Ah, the joys of setting up a new computer. A blank canvas, there's nothing like starting fresh with a clean slate and experiencing a Windows 10 machine like it's straight out of its box.
But with the wealth of tweakable options you now have on a new PC or after a fresh install, it can get overwhelming just to get it going the way you want it. I've been there before, and these are the basics I found to be absolutely essential for personalization and privacy.
1. Set up a Microsoft account
Right off the bat, Windows 10 will ask you to link a Microsoft account either by signing in with an existing one or by creating a new one. If you're creating a new account, you can use any email address, even a non-Microsoft email address, as long as it's a valid one.
Linking a Microsoft account with your Windows 10 machine has a range of benefits. It syncs your data across Microsoft services such as OneDrive files, apps from the Windows Store, Skype accounts, Bing and Cortana personalized data, Office files, email, activation data, etc. It's the way Microsoft intended Windows 10 to be experienced - a system that utilizes the cloud for convenience.
Typically, going with "Express settings" upon setup and linking a Microsoft account is the fastest way to get your Windows 10 machine up and running. However, since this relies on personalization data, it also sends a myriad of information back to Microsoft.