Users of Microsoft Windows 10 have noticed it's been continually sending data back to Microsoft's servers even if services like OneDrive or Cortana are disabled in the days following its release. This could be a danger to the user's privacy or your company's data.
For example, Windows 10 collects every keystroke you make in order to improve spell checking. Imagine what would happen if the keystroke information were to be leaked? Revealing the user's every keystroke? This could present a huge risk for businesses and corporations. When you use Windows 10, you could be sharing more information with Microsoft and their associates than you may be comfortable with.
Online cloud servers aren't nearly as secure as they used to be, and they've been repeatedly compromised by 'black hat' hackers and government agents. For anyone who wants to have complete control over their important data, it's a challenge to figure out what to do. Leaving their data under Microsoft's control may seem like their only option.
In the modern age, that's the way computers work. Users want improved services and smarter search results. They expect their devices to be able to answer anything. But to do this, corporations need access to their computer for the collection and processing of data, as well as automatic updates to virtualization software. These data collection features aren't entirely optional anymore; they're the new default. And anyone who values their privacy is going to have a very hard time using modern systems.
This isn't the same Windows that you've used in the past. This is an operating system that relies on the cloud to store the user's keystroke data, targeted advertisement data, and other important information. Here are some tips on how to set up Windows 10 to share a bit less of your data, and be far more secure.
First, go to your settings screen, and click 'privacy'. There you will find roughly a dozen different privacy settings tabs. The most important settings are under the 'general' tab. The other tabs are related to which apps can access your microphone, camera, private messages, and other devices. There are also a number of downloadable tools to remove the data and tracking features in Windows 10.
To disable keystroke tracking, go to the 'speech, inking & typing' tab. Then disable the "getting to know me" features, this will disable keystroke logging. However, this will also disable the personal assistant, Cortana. Which needs to gather enormous amounts of data in order to provide relevant search results, to better understand the user's preferences and to display more relevant targeted advertisements.
You may also want to look at the other tabs to make sure that Microsoft has as much access as you're comfortable with. Make sure to go through each and every setting even if they look innocent enough. Because, by default, every privacy setting is set up to give Microsoft and their partners the maximum possible level of access. Which could seriously jeopardize your data.
Another method to improve your security is by removing the Microsoft account from a Windows 10 system, and using a new local account instead. Then Microsoft can't collect as much of the user's data. However, this will also disable syncing across devices, and may make logging in if a user forgets their password more difficult.
While Windows 10 is far more user-friendly and more convenient than Microsoft's previous operating systems, it gathers far more personal data to be processed and used for targeted advertising and other online features, data which could potentially be exploited or stolen. There are several ways to combat this, such as changing the privacy settings, replacing the Microsoft account with a local account, disabling Cortana, or even using a different operating system.