Have Windows 10 privacy issues gone away or have people either forgotten about them or just got used to them? They certainly aren’t in the news as much these days.
It is true that Windows 10 shares more of your personal information and PC usage than previous versions of the operating system, and this worries some users. They say it is wrong and it should not happen, but others are not so concerned, partly because sharing a little data makes Windows apps and services better, and partly because these days there are so many ways of tracking your behaviour that it is hard to be anonymous anyway. Web browsers, internet usage, mobile phone usage, tablet usage, even your smartwatch and much more is all tracked by someone, somewhere.
The only way you are going to avoid information sharing is to never connect to the internet and that is hard to imagine in today’s world. We rely on internet services so much that little would work without being connected.
If the privacy issues and information sharing in Windows 10 are still keeping you awake at night, there is an increasing number of tools that can solve the problem, such as Windows Privacy Tweaker and AntiSpy for Windows 10. (Other privacy tools include ShutUp10 and Spybot Anti-Beacon.)
Although they both aim to increase your privacy, they offer different features. The simpler of the two is AntiSpy for Windows 10 from Ashampoo. This presents many the privacy options in the Windows 10 Settings app in one place.
It has brief, but adequate descriptions of each of the settings, and simple on/off switches next to each one. A menu at the top enables you to deselect all settings, set recommended settings or the default settings. It is super simple, but it does not go any further than replicating the settings in Settings.
Windows Privacy Tweaker has five tabs, although most of what you need is on three of them. The Services tab lists the services that can affect your privacy. It shows the name, status and description. The descriptions are hard to read because they are all on one line and they disappear off the right side of the window, leading to much scrolling back and forth if you want to read them.
The Task Scheduler tab shows tasks that have been scheduled (obviously), and the name, status and path is displayed. The Registry tab lists registry settings that affect privacy. The names of values or keys are displayed.
Tick boxes next to all the items are used enable or disable services, tasks and registry settings. The utility uses red and green to indicate good and bad settings, so you could simply go through them all and change all the red ones to green.
The problem is that most people will not know what many these items do. The names are often obscure and where there are descriptions, such as with the services, they might not mean much to some people. If you turned everything green, then some features in Windows that you might rely on will cease to work. You really need to know what effect turning something off will have.
Windows Privacy Tweaker is great for knowledgeable experts, but it is not for ordinary folk and it is just too complicated. AntiSpy is the opposite and it is great for novices and anyone can use it. However, it does not go far enough for experts. Choose the utility that matches your skills.