Windows Privacy Dashboard (WPD) is a privacy-enhancing application for Microsoft Windows operating systems. The app supports all supported versions of Windows on the client and server side including Enterprise and Education editions.
WPD was updated recently to support the Windows 10 October 2018 Update; reason enough to take another look at the free tiny program for Windows.
The review is based on WPD 1.2.938 released on October 9, 2018.
Tip: check out our overview of Windows 10 privacy tools here.
The application supports three core features: manage privacy settings, block Windows telemetry IP addresses in the firewall, and uninstall Windows Store applications.
You can run the program right after the download provided that the system supports the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0. All recent versions of Windows support the framework by default.
The program displays the three main functions on start. A click on any opens the configuration screen for that particular option. The other options are listed in a sidebar so that you may switch between the main functions quickly.
Privacy options are divided into groups such as local group policy, services, scheduler. Each privacy related setting, e.g. Allow Cortana or Internet Explorer Customer Experience Improvement Program, has a help icon next to it. Hover over the icon and click on it to display a help text that describes what it does.
While you may not need to click on the help icon for every privacy setting, you may want to do so for each that you are unsure about.
Allow Cortana may be easy enough to understand even without the help text but that may not be the case for "Throttle additional data", "Inventory Collector", or "Proxy".
A click on the toggle icon in front of preferences changes the state of the item. The only option to make bulk changes is displayed at the very bottom of the screen.
There you may disable all features and include "all additional settings" as well. You find a useful "default" button there as well to reset all settings to their default state.
Note that the program does not create a System Restore point or other form of backup. Changes that you make in the program are made on the underlying system right away and the only two options to undo them are to use the toggle icon to turn them on again or use the default button at the bottom to reset them all at once.
Lots of new options were added to the program compared to the version of WPD that we reviewed in 2017.
The firewall settings display three options:
You can copy the rules and paste them into firewall programs that you use if you don't use Windows Firewall.
The list contains a large number of Microsoft IP addresses and is maintained by a third-party. Note that you may break functionality when you block these IP addresses in the firewall.
The app uninstaller lists Microsoft Store applications that you may uninstall from the system. Note that it lists the majority of integrated and all user-installed apps including Edge browser extensions.
Options to uninstall apps are provided but there is no option to restore the app from within WPD once it has been removed.
As far as changes are concerned, there have been plenty.
WPD is a useful program for Windows users who want better management options for privacy related settings. It is an advanced tool for the most part and users need to be aware that it does not create backups or System Restore points.
On the plus side, it is getting frequent updates that fix issues and add support for new feature releases for Windows 10.
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