One of the most controversial things about Windows 10 is its telemetry collection. Windows uses telemetry to identify security problems and fix software problems. There is so much telemetry collection in Windows 10 that it is simply amazing. Of course, there may be good intentions, such as improving Windows 10 features and services, behind data collection.
However, not everyone is excited about this. Add to that, although Microsoft is slowly adding the required options, Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to fully control what data to share and what not to share. So, if you don’t like Windows 10’s extensive data collection and constant home calls, here are some of the best Windows 10 privacy tools to block it.
Note: Before using any of the following Windows 10 privacy tools, I highly recommend create a system restore point in Windows 10 or even a full backup. This is because the following tools can edit the registry values, the hosts file, and other system files to achieve the settings you configure. In the event of any mishap, you can restore to a known good state.
Also, due to the nature of the applications, antivirus software may display warnings. Those are false positives and you can safely ignore them.
Best Windows 10 Privacy Tools
1. O&O ShutUp 10
O&O ShutUp 10 is one of the most popular software that gives you the ability to disable all available Windows 10 telemetry. As soon as you open the application, you will see all the telemetry options that you can disable in a long list that is divided into its own categories. To disable any telemetry, all you have to do is toggle the switch next to it.
When you disable some telemetry, there is a chance that you will also lose some Windows 10 functionality. To deal with that, O&O ShutUp 10 gives you recommendations on what telemetry can be safely disabled and avoid the loss of any functionality. Of course, if you don’t mind the lost functionality, you can disable all telemetry.
One of the things that I really like is that the app supports exporting and importing settings. This is very useful for backing up your privacy settings or sharing them with other users.
Read: Top 10 Firefox Extensions for Android to Boost Your Privacy
Download O&O ShutUp 10 (Free)
2. Disable earnings tracking
If you are looking for simple software that disables telemetry, domain tracking, tracking services, etc., Disable Win Tracking is for you. Disabling Win Tracking doesn’t give you the extensive control you get with O&O ShutUp 10, but it does make things easier. In addition to disabling telemetry and tracking, you can also uninstall OneDrive. In case you don’t know, OneDrive comes with Windows 10 and there is no direct uninstall option to remove it from the system.
When you run the application for the first time, Windows Smart Screen may block the application from running. This is a false positive. Just click the “Run Anyway” button.
Download Disable earnings tracking (Free)
3. Privacy fixer
Privacy Repairer divides all telemetry into different tabs and categories. You can disable or enable any telemetry or tracking service by moving the switch below it. In each setting, Privacy Repairer will tell you whether it is recommended to disable it or not.
Also, if you click on the telemetry option, Privacy Repairer will tell you what that telemetry is about and which registry keys are affected. This is a very welcome feature that is missing from O&O ShutUp 10 and other Windows 10 privacy tools.
When needed, you can back up your Privacy Repairer settings with one click.
Download Privacy fixer (Free)
If you are looking for an app that gives you great control over what telemetry to disable and enable, W10Privacy is for you. There are literally over a hundred different telemetry and tracking options to disable or enable. Fortunately, the application divides all the options into its own categories and tabs. Additionally, the app color-codes all the options to suggest which telemetry can be safely disabled. When you mouse over an option, the application displays a short description of what the option actually does.
However, due to the user interface, it can still feel overwhelming, especially for beginners.
Download W10 Privacy (Free)
5. Destroy Windows 10 spyware
Destroy Windows 10 Spying is free and open source software that is very similar to Disable Win Tracking. With one click, Destroy Windows 10 Spying will disable all Windows 10 telemetry and other monitoring services. You can of course select which type of telemetry to disable from the Settings tab. However, you won’t get the precise control like in W10 Privacy, Privacy Repairer, or O&O ShutUp 10.
Furthermore, you can also disable or enable Windows Update with one click. Other features of the application include the hosts file manager and the user account control switch.
Download Destroy Windows 10 spying (Free)
Blackbird is a no-nonsense command line app that disables all telemetry options and privacy leaks with ease. Just download the app, open it, and press any key on your keyboard. Blackbird will first scan your system and present all the things you can disable on one screen. Press the corresponding number and choose an option to disable that particular telemetry.
Blackbird gives you precise control over what you can disable. However, being a command line app, no matter how good it looks, can be a bit overwhelming for new users. With that being said, give the app a try and see how it works for you.
Download Blackbird (Free)
7. DoNotSpy 10
DoNotSpy 10 looks and feels very similar to O&O ShutUp 10. After installing and opening the application, you will get instant access to all telemetry options. To disable a telemetry option, simply select the check box and click the Apply button. Like the other software on this list, DoNotSpy 10 color-codes all telemetry options that you can safely disable. There is also a handy shortcut under the “Actions” option that allows you to create a fast system restore point.
As good as it is, for some ironic reason, the application tries to install adware (Opera in my case) as part of the application installation procedure. So keep an eye out for that.
DoNotSpy 10 is available for free but contains ads. You can remove ads and get access to additional features such as configuration backup by purchasing the Pro version.
Download DoNotSpy 10 (free with ads)
8. Windows privacy tweaker
Windows Privacy Tweaker is one of the most popular applications for managing various Windows 10 telemetry settings. The user interface is fairly uncluttered and all telemetry options are color-coded according to the security recommendations to disable. Some telemetry options even have their own little descriptions to give you a better idea of what they do and whether or not you should disable them.
One of the things I really like about Windows Privacy Tweaker is that you can disable or enable an entire section just by clicking on its category heading. Also, the software is used by many and is well tested. Which simply means that you don’t have to worry about messing up your system.
Download Windows privacy tweaker (Free)
9. WPD (Windows Privacy Panel)
WPD is one of my favorite apps that doesn’t allow you to control privacy settings, but it also has other features like firewall customization and AppX uninstaller. Also, WPD’s user interface is pretty neat and streamlined. WPD is a portable application. So, download the app, open it, and select Privacy Settings. This is where you can control all the available telemetry stuff.
If you want to disable Windows 10 updates, you can do it from Firewall section. All in all, if you’re looking for an app that does more than block Windows 10 telemetry, give WPD a try.
Download WPD (free)
While you’re at it
Since Windows is a closed source operating system, it is impossible to be sure whether the privacy tools mentioned above actually stop data collection. Even after using these apps, it won’t be surprising to see random internet traffic on Microsoftoft’s servers. One way around this is that if your router supports third party firmware like OpenWRT, DD-WRT, etc. then you can block all Microsoft IP. If you don’t have an advanced router, you can use apps like Peerblock. This should be sufficient.
If you think I missed any of your favorite Windows 10 privacy tools, please comment below and share them with me.
Also Read: Top Google Chrome Extensions for Privacy