limits of Cortana

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  1. Posts : 126
    Windows10
       #1

    limits of Cortana


    Hello
    I have 10 Pro (21H1), I have neither a mic or webcam installed,
    I'm using a local account to sign in, and I'm using Firefox, not Edge.

    Is Cortana collecting any info or doing anything at all?

    Thanks for any info

    PS just installed this recently and I'm still feeling my way to having a functioning system but engage with
    Microsoft as little as possible (Nothing personal, I do the same with Google on my phone)
      My Computer

  2. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 13,895
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #2

    davexnet said:
    Hello
    I have 10 Pro (21H1), I have neither a mic or webcam installed,
    I'm using a local account to sign in, and I'm using Firefox, not Edge.

    Is Cortana collecting any info or doing anything at all?

    Thanks for any info

    PS just installed this recently and I'm still feeling my way to having a functioning system but engage with
    Microsoft as little as possible (Nothing personal, I do the same with Google on my phone)



    Well, Cortana is running in the background.
    You can ofc, just disable Cortana with a registry patch...

    Enable or Disable Cortana in Windows 10
      My Computer

  3. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,642
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #3

    Cortana has now pretty much been retired. In earlier builds it was possible to set reminders, and even launch some programs. Cortana's integration with search was removed too.

    It's not worth bothering to remove Cortana- you shouldn't see any significant resources used. There's now no mention of Cortana in Settings.

    There are many more significant ways in which data is collected.

    To use Cortana you have to first grant access to your microphone- so that's not a privacy concern either if you've not done that.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 126
    Windows10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    dalchina said:
    Cortana has now pretty much been retired.

    <snip>
    There are many more significant ways in which data is collected.
    I thought as much. Is there anything we can do for the privacy conscious users (such as myself,
    not quite at the tin-foil hat level but still have some concerns)

    I'm aware of the nature of some of these things, Hosts file, disabling certain services, disabling
    certain items in the Task Scheduler, changing certain behaviors via GPedit, etc,etc.

    Do any of these things make a difference? Do you have any advice on what to implement
    to minimize the leakage of my personal data?

    It's curious Cortana is being de-emphasized. I wonder if this is due to the criticism and privacy concerns,
    and/or MS just found other ways to get what it wanted ?
      My Computer

  5. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 13,895
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #5

    Me... I'm lazy. I just use the free program Winaero Tweaker. It will do tons of things with just a checkmark and a reboot.
    It also has detailed explanations for every tweak...

    Winaero Tweaker




    limits of Cortana-00000-winaero-tweaker.png





    And... before you get carried away, tweaking, you may want to start keeping full OS image backups, like most of us on here, do...

    Macrium Software | Reflect Free Edition



    limits of Cortana-000000-macrium-2.jpg
      My Computer

  6. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,642
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #6

    So-called privacy concerns are overdone. As I've said on a number of occasions, if you think privacy is a concern when using Win 10, you will
    - never use a cloud service
    - never use email
    - never use any personal information on a web site
    etc.

    MS needs telemetry to monitor use of features, problems with updates, marketing state etc. I doubt anyone at MS wants to know the name of your dog or the bank you use. (If concerned about online privacy you wouldn't use online banking of course).

    Do not mess around with Windows services unless you know precisely what you're doing and why. They have nothing to do with privacy, and are often interdependent.

    There are 3rd party tools that claim to reduce telemetry- but occasionally using them causes technical issues.

    MS wanted to make major changes 'improvements' to Windows search and decoupled Cortana from it.. and broke it for a time, and permanently changed one way it behaves completely illogically, and removed another useful feature. I guess it was part of their marketing strategy- take-up wasn't great enough compared to the better-known ones etc.
      My Computers



  7. Posts : 126
    Windows10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Thanks for the info guys. For now, I've disabled
    "Customer experience and telemetry" service; it came up in a number
    of web searches. But this is something I can easily undo.
    Regarding backup, I have a full partition copy of the 8.1 system I
    upgraded from.
    I'm well aware paranoia breeds paranoia, don't want to get on that slippery
    slope,even though by some, it's encouraged.
    I just don't like the idea of MS and Google knowing everything I'm doing,
    It's not because I've anything particular I want to hide but the
    Idea of building up a picture so they can target me based on my interests
    bothers me for its own sake
    Thanks
      My Computer

  8. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,642
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #8

    Good that you know about disk imaging - or something like it.

    Maintain a regular and periodic practice of creating a disk image- e.g. using Macrium Reflect (free) + large enough external disk for image files. E.g. Full disk image after a major feature update (upgrade) then differential images at suitable intervals.

    There's also a tutorial on scheduling restore point creation- I have one created daily. Just in case.
      My Computers

  9. MaloK's Avatar
    Posts : 913
    Windows 7
       #9

    Hi,

    The major headlines to increased privacy on Windows are.

    Turn off ad tracking.
    Turn off location tracking.
    Turn off Timeline.
    Remove Cortana.
    Ditch Microsoft account for a local account.
    Change your app permissions.
    Control and delete diagnostic data.
    Use Microsoft's Privacy Dashboard.
    Disable Web history.
    Never save web sites password.
    Manage Cookies.
    Use Third party Antimalware.
    Disable dangerous Cipher suites.

    If you want to push it real far.
    Use UEFI
    Activate TPM
    Enable secure boot
    Enable core isolation
    use Disk Encryption
    Activate 2 steps auth on boot.
    Disable all unused I/O Ports.

    Maintain near Fips 140-2 level of security at "home" is "the best practice".

    Talking about paranoia...

    I Got a call from a customer couple weeks ago, for a slow Terminal Server, I remotely connected in RDP, and looking to the opened session I found an unknown admin logged to a RDP session running installations programs... Looking more into it, I caught a Hacker "in action". I stealthy connected to his session. And waited a little to see what he was doing. To my surprise He had not really had time to do anything irreversible And I thrown him out right away. Now I have all the little tools he used. And was able to reverse everything he's done Before it was too late... Forced every one on the domain to change password immediately disable all unused accounts and changed Every single password on every other appliances.

    Thanks to the customer for his awareness that something wrong was going on.

    These guys where Russians. Traced the ip they used and all their hacking manuals are in Russian. Yeah in their confidence, they uploaded their manual on the client machine.... tut tut tut. Loll... so Thanks to them. I've learned how they do it.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 126
    Windows10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    dalchina said:
    Good that you know about disk imaging - or something like it.

    Maintain a regular and periodic practice of creating a disk image- e.g. using Macrium Reflect (free) + large enough external disk for image files. E.g. Full disk image after a major feature update (upgrade) then differential images at suitable intervals.

    There's also a tutorial on scheduling restore point creation- I have one created daily. Just in case.
    Thank you I'm going to look for that System Restore tweak. I looked for it last year on my 8.1 system and couldn't find it
    Regarding, Macrium, I've never really understood how it worked in terms of incremental, automated back up.
    My mode of using it (and Acronis years ago) is to install it, create the rescue DVD, uninstall the app and use the rescue DVD
    for restore/backup of the whole partition

    - - - Updated - - -

    MaloK said:
    Hi,

    The major headlines to increased privacy on Windows are.

    Turn off ad tracking.
    Turn off location tracking.
    Turn off Timeline.
    Remove Cortana.
    Ditch Microsoft account for a local account.
    Change your app permissions.
    Control and delete diagnostic data.
    Use Microsoft's Privacy Dashboard.
    Disable Web history.
    Never save web sites password.
    Manage Cookies.
    Use Third party Antimalware.
    Disable dangerous Cipher suites.

    <snip>
    Talking about paranoia... I Got a call from a customer couple weeks ago, for a slow Terminal Server, I remotely connected in RDP, and looking to the opened session I found an unknown admin logged to a RDP session running installations programs... Looking more into it, I caught a Hacker "in action". I stealthy connected to his session. And waited a little to see what he was doing. To my surprise He had not really had time to do anything irreversible And I thrown him out right away. Now I have all the little tools he used. And was able to reverse everything he's done Before it was too late... Forced every one on the domain to change password immediately disable all unused accounts and changed Every single password on every other appliances.
    Thanks to the customer for his awareness that something wrong was going on.
    These guys where Russians. Traced the ip they used and all their hacking manuals are in Russian. Yeah in their confidence, they uploaded their manual on the client machine.... tut tut tut. Loll... so Thanks to them. I've learned how they do it.
    I'm going to get to this slowly over the next few weeks. For now I turned off location, all the privacy stuff
    and the "customer experience and telemetry" service. I've stopped tile updates; I'm going to look a little further into seeing
    what else regarding the "store" I can stop. So far I'm the metro apps are not bothering me, but I don't want them running in the background using my PC's resources

    Thanks guys

    PS what vulnerability did your customer have that he got hacked that way? That seems strange to me
      My Computer


 
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