Shut up, Windows 10! Here is a free must-have tool to protect your privacy.

If you install Windows 10 with the default "Express Settings" then it will collect a plethora of data from you and send it to Microsoft and "trusted partners": Not only whatever you ask Cortana (Microsoft's version of Apple's Siri or Google Now), but also what you type or write by hand, where you are, what networks you connect to, what you search for and more...

Sure, they are not alone with this: Google does it with Android, Apple with iOS devices, and - if you ask them - they all collect the data only to optimize the personalized services that they offer you for free. Really for free? No, you pay with your data ... However, more and more people are concerned about data privacy and want to have a choice about what data they disclose. Recently I stumbled over a great tool that helps those people when using Windows 10.

The tool is called ShutUp10 and is offered by the German software company O&O. You can download it for free and without any registration required. Furthermore it is portable and does not need to be installed.

After you launch the tool it will provide an easy-to-use GUI with a large number of configurable options grouped by six different categories: Security, Privacy, Location Services, User Behavior, Windows Update and Miscellaneous. Clicking on each of the settings will display a detailed explanation of their purpose.

The majority of the settings are also accessible through more or less hidden configuration dialogs in the Windows Settings, but this tool makes them available altogether and lets you choose from predefined sets of settings to apply: Recommended settings, Recommended and limited recommended settings, all settings and factory default. Here is a screenshot of all available settings:

This will be an eye-opener for a lot of people who have not been aware of what amount of data Windows 10 is collecting from them.

If you asked me then I'd say that this nice little gem should be in every Windows 10 user's tool set!

This post first appeared on the VMware Front Experience Blog and was written by Andreas Peetz. Follow him on Twitter to keep up to date with what he posts.

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