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Windows 10 Security Settings: Steps to Keep Your Personal Data Private

Windows 10 Security Settings: Steps to Keep Your Personal Data Private

Windows 10 was released on July 29th 2015, and has been a steady topic of the tech world ever since. 14 million users downloaded it just 24 hours after the release. This is partly due to the fact that Microsoft offered it as a free download for existing Windows users, and a different service model that releases service packs every few months. This is to the dismay of users that do not want to update their systems so frequently.

More recently, the backlash has been over privacy concerns brought on by this new operating system. The concern lies in the fact that Windows 10 automatically assigns each user an advertising ID that is linked to the email address that is on file. Using this ID, the company tailors advertisements that will be seen when browsing the internet and using certain applications.

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Secondly, user’s personal data, like Wi-Fi passwords is being synced with the servers on Microsoft. This can be encrypted and shared with user’s contacts, using the feature called Wi-Fi sense. Microsoft has its own “personal assistant” Cortana, and it must collect data to provide the detailed service that it does. One of the biggest worries for Microsoft customers is their policy on disclosing and sharing personal information.

These are some steps to take to maintain control of the features in question and are the easiest ways to increase security settings in Windows 10.

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1. Installation Options

If Windows 10 has not yet been installed, be sure to do a custom install. This means that users can pick and choose which features are enabled at the time of installation. If Windows 10 was installed with the express setting, it is still possible to disable some of the privacy settings defaults.

2. General Security

Click the Start button, then Settings, then Privacy. Click on the General tab that will be on the left sidebar. Under this tab, there will be sliders that can toggle on and off. The top button is most important to disable; this is the one that allows use of the advertising ID. Switching the rest of the toggle switches will disable the other features as well.

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3. Network and Internet

Still under the General settings, click on Manage Wi-Fi settings (this will be in the middle of the screen). To keep everything private, all sliders should be moved to the “off” position, and the boxes should be unchecked. Otherwise, it is possible to select the features individually.

4. Location Security

After this, go to the Location tab, and turn off location data for specific applications or all applications. This is not totally new to Windows 10, but it is something that those who are concerned with their security like to do.

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5. Speech, Inking, and Typing

This section disables Cortana from obtaining information about you. Just click the “Stop getting to know me” button in the middle of the screen. This also disables Cortana and dictation.

6. Other Devices

You may turn off the “Sync with devices” feature, which is used for advertising purposes.

How else can users protect themselves? Simply put, disconnect more and be aware of what you are signing up for.

  • Microsoft has Device Guard, a program that vets applications and determines if they are safe or not by checking them against a list of vendors, the Windows app store, and an enterprise.
  • Microsoft’s Hello is a program that uses biometrics for encryption rather than passwords. This will only work with a machine that has a fingerprint reader and scanning software.
  • Passport is a program that allows access basically with no password. You will verify the possession of the device with a PIN or Windows Hello, and then all password protected websites will be accessible.

For every program that is invented to protect users, there is another to do just the opposite.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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