According to a startling new report, if you use Windows 10, every, single keystroke you’ve ever entered on your computer has been logged.
If that weren’t alarming enough to the privacy-minded among us, all of that information is being sent directly to Microsoft.
All of which begs the question, is this why Microsoft was so insistent its users download Windows 10 as soon as it became available?
“You know those nagging questions during the installation process that ask you whether or not you want to ‘help’ improve Windows by sending data to Microsoft? If you happened to answer ‘yes’ to one of these questions, or if you went with the Microsoft default installation, there is a real possibility that everything you have done on your computer from the get-go, including sending ‘secure’ messages (because the keyboard logger captures your keystrokes before they appear in your secure messaging app), is now a part of a massive user database somewhere,” reports SHTFPlan.com.
“It’s been reported that Microsoft has been using the data to improve artificial intelligence writing and grammar software, but it’s not clear what else they are doing with it.”
Unlike recent headlines of security breaches, hacks, and compromised database information, this rather contentious little issue has a few rather simple solutions.
If you have yet to upgrade to Windows 10, you’re in luck — just select “custom install” and make sure to check “no” for each of the questions asked about sending information out to Microsoft or any third party.
“To find out whether everything you type is being logged, SHTFPlan notes,
Simply click on your Windows 10 Start Menu. From there, go to Settings (or the gear icon) -> Privacy -> General.
You’ll want to turn off the option that says, ‘Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future.’
International Business Times explains what to do if you’ve already upgraded:
If you have Windows 10 installed, then you need to go to the Start menu and then select Settings > Privacy > General. Turn off the option that reads, ‘Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future’. To be safe, restart your computer after selecting this option.
For those with technical knowledge, there are additional steps you can take to eradicate the gossip line between your computer and Microsoft — but they come with the caveat the methods have been discovered by the Windows 10 users community, so they cannot be guaranteed to be safe or effective.
Windows Update MiniTool
“The Windows Update MiniTool freeware by MajorGeeks allows users to check for Windows Updates and see a description of what they do. You can decide whether you want to install the available updates, hide the ones you don’t like and even delete updates that have been installed that you disagree with,” IBT explains.
This software explains software updates simply and makes an uninstall easy if necessary.
By reducing the number of extraneous updates Microsoft sends your computer — keeping vital security patches and the like — users with low bandwidth have an option.
“To do this, go to the Start menu and then select Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. In Wi-Fi, click ‘Advanced Options’ and then select ‘on’ for the option ‘Set as metered connection’.”
Turn Off All Updates
Although this method is not at all advised and thus must be done at your own risk, “Go to the Start menu and type ‘Run’ in the search field. Click on the program, type ‘services.msc’ and then click ‘OK’. Look in the list of services, find the ‘Windows Update’ listing and double-click on it. Click on the drop down menu for ‘Startup type’ and select ‘Disabled’, then click OK to confirm and restart your computer.”
While these fixes might take Microsoft’s nose out of your business, keep in mind we have recently become privy to the CIA’s egregiously invasive spying program — a mirror twin of the already-dubious NSA domestic spy dragnet and more.