Comparison of Windows 10 Privacy tools

Windows 10 users can modify the operating system's privacy settings manually, for instance by disabling express setup during installation or upgrade, or by exploring the Privacy section of the new Settings application.
While it gives them full control over each setting, it requires prior knowledge of these settings and time to make the changes.
Privacy tools help users in this regard but may limit the control these users have over what is happening in the background depending on how the tool works.
The following comparison provides you with an overview of these privacy tools highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly for each of them.
Note: We update the listing regularly. Please let us know about any updates that we may have missed, and about new programs that you found that are not on it already.

Windows 10 Privacy Tools

The following programs are reviewed:
  1. Destroy Windows 10 Spying (Open Source)
  2. Disable Win Tracking (Open Source)
  3. DoNotSpy 10
  4. Windows 10 Privacy and Shit (Open Source)
  5. Windows 10 Privacy Fixer (Open Source)
  6. W10 Privacy
  7. Shut Up 10
  8. Spybot Anti-Beacon for Windows 10
  9. Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10
  10. Windows Privacy Tweaker
  11. Win10 Spy Disable
  12. Win10 SpyStop
  13. WinPurify
  14. Windows 10 Lite (Open Source)
  15. (new) Privacy Repairer
  16. (new) Debloat Windows 10 (Open Source)
  17. (new) Blackbird
  18. (new) WPD
Please note that you need to run all programs with elevated privileges as the majority of tweaks are not applied otherwise. You do that with a right-click on the program executable and the selection of "run as administrator" from the options.

Overview of Windows 10 Privacy Tools

NameBackup/RestoreExplanationPrivacy TweaksMiscUpdate
Destroy Windows 10 SpyingNo/NoNodisable services, remove apps, telemetry, toolsCommand line support2016
Disable Win TrackingNo/NoNolimit tracking, source
DoNotSpy 10Yes/NoYesdisable services, apps access, telemetry
Windows 10 Privacy and ShitNo/NoNodisable services, telemetryBatch file2015
Windows 10 Privacy FixerNo/NoNodisable services, apps access, telemetry, remove apps, source codeadditional system tweaks2015
W10PrivacyYes/YesYesdisable services and tasks, apps access,telemetry, disable ads2017
Shut Up 10Yes/NoYesdisable services, telemetry, access2017
Spybot Anti-Beacon for Windows 10No/NoNodisable services, telemetry, access, hosts2016
Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10Yes/YesNotelemetry, apps access2016
Windows Privacy TweakerNo/NoNoServices, Task Scheduler, Registry, Telemetry2016
Win10 Spy DisablerYes/NoNoServices, Task Scheduler, Telemetry, apps2016
Win10 SpyStopYes/NoYesTelemetry, block hosts, Windows Update2016
WinPurifyNo/NoNoTelemetry, remove apps
Windows 10 LiteNo/NoYesRemove apps, Task Scheduler,TelemetryBlackViper Services support2017
Privacy RepairerNo/NoYesTelemetry, apps access, remove adsrecommendations2017
Debloat Windows 10No/NoIn codedisable services, remove apps, telemetry, privacy
BlackbirdNo/YesNodisable services, telemetry, apps, hosts,supports Windows Vista and up2016
WPDNo/NoYesdisable services, Group Policy, telemetry, block IPs, tweaks

Destroy Windows 10 Spying

destroy windows 10 spying

Destroy Windows 10 Spying concentrates on a handful of privacy settings and tweaks only. You may use it to disable spyware tasks in the Task Scheduler, block Microsoft domains in the hosts file, to turn Windows Update on or off, and to remove select applications or all applications from the operating system.
The program does not support backup and restore functionality, and there are no explanations for the tweaks it offers.
While some are self-explanatory, others reveal nothing about the task that gets carried out when they are run. For instance, you don't know which tasks are disabled in the Task Scheduler when you select the tweak to disable spyware tasks in it.
You may run the program from the command line. All switches are explained in the readme file it ships with.

Disable Windows 10 Tracking

disable windows 10 tracking

This is the smallest tool functionality-wise but the one that is the largest in size. It displays four options in its interface which all concentrate on disabling tracking.
Disable Windows 10 Tracking lacks a backup option and explanations of entries.

DoNotSyp 10

donotspy 10

: The program ships with Open Candy adware offers which are displayed during installation. Make sure you block those if you are not interested in those offers.
You may create a system restore point on start of the program so that you can restore it should the need arise to do so.
The program displays all tweaks as checkboxes in its interface. A detailed description is provided on the right once you select a tweak from the list so that you know what it does and what impact it has on system operations.
You find the usual assortment of tweaks supported by DoNotSpy 10. This includes disabling application access to sensors or system features, disabling Cortana or handwriting data sharing.

Windows 10 Privacy and Shit

windows 10 privacy

This is a batch file that you need to download from Pastebin. Create a new .bat file on your system and paste the contents of it into the newly created file.
When you run it afterwards, it will execute select privacy related tasks including disabling data logging services, uninstalling OneDrive and adding domains to the hosts file to block Telemetry data sending.

Windows 10 Privacy Fixer

win 10 privacy fix

The program ships with a compact interface to modify important privacy settings on Windows 10. You do need to click on check first to retrieve information about tweaks that are already set, but even if you do, some settings are listed as unchecked even though they are checked.
Windows 10 Privacy Fixer lets you disable four core services related to telemetry and feedback, block Telemetry hosts, disable application access to system features such as location or calendar, and make general privacy changes, for instance by disabling the unique advertising ID.
You may use it furthermore to uninstall all Windows apps.
A backup is not created and there is no restore option available as well because of it.
Lastly, there are no explanations provided for features. While most are self-explanatory, additional information about some tweaks are necessary to make sense of them or reveal what they actually do when run.

W10 Privacy

w10 privacy

The program is
onlyavailable with a German and English interface
which makes it unusable for most Windows 10 users.
The application displays privacy settings and general tweaks in its interface on launch. The first tab, Datenschutz (German word for privacy), lists privacy-related tweaks you can make.
The tweaks are mostly self-explanatory but when you hover over an entry additional information about it and its impact are revealed by the app.
W10 Privacy offers no backup and restore functionality. This means that you need to create a System Restore point or other type of backup manually before you use it to modify system settings.
What you can do however is save the program's own configuration. If you do that you may load them again at a later point in time.

Shut Up 10

shut up 10

Shut Up 10 displays a list of tweaks in its interface on launch. A click on a tweak name displays a detailed description underneath it that explains what it does if the title on its own is not sufficient for that.
The program suggests to you to create a system restore point once you start modifying settings.
The settings concentrate mostly on privacy and security, but contain several important other settings such as controlling Windows Update or feedback.

Spybot Anti-Beacon for Windows 10

spybot anti beacon

Anti-Beacon has been created by the authors of Spybot Search & Destroy, a popular anti-spyware program for Windows.
It enables you to block Telemetry data and hosts, the Steps Recorder, the use of advertising ID by applications, P2P Windows Updates and WiFi Sense.
The program checks the current settings of the system on start and displays its findings in the interface afterwards.
Select immunize to make all changes, or undo to restore defaults.

Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10

ashampoo antispy for windows 10

AntiSpy for Windows 10 is a free program that you can run from any location. It suggests to create a System Restore point on start, good.
The program lists all tweaks in list form on start. All privacy related settings are sorted into groups and changeable with a click on the switch displays in front of them.
The actions menu lists options to apply recommended tweaks right away which may be useful to some users as it turns off most features and permissions when applied.
AntiSpy lacks descriptions which is problematic especially for inexperienced users.

Windows Privacy Tweaker

windows privacy tweaker

This is another program that scans the settings on start and displays those as safe or unsafe right away so that you know which ones you have not modified yet.
It displays all tweaks in the four tabs Services, Task Scheduler, Registry and USB Security. The first three display tweaks that are directly related to privacy in Windows 10 while the last provides you with options to change the USB Mode.
It shares some tweaks with other applications listed here but also offers some that offers don't offer at all. Especially Services and Registry hold tweaks that you may not find listed in other privacy applications for the operating system.
One downside is that it won't create a system restore point or other form of backup by default so that you need to take care of that manually before you make any changes using it.

Win10 Spy Disabler

win10 spy disabler

The program is offered as a portable version and installer which, apart from the one requiring to be installed before it can be run are identical.
Win10 Spy Disabler displays the list of tweaks right on start in its interface. They are listed under the tabs privacy tweaks and system tweaks.
Unlike the majority of Windows 10 privacy tools, it is bundling tweaks together in single entries. Disable spying services, spying scheduled tasks or "remove default built-in Windows apps" perform multiple operations on the system.
While that is handy, no information are provided on the nature of what is being changed on the system giving you less control over the functionality.
The program prompts for the creation of a restore point before changes are applied.
System Tweaks are non-privacy tweaks only, and System Utilities, the third tab in the interface, links to core Windows tools. The last tab, VPN Service, is an ad for the Hide Your Ass service.

Win10 SpyStop

win10 spystop

Win10 SpyStop checks privacy settings of Windows 10 on start and informs you whether your privacy is threatened or not by them.
The program offers only a couple of options when compared to other privacy apps for Windows 10. You may use it to disable telemetry, remote access and diagnostics, block hosts files used for that purpose by Microsoft, or disable the advertising ID.
It furthermore lets you disable automatic and/or manual Windows Updates, automatic web searches, and blocks application access to Windows Store account information.
The program creates a system restore point during installation.



WinPurify is a free program for Windows 10 that you can run right after download. It displays the options that it makes available on start, with most of them selected by default.
It allows you to remove universal apps or the Store app, disable Telemetry and Windows Update, and run some clean up operations to free up space as well.
Additionally, it wants to install a small helper app on the system that checks RAM and performance, and notifies you if usage is too high.

Windows 10 Lite (Better Privacy)

windows 10 lite

Windows 10 Lite is a command line script that is best run right after setup of Windows 10. It displays a couple of prompts to you on execution giving you some choice in regards to which tweaks you want applied and which you don't.
You may optimize Services using BlackViper's services listing, and let it handle the usual things like removing system apps, tweaking settings for privacy, or removing scheduled tasks used for Telemetry.
It comes without options to create a backup or restore it. So, make sure you create a backup first before you run it.

Privacy Repairer

privacy repairer

Privacy Repairer ships with a total of 58 privacy tweaks for Windows 10 in the version that we reviewed. The program offers a recommendation on start on what to enable but without going into detail as to what will be enabled when you press the button.
Tweaks are listed in categories such as Telemetry and Diagnostics, Windows Defender, Edge and Internet Explorer, or Cortana and Start menu.
Each tweak is listed with its name, a toggle to enable or disable it, an option to display additional information, and information on whether it is recommended or not.
One interesting tidbit here is that the program lists Registry keys in the description for each of the tweaks.
Some tweaks are marked for experts only or dangerous, which is useful as it may prevent users from making certain changes without knowing what a change actually does to the system.
There is no system restore or backup option however.

Debloat Windows 10

debloat windows 10

Debloat windows 10 is a collection of Powershell scripts designed for specific tasks related to privacy and annoyances in regards to Windows 10.
There is a script to remove most of the default apps, another to block Telemetry hosts and services, and yet another to make dozens of privacy related adjustments to the operating system.
You can audit the scripts using a text editor so that you know exactly what they do. Downside to this is that you need some experience to understand what is going on, and that there is no backup or restore option.


blackbird windows privacy

Blackbird is a program for Windows Vista and up that supports two modes of operation. You can run it right away to apply all of its tweaks and changes to the Windows machine, or run it from the command line with parameters that provide you with control in regards to the changes that are made.
The list of tweaks is very extensive; changes range from removing apps, blocking telemetry and ad servers, and disabling Windows services and tasks, to apply network tweaks, and blocking automatic updates.


wpd privacy windows

WPD is a free portable program for Windows 10 to make adjustments to privacy related settings and features of the operating system.
The program divides all options into four different groups:
  • Privacy -- Lets you make tweaks to privacy related Group Policy settings, manage Windows Services, and Windows Tasks.
  • Firewall -- Add Telemetry, Windows Update, and third-party application IP addresses to Windows Firewall for communication blocking.
  • Apps -- Remove applications that ship with Windows 10 by default.
  • Tweaks -- Configure application access to certain data sets and hardware such as the camera or contacts.
The application is easy to use, and descriptions are provided for all options that you have. These are helpful if you require more information before you make a decision on whether to keep a feature enabled, or to disable it.

Closing Words

All tools discussed in the comparison provide you with options to modify settings of Windows 10 systems to improve privacy. Some offer more tweaks than others, and only one suggests to create a system restore point before making any changes to the underlying system.
It comes down to your personal preference in the end and what you want to achieve. All tools disable most of the phone home functionality of the operating system while others go further and let you uninstall apps or make other tweaks that are not necessarily privacy related.



Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1 vs Windows 7 - Microsoft OS head-to-head

Vs,17 Aug, 2016, This is an old article but still worthwhile discussion today...

Redmond operating system smack-down

Windows 10 has been out for over a year and has just recently seen the Anniversary Update land on users' desktops. The free upgrade offer has all but finished (there are still some ways to get it free if you have accessibility issues). Windows 10 is great, especially when compared to its two immediate predecessors, Windows 8.1 and 7, as our blow-by-blow head-to-head comparison shows.

Support cut-off date

Every operating system has its life cycle and will one day be cut off from updates entirely, left abandoned and open to security vulnerabilities that won't be fixed unless you're on a bespoke support contract. As we saw with Windows XP last year, the support deadline comes up quickly and it's important to have your affairs in order and a plan to switch ready to go. Luckily for all three of our operating systems here, you have several years before you'll even need to think about switching away from them. The extended support cut-off dates for Windows are as follows:
Windows 7 Service Pack 1: January 14th, 2020
Windows 8.1: January 10th, 2023
Windows 10: October 14th, 2025

Winner: Windows 10

This comes as no surprise - Windows 10 makes the most sense if you want the most cost-effective way of receiving free updates for the next decade.

User interface for desktops and laptops

Windows 7 certainly set the benchmark for a relatively consistent and understandable user interface, although its key strength now is its familiarity. You know where to find things, you know what sort of results you're going to get from the Start Menu search bar and you understand the oddities of Windows Explorer, Task Manager and Control Panel.

This familiarity is an asset compared to Windows 8.1. Microsoft's huge push for touchscreen devices and tablets left desktop users feeling not only abandoned, but hugely confused. Hitting the Start button to search for an app or file left you with a massive full-screen Start screen that made little sense when it was first introduced in Windows 8 in 2012 and it still feels jarring today.

Windows 10 strikes a better balance here, with its Continuum mode neatly morphing the compact Start menu into a bigger, touch-friendly Start screen as needed. The Start menu’s links to the newly tweaked File Explorer as well as lists of recently used apps and your pinned folders are all huge plus points.
The Start menu in Windows 10 has undergone a few changes since its own release. With the advent of the Anniversary update, it has three columns in the Start Menu with All Apps always visible.

Windows 10 holds a small advantage up to this point, then, and that's before you even consider the hugely improved window management system. If you're someone who likes to multitask, Windows 10 has you covered.
Windows 8.1 has better multi-monitor support than Windows 7. Unlike 7, 8.1 has a taskbar on each screen showing only those  apps  running on that screen. Plus each monitor can have its own distinct wallpaper. and each screen given its own customisable wallpaper.
Windows 10 builds on this foundation, adding an improved version of Windows Snap so you can easily organise your windows in just a couple of clicks. Answering the prayers of those of us with multiple monitors running at different resolutions, there are now settings for scaling text and the UI on a per-monitor basis.

Even if you only have one display, such as when you're using a laptop on the move, Windows 10 now has built-in multiple desktops (like Ubuntu and Mac OS X), so juggling lots of windows and tasks is still easier than ever.

Winner: Windows 10

There's no question Windows 10 needed to make some serious improvements for desktop and laptop users, and Microsoft has delivered. Multitasking has never been easier, meaning it's by far the best choice.

User interface for tablets

Windows 7 only has the most basic interface elements and optimisations for touchscreens, which allowed the iPad and iOS to dominate the market for tablets. This led to the radically improved touchscreen interface in Windows 8, but it alienated a lot of people as it had so few accommodations for keyboard and mouse users.
Windows 8.1 added a few tweaks, nips and tucks, such as the ability to run Modern UI apps in a resizable window, but its display scaling problems made usable high-resolution Windows 8.1 tablets a near impossibility.

Windows 10, while not perfect, is a big improvement. An improved touchscreen gesture allows you to flick between applications quickly and easily than before. If you have a hybrid device and dock it to a keyboard, Windows 10 should recognise this change of state and switch back to its touchpad-friendly desktop mode thanks to Continuum mode, although whether this will work on your device will depend on whether its manufacturers has released drivers that support this.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update features a new Ink Workspace that puts pen-based apps in their own panel at the bottom-right corner. The new apps boast Screen Sketch, Sketchpad and Sticky Notes. The latter integrating with its cloud services. Pen devices should work well with Windows 10 with great Ink support.

Winner: Windows 10

If you have a tablet or a tablet/laptop hybrid, Windows 10 is your best bet. With features catering well for both, you'll work more efficiently that you could on Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.


Windows 7 and 8.1 are by no means insecure operating systems; but Windows 10 has moved both home and enterprise security along significantly, both in terms of local device security and the security of your online services, too.
First of all, there's Windows Hello, which lets you log-in using a fingerprint, face or iris scan instead of a password. While computers with the necessary biometric scanning hardware built-in are currently uncommon, we’re helpful that more will become available quickly given that Hello is built into Windows 10 from the very start.
There's also Passport, a single sign-in service for consumers that allows Windows to authenticate with websites on your behalf without you having to type in a password. This service hooks into Windows Hello, using your biometric scan or a PIN code to verify that you are the person you claim to be. This means you'll use your password less, meaning it'll become much more difficult for hackers to compromise online accounts with stolen passwords. It's not currently supported that widely, but if it takes off, Passport could massively boost security on your online services. As yet, though, Passport and Hello are unproven and very much fledgling technologies.
IT managers will appreciate the ability to organise Enterprise-licenced PCs into circles and choose when updates are applied - great for making sure you don't disrupt your users' work. This also means that Microsoft's new strategy of releasing frequent, individual updates instead of bundling them into Patch Tuesdays or Service Packs won't have a big impact on your office's productivity, as you can delay non-critical updates for up to 90 days if you're on Microsoft's Current Business Branch of support.
You also get Enterprise Data Protection, the ability to sign in with an Azure ID and the ability to set up a company-wide app store.

Winner: Windows 10

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft's latest operating system has the most advanced security features of the operating systems here. It’s good for both consumers and IT managers.


While anecdotally we have heard of PCs running a lot quicker having been upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, actual performance benchmarks on our test PC with 8GB of memory and an Intel Core i5 4690K processor show no difference.
More important is the addition of DirectX 12 support, a low-level graphics API designed to increase 3D graphics performance with lower overheads while giving developers more control over how hardware is used. This is most important for gamers though as most professional 3D graphics software relies on the competing OpenGL API instead. Although it’s still very early days for DirectX 12 with few titles currently taking advantage of it, if you're looking for the best 3D gaming performance available the Windows 10 is likely your best bet as DirectX 12 won’t be available for Windows 8.1 or 7.

Winner: Windows 10

Again, no surprises here; with no penalty in performance and DirectX 12, Windows 10 is an easy choice


Search has become ever more important in operating systems, as file and folder hierarchies have become less important and searching for a specific filename has become a popular way of finding important files – especially amidst messy desktops and haphazardly organised Documents folders.
Windows 7 had a terrific search function built in the Start Menu, finding files and folders on network shares as well as those stored locally. It wasn’t perfect, especially if you needed to refine your search results, but it was useful enough that we were surprised that Windows 8 abandoned this simultaneous search ability. It also adopted a more fiddly Start screen-based search interface and integrated web search results from Bing and app store suggestions. These superfluous additions were far of an annoyance than a convenience.

Windows 10 searches still hook into the Bing search engine and also look for apps in the Windows Store. Even more annoyingly these results are placed ahead of search results for installed apps, files and folders with no option to change this order. Amazingly, the ability to search your computer and network shares simultaneously is still missing.
However, you can at least easily perform more advanced searches from the Start Menu by clicking on the My Stuff button. This lets you filter by relevance or date, and can also narrow down your search to specific file types including documents, photos, music and settings.
Windows 10 also includes Cortana, the personal assistant feature from Windows Phone. This has become a major part of Windows 10 doing double duty as a web search and a Start Menu/Windows search. Plus the ability to search by voice is both impressive in its accurate transcription and in its usefulness for the differently abled.

Winner: Tie

The improved advanced search features in Windows 10 are very welcome, but its insistence on prioritising web search and app store results isn’t. Windows 7 still holds a place in our hearts for its quick, simple search results and network integration.

Verdict - which version of Windows is right for you?

Windows 8 had the unintended side effect of making people significantly more attached to Windows 7 than ever before. It was a happy medium sitting between the Vista mess and the Windows 8 Start screen nightmare.
However, the time is right to move on. If you're still on Windows 7, you can safely upgrade without fear of losing the things you loved most about that OS and Windows 10 is certainly an improvement over Windows 8.1.


Footnote: Drivers
One area not mentioned is the number of drivers Windows 10 offers. From my experience, Windows 10 has better and a more comprehensive library of drivers than either Win7 or Win8.1. In prior windows versions I had to search for motherboard discs to find the correct video, sound, and networking drivers. Installing Windows 10, I did not have these issues.



Make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7

In Windows 10 and 8.1, the Windows Explorer is called as File Explorer. There are a number of changes in Windows 10’s File Explorer compared to Windows 7’s Windows Explorer. The new ribbon in the File Explorer is possibly the biggest change compared to Windows 7’s Explorer.
If you are a user upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and not happy with the way Windows 10’s File Explorer looks and functions, you can easily make it look and feel like Windows 7’s File Explorer in less than 5 minutes.

make Windows 10 File Explorer like Windows 7

And moreover, you can give Windows 10’s File Explorer Windows 7 touch without using any transformation or skin packs. You just need to download a single tool called OldNewExplorer.

NOTE: We suggest you create a system restore point before transforming the Windows 10’s File Explorer into Windows 7’s Explorer so that you can revert all changes with a few mouse clicks using the created restore point.

Give Windows 10 File Explorer Windows 7 touch

Disable the Explorer ribbon
The File Explorer ribbon can be disabled using OldNewExplorer software. After downloading and running the utility, check the option labeled Use command bar instead of Ribbon and also make sure that the following sub-options are selected:
# Hide caption text in File Explorer window
# Hide caption icon in File Explorer window
# Use alternative navigation buttons style
# Enable glass on navigation pane (if you plan to enable Aero glass)

make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7 pic1.1

Get Windows 7 folder icons back in Windows 10
If your intention is to make the File Explorer of Windows 10 look exactly like Windows 7, you need to change the default folder icons of Windows 10 to look like Windows 7 by following the simple directions in our how to get Windows 7 folder icons in Windows 10 guide.
Enable the details pane
The useful details pane has been dropped from Windows 10. In order to get the details pane in File Explorer to make it look like Windows 7, you need to download and run above mentioned OldNewExplorer. Select the option labeled Show details pane at the bottom to enable the same.

make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7 pic4.1

Note that you might need to restart the Windows Explorer process in order to see the details pane.
Enable libraries in navigation pane
With default settings, the File Explorer in Windows 10 doesn’t display Libraries in the navigation pane of File Explorer. If you want the File Explorer to display Libraries in the navigation pane, just like in Windows 7, check the option labeled Use libraries; hide folders from This PC option in OldNewExplorer.
Note that enabling the above option also removes all folders like Documents, Pictures, Videos, and Downloads from This PC. The Windows 7’s Explorer doesn’t display these folders in My Computer.
Make File Explorer open to This PC
In Windows 7, This PC is opened when you open the Windows Explorer. In Windows 10, however, File Explorer opens to the new Quick Access. If you want the File Explorer to open to This PC instead of Quick Access, refer to the instructions in our make File Explorer open to This PC in Windows 10 guide.

make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7 pic3

Turn off the Quick Access in the navigation pane
In the navigation pane of File Explorer, the all new Quick Access appears instead of Favorites. In addition to common locations like Desktop, Downloads, Documents, and Pictures, the Quick Access section of navigation pane displays frequently used folders.

make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7 pic2

If you want to stop seeing frequently used folders under Quick Access, open Folder Options (see how to open Folder Options in Windows 10), under the General tab, uncheck the option labeled Show frequently used folders in Quick Access option and then click Apply. As of now, it’s not possible to rename or remove Quick Access from the navigation pane.
Enable classical drive grouping
The drive grouping in Windows 10 is not exactly the same as in Windows 7. In fact, this change was first made with Windows 8.1. For instance, in Windows 10, connected USB drives appear under Devices and drivers section whereas in Windows 7 there were two sections called Hard Disk Drives and Devices with Removable Storage and all connected USB drives would appear under Devices with Removable Storage section.

make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7 pic4

If you want to same old behavior back in Windows 10 as well, enable the option labeled Use classical drive grouping in This PC option in OldNewExplorer.
Enable Aero glass for window borders
Unlike in Windows 7, the File Explorer of Windows 10 doesn’t use aero glass transparency for window borders. If you want to enable aero glass for window borders, you need to download a free software called Aero Glass. Go through our how to get Aero Glass Transparency in Windows 10 right now guide for detailed instructions.

make Windows 10 File Explorer Look Like Windows 7 pic5.1

When you install Aero Glass tool, it also installs Windows 7-like Aero compatible theme (visual style). So you don’t need to download separately download Windows 7 like theme.
Don’t forget to check out our how to make Windows 10 look like Windows 7 guide.


How To Search For Large Files In Windows 10

s your Windows 10 PC’s hard drive or solid state drive filling up fast? Do you want to find out all files that are taking up the most space on your drive? Want to quickly search for all large files on your PC without the help of third-party software? In this guide, we will see how to use the File Explorer in Windows 10 to quickly search for large files.

Search For large files in Windows 10 using File Explorer

There are a few free utilities out there to find out what’s eating up the valuable space on your PC. While anyone can use these disk space analysers, why use a third-party software when you can use the built-in File Explorer’s search in Windows 10 to quickly find out large files?
The File Explorer’s search in Windows 10 is better than ever. It has many advanced filters to quickly find out files that you are looking for. The best thing is that you don’t need to remember or search the web for these filters as the File Explorer now shows all these advanced filters under the Search tab.

search for large files in Windows 10 pic4

The File Explorer search in Windows 10 can be used to search for large files. In fact, you can find out files of any size using the built-in search. For instance, you can all files greater than 1 GB or 2 GB in size.

Using File Explorer to search for large files in Windows 10

Here is how to search for large files using File Explorer search in Windows 10.
Step 1: Open the File Explorer. Navigate to the drive or folder where you want to search for large files.

search for large files in Windows 10 pic1

Step 2: Click on the search field to see Search tab.

search for large files in Windows 10 pic2

Step 3: Click the Search tab to see all search related settings and options.
Step 4: Here, click Size and then choose one of the filters. As you can see, it offers a total of seven filters: Empty (0 KB), Tiny (0-10 B), Small (10-100 KB), Medium (100 KB – 1 MB), Large (1-16 MB), Huge (16- 128 MB), Gigantic (>128 MB).

search for large files in Windows 10 pic3

If you select Gigantic (>128 MB) filter, the File Explorer will automatically search for all files with more than 128 MB size.
Now, what if you want to search for all files greater than 500 MB size? Simple. In the search field, type size:>500MB to see all files greater than 500 MB. Similarly, use size:>1GB to find all files greater than 1 GB.

search for large files in Windows 10 pic4

Finally, to find out all files with more than 1 GB but less than 5 GB (you can set any size), simply type size:>500MB<5GB in the search field. Of course, you can change these values!

search for large files in Windows 10 pic5

Also check out our how to make Windows 10’s File Explore look like Windows 7.



How to prevent Cortana from running

After playing around with it a bit, and I think I found a method.
Open Task Manager and have it show More details. Right click on Cortana and select Open file location.

Task Manager

Now find the Cortana folder, right click it, and select Rename. I would recommend just adding ".bak" to the end of the folder name so you can find it easily if you want to restore it back to it's original status.


If you attempt to rename, it will tell you that the folder is in use.

Folder In Use

This is when you want to go back to Task Manager, right click on Cortana, and select End task.

End task

Right after the task ends, switch back to the Folder In Use window and click Try Again. The folder should be renamed and the Cortana task will not start again.


How to turn off Cortana and stop personal data gathering in Windows 10

Perhaps one of the biggest features in Windows 10 is the arrival of Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri and Google Now. Cortana is the "world's first" digital assistant capable of helping users on many tasks. The more it learns about you, the more it understands you and it'll be able to assist you more efficiently.

On Windows 10, you can simply say "Hey, Cortana" to have the service immediately answer questions about weather forecasts, set reminders, search the web, find virtually anything on your PC, keep track of flights, calendar, packages, and a lot more – Heck! Cortana can even tell you joke if you need a distraction after a long day of work.
As good as Cortana is there is the issue of privacy as Cortana as inevitably it has to collect various pieces of information and personal data to learn to assist you accordingly.
Some information collected by the Microsoft's digital assistant includes information about your contacts, calendar, location, internet history and favorites, speech, inking and typing, and more.
Although, I personally believe that Cortana is a great tool that will only get better with time, we have to understand that many users will find Microsoft collecting certain pieces information as an invasion of privacy. As such in this how-to guide, you'll learn the options Microsoft is offering to turn off Cortana and stop personal data gathering.

Follow these steps to turn off Cortana in Windows 10

It is actually pretty straightforward to disable Cortana, in fact, there are two ways to do this task. The first option is by launching Cortana from the search bar on the taskbar. Then, from the left pane click the settings button, and under "Cortana" (the first option) and slide the pill switch to the Off position.
The second option is by launching the Settings app and on Privacy, go to Speech, inking, & typing, and click Stop getting to know me.

Either action will turn off Cortana deleting everything the assistant knows about you on this devices. Previously collected data from Cortana's Notebook will not be deleted.

Deleting personalization data from the Microsoft servers

To delete any remaining type of Cortana's data and personal information, such as Notebook, Reminders, Places, from your account, go to the Bing Settings' page. Using the account you are using on your computer, click the Clear button for both "Clear personal info" and "Other Cortana Data and Personalized Speech, Inking, and Typing". In both cases, confirm the deletion and you'll be good to go.



Turning off additional data gathering options in Windows 10

If you want to stop Microsoft from collecting personal information, you can go to the Privacy settings page and disable Send Microsoft info about how I write to help improving typing and writing in the future.

In the same way, you can turn off data collection for location by going to the Privacy settings page and disabling Location globally. Please note that you can also disable location per app. You can even turn off location for Cortana, but at the time of this writing, this option cannot be configured just yet. Disabling location globally will also disable the feature for Cortana.

Things you need to know

While Microsoft is providing different ways to turn off Cortana in Windows 10, there are a few things you may want to know about this feature and data collection:
  • You can only disable Cortana per device. You cannot simply disable the digital assistant in one device and expect to be turned off on every Windows device you own
  • The name you set Cortana to call you is also set per device, not globally
  • You can clear data and personal information that Microsoft collects using Cortana, but there isn't a button to stop collecting information globally in your Microsoft account
  • If you do not want Microsoft to store personal information in the cloud, turn off Cortana on all your devices, then clear all your personal information from your Microsoft account
  • If you disable Cortana in one device, then you clear your information stored online, but if you have another device using Cortana, then that information will once again be uploaded and stored in your account
  • Turning off Cortana will make Windows 10 less efficient in trying to make better suggestions for you
  • Yes, the search bar on the taskbar will continue to work. It won't disappear because you disable Cortana. However, you will be limited to simple searches (locally and from the web)
  • You can always turn on Cortana by opening search on the taskbar, going to the Settings section of the left panel, and sliding the pill switch to the On position. You can also do it via the Settings app > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing and clicking the Get to know me button

Wrapping things up

As you can see, Cortana's settings and how Microsoft collects information is very fragmented. Currently, you have to go to different locations to turn off Cortana and other features that will trigger data collection. Users have to access a web page to clear stored information in their Microsoft accounts, and the Bing Personalization page only offers options to clear users personal information. It does not provide an option to stop personal data gathering completely. In part, this is because, disabling data collection will also affect Bing search results -- after all the digital assistant is powered by the Microsoft's search engine.
Furthermore, the only way you can access Cortana's Notebook, Reminders, and Places is from the device itself, Microsoft does not provide access to such information on the web. So, if you have multiple Windows 10 devices and you did disable the assistant and other data gathering after clearing the data chances are some of your personal information will upload back-up to your account.
Of course, this is just the beginning, and the work is far from done. Like Google, Microsoft also offers a dashboard, which is the home for users to control their accounts, devices, services, and subscriptions. I think it would be better if everything the software maker offers were located in a single location to simplify the user experience.
Microsoft is working to include Cortana on most Windows 10 devices for the July 29th release, including PCs, tablets, laptops, and phones. However, at launch the digital assistant will be limited to certain regions, including United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
And there are other big plans as well. Microsoft has already announced that the digital assistant won't be exclusive to Windows 10, and it will be releasing a standalone app for Android phones, iPhones, and iPads in the near future. However, the app will have limited functionality, because of the nature of the app unable to access part of the different operating systems.