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As cloud storage becomes more prevalent within our lives, so does the ability for software to sync data between different devices. While it’s meant to be a highly useful feature that saves time, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes people are sensitive about how their data is being collected and stored. Other times people want to keep every device they own individual from one another, and automatic sync messes with that.
Windows 10 comes with its own syncing feature that helps you sync data with other Windows 10 devices. Annoyingly to some, Windows sometimes enables this feature by default. This means Windows will be gathering data and syncing it automatically, sometimes when you’d rather it wouldn’t!
If you have privacy concerns with syncing features, or you just find it annoying, you can turn this feature off. Here’s how.What Does Windows 10 Sync?
As far as what kind of data Windows 10 uses for its sync, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some of it is information you probably won’t mind being synced, while others can be a little more sensitive in nature. Thankfully, we can pick and choose what we’d like Windows to stop syncing. Here’s what Windows 10 Sync handles.
Theme – Windows 10 syncs your desktop theme, such as the colour of the toolbars and the desktop image. This means you can automatically share your customisation between the devices and computers you use.
Passwords – Windows can also sync passwords that you’ve saved onto the machine across other devices. This means you can easily log in into familiar applications on any other device you use. Again, if you’re not so hot on the idea of having your passwords gathered for syncing, you’ll probably want this off.
Language Settings – This has to do with the language options you set up with Windows 10. If you’re someone who makes use of multiple languages, you can probably get some use out of this sync to ensure additional devices are set up with your preferences without needing to be set up.
Ease of Use – This relates to options that Windows uses that allows people to use their computers easier. This includes settings such as a narrator and a magnifier. If you’re someone who needs these tools to make the best use of your device, it’s probably best to leave this on.
Other Windows Settings – This is unfortunately very cryptic, which is frustrating to those who want to keep their data safe! According to Microsoft, this setting saves the following:
If you turn on “Other Windows settings,” Windows syncs some device settings (for things like printers and mouse options), File Explorer settings, and notification preferences.How to Toggle the Syncs
From this we can see that Windows 10 has a fair share of syncing going on. Some settings are pretty useful to sync between devices, while others may cause people with privacy concerns to shudder. Sometimes, such as with the personalisation settings, they can be a hassle for the user who wants each device to be unique. If you want to toggle these on or off, follow these steps.
You’ll see a wide variety of options appear. These are all toggles for the different syncs that we explored earlier.
First of all, if you’re not logged in to a Microsoft account, you won’t be able to sync at all. If you want to use some of the syncing features, follow the instructions on the page to log in and sync your data.
If you want to turn all syncs on or off at once, you can do so with the master switch called “Sync settings.” Toggling this will enable or disable the Windows Sync in its entirety.
If you want to pick and choose what you’d like synced, make sure “Sync settings” is toggled on, then go through and turn on or off the categories that you’d like to modify. This will disable each sync category individually, so you can keep some on if you find them useful.Conclusion
For some people, hidden syncs can be a nightmare. If you’re concerned about the data Windows 10 uses about you, or it just ends up being a thorn in your side, you can use the above steps to tweak what information Windows syncs.
Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.
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