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Data pro­tec­tion under Win­dows 10

Win­dows 10 analyses var­ious per­sonal data. Data affected here are for instance your e-mail address and con­tents of e-mails received and sent out, per­sonal inter­ests and favourites, pur­chase and pay­ment data, your per­sonal address book, etc.

Many of these data are also trans­mitted to Microsoft. Most of these data trans­mis­sion mech­a­nisms how­ever can be switched off. On the one hand, you should con­sider cer­tain cri­teria when first installing Win­dows 10; on the other, var­ious set­tings can still be adjusted after­wards. Our instruc­tions are meant to assist you with selecting the cor­rect set­tings and to pro­tect your data and all your pri­vate infor­ma­tion in the best pos­sible way.

We have tried to draw up as uni­ver­sally applic­able a set of instruc­tions for pri­vate users as pos­sible. Nev­er­the­less, the indi­vidual con­fig­u­ra­tion options and set­tings may differ in spe­cific cases. These instruc­tions refer to the options avail­able as at 7th August 2020.

Set­tings during Win­dows 10 instal­la­tion

During any Win­dows 10 instal­la­tion, you can already make some deci­sions regarding data pro­tec­tion. You will be asked how exten­sive you would like the amount of diag­nostic data sent back to Microsoft to be. At this point, you can only choose between «Enhanced» and «Basic». To avoid Win­dows sending too many data to Microsoft unin­ten­tion­ally, please select «Basic».

After instal­la­tion, you can per­son­alise cer­tain set­tings. Wait until Win­dows has fin­ished installing, and then change your set­tings.

Set­tings after Win­dows 10 instal­la­tion

Should you already have installed Win­dows 10, you can sub­se­quently adjust set­tings in Win­dows. You will find the rel­e­vant menu under Start (Win­dows logo) > Set­tings (cog) > Pri­vacy.

Gen­eral

To pro­tect your device against def­i­nite iden­ti­fi­ca­tion based on an adver­tising ID allo­cated by Win­dows, switch the first option «off».

You should leave the second option «on». This way, you ensure that web­sites are dis­played in the lan­guage set as the Win­dows system lan­guage where pos­sible.

The third option serves for local improve­ment of Win­dows and be left switched «on». Win­dows can launch apps in fre­quent use by you more quickly this way.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Let apps use adver­tising ID to make ads more inter­esting to you based on your app activity (turning this off will reset your ID)Off
Allow web­sites to pro­vide locally rel­e­vant con­tent by accessing my lan­guage listOn
Allow Win­dows to track apps launches to improve Start and search resultsOn
Show me sug­gested con­tent in the Set­tings appOff

Speech

Win­dows and the Cor­tana voice assis­tant can analyse your voice and improve per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tions that way. Since this allows Win­dows 10 to spy on your cal­endar, con­tact data and sim­ilar, you should switch this option off.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Online speech recog­ni­tionOff

Inking & typing per­son­al­i­sa­tion

Win­dows and the Cor­tana voice assis­tant can analyse your hand­writing and improve per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tions that way. Since this allows Win­dows 10 to spy on your cal­endar, con­tact data and sim­ilar, you should switch this option off.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Get­ting to know youOff

Diag­nos­tics & feed­back

You cannot com­pletely stop Microsoft from col­lecting any data. You can choose whether you would like to transmit few or plenty of data. To transmit as few data as pos­sible, please select: «Required diag­nostic data».

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Diag­nostic dataRequired diag­nostic data
Improve inking and typingOff
Tai­lored expe­ri­encesOff
View diag­nostic dataOff
Delete diag­nostic dataDepending on your require­ments
Feed­back fre­quencyNever

Activity his­tory

Win­dows analyses which appli­ca­tions you have been working with, and offers a his­tory of your activ­i­ties.

If you use a Microsoft account and have cloud syn­chro­ni­sa­tion acti­vated, this will allow you to access the same time­line on sev­eral devices. If you don’t want this, you should switch it off.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Store my activity his­tory on this deviceOff
Send my activity his­tory to MicrosoftOff

Loca­tion

Loca­tion is used by your device to send the loca­tion where you are using it to Microsoft. Loca­tion detec­tion should be switched off.

If loca­tion detec­tion is active, orga­ni­za­tions other than Microsoft can estab­lish your loca­tion, too – in par­tic­ular if you allow apps to access your loca­tion.

Scroll down a little bit, and by clicking on the «Delete» button  any loca­tion data poten­tially sub­mitted so far already can be removed from your device. Whether Microsoft will also then delete them, is not clear.

Should you have loca­tion acti­vated anyway, you can enable or dis­able loca­tion detec­tion for each of your installed apps indi­vid­u­ally as needed. Your loca­tion data will then poten­tially be passed on to the provider of all rel­e­vant apps you acti­vate this for.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Allow access to loca­tion on this deviceOff

Camera

Here you can stop every app auto­mat­i­cally given access to your camera. Switch this option off.

Should you have a camera and would like to allow access to indi­vidual apps, you should do this for each app and enable or dis­able access for each one indi­vid­u­ally.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Allow access to the camera on this deviceOff

Micro­phone

Here you can stop every app auto­mat­i­cally given access to your micro­phone Switch this option off.

Should you have a micro­phone and would like to allow access to indi­vidual apps, you should do this for each app and enable or dis­able access for each one indi­vid­u­ally.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Allow access to the micro­phone on this deviceOff

Voice acti­va­tion

You can only change this set­ting if you have allowed access to a micro­phone above. If this is the case, you can deter­mine whether cer­tain apps are opened and are allowed to record your spoken words.

If you don’t want to con­trol your device by your voice, you should switch every­thing off here.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Allow apps to use voice acti­va­tionOff

Noti­fi­ca­tions

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your noti­fi­ca­tions for all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access for each app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Motion

Since access to this is pri­marily used for per­son­alised adver­tising, it is rec­om­mended to switch this option off.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Acti­vate and use the accelerom­eter or other motion-sensing fea­ture on your deviceOff

Account info

Since this access is pri­marily required for per­son­alised adver­tising, it is rec­om­mended to switch this option off.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Allow access to account info on this deviceOff

Con­tacts

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your con­tacts for all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access for each app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Cal­endar

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your cal­endar for all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access for each app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Tele­phone calls

You can basi­cally allow all apps access to your tele­phone calls or stop them from accessing them. In case you don’t want to pro­hibit access in gen­eral, you can allow or pro­hibit access for every indi­vidual app. You should only allow trust­worthy apps such access.

Call his­tory

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your call his­tory for all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access to every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Email

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your e-mail by all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access to every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Tasks

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your tasks by all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access to every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Mes­saging

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access by all apps to your mes­sages (SMS or MMS) gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access to every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Radios

You can basi­cally enable or dis­able access to your radios (Blue­tooth, etc.) by all apps gen­er­ally. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access to every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Other devices

An auto­matic exchange of infor­ma­tion, for instance inside a public Wi-Fi net­work, poses a serious secu­rity risk. You should there­fore switch this option off.

Please note how­ever that con­tact­less pay­ments using a smart­phone (with Win­dows 10 mobile phones) are no longer pos­sible this way.

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Com­mu­ni­cate with unpaired devicesOff

Back­ground apps

Microsoft terms a pro­gram a «back­ground app» if it always remains up-to-date, even if you are not actively using it. With­drawing this right from an app can help you save power. Par­tic­u­larly with mobile devices, this will make for a longer bat­tery life. How­ever, these set­tings have nothing to do with data pro­tec­tion. You can set this option as required by you.

App diag­nos­tics

As per their default set­tings, apps also transmit many diag­nostic data to Microsoft. It is rec­om­mended to switch this option «off».

OptionOur rec­om­men­da­tion
Allow access to app diag­nostic info on this deviceOff

Auto­matic file down­loads

Has been deac­ti­vated as per your set­tings above.

Doc­u­ments

You can enable or dis­able access to your doc­u­ment libraries by all apps overall. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access by every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Pic­tures

You can enable or dis­able access to your pic­ture libraries by all apps overall. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access by every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Videos

You can enable or dis­able access to your video libraries by all apps overall. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access by every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

File system

You can enable or dis­able access to all your files, including your doc­u­ments, images, videos and local OneDrive files, overall. If you don’t want to gen­er­ally stop all access, you can enable or dis­able access by every app indi­vid­u­ally. Access should only be granted to trust­worthy apps.

Data pro­tec­tion dash­board

To guar­antee the trans­parency of all data col­lected, Microsoft offers a data pro­tec­tion dash­board which lists all infor­ma­tion stored. You can also delete these details as long as you are logged in via a Microsoft account.

Your data pro­tec­tion dash­board is avail­able via this link: https://account.microsoft.com/privacy

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