Control Windows 10 Privacy with WPD

Control Windows 10 Privacy with WPD

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WPD is a free program for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system that lets users tweak privacy related settings and features.

Privacy is still a hot topic when it comes to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. While things seem to have cooled down a bit, there are still lots of users out there who don’t want to use Windows 10 because of privacy concerns.

Microsoft revealed some details on the collecting of Telemetry data back in April, and seems to have opened up a bit more as it released information on Telemetry in April 2017.

WPD

wpd privacy windows

WPD is a portable program that you can run from any location; it requires no installation. The program displays its four main sections privacy, firewall, apps and tweaker on start.

The program uses a simple slider system when it comes to most settings. A blue slider indicates that a setting or feature is enabled, a white one that it is disabled and not available.

The privacy group of tweaks is divided into Group Policy, Services, and Scheduler switches.

Local Group Policy Services Scheduler
Internet Explorer CEIP DiagTrack Consolidator
Use OneDrive Diagnostics Hub Standard Collector Service KernelCEIPTask
Allow Cortana dmwappushservice UsbCeip
Allow Cortana/search to use location DataCollectionPublishingService BthSQM
Throttle additional data WMPNetworkSvc Sqm-Tasks
Windows Error Reporting Proxy
Steps Recorder Compatibility Appraiser
Inventory Collector ProgramDataUpdater
Telemetry DiskDiagnosticDataCollector
Input personalization GatherNetworkInfo
Handwriting automatic learning
PerfTrack
Advertising ID
Windows CEIP
Windows Messenger CEIP
Search Companion
Microsoft consumer experiences

Each option has a question mark icon next to it which you can activate with a mouse click to display a short description of what it is and what it does.

While that may not be necessary for some of the tweaks, Telemetry or Advertising ID for instance, it may be helpful for other features. It may be unclear for instance what Throttle additional data or Consolidator do; most descriptions make it clearer. There are some that require a bit more work though (Compatibility Appraiser just lists a path and file name for instance).

You can change features individually, or use the switch all button displayed on the page to make the change for all controls in one operation. Note that some features, Cortana or OneDrive for instance, may stop working if you toggle them off.

The second group, Firewall, lets you add IP addresses to the Windows Firewall to block communication with Microsoft servers and third-party apps.

The rules are sorted into the three groups Windows telemetry, third-party apps, and Windows Update, and you may enable one or all of them.  The IP list is taken from the free program Windows Spy Blocker which is updated regularly.

The page indicates whether rules are set, and there is a small icon next to each group that allows you to copy the whole list of IP addresses that the group is made of to the Clipboard. This is useful for reviewing the list before you apply it, and also if you use a different firewall or program to control network traffic.

The third group, Uninstall, lists default Windows applications, and provides you with options to delete some or all of them from the program interface.

All it takes is to select the apps that you want removed — 3D Builder or Get Office for instance — and hit the delete button afterwards. You can also delete all applications in one swift operation.

The fourth and final group lists tweaks that you may apply. These are also privacy related for the most part. You may allow or disallow apps to use certain data sets or hardware functions, like the camera, microphone or contacts, here among other things.

Verdict

WPD is a handy program for Windows 10 users who want more control over privacy related settings of the operating system. The program is easy to use and portable.

One downside is that it does not create a backup of sorts before changes are made. While you can toggle all features directly in the interface, it is recommended that you create a System Restore point or, better, a full backup of the system partition before you use the application.

Now You: Do you run Windows 10? Have you made any privacy related changes?