How to keep Microsoft Windows 10 from spying on you? Ever since Microsoft released Windows 10, a popular movement grew out of the privacy controversy, people are afraid of the many tracking features within Windows 10, thus the birth of many “anti-spying” apps have sprung up. They promise to keep Windows 10 from tracking you–but often, they can cause more problems than they solve. I do not recommend you use these tools unless you are certain it won’t affect your work station.
Privacy is a far more serious concern than most people realize. Personal data could be used to steal your identity, and your money. It could also allow malicious people to track you or your loved ones and find opportune moments to do harm. Or on a simple level, it could be used to publicize information you just don’t want to be public. In an age where giving up your private info grants you access to some very helpful services and apps, it can seem impossible to protect that data. It is possible though. We’ve compiled a list of key services and apps that help you do just that.
If You’re Not Paying, You’re The Product! Which is somewhat true, since Windows 10 is a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users, Microsoft needs to find a way to generate income, thus the best way to do that is to monitor the behavior of the users – anonymously. Since Windows has a large installation pool base, tracking which domain is popular means making Bing search engine better. Since Microsoft is forbidden by law to track a person personally, these data are collected anonymously, thus no harm allowing them to do so. Possible problems when using these tools.
- Blocking Windows Update, making updating Windows impossible and preventing you from patching important security updates, making your computer vulnerable.
- Possible synchronizing problem with backups, Skype and many more apps that uses the ‘Host Files’ feature.
- Breaking Windows Store, making it impossible to update apps or verify the license.
- Disabling the Windows Defender antivirus, which helps keep Windows 10 secure, and other system components you may actually want, like OneDrive.
↓ 01 – WPD | Free
A small but powerful portable tool working via Windows API. WPD is the most convenient and proper way to customize privacy related settings in Windows.
- Privacy management – Customize Group Policy, Services, Tasks and other settings responsible for data collection and transmission.
- IP Blocker – Block telemetry IP’s using rules from the @crazy-max repository.
- Appx uninstaller – Easy remove pre-installed Microsoft Store garbage or any other app.
↓ 02 – Blackbird | Free
Don’t want Windows spying on your every move? Don’t feel like spending hours messing with privacy settings that ultimately still result in data collection? Think your private information belongs to you and no one else? Or maybe you just want a faster PC and don’t like all the new “features” Windows has to offer. We thought so too, so we made the Blackbird V6.
- Blocks Telemetry Completely – Block Windows spyware, on both the application and network level, without editing the HOSTS file or firewall settings and remove all Windows telemetry updates. Supports Wireless and Ethernet connections, IPv4/IPv6.
- Removes Windows Ads – Remove all Windows built-in advertising and any pre-installed app you want. Stop your PC from downloading and installing sponsored software in the background.
- Restores Privacy – Prevent diagnostic data, passwords, contacts, URL, SMS, handwriting, location, and P2P-update sharing. Remove all unique ID tracking tokens. Disable 60+ data collection tasks and consequently speed up your PC.
- Portable, Restorable, Flexible – No installation, with a focus on leaving the smallest possible footprint, Blackbird is a single, portable exe with granular switches available. Want to restore everything back? We got you covered. Works on Windows Vista, 7, 8/8.1, 10 (Home/Pro/Ent/Edu)
↓ 03 – Win10 Spy Disabler | Free
Win10 Spy Disabler is a very simple Windows OS software that helps you to disable Windows services and programs used to track your activity and to collect data about your usage, disable telemetry and data collection. It seems that Windows 10 may spy on nearly everything you do, according to Microsoft’s privacy statement.
They developed this tool so you can easily disable all services, programs and system settings known to collect data and telemetry. When all changes have been applied, you should reboot the PC. This program should be used only on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (32\64-bit).
↓ 04 – O&O ShutUp10 | Free
O&O ShutUp10 means you have full control over which comfort functions under Windows 10 you wish to use, and you decide when the passing on of your data goes too far. Using a very simple interface, you decide how Windows 10 should respect your privacy by deciding which unwanted functions should be deactivated.
O&O ShutUp10 is entirely free and does not have to be installed – it can be simply run directly and immediately on your PC. And it will not install or download retrospectively unwanted or unnecessary software, like so many other programs do these days! More control over your operating system.
- Adapt your security settings
- Protect your privacy
- Control location services
- Control Windows Updates
- Do not pass on your user data and diagnostics
↓ 05 – W10Privacy | Free
The by default highly questionable set options concerning privacy and data protection in Windows 10 brought me to the idea for the development of this little program. Microsoft generously enables everybody to change the concerning settings, but hides them in countless menus, where a normal user does not want to search for!
↓ 06 – DisableWinTracking | Open Source
Uses some known methods that attempt to disable tracking in Windows 10 such as Telemetry, DiagTrack Log, Services, hosts-file, IP blocking, Windows Defender / WifiSense, and OneDrive.
↓ 07 – Privacy Repairer | Free
Privacy Repairer is a breeze to use. No need to worry about complex and overblown interfaces, as each option comes with just a simple toggle button! And if you are ever lost, detailed information about every option is readily available. And remember, all changes you make are always safely reversible! Privacy Repairer is a tool for Windows 10 designed to protect your privacy.
It comes with almost 60 options engineered to carefully modify your system in a way most beneficial for your privacy. Privacy Repairer is a breeze to use. No need to worry about complex and overblown interfaces, as each option comes with just a simple toggle button! And if you are ever lost, detailed information about every option is readily available. And remember, all changes you make are always safely reversible!
- Privacy protection – Privacy Repairer is a tool for Windows 10 designed to protect your privacy. It comes with almost 60 options engineered to carefully modify your system in a way most beneficial for your privacy.
- Advanced options – Professionals may appreciate advanced options which significantly improve your privacy but may lower your security. For example, disabling “SmartScreen for desktop” will stop leaking what software you download, but may open you to malware as your downloads won’t be checked against an online reputation service.
↓ 08 – Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10 | Free
Windows 10 offers many comfort features such as the virtual assistant Cortana that can make everyday life easier for you. To make this possible, Windows 10 has to collect huge amounts of data. It also analyzes user profiles to display user-tailored ads as Microsoft openly acknowledges. So by default, Windows 10 is set to collect more data than many users would allow. Even the recommended express installation later states that: If you don’t want a particular setting you’ll have to disable it yourself. More system control.
- Configure security settings
- Protect your privacy
- Disable location services
- Prevent Windows® 10 from sending diagnostics and usage data
↓ 09 – Avira Privacy Pal | Free
Optimize over 200 privacy settings with just a few clicks, prevent companies from collecting your personal data, clean up your device’s digital footprint and shred confidential files beyond recovery. Imagine how long it would take to manually fix over 200 privacy issues on your PC – even if you could find them all.
Privacy Pal can do it for you automatically by selecting any of 3 user profiles. Each profile comes with a unique balance of privacy and convenience. They’re free and easy to use. Microsoft stores your personal data to allow firms to create more targeted ads. Privacy Pal’s basic privacy setting prevents this by automatically:
- Disabling your advertising ID tracker
- Switching off pop-ups in the Microsoft Store and Explorer page
- Turning off Bluetooth advertising
↓ 10 – Debotnet | Free
Debotnet is a free and portable tool for controlling Windows 10’s privacy-related settings and keeping your personal data private. Windows 10 has raised several concerns about privacy due to the fact that it has a lot of telemetry and online features, which send your data (sensitive and not) to Microsoft and can’t be disabled.
The Windows 10 default privacy settings leave a lot to be desired when it comes to protecting you and your private information. Whenever I set up a new computer or update a current setup for my family or job, I always carefully go through the privacy settings for each install, making sure to lock it down to make it as private as possible.
- Disable telemetry and online features, which send your data (sensitive and not) to Microsoft
- Choose which unwanted functions you wish to disable
- Uninstall Windows 10’s Built-in Apps
- Debotnet will show you what it’s doing. You have full control, because the executing code can be viewed in a simple text editor
- Debug mode. E.g. the Test mode lets you see which values are twisted in registry, commands executed etc.
- Simple scripting engine for adding custom privacy rules
- Modern and familiar UI, with template support
- Small footprint. No installation required
↓ 11 – Destroy Windows Spying | Open Source
Even though Windows 10 did bring many of the features users expected of it, such as a Start Menu and revamped icons, it also came with several issues and a very important one is related to its tracking behavior. Destroy Windows 10 Spying is one of the many applications that aims to solve this problem. Features.
- Remove all spyware modules
- Remove spying apps
- Add spying domains to hosts file!
- Remove spying services
- Remove Windows 10 Metro Apps
- Support Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and Server 2008-2012 R2
- Remove Office 2016 telemetry
↓ 12 – Spybot Anti-Beacon | Not Free Anymore
Spybot Anti-Beacon is a standalone tool which was designed to block and stop the various tracking (telemetry) issues present in Windows 10. It has since been modified to block similar tracking functionality in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems.
Anti-Beacon is small, simple to use, and is provided free of charge. It was created to address the privacy concerns of users of Windows 10 who do not wish to have information about their PC usage sent to Microsoft. Simply clicking “Immunize” on the main screen of Anti-Beacon will immediately disable any known tracking features included by Microsoft in the operating system.