Eliminate certain annoying/suspicious/intrusive Windows 10 features

; Date: February 17, 2018

Tags: Windows

Want to eliminate Cortana? How about the popup notification urging you to get on with installing Microsoft Word? Or that other about the lack of virus protection? Microsoft has a history of poor respect for their customers, and instead aggressively pushing products. And then there's the history of Clippy (ugh) and the modern incarnation, Cortana, that's simply more irritating than valuable. And finally a bunch of default Windows settings are downright intrusive or put extra load onto the computer than is necessary.

By default:

  • Windows Update will use your Internet connection to send Windows update files to your neighbors
  • Windows Defender constantly nags you to install a virus protection application
  • Microsoft Office constantly nags you to purchase an Office license
  • A bunch of pre-installed software of questionable usefulness is taking up your disk space
  • An "advertising ID" is sent to "make ads more interesting" but with the side effect of tracking who you are and what you're about
  • Websites are told your language list (to "provide locally relavent content") which is a privacy intrusion
  • Location services might be turned on by default, another privacy intrusion
  • You might be nervous about default camera and microphone settings, because those might be a privacy intrusion
  • The Feedback & Diagnostics service is set to Full which then accesses "inking and typing data" to send diagnostics information back to Microsoft. Huh? Do they really need to know everything we type?
  • A bunch of background apps are running, consuming CPU cycles, and providing questionable service
  • The "night light" mode is OFF by default, but is incredibly useful
  • WiFi is configured to "find paid plans" for open hotspots nearby, and to promiscuously connect to open hotspots. It's better for you to be in control of which hotspot you're using.
  • So-called Suggestions are added to the Start menu - another privacy intrusion?

All these settings and more are easy to fix - they're generally in the Settings control panel. It's easy enough to browse the settings yourself, but it's very useful to view these suggestions.