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.
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||2019|
|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||2020|
|Shut Up 10||Yes/No||Yes||disable services, telemetry, access||No||2020|
|Spybot Anti-Beacon for Windows 10||No/No||No||disable services, telemetry, access, hosts, paid version available||No||2020|
|Debloat Windows 10||No/No||In code||disable services, remove apps, telemetry, privacy||Yes||2020|
|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||2020|
|Windows10Debloater||No/No||No||apps, tasks, privacy||Yes||2020|
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|
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.
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 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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Advertisement
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