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Windows 10 privacy settings: What’s new in the Creators Update

Windows 10 privacy is a contentious issue. This is in part because Windows 10 is integrated with cloud-based features like Cortana, and it has features influenced by mobile such as determining your location. Then there’s Microsoft’s more questionable goals, like scooping up diagnostic data and gathering information for better ad-targeting.

In previous versions of Windows 10, managing privacy was, to put it mildly, an insane process. Settings were strewn all over the operating system and the web.

Privacy isn’t much better in the recently released Creators Update, but Microsoft has consolidated its web-based privacy information related to a user’s Microsoft Account. In addition, privacy settings on the PC are a little more helpful.

We’ve already covered the Creators Update privacy dashboard that users see during an upgrade from a previous version of Windows 10 or installing the OS for the first time. In this article, we’ll discuss the privacy settings users will see on a daily basis in the Creators Update.

Microsoft Account dashboard

windows10onlineprivacydashboard Ian Paul/IDG

Microsoft Account online privacy settings.

Microsoft released a web-based privacy dashboard in January. Users will see it more often with the Creators Update, however, because there are more direct links to this webpage built-in. This dashboard includes items such as a user’s browsing history in Microsoft Edge, search history, location data, and the Cortana Notebook. 

To access the online privacy dashboard go to account.microsoft.com/privacy and log in. One of the handiest pieces in this section is the ability to clear the location activity in one click. Go to the location section and look for the Clear location activity button on the right-hand side.

The Settings app

cuprivacysettings Ian Paul/IDG

The Privacy section of the Settings app in the Creators Update.

The changes to the Privacy section of the Settings app in the Creators Update are mostly subtle. There’s the usual left-hand navigation pane to scroll through all the privacy categories, including location, camera, microphone, the new tasks feature, and many others.

The most significant change is that each privacy screen in the Settings app now has a sub-heading titled Know your privacy options, with a Learn more link underneath. Clicking Learn more takes you to Microsoft’s online privacy pages with a description for each setting. This is the explanation of Windows 10’s general privacy settings, for example.

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