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Reclaim your privacy in Windows 10 with Microsoft's new features

Reclaim your privacy in Windows 10 with Microsoft's new features
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No matter how good the reviews have been for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system since it rolled out two years ago, there are a couple of huge problems that still dog Microsoft, and irritate users like you.

Microsoft has had problems with your privacy. In fact, Windows 10 may be the worst offending OS ever, when it comes to collecting all sorts of sensitive information from you, whether you know it or not.

Microsoft has been harshly criticized for its privacy practices and threatened with lawsuits, notably by European regulators. In the meantime, the Electronic Freedom Foundation has criticized Microsoft for sending "an unprecedented amount of usage data back to Microsoft" and for disregarding how you want your data collected.

What's changing?

Microsoft is taking two big steps toward fixing these problems. In January, Windows 10 made it easier to see and adjust your privacy settings with its privacy dashboard.

"When you are signed in with your Microsoft account, you can go to account.microsoft.com/privacy to review and clear data such as browsing history, search history, location activity, and Cortana’s Notebook – all in one place," Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, wrote on his blog earlier this year.

Soon, instead of multiple pages of confusing privacy settings, there will be five choices in its basic setting on one screen: Location, Speech Recognition, Diagnostics, Tailored Experiences with Diagnostic Data, and Relevant Ads.

When you turn these on or off, Windows 10 displays a simple explanation of how doing so will affect you.

When will you see these new features?

Some Windows 10 users are now testing these settings. You'll have access when the Windows 10 Creators Update is released in a few weeks.

Plus, have you been the victim of Microsoft's irritating updates? When Microsoft issues updates, whether it's to its operating system, security features or other functions, you don't often have much say when it happens. Suddenly, at the worst time, your computer is idled for minutes or hours as it issues updates on its schedule, not yours.

Microsoft is promising to give you more choice when it comes to installing updates. You'll be able to choose when you want those updates installed. If that time turns out to be inconvenient, you can choose to "snooze" the update for another time.

In the meantime, while we all wait for the Windows 10 Creators Update to roll out, there is another pressing update from Microsoft you need to install. It doesn't fix all of the security problems, but it's still worth patching your system. Click here for details on Microsoft's latest security patch, and the areas it covers.

More tips for Windows 10 users

Personalize your Windows 10 desktop

Microsoft adds new Windows 10 feature to crack down on problematic bloatware

How to change default apps in Windows 10

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