the cloud and can control that information easily.
Permission & History-1

  • When Cloud Search is enabled, you can access your data, irrespective of the place you stored. You can disable it to keep your data secure.
  • Don’t let Cortana save searches in apps, history and settings by disabling My search history, and My device history.
  • You can control what Cortana tracks and how it collects your data, go to Permissions & History-> Manage their information Cortana can access from this device-> here you can disable
  • Location – stops tracking the current location
  • ‘Contacts, email, calendar, & communication history’ – prevent Cortana from accessing Contacts, email and Calendar.
  • Browsing history – stops Cortana from using & collecting browsing history.



You can disable Send notifications between devices to control privacy. It will stop Cortana from sharing notifications with Windows device through the cloud.

Turn Off Personalization

If you don’t want Cortana to collect data and clear existing data, then you need to log out Cortana from all devices. For that, follow these steps:

Press Windows and I to get Settings icon.

Go to Cortana-> Personalize-> Microsoft account. Now Sign out.

Disable Ad Tracking

As we already discussed that with Express Settings, you allow the operating system to track your activities and personal data.

The data collected is given to ad partners, who take advantage of the information to display ads to you within Windows and online as well.

Follow these steps to stop ad tracking:

  • Press Windows and I to get Settings app.
    Disable Ad Tracking
  • Head to Privacy->General (located at the right side of the panel.
    Disable Ad Tracking-1
  • Locate ‘Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app usage’ and disable it.

Disable Location Tracking

If location tracking option is enabled, your Windows & apps on it can track your location, be it on a computer or any other device. If you wish to stay anonymous, then you must disable Location. For that, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows and I key to get Settings.
    Disable Location Tracking
  • Then head to Privacy-> Location->Location for this device. Disable it.
    Disable Location Tracking-1
  • You can also delete Location History, then press Clear button.
    Disable Location Tracking-2

Manage App Access to Different Information

You can also manage different kinds of information which allow you to identify whether you want to allow apps to get information or not. You can get this information under Settings-> Privacy.
Manage App Access to Different Information

  • Account Info
  • Calendars
  • Contacts
  • Call History
  • Tasks
  • Email
  • Radios
  • Text Messages
  • Other Devices

You can disable them to block apps to access particular information. This will improve your privacy and protects personal data from Microsoft.

Control Feedbacks & Diagnostics
Control Feedbacks & Diagnostics

You can also control how much user data and diagnostics will be transferred to Microsoft. You can either disable the option or choose a Basic option to allow less amount of data. This amount of data is sufficient to keep your Windows secure and updated.

You can also disable ‘Let Microsoft provide more tailored experiences with.’,

‘Feedback frequency’ option, can also be customized to. Never or Automatically.

So, these are the few privacy settings that you need to customize to control the data collected or managed by Microsoft. Liked the article? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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