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Windows 10 quick tips: How to protect your privacy

Preston Gralla | Feb. 1, 2016
Worried about possible privacy problems in Windows 10? Here are some quick ways to protect your data.

You can turn it off on a user-by-user basis as well -- so if you have several people with different accounts using the same device, they can each turn location tracking on or off. To turn location tracking on or off for any single account, sign into the account, head back to this same screen and, instead of clicking Change, go to the slider beneath the word "Location" and move it to On or Off.

Finally, this doesn't have to be all or nothing affair -- you can turn off location tracking on an app-by-app basis. If you want your location to be used only for some apps and not others, make sure location tracking is turned on, then scroll down to the "Choose apps that can use your location" section. You'll see a list of every app that can use your location. Move the slider to On for the apps you want to allow to use your location -- for example, Weather or News -- and to Off for the apps you don't.

When you turn off location tracking, Windows 10 will still keep a record of your past location history. To clear your location history, scroll to "Location History" and click Clear. Even if you use location tracking, you might want to clear your history regularly; there's no automated way to have it cleared.

Hey, Cortana, don't invade my privacy

Cortana is a very useful digital assistant, but there's a trade-off in using it: To do the job well, it needs to know things about you. You have a number of options for how to handle that, from turning it off completely, to only stopping some of its information-gathering.

Let's start with the simplest: Turning it off. Click in the Cortana search box on the lower left of the screen; then from the menu that appears, click the notebook icon (it's the third from the top) and click Settings. To turn Cortana off, move the top slider from On to Off.

cortana settings
It's not difficult to turn Cortana off: Click in the search box, click on the notebook icon on the left, click Settings and move the slider from On to Off.

That will stop Cortana from gathering information about you in the future, but what it already knows will still be stored in the cloud. To delete that information, click in the Cortana search box on the lower left of the screen and from the menu that appears, click the notebook icon, click Settings and then click "Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud."

You'll be asked to sign into your Microsoft account. Then you can clear the personal information Cortana and other Microsoft services such as Bing Maps has gathered about you under several categories: Interests (for example, Finances, News or Sports); Saved places; Search history; and Other Microsoft services.


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