XIT’s Windows Privacy Settings Guide

How to Disable Surveillance and Tracking in Windows? — Guide & Tools

Limit the collection and sharing of data by Microsoft

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Greetings, World! Welcome to XIT. Today I’ll teach ya’ll how to disable surveillance and telemetry in Windows & adjust various settings to limit the collection and sharing of data by Microsoft. It’s important to note that some telemetry is necessary for certain features to work correctly, and completely disabling all telemetry may impact system functionality. However, if you are concerned about privacy and want to minimize data collection, I’ll help you with that today, by providing easy steps you can follow.

Before we start, I highly recommend creating a system restore point before making any changes or experiments with the privacy settings on your Windows system. This precautionary step allows you to revert to a stable state in case any issues arise during the process. For safe testing and modifications, consider using a virtual machine (VM). VMs isolate changes, providing a secure testing environment. You can easily discard or revert the VM without affecting your main system, ensuring a risk-free exploration of Windows customization.

All Set! Let’s begin..

[1] Disable Speech, Inking, Typing & Activity history.

Open Settings, Press Win + I to open the Settings menu.

Go to Privacy Settings, Click on “Privacy.”

In the left sidebar, navigate to the “General” tab. Turn off “Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you.

In the left sidebar, select “Speech, inking, & typing.” Click on “Stop getting to know me.

In the left sidebar, click on “Activity history.” Disable “Let Windows collect my activities from this PC.”

[2] Configure Telemetry Settings

Open Group Policy Editor, Press Win + R to open the Run dialog. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.

In the Group Policy Editor, go to “Computer Configuration” > “Administrative Templates” > “Windows Components” > “Data Collection and Preview Builds.”

Configure Telemetry Level, Double-click on “Allow Telemetry.” Select “Disabled” to turn off telemetry. Click “Apply” and then “OK.”

In the left sidebar, navigate to “Computer Configuration” > “Administrative Templates” > “Windows Components” > “Delivery Optimization.”

Double-click on “Download Mode.” Select “Enabled” and choose “Bypass” for the download mode. Click “Apply” and then “OK.”

[3] Disable Cortana

Cortana is tightly integrated with Windows 10 and collects data. If you don’t use Cortana, you can disable it.

Right-click on the taskbar and select “Cortana” > “Hidden.”

[4] Disable Diagnostic and Data Collection Services

Open Services, Press Win + R to open the Run dialog. Type services.msc and press Enter.

Look for services like “Connected User Experiences and Telemetry,” “dmwappushsvc,” and “Diagnostic Policy Service.” Double-click each service, set the “Startup type” to “Disabled,” and click “Stop.”

[5] Disable Tracking for Language List, Search Results, Settings Suggestion.

Go to Privacy Settings, Click on “Privacy.”

Disable All the options as shown in the screenshot below.

[6] Disable SmartScreen

Open Microsoft Edge. Click on the three horizontal dots in the upper-right corner to open the menu.

Select “Settings.”

Scroll down and click on “View advanced settings.” Under the “Privacy and services” section, find the “Microsoft Defender SmartScreen” option.

Turn off the switch for “Help protect me from malicious sites and downloads with Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.

[7] Disable Location

Open “Settings” (Win + I). Go to “Privacy” and select “Location.”

Toggle off the switch under “Location for this device.”

[8] Disable Camera

Go to “Privacy” and select “Camera”. Toggle off the switch under “Allow apps to access your camera.”

[9] Disable Microphone

Go to “Privacy” and select “Microphone.” Toggle off the switch under “Allow apps to access your microphone.”

[10] Disable Notifications, Contacts, Calendar, Call log, Email, and Tasks

Go to “Privacy” and navigate through the various sections to disable access for notifications, contacts, calendar, call log, email, and tasks.

[11] Disable SMS and MMS Access

Go to “Privacy” and select “Messaging.” Toggle off the switch under “Let apps read or send messages.”

[12] Control Access to Radio Modules and Other Wireless Devices

Go to “Devices” and then “Bluetooth & other devices.”

Toggle off Bluetooth if not needed. For other wireless devices, disable or configure their settings in respective sections.

[13] Limit Telemetry in the Registry

Open the Registry Editor (Win + R, type regedit, and press Enter).

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection.

Create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named “AllowTelemetry” and set its value to 0.

[14] Disable Background Apps

Go to “Privacy” and select “Background apps.” Toggle off the switch under “Let apps run in the background.”

BONUS: TOOLS

You can also use third-party programs to do the above steps and lot more. But, before running any of the external program firstly open the Start menu, type “Create a restore point,” and select the corresponding result.
Click on the “Create” button, follow the prompts, and create a restore point. This will help you restore the system to current status if any issue arrives.

[A] DWS (Destroy Windows Spying)

Visit https://getwpd.com/ and download the latest version of DWS.
Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install the program.

DWS provides various options to disable Windows 10 telemetry and surveillance features. Go through each options like Privacy, Blocker & Apps to disable the unwanted services.

Disable Windows Firewall & other unwanted Privacy & App Services.

[B] O&O ShutUp

Visit https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10 and download the latest version of O&O ShutUp. Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install the program.

Before using O&O ShutUp10, create a system restore point as mentioned in the previous step. Launch O&O ShutUp10 with administrator privileges. O&O ShutUp10 presents a list of settings that you can enable or disable. Review these settings to customize your privacy preferences. Click on the “Actions” menu and choose “Apply all settings.” Confirm any prompts.

Reboot your computer to ensure that the changes take effect.

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