General privacy settings in Windows 10

Applies to: PrivacyWindows 10

Windows 10 provides the following privacy settings to give you control over your privacy.

Advertising ID

Windows generates a unique advertising ID for each user on a device, which app developers and advertising networks can then use for their own purposes, including providing more relevant advertising in apps. When the advertising ID is enabled, apps can access and use it in much the same way that websites can access and use a unique identifier stored in a cookie. Thus, app developers (and the advertising networks they work with) can associate personal data they collect about you with your advertising ID and use that personal data to provide more relevant advertising and other personalized experiences across their apps.

The advertising ID setting applies to Windows apps using the Windows advertising identifier. The advertising ID setting does not apply to other methods of interest-based advertising delivered by Microsoft or third parties, such as cookies used to provide interest-based display ads on websites. Third-party products accessed through or installed on Windows may also deliver other forms of interest-based advertising subject to their own privacy policies. Microsoft delivers other forms of interest-based ads in certain Microsoft products, both directly and by partnering with third-party ad providers. Learn more about other interest-based advertising from Microsoft.

To turn off your advertising ID

  1. Go to Start > Settings > Privacy  > General.
  2. Choose your preferred setting for Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app activity.

Windows Defender SmartScreen

Windows Defender SmartScreen sends data to Microsoft about the websites you visit and files you download to warn you and help protect you and your device from unsafe web content or malicious software.

To turn off Windows Defender SmartScreen

  1. Go to Start  > Settings > Update & Security  > Windows Security > App & browser control.
  2. Choose your preferred settings for Windows Defender SmartScreen.

Website access of the language list

Some websites may have their content available in different languages. Windows can share information about your preferred language list with websites so that they can have the opportunity to respect your language preferences without you having to independently set them for each site.

To turn off website access to the language list

  1. Go to Start > Settings > Privacy  > General.
  2. Choose your preferred setting for Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.

App launch tracking

Windows can personalize your Start menu based on the apps that you launch. This allows you to quickly have access to your list of Most used apps both in the Start menu and when you search your device.

To control app launch tracking

  1. Go to Start  > Settings > Privacy  > General.
  2. Choose your preferred setting for Let Windows track app launches to improve Start and search results.

Suggested content

Microsoft can offer you suggestions throughout Settings. This content comes in a variety of forms, and can help you discover new features within Settings, or suggest new content and apps you may find interesting. To disable these suggestions, go to Settings > Privacy > General and then turn off Show me suggested content in the Settings app.