Windows 10 Privacy Settings Worth Checking

Microsoft's new Windows 10 system offers more personalization than before, but it also collects more data than people might be used to on PCs, from contacts and appointments to their physical location and even Wi-Fi passwords.

The information is used by Cortana, Microsoft's voice-activated digital assistant, and other new features that try to be helpful by remembering a user's likes and habits. Apple and Google have developed similar services for smartphones in recent years. Microsoft's new features are a big part of its strategy to make Windows more relevant in a world where people use multiple devices throughout the day.

Most of these features get turned on when you set up Windows 10 with the "Get going fast" option. But you can take back control and disable features in the settings. Here are some examples:

Wi-Fi Worries

A feature called Wi-Fi Sense promises to make it easy for users and their friends to connect with new Wi-Fi networks. It lets Windows 10 computers log in automatically to known networks, so your friends don't have to ask for the password when they visit.

Despite some initial reports, Wi-Fi Sense doesn't hand over your password to all your friends. Instead it stores your password online in an encrypted form. It then provides that encrypted code to your friend's Windows 10 device so it can automatically log into your network. Your friends never actually see the password, and Microsoft says your friends won't get access to other computers or files on the network.

Even so, critics say the feature shares too freely, as you can't choose which friends to share with -- only with your full list of friends or contacts on Facebook, Outlook.com or Skype. To disable this, open the "Settings" menu in Windows 10, select "Network & Internet" and click on "Manage Wi-Fi Settings." You can uncheck...

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