Windows 10 hasn’t been in the spotlight since Microsoft’s launchthe latest operating system, in October 2021. Windows 11 reached wide deployment earlier this year after a six-month spread of rollout, meaning it’s now ready for everyone . ( if you’re ready.) However, there are plenty of people who are unable or uninterested in upgrading. And like any operating system, Windows 10 has a few default settings that aren’t ideal.
Some are just annoying (you don’t really need Cortana to “get to know you”), while others slow down your device, show you tons of notifications and ads, and collect more of your information than you’re comfortable with. As long as Windows 10 is still powering your computer, it’s worth checking outto make sure your runs as good as possible.
You’ll want to spend just a few minutes researching these settings and possibly disabling them for the sake of privacy, speed, and convenience. Here are seven default settings you can disable in Windows 10. (You can also check out someand .)
File sharing updates
A feature that Windows 10 has added is awhich allows you to download updates from other Windows 10 computers over the Internet (not just from Microsoft’s servers). The catch is that your computer is also used as a hub for sharing updates for other Windows 10 users.
This feature is enabled by default, but you can disable it by going to Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options > Delivery Optimization and turn off Allow downloads from other PCs.
Theis a convenient central hub for all your notifications — apps, reminders, recently installed programs. But notification overload is definitely a thing, especially if you add unnecessary notifications (like Windows tips) to the mix.
To take control of your notifications, go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions.
Turn off things like “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions when you use Windows” or “Show me the Windows welcome experience after updates and occasionally when I sign in to highlight what’s new and suggested” and any unwanted notifications from separate apps.
Start menu ads
Microsoft is pushing its Windows Store apps — so much so that you might see apps you never downloaded in your Start menu. These suggested apps are in fact advertisements.
Disable these annoying ads by going to . to go Settings > Personalization > Start > Occasionally show suggestions in Start. For more information, check out our.
Targeted ads from third-party apps
Microsoft certainly keeps track of your preferences and browsing behavior in Windows 10. You even have a unique advertising ID (linked to your Microsoft account), which the company uses to show you targeted ads. Oh, and Microsoft also shares this advertising ID profile with third-party apps from the Windows Store, unless you turn off information sharing.
You can disable sharing of this type of information by going to . to go Settings > Privacy > General and turn off Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app activity (disabling this will reset your ID).
Cortana ‘getting to know you’
Cortana, your adaptive personal assistant in Windows 10, gets quite personal with the information it collects about you, such as speech and handwriting patterns and typing history, which you might consider a little scary.
You can prevent Cortana from “getting to know you” and erase that information from your device by going to . to go Settings > Privacy > Draw & Type and disable the option.
Apps running in the background
By default, Windows 10 has many apps running in the background (even if you don’t have them open). These apps can receive information, send notifications, download and install updates and otherwise consume your bandwidth and your battery. If you are using a mobile device and/oryou may want to disable this feature.
Go to Settings > Privacy > Background apps and either turn off Let apps run in the background or disable each app individually.
Windows 10 is all about sync. Everything (system settings, themes, passwords, search history) is synced by default across all your signed-in devices. But we don’t all want our search history synced between our phones and our computers, so here’s how to turn off syncing.
To disable syncing of settings (including themes and passwords), go to Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings. You can disable syncing of all settings, or you can selectively disable specific settings.
Look for more on theand everything to know .