By Martin Stut, 2016-03-11
As is widely known by now, Windows 10 has some privacy issues. As I am helping a number of computer users, I was looking for a program that enables those users, most of them not interested in the technical details, to fix these privacy settings without having to learn all about them.
For non-technical users, I recommend O&O Shutup 10.
For technical users, I recommend W10 Privacy.
- license permitting use in commercial environment
- useable for non-technical users
- blocks telemetry
- reasonably frequent updates (every few months)
- also works for Windows 7, 8, 8.1
- update from within the program, ideally auto-update
Lists of Programs
Tried, worth recommending
O&O Shutup 10 (great for non-technical users)
- no installation required
- offers single click recommended actions: Actions / "Apply all recommended settings" or "Apply all recommended and limited recommended settings" and several more
- shows a good explanation of each setting when clicking on that setting's name. That's important for users so they know what potential side effects a setting could have.
- last update: date not indicated, but seems to be reasonably recent (as of March 2016)
- requires manual update, but updating is easy: the bottom link of the program windows opens a browser that tells whether the current version needs an update.
W10 Privacy (great for technical users)
- http://bgr.com/2015/08/14/windows-10-spying-prevention-privacy-tools/ describes it as the most comprehensive tool
- no installation required, but user needs to explicitely run it as admin (the program does remind the user if he forgot)
- can switch language by menu command.
- automatically creates a restore point, which is good. Offers to check restore point, which would e.g. make the user discover that computer protection has been turned off
- does show brief explanation of items as tooltips, but the explanations do require some technical understanding
- huge list of checkboxes per tab, that will certainly overwhelm non-technical users
- huge list of tabs, enabling lots of other tweaks that are not just privacy related
- last update: 07.03.2016 (only 4 days ago as of this research)
- can block a lot, so should be used with care
- language used is german centric
Tried, not worth recommending
Reports to Google Analytics. There is not much point in removing Microsoft's tracking, if you get tracked by Google instead.
- non-commercial, private use only, so not suitable for employees of any organisations
- last update: 2015-10-19 - 6 months as of the research date, so not particularly current, given the 1511 update of Windows 10.
- by the makers of Spybot Seatch&Destroy.
- also covers W7, 8, 8.1
- single click user interface ("Immunize")
- requires setup
Windows Privacy Tweaker
- seemingly good colour coding, but gives no description of the side effects of the setting. So users would e.g. turn off useful things like Skype's access to microphone and camera if they just follow the color coding.
- lots of functionality
- according to the website, it also detects some privacy issues for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1
- last update: 2016-01-29, so reasonably current as of the research date
- automatically creates restore point
Programs I did not try
For W7 and W8.1: https://fix10.isleaked.com/oldwindows.html
Long list of steps and shell commands (one per KB number). Non-technical users won't follow them, and they would have to redo them whenever Microsoft's tracking changes.