Windows 10 has several settings that are not so visible to the user but can be quite useful. Tools such as System Restore, to recover the failed PC, or Storage Sense, to free up space, are examples of features that may be disabled by default.
Also, Microsoft’s system has sharing options to exchange files over the network, without the pen drive, and even features that can make the PC faster, such as blocking apps in the background. In the list below, see 8 Windows 10 settings that you should change to protect your privacy or make your PC faster.
1. System Restore
Present since Windows XP, System Restore is a powerful resource to recover your computer and data in case of problems with malware or any program that harms the health of Windows. The tool creates “periods” in time, allowing the PC to return to the state before a bad driver caused problems or malware corrupted the operating system’s startup.
By default, System Restore may be disabled on your computer. To trigger the feature, use the search box in the taskbar and look for “Restore”. Click on “Create a restore point” and in the dialog box choose the “Configure” option: notice in the new window whether the restore is active on your system. If it is not, select it to activate and click “Apply”.
Depending on the applications and features you use, Windows 10 may overreact to notifications sent to the Operating System Action Center. The good news is that you can adjust the system’s behavior when sending notifications by having more granular access over each app and feature to delimit what you’re interested in receiving and what you don’t care about.
To do this, open the Settings application and choose “System”. In the menu on the left, select the option “Notifications and Actions”. In the panel, you can turn notifications off completely, choose which categories you want to receive, or even filter by application in the “Get notifications from these senders” section.
3. Sharing by Proximity
Also known as Nearby Sharing, the native Windows 10 feature allows you to share documents with nearby devices that are on the network table, or have Bluetooth. As long as the target computer also has “Shared Experiences” enabled, you can send whatever you want there.
To activate the feature, open the Settings app and choose “System”. From the list of options in the left menu, select “Shared Experiences”. Right at the top of the new screen is the “Nearby Sharing” group of options. After activating the feature, you can send files to nearby computers whenever you decide to share some documents with the context menu.
4. Block Sharing Windows Updates
Windows 10 can download updates from other computers on your local network or the Internet as a way to speed up the process of downloading Microsoft patch packages. However, by using this option, your computer also enters the network and sends data regarding these updates to third parties. In some cases, this can take bandwidth from your connection, slowing down your Internet surfing experience.
To turn the feature off, just use the Settings app and choose “Windows Update” from the main menu. On the new screen, select “Delivery Optimization” and disable the “Allow downloads from other computers” option. Alternatively, you can click “Advanced Options” to determine bandwidth limits for the feature.
5. Privacy Settings
By default, Windows 10 can collect usage data for system enhancement. However, the feature also causes the system to display custom ads according to their behavior. If you’re uncomfortable with this type of setup and want to limit Microsoft and its partners’ access to your data, you can turn off many methods of sharing information from Windows 10.
To do this, access the “Settings” of your operating system and click on “Privacy”. In addition to the options you see in the “General” menu, there are many other settings under “Voice Control”, “Ink and Typing Customization” and so on. Navigate through the menus and carefully analyze which settings you consider important to keep activated and which not.
6. Storage Sense
The Windows 10 “Storage Sense” is an automatic feature that analyzes files you don’t use often and removes them to free up space. Generally speaking, the tool can automatically delete the contents of the Recycle Bin and Download folder at pre-set times, such as every 14 days, or even daily if you need something more aggressive when releasing space from your PC.
To use the feature, open the “Settings” and navigate to the “System” menu. Inside “System”, click on “Storage”. At the top, you can find the option to activate the “Storage Sense”. By clicking “Configure”, you can switch periods and choose triggers, such as “remove files from the Downloads folder that have not been opened for more than 10 days”, among others.
7. Disconnect ads from the Start menu
By default, Windows 10 can display ads for apps, games, and services from the Windows Store within the menu, something that can annoy those who do not want to see advertising on the operating system. The good news is that it is possible to completely disable this system behavior.
To do this, go to Windows 10 “Settings” and this time choose “Personalization”. Inside the menu, go to “Start”. Now just deactivate the option “Show suggestions occasionally in Start” so that Windows 10 can stop showing ads on the menu.
8. Block Apps in the Background
Windows 10 Apps, like those that come installed with the system or those distributed by the Windows Store, can run in the background, just like mobile applications. The problem is that this ability ends up weighing on your system since processor resources, RAM, and network connection will have to be used up to keep these applications running.
To make changes, open “Settings” and choose “Privacy”. Slide the menu on the left until you find “Background Apps”. Check the option at the top of the screen to completely disable background apps or, if you prefer, browse the list below to turn off only those you want.