Windows 10 Privacy: Debotnet 0.5 update brings massive improvements
Debotnet 0.5.2 is the latest version of the Windows 10 privacy tool. We reviewed the initial version of Debotnet here on Ghacks in December 2019 and concluded that it was a promising program that helped Windows administrators significantly when it came to taming the operating system's data collection activities.
The program was released as beta back then and we decided not to rate it or add it to the list of privacy tools that we maintain here on Ghacks; this changes with the release of the new version.
Debotnet is no longer beta and Mirinsoft, the company that develops the program, added significant improvements and changes to the application.
Windows administrators may run the program from any location as it does not need to be installed. I scanned the program at Virustotal and it came back clean, another improvement compared to previous versions.
The first change becomes visible right way: the interface has changed for the better.
The left sidebar lists various categories such as bloatware, third-party, or privacy now that improve accessibility significantly. The previous version displayed a long list of tweaks without any categorization.
Equally beneficial is the new logic when it comes to running the tweaks. It is still possible to select multiple tweaks and run all of these at once, but the confusing run options of the previous version have been removed. Now, all it takes is to execute the run, test script, or undo script options.
Probably the biggest improvement of the new version is the number of tweaks and options that have been added to the application. If you check the list of categories in the sidebar, you may notice that some are not related to native Windows 10 apps or functionality.
The third-party category lists options to block the Chrome Software Reporter Tool, CCleaner monitoring, or Adobe's Acrobat Reader online service while Ninite Apps options to download and install popular applications using Ninite.
Here is a quick overview of the provided categories:
- Start -- Options to handle some of the worst native privacy offenders, e.g. Telemetry, web search, Diagnostics Tracking Service, Location Tracking, or the automatic installation of apps.
- Bloatware -- displays a long list of Windows 10 apps that admins may remove. Includes the games that Windows 10 ships with but also apps like 3D Viewer, Game Bar, Microsoft News, or Xbox.
- Cortana -- Quick and easy options to disable or remove Cortana.
- Deprecated Apps -- Options to restore Classic Calculator, Paint, or Sticky Notes.
- Edge -- Options to neutralize Edge and prevent the installation of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser.
- Gaming -- Option to disable Game Bar features.
- Miscellaneous -- Option to download the tweaking tool Wim Tweak, and a link to our privacy tools listing (appreciated!).
- Ninite Apps -- Download more than 70 popular apps for Windows using Ninite.
- Privacy -- Option to open the Windows 10 privacy settings.
- Security -- Tweaks to disable the password reveal button and Windows Media DRM Internet Access.
- Slim -- Disable system features that tend to take up storage (Reserved Storage, System Restore, Uninstall Software, the last downloads GeekUninstaller Portable to speed up the process).
- Third-party -- Block the Chrome Software Reporter Tool, disable CCleaner Monitoring and Acrobat Reader online service. Also, download Winapp2.ini to enhance CCleaner.
- Update -- Options to delay, block, or enforce downloads of updates and other update related tweaks.
- Windows Defender -- Option to disable or remove Windows Defender.
It is rather easy to use the program. We recommend that you create a system backup before you do. While you get options to undo tweaks, it is always better to have an independent backup.
Just check the tweaks and options that you want to change and hit the run button afterward. We suggest you use the "test script" and "run script" options first to make a dry run before you use run to apply the changes to the system.
Note that you need to hit run for each category individually.
Debotnet is a well designed privacy tool for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system that has made leaps since the release of the first beta version. The tweaks worked well during tests and I did not notice any issues caused by the program.
I'd like to see an option to search for tweaks and that selected tweaks would remain selected even when switching between categories. A global run option or maybe a full listing (all) would improve the program further.
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