So you’ve finally made the decision to upgrade to Windows 10. Congratulations! You put up the good fight and held out for a year, but with the prospects of paying $119 now staring you in the face, there are likely millions of people like you around the globe in the same situation.
However, the move to Windows 10 also comes with some words of caution as well. As you might have already heard over the past year, Microsoft ruffled the feathers of users that value their privacy with Windows 10. So, to that end, we have a guide that is dedicated to helping you navigate these murky waters to make sure that you are only handing over the information that you deem necessary to Microsoft. We'll also cover how to clean up the bloat after Redmond has its way with your file system.
The first step, of course, is to navigate to the Windows 10 Settings menu to access the Privacy option. From here, you can check or uncheck to your heart’s desire nearly every aspect of the operating system that reports back to Microsoft or feeds your personal information to other apps. The General tab under Privacy allows you to disable your advertising ID and control access to the SmartScreen Filter.
The other tabs under Privacy are pretty self-explanatory, with options to control how your location data is accessed, apps that are given access to your built-in camera (on notebooks and tablets), and even which apps are able to access your contact and calendar information. Disabling a lot of this functionality will of course limit the ability of Windows 10 to offer you a more personalized and localized experience, but that’s the price you’ll have to pay to keep your privacy intact.
For further details on Windows 10 privacy, read on in our full guide, Here's How To Keep Microsoft's Nose Out Of Your Personal Data In Windows 10.
Once you’ve gotten all your privacy settings squared away, it’s time to start reclaiming your storage space following the upgrade to Windows 10. Luckily, there are a few quick steps to recover a sizable chunk of storage, by reducing unneeded file clutter, right out of the gate.
If you’ve installed Windows 10, like what it has to offer, and all of your apps work just fine, you could always delete your old Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install. When you upgrade from a previous version of Windows, the Windows 10 setup engine basically clones your old install just in case you need to rollback for some reason (Microsoft gives you a 30-day grace period). Deleting these files is an easy way to recover some disk space (especially if you’re running a tablet with a low-capacity eMMC flash storage or the like).
It also wouldn’t hurt to fire up the Disk Cleanup app to get rid of unnecessary cruft like Windows upgrade log files and Temporary Windows installation files. Disk Cleanup makes the process incredibly simple and could help you recover a few additional gigabytes of space (in addition to the space gained by deleted your old Windows install).
To discover more tips on how to make the best use of your storage in Windows 10, be sure to read, Windows 10 Migration Guide: Storage Clean-Up And Optimization.
So there you have it; the quick and dirty on making the jump cleanly to Windows 10. Be sure to check out the more detailed guides noted above, and also our migration guide here, for setting up to make the switch.