For all its great new features, Windows 10 isn’t without a few problems and the one that’s on many people’s minds is privacy.
By default, Windows 10’s privacy settings share rather too much personal information than many people are comfortable with. The settings can be changed, but making sense of what each one does and how it affects the way Windows works isn’t easy. Some settings are also less than straightforward to access, which only complicates things further.
Fortunately there is a solution. Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a free third-party app that puts all of Windows 10’s various settings in one place. It can be used for changing more than just privacy settings, too, making it a worthwhile download.
Step 1: Download Ultimate Windows Tweaker
Tip 2: Unzip the downloaded file
The download is a compressed file called UWT4.zip. Find this in your Downloads folder, select it and click the Extract option on the Finder window toolbar — it’s under the pink Compressed Folder Tools heading — and then click the Extract all button.
Step 3: Run Ultimate Windows Tweaker
Accept the default settings in the next window that opens and click the Extract button. A new window will then open that contains the uncompressed Ultimate Windows Tweaker folder. Open the folder and double-click the Ultimate Windows Tweaker program file to run it. The program doesn’t need to be installed, so you can move this folder and its contents to any folder on your PC.
Step 4: Create a System Restore point
Click the Yes button when Windows asks Do you want to allow this app from an unknown publisher… and wait while the app creates a System Protection Restore Point for you. Finally, click the OK button to use the app.
Step 5: Understand the app window
Ultimate Windows Tweaker provides shortcuts to a host of useful Windows 10 information and settings, all accessed via the list of options in the left of its window. There’s quite a lot to take in, so it’s worth investigating the various options at your leisure. Hold the mouse pointer over any option to see a short description about what it does at the bottom of the Ultimate Windows Tweaker window.
Step 6: Select Security & Privacy options
We’re interested in the Security & Privacy options, so click that entry to see what’s available. There’s little of interest in the Security Settings tab and disabling many of the features here will make Windows 10 less secure. So instead click the Privacy tab.
Step 7: Disable Privacy settings
You safely can tick the box for all options on the Privacy tab, but Disable Taskbar Bing Web Search and Disable Cortana will arguably make Windows 10 less useful. As for the rest, read the explanation for each to decide if you want to disable them. Click the Apply button when you’re done to make any changes take effect.
Step 8: If something goes wrong…
Although Ultimate Windows Tweaker doesn’t allow you to change anything that’s likely to stop Windows 10 from working, that’s still always a risk with this kind of app. If that happens, simply restart your PC in Troubleshooting mode and restore Windows using the previously created Restore Point.
Are you concerned about privacy in Windows 10? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Article updated by Jamie Harris on 16/12/2016