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Windows 10 upgrade: Don't use Express settings if you value your privacy

Jared Newman | Aug. 1, 2016
Take the time to customize typing, browsing, and other settings from the get-go.

After Windows 10 setup, toggle this feature by going to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, clicking Manage Wi-Fi Settings, and unchecking “Connect to suggested open hotspots.”


Automatically connect to networks shared by your contacts.

This setting lets you connect to any network that’s been accessed by your contacts on Facebook, Skype, and—and vice versa—without having to enter a password. It’s part of a broader set of features called Wi-Fi Sense, and it stirred up a controversy due to security concerns. Microsoft may be killing this feature in a future Windows update, but for now you’ll have to disable it during setup.

To disable this setting after Windows 10 setup, head to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, and click Manage Wi-Fi Settings (the same menu pictured above). Uncheck the “Connect to networks shared by my contacts” option, and uncheck all the boxes under “For networks I select, share them…”

Automatically connect to hotspots temporarily to see if paid Wi-Fi services are available.

This feature would come in handy if you’re at an airport or other public space and are willing to buy premium Wi-Fi access, but don’t want to dig through a list of other nearby hotspots to find the paid option. Again, turn this off if you’re comfortable connecting to Wi-Fi networks on your own.

To disable this feature after Windows setup, head to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, and click Manage Wi-Fi Settings (the same menu pictured above). Scroll down to Paid Wi-Fi services, and turn off the toggle underneath.

Send full error and diagnostic information to Microsoft

This setting helps Microsoft fix bugs in Windows 10, but there’s a trade-off: It allows the company to collect extensive data about your PC, including personal data from your own content. Microsoft says it only collects this data when it needs to diagnose a specific problem, and only from a small sampling of affected PCs. The company also says it won’t use this data for identification, contact, or targeted ads. Theoretically, this information should benefit all Windows 10 users, but Microsoft is asking for a lot of trust in return.

You can disable this feature in Windows setup, but Microsoft will still collect data about the third-party software you’ve installed, and about how you use certain features and apps. This “Enhanced” level of data collection is largely for diagnostic purposes, but Microsoft says it will also use the data to provide “a more personalized Windows experience.”

There’s no way to stop Microsoft from collecting any diagnostic data, but you can minimize the data collection after setup by going to Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics. Find the drop-down menu under Send your device data to Microsoft, and select “Basic.”


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