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Windows 10's new privacy feature you need to start using now

Windows 10's new privacy feature you need to start using now
© Rvlsoft | Dreamstime

We really need to be careful these days in protecting our digital lives. Malware, ransomware, phishing attacks and malicious apps seem to be popping up everywhere.

You never know when cybercriminals will decide to attack. Which is why it's important to take every precaution that is possible. Even the operating system you're using can play an important role in your privacy and security.

That's why you need to start using Windows 10's latest privacy feature now. You should also share this article with family and friends so they can start using the feature as well. Simply click the share button on the left side of the article to post it to Facebook.

Controlled folder access

Microsoft is shoring up Windows 10 security by introducing enhancements and changes to its built-in security software, the Windows Defender Security Center.

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (build version 1709), Windows Defender introduces Controlled folder access. This is a feature that was designed to protect your files from malicious apps and malware threats, especially ransomware.

Here's how it works: Once Controlled folder access is enabled, Windows defender will monitor any changes your apps are attempting to make on the files on your controlled folders.

Apps that are not included in your specified whitelist will be denied access. Whenever an unauthorized app attempts to modify a file, Windows Defender will stop it and you will get a notification.

Default user folders like Documents, Pictures, Movies, and Desktop are protected by default but you can also add additional folder locations from within your network including file shares, external storage and mapped drives.

How to enable Controlled folder access

Here's how to enable Controlled folder access in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update:

Open the windows Defender Security Center app then select Virus & threat protection >> Virus & threat protection settings then toggle "Controlled folder access" to On.

To add additional folders, click on "Protected folders" (right below the toggle) then click on "Add a protected folder."

To whitelist apps, click on "Allow an app through Controlled folder access" then click "Add an allowed app" to navigate to app's executable.

Keep in mind that Controlled folder access will only work when Windows Defender is your main security software.

Bonus: Keep reading to learn about more Windows 10 privacy updates that were released earlier this year.

Privacy Dashboard

Windows 10 may be the best Windows operating system yet but it has been widely criticized for collecting and oversharing user data to Microsoft by default.

Privacy advocates are concerned about the myriad of increased telemetry data that Windows 10 is mining from its users. This telemetry data includes location sharing, speech recognition, typing inputs, browsing history, software usage and diagnostics.

In its defense, Microsoft claims that this data collection helps it improve its software and services to deliver personalized experiences, efficient targeted ads and to help keep users safe from software threats.

To further bolster its transparency and to rebuild some of the trust lost due to these privacy concerns, Microsoft has launched a new online Privacy Dashboard that lets you see and monitor all your Microsoft Account activity data across different services.

With this dashboard, you can view and clear Microsoft Edge browsing activity, Cortana and Bing search history, location data and Cortana Notebook items associated with your Microsoft account.

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Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft describes this dashboard as its "first step in expanding the tools that give you visibility and control over your data spanning Microsoft products and services." In time, the company states that it will continue to add more functionality and categories of data to this privacy dashboard.

To access this online privacy dashboard, sign in to your Microsoft Account management page and go to the Privacy section.

Choose your privacy settings

Microsoft also simplified Windows 10's privacy settings in the Windows 10 Creators Update that was released earlier this year.

The update revamped the initial Windows 10 setup to clearly show the important privacy settings that you need to choose from, whether you are upgrading from a previous Windows version or you are already using Windows 10. This setup will replace the "Express settings" option that is currently in Windows 10.

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Photo Credit: Microsoft

Another big change in the Creators Update is the streamlining of the telemetry data that is currently being collected in Windows 10's "Feedback & diagnostics" section. With the update, the section will be dropping the Enhanced level option, cutting it down to two levels, Basic or Full, instead of the current three.

Furthermore, the data collected in the Basic level will be further reduced. To be clear, Microsoft said that this level will still include data that is vital to Windows including device information, what is installed and basic error reporting.

Microsoft said these changes are but "another step" to address user feedback and "help make your experience with Windows and other Microsoft products better and richer."

Windows latest update leaves behind 30GB installation files

Before you proceed with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, make sure you have enough hard drive space.

Click here to learn how to clear out the data it leaves behind. 

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