RTRIXIE’S DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO FIXING WINDOWS 10
Disclaimer: Use any of the things listed here at your own risk. If done improperly, they might break your Windows installation, so be sure to know what you’re doing and ideally back up your files beforehand. Everything mentioned here I put together on a ‘works on my machine’-basis, so it might not work for everyone or even break things for you - again, use at your own risk.
This is Richard.
Richard knows that proprietary software like Windows does not respect your freedoms, so he uses obscure GNU/Linux distros instead. And if you ask him about fixing Windows 10, he’ll tell you to stop using it.
But that’s why we’re here: You don’t want to use Linux full time, yet you also aren’t quite comfortable with the multitude of ways Microsoft spies on you in Windows 10 and the general flood of things you don’t want or need.
But fear not! I’ll show you the way.
1: De-NSAing the System Settings
If you haven’t installed Windows 10 yet, you can save yourself a lot of effort from the very beginning. When it asks you whether you want to do an express install, choose no - if you read what it says about the express install, you’ll know why.
In the menu that follows, simply uncheck every option unless you explicitly need one or more of them. Those are some of the main spyware-esque features of Windows 10, so by disabling them then and there you already prevented the worst.
You already express-installed Windows? No problem. You can turn off everything in the settings.
First of all, click Start->Settings
Select Privacy and then General.
Disable everything there.
Now, opt out of personalized ads (they are personalized by collecting your user data). Click “Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization info” like it can be seen at the bottom here, this will take you to Microsoft’s webpage.
Turn off personalized ads.
So far, so good. Now head back into the privacy settings and the other categories to disable (almost) everything, most importantly Location. Also check Background Apps and disable everything you don’t need.
2: Stop Windows from messing with your internet connection
If you didn’t know it yet, Windows 10 does two things by default: Share your wifi passwords with your contacts (including facebook), called WiFi Sense, and steal your bandwidth by uploading windows updates for others in a peer2peer way. You most likely don’t want this, so this is how you disable it:
First, we disable WiFi-Sense.
Go into the settings again, click Network&Internet, then Wi-Fi. There, choose Manage Wi-Fi Settings
There, turn off all options again.
You did it!
Now we’ll take care of the Update bandwidth theft. Again, go into Setting, click Update & Security -> Windows Update.
Click Advanced Options, which is at the bottom. There, click Choose how updates are delivered”
There, switch Updates from more than one place to Off.
3: Turn off Cortana (mostly)
Why? Because Cortana wants all your data and send it to Microsoft. This isn’t even an exaggeration, to ‘improve its service’, Cortana monitors virtually everything you do and use it for. A real privacy nightmare and the NSA’s wet dream..
Click the search bar next to your start button, click the settings symbol and turn off Cortana. If you never agreed to the Cortana terms of service or unchecked everything during the installation the way I recommended, Cortana will already be disabled. Note that if you disable it, it obviously won’t be able to perform the voice commands anymore and the search bar will be limited to your computer and simple web searches.
However, this isn’t the end of it. If you go into the task manager, you’ll see the Cortana process still running and if you kill it, it’ll come right back.
You just successfully stopped Windows 10 from getting to know you more closely than you’d like and snooping on you. But this isn’t everything.
If you want to completely remove the things you don’t want, that’s still very easy, although more in-depth.
To learn how to remove Cortana, Xbox, OneDrive and other unwanted services Windows 10 likes to rub into your face, click HERE for part 2 of my Windows 10 guide.