Windows: While a normal Windows 10 installation isn’t usually that difficult to manage, there’s probably a lot running under the hood of your operating system that annoys you. Maybe it’s a feature or two you wish you could turn off, or perhaps you’re concerned about what kind of data Microsoft collects on that which you do on your PC—or where it’s located.
You might not even know what options you can tweak (or turn off) in your operating system, which is where the cleverly named O&O ShutUp10 application comes in to play. It’s a simple application that makes it incredibly easy to tweak various aspects of Windows 10 that are normally buried or otherwise inaccessible to regular people. More importantly, the app comes with some helpful warnings so you don’t accidentally disable something you shouldn’t (like automatic updates).
To get started, all you have to do is download the app and run it. That’s it. There’s no installation to speak of, which already makes me thrilled. When the app loads, it’ll look like this:
You’ll see a bunch of different options you can turn on and off—some might already be enabled—as well as a handy “recommend” column that gives you a little more advice as to whether you should really mess with that setting or not. What I love about O&O ShutUp10, though, is that you can get even more information about what each setting means by simply hovering your mouse over each line and clicking, like so:
Screenshot: David Murphy
While you probably shouldn’t just go through and enable everything that’s recommended en masse, I would use that little green checkmark as a guide while you explore the app. Enable any related setting and you’re probably fine. Once you start getting into the yellow “limited” category, however, it gets a bit dicier. You might not want to, for example, disable all apps from accessing your microphone or camera—or maybe you do. Just remember you toggled that setting the next time you’re about to hop on a video conference.
Similarly, turning off an app’s ability to access your location might sound good for privacy, up until the app starts serving you content in another language because it has no idea where you actually are. You could, however, prevent Windows Update from downloading third-party hardware drivers, assuming that you keep up on this sort of thing yourself and get the latest drivers for your components directly from their manufacturers.
As for the scary red “no” exclamation point, I’d leave those be. Having apps run in the background of your system is helpful and good, as are Windows Updates—unless you really want to see if others have any issues with a major incoming Windows update before you install it, I suppose.
If you’re feeling anxious, you can use the app to help you create a System Restore Point (via the Actions drop-down menu) if you’d like a little safeguard before you make any tweaks. You can also click to quickly undo all the changes you’ve made in the app, reverting yourself back to the vanilla Windows 10 experience.