Creating or Using a Microsoft Account

Windows 10 will always prompt you to create a Microsoft account. The Microsoft account is free and doesn’t require a credit card, but you don’t have to sign up if you don’t want to.  Not creating a Microsoft account will keep your activity and information local to your computer, but this will limit your use of the Microsoft Store and some other activities.

When you are signed into your Microsoft account, Microsoft services like Bing, MSN, and Cortana will try to personalize your experience by collecting data about you. You can read Microsoft’s Privacy Policy to determine if you want to have an account or not. However, you will find it similar to policies from Apple, Amazon, and others in that each is filled with vagaries that give the company a lot of leeway. Microsoft has specific information in their Privacy Policy for Bing, Cortana, Skype, Outlook, Office and other services that you may use while using Windows. In fact, there are so many different services that it all gets quite complicated. If you want to read and absorb the entire thing, plan on spending at least several hours.

windows 10 privacy - MS policy

If you decide to have a Microsoft account, you can access and control the use of some of your information in the Bing Personalization area. In this area you can clear your personal information as well as your search history. You can get links to other Microsoft services. You can also clear the considerable information that Cortana collects including your calendar, contacts, and location.

Although Bing is the default search engine for Windows 10, you can change it if you like. Remember though, if you decide to use Google or some other search engine, you will find that those other companies are gathering just as much information about you as Microsoft.

windows 10 privacy - bing personalization

Once you start looking at all of the Windows 10 Privacy settings, you will be amazed. Although Microsoft is not copying your documents or files, they are gathering a ton of information. So it is certainly worth limiting that data sharing as much as possible.

We hope this tutorial has clarified all of the places where you can adjust the Windows 10 Privacy Settings.




Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.