This is your last chance to get Windows 10 for free

Although Microsoft officially ended the free Windows 10 upgrade offer last year, it is still possible to get the new operating system completely free of charge by using a simple trick.

The software giant provides Windows 10 for free to anyone using assistive technologies, and doesn’t require you to prove you have any kind of disability in order to make use of this upgrade offer. However, all good things must come to an end, and Microsoft is set to close this free upgrade route on December 31, 2017.

To upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10 at no cost, you just need to go to the assistive technologies page and click the Upgrade Now button under the statement: 'Yes, I use assistive technologies and I am ready for my upgrade to Windows 10.'
Doing so will download the Windows 10 Upgrade tool and you can run this and follow the instructions to upgrade a Windows 7 or 8.1 device to the latest version of Windows.

Remember though, you'll need to act quickly before this particular loophole is closed for good.



How to completely disable Cortana

Disclaimer: Please see WernerCD's answer for an improved method. This will break the search bar/Start search.

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 Use a Dark Theme for (Almost) Everything in Windows 10

With Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, Microsoft now offers a dark theme–known as “dark mode”. This option was previously hidden and could only be enabled with a registry hack. Now, it’s a simple toggle.
There’s just one catch: it doesn’t apply to every Windows application. But we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to get your whole desktop (or as much as possible) looking dark.

Enable Dark Mode for Windows 10 Settings and Apps

To enable the new dark theme, head to Settings > Personalization > Colors. Scroll down and select “Dark” under “Choose your app mode”.
The Settings application itself will immediately turn dark, as will many other “Universal Windows Platform” applications. However, it’s up to each developer to support the dark theme, and some applications will continue using their normal colors.
This option also doesn’t affect desktop applications, including Windows 10’s File Explorer, which will remain white.



Enable the Dark Theme in Microsoft Edge

The MIcrosoft Edge web browser included with Windows 10 also has a dark theme. However, its dark theme option is entirely separate from the main option in Settings…for some reason.
To activate a dark theme in Edge, open the Microsoft Edge web browser, open the menu, and select “Settings”. Select “Dark” under “Choose a theme”.

You can also choose to set your theme separately in the Groove music player and Movies & TV video player apps. However, they’ll just use your system theme setting by default. You don’t have to change the setting manually, as you do with Edge.

Enable the Dark Theme in Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office 2016 also contains a dark theme that isn’t enabled by default, and must be manually enabled.
To enable it, open an Office application like Word or Excel and head to File > Options. On the General tab, click the “Office Theme” box under “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” and select the “Black” office theme.
Your theme choice will apply to all Office applications. So, if you set this option in Word and later open Excel, Excel will also be using a dark theme.

Install Dark Themes for Chrome, Firefox, and Other Applications

Many other Windows desktop applications have their own theming options and theming engines. For example, to use a dark theme in Google Chrome, you’ll need to head to Google’s Chrome themes site and install a dark theme. For Firefox, you’ll need to head to Mozilla’s Firefox themes site and install a dark theme.
For example, we installed the Morpheon Dark theme for Chrome. It makes Chrome look much more at home on a dark-themed desktop.
Check to see whether the applications you frequently use offer their own theme options.



Enable a Dark Theme for Windows Desktop Applications

The real problem with the new “dark mode” setting is that it doesn’t affect the Windows desktop theme at all. Desktop applications like File Explorer will continue using the normal, light theme.
Windows does have a built-in dark theme for desktop applications, but it probably isn’t ideal. To enable it, open the Control Panel and head to Appearance and Personalization > Change the Theme. Scroll down and choose one of the High Contrast themes, such as “High Contrast Black”.

This will make applications like File Explorer have a dark background. However, they won’t look all that great–high contrast themes are an accessibility feature designed to increase contrast so the screen is easier to read and understand. They don’t look as slick as a modern dark theme would.

If you want a slicker dark theme for File Explorer and other desktop applications, you’ll have to go a bit off the beaten path. You’ll need to bypass the normal protection against using third-party themes–or “visual styles”– in Windows. You can then hunt down a third-party dark theme you like. Follow our guide to installing third-party visual styles on Windows for more help.
For example, we installed UxStyle and the Windows 10 – Dark Edition visual style. There are many other dark themes you could choose. A theme like this one makes File Explorer and other applications look darker and fit in better, although there are still parts of Windows desktop applications that themes don’t (and can’t) modify. Just make sure you back up before installing something like this, as you’re messing with system files.

Like many parts of Windows 10, the new dark theme–or dark “app mode”–feels incomplete. Microsoft could include a dark theme option for Windows desktop applications and the interface would look more cohesive. Perhaps Microsoft plans on replacing File Explorer with a new, Universal Windows Platform-based file manager in a future update to Windows 10. For now, though, this is what we’ve got.


How to enable or turn on Dark Theme in Windows 10 via Settings

Windows 10 Anniversary Update v1607 now lets you easily enable or turn on the Dark Theme in Windows 10. When you do this, all UWP or Universal Windows Platform apps will use the Dark Mode. Earlier, one had to resort to a registry tweak to do it, but now, one can easily enable it via Settings. Let us see how to do it.

Turn on Dark Theme in Windows 10

turn on dark theme windows 10
From the Start Menu, open Settings and click on Personalization.
In the left panel, you will see Colors. Select this section.
Now in the settings which open, scroll down till you see Choose your app mode, with the options:
  • Light
  • Dark
The default is Light. Select the Dark mode, and you will see the Settings app turn black right away.
When you do this, even the apps like the Windows Store app, Mail app, Calendar app, etc, will use the power-saving and easy-on-the-eyes black background. Moreover, this Dark Mode is great for low-light conditions too.
Let us know if you plan to use the dark Theme in Windows 10.
If you like dark themes, you might want to take a look at these posts too:
  1. Enable Dark Theme in Edge browser
  2. Switch to dark gray theme in Office
  3. Enable Dark Mode in Films & TV App.
Related Posts:


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.



How To Add Gmail To Windows 10/8 Mail

Photos, People, SkyDrive, Maps, Calendar, and Mail are some of the modern apps that ship with Windows 8 and Windows 10. Obviously, the Mail app lets you see all your email accounts in one place. The Mail app supports all popular webmail services like, Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo mail.
Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step
Even though the Mail app is not as powerful as Outlook or Windows Live Mail, it does the job very well. There are some basic features missing from this version of the Mail app. For instance, you can’t directly print a mail from the app and you can’t even add an account using POP or IMAP. To print an email, you need to copy the contents of the mail to your Notepad, Office or any other other applications and then use print feature of the application to print your email. Microsoft will definitely improve this app in coming months.

Add Gmail to Windows 10/8 Mail app

If you have a Gmail account and would like to add your account to Mail app, follow the steps given below.
Step 1: Switch to Start screen and then click on Mail app to launch the app.

Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail
Step 2: You should now see the Hotmail account that you have previously configured during Windows installation. To add a new account, move the mouse cursor to the upper right corner of the screen to view charms with system commands.

Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step22

Step 3: Click on Settings to view setting for Mail app. Click on Accounts and then click Add an account to see options add Gmail or Hotmail or Exchange account.
Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step3
Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step4
Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step5
Step 4: Click on Google. You will be asked to enter your email address and password. Once done, click on Connect button to synching the account. You are done! Within a few seconds, you should be be able view all your mails.

Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step6
Add Gmail To Windows 8 Mail Step7
Also to see how to install Metro-apps and update Metro apps.


How To Add Yahoo! Mail Account To Windows 10 Mail

Yahoo! no longer supports the official Yahoo! Mail app for Windows 10. In fact, the Yahoo! Mail app has been removed from Windows Store. Users who have already installed Yahoo! Mail app on Windows 10 cannot check their emails using the discontinued Yahoo! Mail app for Windows 10.
Yahoo! mail account users who are using a Windows 10 PC need to use either a web browser or an unofficial email client to check emails. Luckily, the default Windows 10 Mail app supports Yahoo! Mail as well. One can add Yahoo! Mail account to Windows 10 Mail app with a few clicks.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step4
Follow the given below directions to add your Yahoo! Mail account to Windows 10 Mail app.

Add Yahoo! Mail to Windows 10 Mail app

Step 1: Launch the Mail app. Click the Settings (gear) icon in the lower left-pane to open Settings.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step1

Step 2: Click Manage Accounts.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step2

Step 3: Click Add account. This action will open a page with all top webmail providers, including Yahoo!.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step3

Step 4: Click Yahoo! option. You should now see the Yahoo! Mail sign in page.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step4

Step 5: Type in your Yahoo! Mail email address. Click Next button.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step5

Step 6: Next, enter your Yahoo! Mail account password. Click Sign in button.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step6
Step 7: If you have enabled two-step verification for your Yahoo! account, you will see the following screen where you can select a method to verify your account. Select one of the methods, click Verify to receive the verification code. Enter the code you received on your phone or email to complete the verification.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step7
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step8
Step 8: When you see the following page, click Agree button to allow the Mail app to access your Yahoo! account contacts, profiles, and calendar.

add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step9
Step 9: If you see the following screen with “Let Windows remember your sign-in name and password so you don’t have to” message, click Yes button. That’s it!

add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step10

You should now see “All done! Your account was set up successfully” message. Click Done button.
add yahoo mail account to Windows 10 mail step11

The Mail app will start syncing your emails.
Also check out how to add Gmail account to Windows 10 Mail app.