Strengthening Privacy and Debloating Windows 10 with free tools

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The Windows 10 operating system is widely renowned as one of the better operating systems to come out of Microsoft. With its robust performance and good reliability, it has become the OS of choice for most computer users over the past few years. However, you can still enhance the performance and security features of this operating system by making some adjustments and installing specific programs. Here are some ways to strengthen privacy and de-bloat Windows 10.

Privacy concerns with Windows 10

There are some flaws within the Windows 10 system that if exploited can lead to some major privacy concerns. Examples of these flaws include CVE-2020-0965, a codecs library weakness that can be exploited using a maliciously created image file. Another example is the CVE-2020-0910, which attackers can exploit by creating malware at the guest operating system. There are also multiple vulnerabilities in the memory system that hackers can take advantage of. These flaws are exposed regularly, and Microsoft is constantly finding ways to resolve these issues.

While Microsoft is still working on some of these flaws to prevent identity theft and other privacy issues, it is important that you do your own precautions as well. For instance, there are some issues that may compromise privacy found in Windows that are now being exploited by attackers to retrieve critical private information from unsuspecting users. 2 vulnerabilities in particular, CVE-2020-1020 and CVE-2020-0938, are actively being targeted by exploiters. Unless you pick up crucial updates, these can serve as entry points for hackers.

Finding and exploiting weak points in Windows 10 is a cat-and-mouse affair where Microsoft programmers, those involved in online identity theft, and Windows 10 users are involved. It’s always an ongoing battle to maintain your privacy online. As an internet user, it is prudent that you do your own precautions to protect your private data.

Recommended settings changes people can use to strengthen their privacy

Sure, there are some vulnerabilities with the way Windows 10 is set up right off the box. However, you can do something about it by modifying some of your settings. A lot of these adjustments are surprisingly easy and can greatly help in safeguarding the private information and data of all users of a particular computer.

You can turn off ad tracking in Windows 10 by accessing your privacy options and turning off your advertising ID. You can also sign in using your Microsoft account, access your ad settings, and turn off “see ads that interest you” to ensure your internet usage is not being tracked. You can also turn off location tracking to stop Windows (and possible hackers) to track your exact location at any given time. It is also recommended that you turn off your timeline, a feature that tracks your activities while using your Windows 10 device.

Those are just some of the recommended settings changes you can use to strengthen your privacy. There are more tips out there, so we recommend you read more on this topic.

Recommended software to help make changes in bulk

There are many changes that you must do to enhance the security features of your operating system. Don’t you wish you can streamline the process and improve your privacy within a few minutes? Using a privacy app can help you achieve exactly that. Here are some programs that we can recommend to help you make changes in bulk to your security settings.

Win10Privacy

Win10Privacy is mainly developed to deal with settings deemed by the developers of the program as “highly questionable”. A lot of Windows settings related to privacy are spread-out in different menus and locations, making it a complicated and time-consuming process to fix them. With the help of Win10Privacy, this process is made much easier under a single application. The program displays all settings relevant to your privacy, making it easier for you to access and ensuring you don’t miss out anything. With this program, you can save a lot of time in beefing up your Windows 10 privacy settings.

W10Privacy Software opening screen

The interface has separate categories for the different sections of Windows settings, which include privacy, telemetry, unwanted applications, and more. The severity of the settings are highlighted with different colors, green being non-threatening to red being . On the first run, It recommends you setup a restore point. Some settings might adversely affect some aspects of the Windows operation and restore point allows you to restore your system to a previous state.

O&O ShutUp 10

ShutUp 10 is described as an “anti-spy” tool. With the help of this program, you can have full controls of the functions of your Windows 10 that you want to use. It allows you to draw the line on how much data you want to share online, ensuring that these pieces of information won’t be used against you in an unlawful manner. Among the things that O&O ShutUp10 can do include adjusting your security settings, controlling location services, protection of your privacy, and protection of your user data. Best of all, you can use this program absolutely free of charge.

O&O ShutUp10 Screnshot
O&O ShutUp10 Screnshot

Recommended software to safely uninstall unnecessary software/components

Windows 10 also comes with extra features and components that doesn’t really give any functional benefit. Also known as bloatware, these programs take up a lot of functional space in your computer and can drag down performance. Programs have been created for Windows 10 that can help in de-bloating your OS and improve your PC’s performance. Here is one example of a program that can do exactly that.

BCUninstaller

The BCUninstaller, short for “Bulk Crap Uninstaller”, is an open-source program designed to remove unwanted applications from your system in the quickest time possible. It gathers information about all of the software installed on your current system and utilizes advanced automation techniques to uninstall them. Along with uninstalling program, it can also find residual contents like files and registry entries that are not removed with regular uninstallation. with little to no user input and give you the option to remove them.

Bulk Crap Uninstaller for Windows
Bulk Crap Uninstaller for Windows

It can detect almost all software, games, and even portable and standalone applications by scanning your system. Then you can select the ones you do not need and it will perform the uninstalling for you in the easy steps. You can also create automated uninstall features for your convenience. Best of all, you can install and use this program absolutely free!

Conclusion

The Windows 10 operating system can be modified in such a way that you can maximize your online privacy. Even as identity theft practices and other privacy/security issues are becoming rampant, some smart practices can help you avoid these potential issues. By using the techniques and recommendations mentioned here, you can improve the overall security of your OS without compromising its usability or any of its important features. Use these modifications, surf safely, and you can protect your private info online.

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