Top 5 Free Windows 10 Privacy Tools You Should Download Now
While acquiring telemetry from users is useful for developers in making improvements to systems and software, it sometimes appears to be excessive. This has become more evident than ever since the introduction of Windows 10 and, in the interests of your own privacy, you may feel more comfortable with some control over the constant phone home functionality Microsoft uses upon collecting your data.
There are a number of Windows 10 privacy applications available to disable telemetry and gain control over what you share. They work with the Windows Application Programming Interface or API but are small and portable, therefore have little impact on the operating system itself. The developers update their products regularly to stay in line with Windows updates, and some applications have additional privacy-related tools. Here are the top five free Windows 10 privacy tools.
Free anti-spy Windows 10 privacy tool lets you control your operating system
O&O ShutUp 10 enables you to disable any Windows 10 telemetry, or even all of it. To prevent any loss of functionality, the program provides recommendations on the safety level of deactivating specific options.
Very simple to use, the ShutUp10 interface displays and categorizes all your Settings complete with on/off toggles. At right a column features color-coded yes (red), no (green) and limited (yellow) recommendations. On the menu bar an ‘Actions’ tab enables you to select Apply only recommended settings, Recommended and somewhat recommended settings, Apply all settings, Undo all changes or Create a restore point.
A simple on/off system that anybody can use safely, ShutUp10 allows you to:
- Adapt security settings
- Protect privacy
- Control location services
- Prevent the passing on of your data/diagnostics
The application supports all Windows 10 versions and requires administrator privileges.
Adjust your privacy settings, customize Windows Firewall and remove unwanted applications with Windows Privacy Dashboard
An easy to use Windows 10 privacy application, WDP provides all the information you need on your various settings before you make the decision to disable or enable them.
The interface provides icon buttons to access WPD’s three functions in a panel at left enabling you to conveniently switch configuration windows as you require them. Select the Privacy Settings icon to access Windows 10 privacy tools. You’ll be presented with all your settings with individual on/off toggles and help icons which describe the function of the specific setting. There is a bulk changes option to disable all features or reset them to the default.
The second icon in the left-hand panel opens the Firewall Settings window where you can block Windows 10 updates and the third one is the Uninstaller. You can uninstall the Microsoft applications installed by the OS. However, once removed, there is no re-install option.
All recent versions of Windows 7 and up are supported and .NET Framework 4.5+ is required.
Hundreds of options to control telemetry and tracking
The main focus of W10Privacy is providing access to the settings that Microsoft hides away making it difficult and time-consuming for you to change yourself.
Covering all these settings, the interface of the Windows 10 privacy application displays many category tabs. Each of these tabs clicks through to a window listing current settings for the options in that category with checkboxes to enable them.
If administrative privileges are required the option is preceded by an exclamation point. A warning message displays if you attempt to change the setting whether from not having them or from not having set Run as Administrator in the context menu before launching the program.
At the bottom of the window, a Set changed settings button enables you to make your changes. A log file of changes is created which can be accessed from the File menu. The program has a red, green and yellow “traffic light” system to provide recommendations and warnings on making changes and full information on the function of a setting can be obtained by hovering over it.
Block telemetry data, Windows updates, personalized ads, and more
Spybot Anti-Beacon addresses protecting your privacy including the eliminating the telemetry of browsers, phone home functioning of software, and removing Windows installed applications.
The Windows 10 Privacy tool presents you with a customizing process. Click the center wheel or the ‘Customize‘ button at lower right. The resulting window enables you to set up all the available tracking options as either permitted or blocked using the tabs at the top of the window – None, Minimal, Recommended, and Full. You use the ‘Done‘ tab to immediately apply the options.
The application lists the available immunizers (options) as groups and you select ‘Recommended‘ or ‘Full,’ then ‘Done‘ to start the immunization process. Changes can be undone by re-accessing the customization window, or they can be made to individual settings by clicking them to allow them to be permitted.
Spybot Anti-Beacon is simple to use and works with Windows 7 to 10.
A Windows 10 privacy tool that manages privacy and shreds confidential files, too
Privacy Pal finds all the privacy issues on your system and automatically fixes them using three differing profiles to balance privacy with convenience.
- Basic – provides basic privacy by disabling tracking of your advertising ID, stops Microsoft Store pop-ups and turns Bluetooth advertising off.
- Enhanced – additionally prevents applications from collecting your data by giving you control over the info each application can collect and deleting chat logs.
- Personalized – provides full control to prevent Microsoft from harvesting and data by enabling you to individually control settings.
Once set to your profile, the Windows 10 privacy tool goes to work. The sleek dashboard will display your current protection profile and percentage control. The ‘File Shredder‘ button at the bottom of the screen provides you with the option of securely deleting files. Additionally, Avira Privacy Pal will wipe clean any digital traces, enabling you to quickly remove your browser cache, your download history, etc, with just one click.
Interested in more Privacy tools? Check out our Free Security / Privacy Tools category.