Comparison of Windows 10 Privacy tools
Windows 10 users can modify the operating system's privacy settings manually, for instance by disabling express setup during installation or upgrade, or by exploring the Privacy section of the new Settings application.
While it gives them full control over each setting, it requires prior knowledge of these settings and time to make the changes.
Privacy tools help users in this regard but may limit the control these users have over what is happening in the background depending on how the tool works.
The following comparison provides you with an overview of these privacy tools highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly for each of them.
Note: We update the listing regularly. Please let us know about any updates that we may have missed, and about new programs that you found that are not on it already.
Windows 10 Privacy Tools
Please note that you need to run all programs with elevated privileges as the majority of tweaks are not applied otherwise. You do that with a right-click on the program executable and the selection of "run as administrator" from the options.
We suggest you focus on apps that are updated regularly. Programs that have been updated some years ago may still work for the most part, but they may lack certain functionality that tweaks newer versions of Windows 10 and some tweaks may not work at all anymore.
Overview of Windows 10 Privacy Tools
|Name||Backup/Restore||Explanation||Privacy Tweaks||Open Source||Misc||Update|
|Disable Win Tracking||No/No||No||limit tracking, source||Yes||2021|
|DoNotSpy 10||Yes/No||Yes||disable services, apps access, telemetry||No||2020|
|Private Winten||No/No||No||disable services, apps access, telemetry||Yes||built-in firewall||2020|
|W10Privacy||Yes/Yes||Yes||disable services and tasks, apps access,telemetry, disable ads||No||2021|
|Shut Up 10||Yes/No||Yes||disable services, telemetry, access||No||2021|
|Spybot Anti-Beacon for Windows 10||No/No||No||disable services, telemetry, access, hosts, paid version available||No||2021|
|Debloat Windows 10||No/No||In code||disable services, remove apps, telemetry, privacy||Yes||2021|
|Blackbird||No/Yes||No||disable services, telemetry, apps, hosts,||No||supports Windows Vista and up||2020|
|WPD||No/No||Yes||disable services, Group Policy, telemetry, block IPs, tweaks||No||2021|
|Windows10Debloater||No/No||No||apps, tasks, privacy||Yes||2021|
These apps have not been updated in a while or are deprecated. They may still work, but may miss functionality and some features may be broken in newer versions of Windows 10.
|Debotnet||No/Yes||Yes||remove apps, privacy tweaks, telemetry, other tweaks.||Yes||Ninite integration||2020|
|Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10||Yes/Yes||No||telemetry, apps access||unknown|
|Win10 Spy Disabler||Yes/No||No||Services, Task Scheduler, Telemetry, apps||2016|
|Win10 SpyStop||Yes/No||Yes||Telemetry, block hosts, Windows Update||2016|
|WinPurify||No/No||No||Telemetry, remove apps||2016|
|Windows 10 Lite||No/No||Yes||Remove apps, Task Scheduler,Telemetry||BlackViper Services support||2017|
|Windows Privacy Tweaker||No/No||No||Services, Task Scheduler, Registry, Telemetry||No||2018|
|Privacy Repairer||No/No||Yes||Telemetry, apps access, remove ads||recommendations||2017|
|Windows 10 Dominator||No/No||Partial||Telemetry, some privacy settings.||2017|
|Windows 10 Privacy and Shit||No/No||No||disable services, telemetry||Batch file||2015|
|Windows 10 Privacy Fixer||No/No||No||disable services, apps access, telemetry, remove apps, source code||additional system tweaks||2015|
Recent Windows 10 privacy tools
Debotnet is an open source program for Windows 10 that administrators may run right away. The latest version of the program displays categories in a sidebar, the tweaks and options associated with the category in the middle, and descriptions and actions on the right.
You may use it to tame Windows 10 data collecting, remove Windows 10 apps that you don't use, tame Cortana and other features of the operating system, deal with some popular third-party programs such as CCleaner or Google Chrome to reduce their activity, or use the integrated Ninite option to download popular free programs.
Disable Windows 10 Tracking
This is the smallest tool functionality-wise but the one that is the largest in size. It displays four options in its interface which all concentrate on disabling tracking.
Disable Windows 10 Tracking lacks a backup option and explanations of entries.
Note: The program ships with Open Candy adware offers which are displayed during installation. Make sure you block those if you are not interested in those offers.
You may create a system restore point on start of the program so that you can restore it should the need arise to do so.
The program displays all tweaks as checkboxes in its interface. A detailed description is provided on the right once you select a tweak from the list so that you know what it does and what impact it has on system operations.
You find the usual assortment of tweaks supported by DoNotSpy 10. This includes disabling application access to sensors or system features, disabling Cortana or handwriting data sharing.
Private Winten is a tool for advanced users: it comes without explanation (for the most part), or backup options. The program features in-depth options to disable tracking and other unwanted privacy-related features of Windows 10 that phone home, and a built-in firewall frontend to block requests.
The program is
only available with a German and English interface which makes it unusable for most Windows 10 users.
The application displays privacy settings and general tweaks in its interface on launch. The first tab, Datenschutz (German word for privacy), lists privacy-related tweaks you can make.
The tweaks are mostly self-explanatory but when you hover over an entry additional information about it and its impact are revealed by the app.
W10 Privacy offers no backup and restore functionality. This means that you need to create a System Restore point or other type of backup manually before you use it to modify system settings.
What you can do however is save the program's own configuration. If you do that you may load them again at a later point in time.
Shut Up 10
Shut Up 10 displays a list of tweaks in its interface on launch. A click on a tweak name displays a detailed description underneath it that explains what it does if the title on its own is not sufficient for that.
The program suggests to you to create a system restore point once you start modifying settings.
The settings concentrate mostly on privacy and security, but contain several important other settings such as controlling Windows Update or feedback.
Spybot Anti-Beacon for Windows 10
Anti-Beacon has been created by the authors of Spybot Search & Destroy, a popular anti-spyware program for Windows.
It enables you to block Telemetry data and hosts, the Steps Recorder, the use of advertising ID by applications, P2P Windows Updates and WiFi Sense.
The program checks the current settings of the system on start and displays its findings in the interface afterwards.
Select immunize to make all changes, or undo to restore defaults.
Debloat Windows 10
Debloat windows 10 is a collection of Powershell scripts designed for specific tasks related to privacy and annoyances in regards to Windows 10.
There is a script to remove most of the default apps, another to block Telemetry hosts and services, and yet another to make dozens of privacy related adjustments to the operating system.
You can audit the scripts using a text editor so that you know exactly what they do. Downside to this is that you need some experience to understand what is going on, and that there is no backup or restore option.
Blackbird is a program for Windows Vista and up that supports two modes of operation. You can run it right away to apply all of its tweaks and changes to the Windows machine, or run it from the command line with parameters that provide you with control in regards to the changes that are made.
The list of tweaks is very extensive; changes range from removing apps, blocking telemetry and ad servers, and disabling Windows services and tasks, to apply network tweaks, and blocking automatic updates.
WPD is a free portable program for Windows 10 to make adjustments to privacy related settings and features of the operating system.
The program divides all options into four different groups:
- Privacy -- Lets you make tweaks to privacy related Group Policy settings, manage Windows Services, and Windows Tasks.
- Firewall -- Add Telemetry, Windows Update, and third-party application IP addresses to Windows Firewall for communication blocking.
- Apps -- Remove applications that ship with Windows 10 by default.
- Tweaks -- Configure application access to certain data sets and hardware such as the camera or contacts.
The application is easy to use, and descriptions are provided for all options that you have. These are helpful if you require more information before you make a decision on whether to keep a feature enabled, or to disable it.
Designed to remove bloatware from Windows 10 devices, the application is best run after user creation (e.g. on first run) to avoid issues.
You may use it to disable certain tasks in Windows, remove lots of applications that come with Windows, and to apply privacy changes to the system.
Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10
AntiSpy for Windows 10 is a free program that you can run from any location. It suggests to create a System Restore point on start, good.
The program lists all tweaks in list form on start. All privacy related settings are sorted into groups and changeable with a click on the switch displays in front of them.
The actions menu lists options to apply recommended tweaks right away which may be useful to some users as it turns off most features and permissions when applied.
AntiSpy lacks descriptions which is problematic especially for inexperienced users.
Privacy Repairer ships with a total of 58 privacy tweaks for Windows 10 in the version that we reviewed. The program offers a recommendation on start on what to enable but without going into detail as to what will be enabled when you press the button.
Tweaks are listed in categories such as Telemetry and Diagnostics, Windows Defender, Edge and Internet Explorer, or Cortana and Start menu.
Each tweak is listed with its name, a toggle to enable or disable it, an option to display additional information, and information on whether it is recommended or not.
One interesting tidbit here is that the program lists Registry keys in the description for each of the tweaks.
Some tweaks are marked for experts only or dangerous, which is useful as it may prevent users from making certain changes without knowing what a change actually does to the system.
There is no system restore or backup option however.
WinPurify is a free program for Windows 10 that you can run right after download. It displays the options that it makes available on start, with most of them selected by default.
It allows you to remove universal apps or the Store app, disable Telemetry and Windows Update, and run some clean up operations to free up space as well.
Additionally, it wants to install a small helper app on the system that checks RAM and performance, and notifies you if usage is too high.
Win10 Spy Disabler
The program is offered as a portable version and installer which, apart from the one requiring to be installed before it can be run are identical.
Win10 Spy Disabler displays the list of tweaks right on start in its interface. They are listed under the tabs privacy tweaks and system tweaks.
Unlike the majority of Windows 10 privacy tools, it is bundling tweaks together in single entries. Disable spying services, spying scheduled tasks or "remove default built-in Windows apps" perform multiple operations on the system.
While that is handy, no information are provided on the nature of what is being changed on the system giving you less control over the functionality.
The program prompts for the creation of a restore point before changes are applied.
System Tweaks are non-privacy tweaks only, and System Utilities, the third tab in the interface, links to core Windows tools. The last tab, VPN Service, is an ad for the Hide Your Ass service.
Windows 10 Dominator
Windows 10 Dominator is an open source program that displays all of its tweaks on a single page on start.
The list of available options is limited and resolves mostly around disabling Telemetry and some related options (many of which you find under Settings as well).
The app does not support backup or restore operations, so make sure you do so manually before using it.
Windows 10 Lite (Better Privacy)
Windows 10 Lite is a command line script that is best run right after setup of Windows 10. It displays a couple of prompts to you on execution giving you some choice in regards to which tweaks you want applied and which you don't.
You may optimize Services using BlackViper's services listing, and let it handle the usual things like removing system apps, tweaking settings for privacy, or removing scheduled tasks used for Telemetry.
It comes without options to create a backup or restore it. So, make sure you create a backup first before you run it.
Windows Privacy Tweaker
This is another program that scans the settings on start and displays those as safe or unsafe right away so that you know which ones you have not modified yet.
It displays all tweaks in the four tabs Services, Task Scheduler, Registry and USB Security. The first three display tweaks that are directly related to privacy in Windows 10 while the last provides you with options to change the USB Mode.
It shares some tweaks with other applications listed here but also offers some that offers don't offer at all. Especially Services and Registry hold tweaks that you may not find listed in other privacy applications for the operating system.
One downside is that it won't create a system restore point or other form of backup by default so that you need to take care of that manually before you make any changes using it.
Windows 10 Privacy and Shit
This is a batch file that you need to download from Pastebin. Create a new .bat file on your system and paste the contents of it into the newly created file.
When you run it afterwards, it will execute select privacy related tasks including disabling data logging services, uninstalling OneDrive and adding domains to the hosts file to block Telemetry data sending.
Windows 10 Privacy Fixer
The program ships with a compact interface to modify important privacy settings on Windows 10. You do need to click on check first to retrieve information about tweaks that are already set, but even if you do, some settings are listed as unchecked even though they are checked.
Windows 10 Privacy Fixer lets you disable four core services related to telemetry and feedback, block Telemetry hosts, disable application access to system features such as location or calendar, and make general privacy changes, for instance by disabling the unique advertising ID.
You may use it furthermore to uninstall all Windows apps.
A backup is not created and there is no restore option available as well because of it.
Lastly, there are no explanations provided for features. While most are self-explanatory, additional information about some tweaks are necessary to make sense of them or reveal what they actually do when run.
Win10 SpyStop checks privacy settings of Windows 10 on start and informs you whether your privacy is threatened or not by them.
The program offers only a couple of options when compared to other privacy apps for Windows 10. You may use it to disable telemetry, remote access and diagnostics, block hosts files used for that purpose by Microsoft, or disable the advertising ID.
It furthermore lets you disable automatic and/or manual Windows Updates, automatic web searches, and blocks application access to Windows Store account information.
The program creates a system restore point during installation.
Tools that are not available anymore
Destroy Windows 10 Spying
Destroy Windows 10 Spying concentrates on a handful of privacy settings and tweaks only. You may use it to disable spyware tasks in the Task Scheduler, block Microsoft domains in the hosts file, to turn Windows Update on or off, and to remove select applications or all applications from the operating system.
The program does not support backup and restore functionality, and there are no explanations for the tweaks it offers.
While some are self-explanatory, others reveal nothing about the task that gets carried out when they are run. For instance, you don't know which tasks are disabled in the Task Scheduler when you select the tweak to disable spyware tasks in it.
You may run the program from the command line. All switches are explained in the readme file it ships with.
All tools discussed in the comparison provide you with options to modify settings of Windows 10 systems to improve privacy. Some offer more tweaks than others, and only one suggests to create a system restore point before making any changes to the underlying system.
It comes down to your personal preference in the end and what you want to achieve. All tools disable most of the phone home functionality of the operating system while others go further and let you uninstall apps or make other tweaks that are not necessarily privacy related.
Why do you promote DoNotSpy again? Wasn’t it shown to contain malware in the previous article?
No, it is not malware. It contains OpenCandy, that is all.
Since when is Open Candy not malware? It sneaks crap onto your computer in a deceptive way.
The term you’re looking for is “adware” not malware. The former while shitty and underhanded, does no actual harm to your PC. It just bugs the hell out of you. Also an all time lesson never to Next/Accept ^ âˆž.
Malware is a collective term for viruses, worms, trojans, scamware, adware, etc.
Yes Open Candy is adware.
Yes Open Candy is malware.
this is the best article of my life production
It was but is no more blocked by OpenDNS. I guess this is relevant.
Backup/restore option add in w10privacy http://winprivacy.de
Tool from Kaspersky Lab called PC Cleaner has one section that deals with Win10 privacy issues https://www.ghacks.net/2016/02/22/kaspersky-cleaner-is-a-free-ccleaner-like-program-for-windows/
But Is there something to deal with Kaspersky privacy issues?
What Kaspersky privacy issues? I am not aware of any issues reported with their software.
Kapersky makes a table of contents for all the files of your drive and then phones them to Kapersky. This is how Russian Intelligence hacked sensitive information from a dumb who took their classified work home. This does not prove Kapersky is working directly with Russian Intelligence (Agent could have performed man in the middle on the sent Kapersky data), but it does prove you cannot trust Kapersky. (or possibly any Anti-Virus that phones home).
“Ka[s]persky makes a table of contents for all the files of your drive and then phones them to Ka[s]persky.”
I thought that what happened was that Kaspersky AV detected the “borrowed” Vault7 tools as potential threats heuristically (since they were previously unknown outside of the CIA) and transmitted copies of them to Kaspersky’s home office for further analysis. I’m *not* aware that Kaspersky phones home a summary or listing of every file on its users’ computers — not that such a practice by *any* anti-malware vendor from *any* country would shock me, particularly where users in jurisdictions with weak or non-existent privacy protections (like the US) are concerned. But I’m not remotely an expert, and I don’t know what Kaspersky’s arrangements with the Russian government might be, either before or since it moved its “core infrastructure” from Russia to Switzerland. (SIDEBAR: I’m no longer particularly impressed by Swiss data-protection laws since learning that a major Swiss communications-encryption company was actually a CIA front.) I *do* believe it’s Kaspersky’s policy to notify developers of vulnerabilities in their software, and I *think* that’s what happened with Vault7. I believe it was WikiLeaks, however, who revealed that the CIA had been sitting on and exploiting them. Anyway, that’s what I recall from reading about it at the time.
Windows 10 Privacy Fixer seems to be the only one that check if something has already been changed
Hi, Martin. Do each of these tools require installation? Could you add that information to your article? I like stand-alone tools when it comes to tweaking operating system.
If I recall correctly, only DoNotSpy requires installation.
Fundamental article for everyone with W10.
Upvote! Thanks again, Martin, for providing and aggregating priceless information. Nobody does it better. For the hell of it I just checked and find I have bookmarks to 40 of your articles. :-)
Don that is wonderful. Thanks for the praise!
Great synthesis, Martin. Nice work, thanks a lot. I’m archiving all valuable information regarding Win10 for the day I’ll install it…
By the way, homepage of above mentioned DoNotSpy 10 (pxc-coding) is no longer blocked by OpenDNS… now what do you say about that?!
An interesting article at arsTechnica, “Even when told not to, Windows 10 just canâ€™t stop talking to Microsoft” ( http://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2015/08/even-when-told-not-to-windows-10-just-cant-stop-talking-to-microsoft/ )
Avast reports ‘infected’ (FileRepMetagen [Malware]) and blocks download of:
This is good for people who are concerned about privacy but don’t bother to read and turn off features they don’t want during Windows 10 instalation.
Default settings to the disadvantage of the user’s privacy have always been the secret weapon of manufacturers. It is in a way the alloy of a democracy’s freedom and a dictatorship’s efficiency : you can opt out (to what point?) but most won’t. Manipulation is the word. We often believe that having the right and the mean to refuse is a guaranty of the honesty of the object and consequently we let go when in fact we are simply bypassing our legal and legitimate interests.
Adjusting default settings during installations doesn’t do nearly as much as for example ShutUp10 let me do. Deferring updates on Win10 Home and disabling driver updates is impossible without registry modifications, and you have to use this kind of tools of carefully go through guides and hope you don’t miss any essential privacy adjustments.
And for Windows 7…
wusa /kb:3021917 /uninstall /quiet /norestart
wusa /kb:3035583 /uninstall /quiet /norestart
wusa /kb:2952664 /uninstall /quiet /norestart
wusa /kb:3022345 /uninstall /quiet /norestart
wusa /kb:3068708 /uninstall /quiet /norestart
wusa /kb:2990214 /uninstall /quiet /norestart
Same here. I hope this “Mission : Possible” regarding Windows 10 will start to forget non Windows 10 users. It’s getting bored of having to check WUpdates on every release. Last Patch Tuesday (2015-08-11) was ok here : none of the previous updates I had hidden popped up again and no new Win10 incentive. I felt it like the calm after a storm :)
This does what? Exactly and specifically.
It removes all the windows updates associated with the telemetry collection.
You can also set all the update files as “viruses” in your anti virus.
Better yet, download Steve Gibson’s Never10 tool: https://www.grc.com/never10.htm
I was interested that freeware portable XP-Antispy was not included in the lineup. While not being exclusively for Win10 it is compatible with the OS and seems to have similar functionality to the reviewed programs. It prompts the user to backup existing configuration on the first run, has several privacy profiles to choose from or can be used to review existing privacy settings.
Take your pick of these apps, or use all of them if you’d like… but I can 100% guarantee that there is still PLENTY of spying/tracking going on. Run a packet sniffer or any software firewall that alerts you of every outgoing connection & then trace those IP’s.
For those of you who got tangled up in the Windows 10 web, WinPrivacy would seem to work well for most outgoing connections.
What happens if you set the Windows Firewall to block all outgoing traffic by default? (Windows Firewall Properties => Outbound Connections => Block)
If the telemetry and such is still being uploaded that means Windows is bypassing its own security feature.
(EDIT: never mind, found my answer in another page — there appears to still be traffic even with this in place)
If it’s really too bad for them it’ll be bad for you. The ultimate — the critical point — is to protect yourself as much as possible and still be able to walk : too heavily armored the knight wouldn’t advance :)
Otherwise, Ultimate number duo : to be a true, authentic pirate, but that’s far out of my scope. No armor, simply furtive.
Once Windows 10’s kinks, glitches, and privacy holes are patched, I’m looking forward to some real-world feedback from former Windows 7 users, particularly regarding how steep the learning curve was, what new features and improvements they appreciate most, and what they miss most.
As of now, I haven’t been able to identify a single compelling reason to upgrade — I’m not a gamer and don’t need DirectX 12, not that my hardware would support it anyway — and plenty of reasons not to, including the privacy holes this article addresses. Elsewhere, I’ve read that even measures like the ones discussed here won’t stop all behind-the-scenes “phoning home,” and that Microsoft’s user-data policies for Windows 10 are particularly worrisome.
But I digress. I am actually looking forward to some objective, real-world feedback that might balance out my own skeptical take on Windows 10.
I stand in a position similar to yours so I won’t be the required speaker. As you perhaps as many others who haven’t adopted Windows 10 (yet) I’m in the expectation and have no feelings guided by a whatever anti-Microsoft demagogy or fashion. Who doesn’t prefer passion to cynicism, sympathy to awareness, love to haste? Personally if I ever had an opinion about the company it would rather have been that of confidence (I may be naive) for another way of behaving in the computer and network arena(s) than “youngsters” like Google, like Facebook. Hard to explain. I admit a disillusion with the way the company pushed Windows 10, but I believe I would have forgotten those griefs if the product — THE new OS — had not proven to be a snake-pit of inquisition, of tracking, on the border edge of a total lack of respect for the user’s privacy. That’s the way I feel it, and I read everywhere too many testimonies of what Windows 10 has under the hood.
I hope, I really hope that time and users comments of their experience with the OS once the furniture in place, settled, will bring the ratio to a higher level of attraction.
I wonder why nobody makes any distinction between Microsoft “just” collecting information about and data from their users on one side and collecting information about the internal workings of the system on the other side.
I would want them to collect all Windows internal error and functional things that then (hopefully?) are used to improve performance, stability, hardware support and so on.
Just not for the price of the seemingly vast amount of data and info about myself.
MS does not help them selves (or us) to distinguish the former from the latter so all I can do is to turn as much of their so-called “telemetry” off; And I have done that, with SD Anti Beacon if you are interested.
My “production machine” is still Win 7; it has an older i7 cpu and and a BIOS mobo so why bother.
PLUS: MS said clearly that we can get the free upgrade of Win7/8.1 systems “for the lifetime of the system”. What they have not said is how they, MS, define “lifetime”. So far that would end for Win 7 in Jan. 2020 when extended support for Win 7 ends. If the machine still runs – and I expect that! – what then? My guess is I have to pay from then on for Windows 10 anyway.
Real life experiences? One of about 30 – 40 of my customers that I know have upgraded to Win 10 had to revert because his older printer/scanner is not supported under Win 10. Can’t blame that on Win 10, that belongs in this case in Epson’s yard.
All other upgrades caused no problems and differences in the Menu system are easily alleviated by installing Classic Shell (free!).
Problem with just collecting telemetry is that it is privacy intrusion. We know that NSA has used uploading of memory dumps after crashes to find encryption keys in the dumped memory and it just goes on from there.
It is not up to paying customers to act as QA department for MS!
Similar is the fairytale of anonymised data when all the research has shown that with increased number of data points it becomes absurd to talk about anonymised anything as there is enough information there to uniquely identify anyone. I very much doubt that MS and other data hungry companies are not aware of how absurd that statement is and how easy it is to ignore it. Only way to have your privacy is not to send information about you to others. There is no other realistic way!
As a matter of fact, it’s not bad to see so many efforts by ‘final users’ to change the behaviour of an Operative System. Bear with me, as to be sure that the OS doesn’t tamper with the customer’s own decisions, an analysis of various network protocols should be done. But this will leave something unspotted, as the bios. So you have to check the bios and other hardware parts. Now, hardware drivers are proprietary and closed-source, so the common windows user has some difficulties at grasping what is happening inside a desktop or laptop PC. Moreover, malware as BadUSB could easily be ignored (0day) and hack down to the hardware drivers, allowing Man In The Middle Attacks (MITM). So, low level protocols are totally out of the power of intervention by a standard windows user. Windows 10 Codename Threshold clearly communicates with Onedrive and sends many personal information. Even if the patches operated by the aforementioned applications do work, the next update by Microsoft Corp. will revert any modification by untrusted third party groups (as the good devs. of the apps above).
So, the final user of Windows 10 has no power to change the OS. The OS is still owned by Microsoft Corp. and who doesn’t like how it behaves should either look at GNU/Linux distributions or simply enjoy the botnet-embedded experience of Microsoft(TM).
The time and effort to unearth all of the wonderful tools may prove futile; some of the latest news in the tech world comes from “BetaNews”:
“Research carried out by Ars Technica shows that even with features disabled and privacy settings activated, Windows 10 continues to send information back to Microsoft. The data is sent by a series of tools including OneDrive, Cortana, and Bing — even when a local account is used.”
“Even when a local account is used . . . .”
There are many users with higher privileges than the human who thinks to own this Windows OS.
I noticed the lack of better tool. It’s called “Remove Windows 10 Spying Features” and can be downloaded here: http://wintoflash.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=42295
I found another script that from the looks of it cleans out A LOT of things.. maybe worth checking out:
Thanks, Josh. Just the sort of thing I’ve been waiting for. Says it’s for Enterprise so I wonder how effective it is on Home edition.
You’d think they’d at least leave most if not all of this crap out of the Pro & Enterprise editions.
Word needs to get out about the Hosts file however. It is no longer the all powerful behemoth it used to be. Some of the phone-homes Win10 does can be blocked in Hosts and they will still work just fine. In Win10 Microsoft put these addresses in system dll’s (effectively making them unchangeable/blockable) to prevent precisely this from happening (although Microsoft would probably say they did it to ensure none of the phone-homes could get hijacked by evil terrorists/hackers/Apple employees). Not everything was made untouchable like this though, so Hosts will provide some benefit – but it wont be doing as much as you think it’s doing.
The only real way to block the phone-homes is to block the addresses on your firewall – hardware firewall, or your router if it has that functionality. A software firewall installed on your computer can work too if it’s built well. No Windows Firewall does NOT block these – Microsoft bypassed Hosts, you really think they wouldn’t bypass their own built-in firewall too?
It was not a good idea to include the mouse pointer in the screen-shots above.
There are going to be loads of applications/tweakers made available but at the end of the day they are going to be made null by constant updates and checks via windows update.
The only way I can see these tweakers actually keeping an upper hand is to add some sort of driver layer (forgive my bad terminology) to monitor and instantly block or rollback changes that windows updates make to the affected files.
This kind of software and Firewalls may help but at the end of the day Microsoft will just add more “features” to leak out data so unless we have some sort of community to analyze the updates and certify them in house prior to them being public or accepted, of course this adds a delay in which people react to updates but given home users have no choice Microsoft always has the upperhand.
Windows 10 is not looking so great. We all knew Microsoft was a huge corporation but now they are crossing some sort of line in the sand which puts them at odds with ones right to privacy.
I wonder how applications like Glasswire fares against something like this. Will it detect the traffic flow and block it or will it stand idly by and allow such breaches to occur.
Glasswire, as cool as it appears, uses Microsoft Firewall drivers.
Ultimately, the operating system will always defeat apps. It just has more privileges. Hardware is the only thing that can defeat an operating system, and I don’t see Intel or HP going against the wishes of the FBI or even Microsoft. Maybe Chinese hardware companies will, but that will open a whole new can of worms.
But these apps will at least work in the short-term and if there are so many of them and if they are updated regularly, and if they run immediately after Windows Update and re-set everything again, then maybe they can make it too much work for Microsoft for a while at least. Nothing a Â£50m buyout by MS won’t resolve, though.
As we’ve seen with Apple, the whole idea that devices can be secure – even payment systems such as Apple Pay is, ultimately, something the US Government does not want – it just demonstrated it is prepared to go to court to make sure that no device or system is fully secure or exempt from its reach.
DONOTSPY 10 is blocked by Malware bytes which is easy to turn off and Avast.
When I tried to use it reported it would not run on home version of windows 10 (upgraded form 8.1) I didn’t see a home version on the web page of DoNotSpy10.
XP-Antispy awakes from the dead:
It’s in German, but in short – XP-Antispy is being re-vamped for Win 10.
“It’s in German, but in short – XP-Antispy is being re-vamped for Win 10”
Would be easier to use Linux instead.
Thanks for sharing. :S
DoNotSpy10 188.8.131.52 fails to backup a setpoint, fails to disable Cortana so it does not restart in your task list, and succeeds at putting shovelware on your PC.
A new Tool: http://www.evorim.com/, “Win10 StopSpy”
Thank you for collecting this information in one place! Really appreciated.
Destroy Windows 10 Spying is open source : https://github.com/Nummer/Destroy-Windows-10-Spying
these 3 works on windows 7
1. destroy windows 10
2. windows privacy tweaker
3. spybot anti-beacon
Thanks for the September update and a HUGE thank you! Look forward to another update in upcoming months if possible.
Great article, thanks! I get a lot of questions regarding this subject. I’ll forward those interested to this page.
Keep up the good work :-)
Which program that you recommended or you use now?
Hey Martin! Thanks for the article. But I also have the same question than “Andry”, please: “Which program would you recommended and/or you use now?”.
I like W10 Privacy but that is just a personal preference.
Very good article.
DisableWinTracking Has been update lot since you have post this article can pls do update :)
it also has option remove default app of windows
After testing the most of them, skipping the ones that seemed too simplistic and lacking options, I have to admit that my favorite is the O&O Shutup 10. I like the slick interface and the nice descriptions, making the program feel really user friendly and nice. I use that in most computers of friends that have Windows 10 and we end up talking about it.
WIth that said, I feel the best though is W10Privacy. If I want to turn off more options, after using O&O Shutup 10, I use W10Privacy, looking to turn off the options that Shutup did not have. There are a handful of options that W10Privacy has more and even if the user interface does not look so user friendly, every option has details about what it does. Even if the user is not so advanced, if they can read something and understand it and of course it is green, they can turn it off. The screenshot might not show it, but W10Privacy has now options marked with colors, to show which are safe to turn off, which are potentially dangerous and which are dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.
Definitely W10Privacy is the best amongst all that I tried, but still if I would suggest an app to someone that does not know much about computers, that would definitely be O&O Shutup10.
O&O Shutup10 has opencandy adware hidden in it, not sure about W10Privacy. I use Spybot Anti-Beacon, it doesn’t come with hidden adwares/malwares.
And how would O&O ShutUp10 “has opencandy adware hidden in it” when it is portable-only, meaning it doesn’t ever triggers an installation procedure? OpenCandy needs to be installed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCandy
“OpenCandy was an Adware module classified as malware by many anti-virus vendors.[…] It is designed to be installed on a personal computer during installation of other desired software.”
Please refrain from lies and misinformation.
Easiest way is to just not use win 10.
I feel DoNotSpy is not reputable. MALWARE. If the developers are so proud of their software, Drop the Candy Crap (MALWARE!!!! Plain and simple – just try removing the crap!)
My vote is AVOID DoNotSpy – not trustworthy.
Just curious if there is any utility that will do this job with one click, esp for novice users.
You know, the difference between novice and savvy is just a couple of hours worth of research on what most of these toggled features do. Better than have the software do all the magic with one click and leaving you in blissful ignorance not knowing what you supposedly did to your PC to make it better. Just a thought.
Just one click, in blissful ignorance: select “Express Settings” for Winows 10. That was the problem in the first place!
Its very touching that there is still so much trust and novices believe that just because they move a slider from Yes to No, Windows will actually take notice. Evidence is growing that Windows will not. Windows 10 does some very, very bad stuff – which they are now porting to Win 7 and 8 to deal with Windows 10 Refuse-niks.
That raises a huge question: why would Microsoft work so hard to “develop” old operating systems? Is that clear evidence that it is now NSA Windows rather than MS Windows? And because such “wonderful” hacking ability is built in – watch young girls in their bedrooms, capture keystrokes used to enter user-ids and passwords, maybe for banking – how long before those “features” are used by malware and it becomes Mafia Windows?
And if you think Apple is the solution, well, they don’t even pretend to offer the choice of Yes or No. Everything is online, synched, recorded, secret user-ids, device-ids and advertising-user-ids are built-in, and they link all that to your credit card. They only drew the line at being required to hack their own operating system – everything else was clearly absolutely fine with them.
Well this little article here is near priceless . I’ve been putting off upgrading to W10 ever since it came out, just waiting for people to comeup with their own inventive responses to Microsoft’s outrageous invasion of privacy practice. Well, new year new OS I thought. So in preparation I’ve been diving up to my nose in articles about undoing some of the worst mandatory/hidden tricks W10 forces on you. Now if only I came upon this article sooner, might’ve saved me a couple of hours of research. Thanks a lot Martin, you saved me from more pointless research.
Looks to be a few good features there like remove the metro apps crap , stop it auto updating without you first choosing what updates are installed and which aren’t that’s how it should be end user in control of their PC’s and not some big corporate organisation who doesn’t care about a our privacy rights or us
Thank you for organizing the mess of anti-privacy programs out there.
Helped me alot.
Which one is the best and doesn’t come with hidden adwares/malwares shit?
We need a all-in-one single anti-spy software that will disable or delete all spy crap of latest w10.
Due to the valid points of MS changing things to bypass these tools,
I opt for using these tools PLUS running a small linux box between my cable modem and router.
On this linux box have wireshark and iptables with block first ask questions later type setup.
Do you have link to small linux box? I am thinking a hardware based firewall between modem and computer.
If I had a Pi I would do it on there.
But as it is I am going to design my own on my smallest microATX box.
I tend to trust what I code over just getting a prepackaged util or OS.
O&O ShutUp10 (v 1.3.1356) (free) works well for me. Easy to use and understand. And it monitors subsequent changes to settings so user can either accept or reject them.
Followup: Also, no opencandy adware was installed. Checked with both Malwarebytes and Norton. Each has caught opencandy adware from other software installs, quarantines them, and makes it easy to delete. But nothing with O&O ShutUp10. I downloaded directly from the O&O’s website.
Agree, O&O ShutUp10 v1.3.1358 works well for me. I was able to confirm a few reg tweaks and Services tweak.
Even though I’ve been through Settings numerous times turning off just about every switch. O&O gives me confidence they’ll stay off.
Agree, easy to use and understand. And O&O monitors changes with Allow/Deny upon O&O open.
As always, respect and appreciation to Martin Brinkmann
in reply to sylv adware is still a form of spyware and considering that the whole point of this topic is privacy then you can see why it is stupid to post something that is infected with it
windows 7 is my last windows operating system. The only reason I still have windows on my entertainment center pc is because my wife is still learning how to use my less user friendly os builds. Linux is a lot more stable and secure once you put together what you want in your os and dial it in. If you take the time to learn how to do this you will find your experience with your pc/mobile device to be more enjoyable and tailored to your needs. And no you do not need to be a geek to do this, there are plenty of tutorials out there to guide you in the right direction, start small and work your way up. And for those who espouse that they need their windows os for certain programs there are ways to make most windows compatible software by just pointing and clicking and with enough tinkering around and research the rest can be made to work too. I am still wet behind the ears with linux and have to do a lot of research to fix, modify and build but I guarantee my systems run smoother than any comparable system running windows and they do everything windows can. The downside of linux is that you have to put some effort into it ( hello, it is free!!!) to get it the way you want it. There are some ready made builds that are less work like Ubuntu and Mint but even those may need a little tlc to get everything working right (especially for laptops notorious for their graphics and wireless issues but still fixable) but they are very stable, secure and user friendly, a good place to start for a beginner. If you like how Microsoft has become more invasive to your privacy (taking information of any kind from your device without your expressed permission is an invasion of privacy and for those of us that actually read before clicking I accept and know that Microsoft has stated their right to ALL information residing on a machine running windows 10 if you use windows 10 stop screaming rape, you spread your legs when you accepted the eula so you consented to it.
W10 Privacy is hard for me to embrace due to rough Google Translate.
Be a lot better for me to read with English text and view English pics.
Google Translate reads rough, as if not proof read by native English speaker. IMO
Good article! Nice to know my choices of telemetry/privacy tools and their features :)
Destroy Windows Spying is detected as malware and also redirects to some shady crack site.
Your Spybot Anti-Beacon link was outdated — https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/
Thank you, corrected.
Trying to block telemetry via the hosts file isn’t a whole lot of use. It seems to be The Microsoft Way these days to bypass /etc/hosts (oops sorry, got carried away by nostalgia, I mean C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts) entirely, by hard-coding the IPs of their telemetry-collecting servers right there in the parts of the OS that do the spying and mothership-calling. And if MS needed to change an IP (or add another 17) they have plenty of opportunity to do that via one or more of those unending Windows Updates, which run with Ghod-Almighty-level privileges.
This article needs to be updated. Many of these programs haven’t been updated in over a year and are now turning into abandonware as Microsoft changes it’s telemetry data collection. These Privacy Tools have not kept up with that.
Do you know one, or even better several, that has/have been updated?
Then names please..
No need to get mad at me. I don’t maintain those programs. I only pointed out that they haven’t kept up with the times, that’s all.
That being said, I wish I knew of one that’s still effective. That doesn’t change how out of date this article is.
One should just assume Microsoft will change it’s telemetry data collection on a regular basis and not stand still.
https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10 is the only privacy tool i know which is up2date
Only Problem with https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10 is:
It dont have an auto updater.
So you have to manually update it.
Best solution: Just check the page for new updates from time to time.
O&O ShutUp10 is out with a new update, v. 1386. Includes a new option to “Disable conducting experiments on this machine by Microsoft” (Yikes!!)
majorgeeks today added Privacy Repairer 184.108.40.206 from Securilla. I like the option of On/Off, 935KB .exe.
Please review. See if it has your approval for your list. Thanks. https://www.securilla.com/privacy-repairer
Looks good, have added it.
Privacy Repairer 220.127.116.11 de Securilla contiene malware segun malwarebits
Martin: This is excellent information. Can you create a similar article for Windows 7?
IoT botnets, govt surveillance, hackers, snoopers and blah blah blah are operating really smartly. We really need an encrypted tool for our online security. These are good options but I would like to add more privacy tools, checkout this infographics: https://www.purevpn.com/blog/8-tools-to-enhance-online-privacy/
Weird, I’ve been using that stuff for years.
Maybe it would also be valuable to add to the comparison whether a tools is open or closed source.
Open source gives people more confident in the tool (and the author of the tool).
May I ask why you don’t provide a simple link to either download, or visit the home page of these privacy tools?
Maybe you can add WindowsSpyBlocker in this list (https://github.com/crazy-max/WindowsSpyBlocker) ?
O&O Shutup10 Version 1.4.1387 â€“ released on 07.03.2017 (March 07, 2017)
Does anyone know why O&O ShutUp10 v1.4.1387.1 tries to connect to the following:
O&O ShutUp10 Version 1.4.1388 â€“ released on 21.03.2017
Advanced error management when creating System Restore Points
Problems with some systems when creating System Restore Points
Available in English, German, French, Italian and Russian
Privacy Repairer version 18.104.22.168 â€“ released on 2017/02/27
Added an option to send ‘do not track’ in Microsoft Edge.
Added an option to disable storing DRM licenses in Microsoft Edge.
Added an option to globally disable Cortana for all users.
Added an option to disallow Microsoft from conducting experiments on your system.
Added an option to disable Windows Spotlight on lock screen.
Added an option to disable advertisements on lock screen.
O&O ShutUp10 Version Version 1.5.1389 â€“ released on April 11, 2017
Extensions and customization for Windows 10 Creators Update 1703 (Build 15063)
see History of Changes
O&O Shutup10 Version 1.5.1390 â€“ released on May 09, 2017
see History of Changes
I think it will be good to have a separate section of programs that have been updated in the past 6 months, or maybe,
updated in 2017. There is some cat and mouse games with Microsoft (Hostsfile entries can be ignored etc.), and programs like Spybot Antibeacon are buggy.
The tablet indicates the last update year.
Maybe add the exact date of the update, and not only the year. Or at least the month.
I recommend to check out WPD (https://getwpd.com) it’s just a very handy wrapper for most important group policy settings and other stuff. See scr: http://i.imgur.com/ARpEzS8.png
Just tested on Win 10 CU and very surprised!
I think it works with native windows api to manage all things, that’s pretty cool!
Because other programs make changes to Group Policy only though registry, and you won’t see changes in Local Group Policy Editor – https://pasteboard.co/1plZyshMW.png NICE!
Ability to delete built-in apps very useful, just uninstalled all garbage except Store :3
Btw Martin, add a link to wpd and “Restore – Yes”, cause you can restore (turn on) everything :P
Firewall IPs used by WPD come from WindowsSpyBlocker (https://github.com/crazy-max/WindowsSpyBlocker)
Btw, maybe you can add WindowsSpyBlocker to your list Martin ?
Sure I put it on my todo list.
Hi Martin, what about Abelsoft Win10 Privacy Fix ver 2.0?
I’m particularly upset by the Update functions, which often take control of my PC and do not let me work.
Thanks a lot
Wonderful sum-up post !
Thanks a ton !
What’s is the best and updated for Windows 10 Creators Update?
I personally find win10privacy to be the most complete out of all of these.
I second that. Which is best for Windows 10 Creators Update?
I think Blackbird will come out with a new version in a while. But which is best right now apart from Blackbird? Thanks!
Unfortunately all of these are abandoned and should be labeled as such. O&O ShutUp10 which seemed like one of the most professional ones is abandoned since May… looks like Micro$oft won the battle of invading our privacy.
WPD seems to still be updated. I use that and O&O.
O&O ShutUp 10 is Not abandoned. They released an update 3 days ago and is good for Spring 2019.
Win10 Initial Setup Script
I really recommend this one, it’s an open source script, run using PowerShell. You can view the script easily and verify the modification been done to your system before you run it.
I strongly recommend to use only open source tools. When using non-open source tools, you give them access to modify your Win10 without the ability to verify what changes that have been made.
Yes, you can use ProcessMonitor to view the changes, but it’s difficult and troublesome to verify. And you can only verify the changes after running the tools.
There is also danger something like CCleaner attack happens, you are at risk running questionable executable program on your system.
windows 10 rs3 1709 for new antispy?
Deutscher Journalist ? Warum gibtÂ´s die Seite dann nicht auch auf Deutsch ?
Ich glaube, weil es Doppelarbeit ist und die BeitrÃ¤ge sich an ein internationales Publikum richten … Kannst es ja Ã¼bersetzen und ihm zumailen – vielleicht verÃ¶ffentlicht Martin die Ãœbersetzungen dann ja. Oder ist Dir das zu viel Arbeit? Das denkt Martin wohl auch …
Thank you Martin for your very useful guide.
1) In your your introduction, you number the tools 1 to 19. I suggest you add those numbers to the name of each program in the Table *and* to the heading for each program in the text. For example, “W10Privacy” would become “6. W10Privacy” in the Table, and again later in the text (just above the screen-shot). This would make it much easier to relate the Table to the text entries. It would also help distinguish between entries with similar names (such as programs 4, 5 and 6).
2) In the Table, for W10Privacy you list Backup/Restore as “Yes/Yes”, but in the full entry in the text you say, “W10 Privacy offers no backup and restore functionality. This means that you need to create a System Restore point or other type of backup manually before you use it to modify system settings.” Which of these statements is correct?
Thanks for this article. i read daily ghacks is very good website, I use shutup10.
We’reÂ using donotspy10 since it was out (HOME or PRO). Defender is the only virus stuff we have since 10240.. Also, disabling the 55 telemerity rules.
Plus blackviper Services <>. Services review ends on disabling about 72 of them. Turning OFF all Windows feature in program and features. The first thing we do after a clean install.
90 to 95% of switches are set OFF.Â Removing OneDrive, set Tor browser default and duckduckgo is HOME page and default search engine in Firefox x64.
We never open Edge and we always have an eye on secret settings. Ccleaner runs every day and tiles and MS apps are deleted from there.
WE DON’T TRUST MS,!?! Set that wayÂ we never ever have problems. We don”t do upgrade; we frequently perform a clean install instead.
On topÂ we don’t backup anything and perform a full cleanupÂ of hdd by doing a clean install of Linux LVM partitioning scheme with overwrite empty space enabled.
I think you should clean up this list a bit and maybe separate abandoned projects into an archive section. For instance, the author of Windows 10 Privacy Fixer even writes himself: “Iâ€™ve wrote this Tool at the time there were no GUIs for Privacy Changing available. Since then way better Tool like O&O ShutUp10 are available”
Invaluable resource. I use Linux but recently picked up a Win10 machine. While I’m only doing minimal work on Windows right now, I may need to use it more extensively in the future. When I started to look at all the (anti-)spyware apps, it was overwhelming. This list, plus info on whether projects are still active has already saved me days of research!
for version “win10 1809” ?
Could you add another column for whether or not the program is open source?
I have just updated to the most recent version, 1.6.1402. This is an invaluable free utility.
Windows Privacy Tweaker is outdated.
Last update from 09/05/2018 !
I found this “antitrack” blocker. maybe for your comparison list:
i think the next question is which are the best three tools. *smile*
Debotnet should be added:
What about WinAero Tweaker? I have used it several times and it seems good. Winaero-dot-com
Correct me if I’m wrong but is there any point in using these privacy tools when you know for a fact that Microsoft will release new telemetry junks or pushes some updates that “breaks” the tweaks which you’ve applied via using these privacy tools?
I feel like the users are fighting the losing battle. It’s a constant catch up game where the users tries their best to tweak/block any new telemetry BS that Microsoft releases but then, they release a new one again in the next update and the cycle continues.
My apologies for having such a defeatist attitude but, I feel like the best way to counter these spying shit is to just not use the product at all.
Just my two cents.
As John Philpot Curran declaimed in Dublin, in 1790, “The condition upon which God hath given Windows 10 to man is eternal vigilance.” (Okay, so I haven’t *completely* nailed down the authenticity of the Windows 10 part of the quote, but I bet if Curran were around today he’d back me up on it. ;-)
I don’t use any of these tools. In terms of ensuring real privacy for Windows users, I would recommend Opticole by Riserbo. It’s very new, dirt cheap, and comes with some excellent additional features.
“Spydish” a new tool
For those of us who are ignoramuses regarding computers, I have no idea how to compare the list above…all I know is that since I was forced to go with Win.10pro from being so happy with Win.7pro, I’ve been trying my best to disable One, Cortana, and others I can’t remember the name of right now. My CCleaner has been screwing up so much I had to delete it, but still have residual problems from it, and don’t know what to replace it with.
I don’t own a cellphone, so I turn off all the bluetooth crap and everything related to communicating that way.
My Malwarebytes Premium can only do so much…same with the Mbytes Adwcleaner and browserguard. I do use Firefox and lots of their approved add-ons to keep adware/sneakware/spyware/crapware/bloatware off my trail, but it is like a war against my own laptop! I am constantly fighting against millions of people who want the info on my laptop and from everywhere I go. I was using the CCleaner after every trip to every single website, deleting everything I could–as well as always doing Mbytes sweeps every few to 5 minutes, but it is an absolute war going on.
Is there any way possible for me to tell what is the best, most reliable, free Win.10 privacy tools?
Where is Spydish https://github.com/builtbybel/spydish/releases which is the most convenient of all mentioned
@Anonymous: Where is Spydish https://github.com/builtbybel/spydish/releases which is the most convenient of all mentioned
Where you should choose:
[ Latest release ]
spydish_x64.zip (OS 64bit specification)
spydish_x86.zip (OS 32bit specification)
It will be added once it has been around a bit longer.
The most rich one with a very transparent UI: https://github.com/undergroundwires/privacy.sexy . There are offline and online versions (the only tool with an online only version).
Still missing my favorite Privatezilla which is also open source
The author of Debotnet not only has that but also https://github.com/builtbybel/sharpapp going on
I am still wondering why Privatezilla has not been incorporated into your great “Comparison of Windows 10 Privacy tools”. I see many good reasons why users would want to know about this relatively new software (from my search, it is about 4 months old). It has a “revert” option to undo and I especially like the “analyze” option without changing any existing Windows 10 setting.
Maybe because is outdated? :o
you are outdated
Great list! I hope you’ll take the time to include the new open-source tools, Privatezilla (previously known as Spydish) which is quite mature at this point and the impressive privacy.sexy, which were mentioned before by others, they deserve the recognition too imo!
for windows 11 please
Thank you Martin for both your summation and introducing me to ghacks.net. As a newbie to pcs, I found there few sites that present information so clearly. I look foward to reading your articles.
Spybot Anti-Beacon is in Version 3, not 1 as you show on the screenshot.
And since version 2, there are explanations available, as you click on th desired immunizer in the telemetry list.
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