The best security tips for Windows 10 are sometimes not the most obvious. Sure, you can invest in the best antivirus program, use complex and hard-to-crack passwords for Windows 10 login and so on. But security is not just about keeping the information inside your computer safe. It’s also about what you send and receive over the Internet. This by far poses the biggest threat to Windows 10 security. The tips we’ve listed here are about how that two-way flow of information can be controlled for great security in a Windows 10 environment.

#1: Enhance Windows 10 Security by Disabling Cortana

If you want your data to remain on your computer, abstain from using Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual AI assistant. Of course, that may not be easy to do since Cortana makes your life so much easier. It can sync data across your email, your calendar, your apps and other Microsoft products, but that data is sent to the cloud for storage so Cortana can access it in an instant when required. That’s where the risk lies. If you’re more intent on security over convenience, you can disable Cortana by going to “Edit Group Policy” via Start search. Now go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search > Allow Cortana. Double-click and disable, then confirm with OK.

If you don’t want to completely shut Cortana out, you can also choose what information Cortana retains about you. To do this, click on “Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud” in Cortana Settings. You can also clear whatever data has been saved to date so you start from a clean slate.

#2: Avoid Using a Microsoft Account to Login to Windows 10

Although having a Microsoft account helps integrate the company’s products and services so your user experience is improved, it could also help hackers create an accurate profile about your computer usage. That’s dangerous because it puts you at great risk. Of course, Microsoft’s cloud servers may be secure enough to keep your data safe, but even encrypted data moving over the Internet can be compromised. It’s just not worth the convenience.

A better way would be to only use local admin and user accounts so whatever information is on your system stays there. However, that also means cutting off other tracking methods, which we will discuss next. As far as a Microsoft account goes, you don’t even need it for your Windows 10 PC login unless you prefer having quick access to Xbox, Skype and other Microsoft services.

#3: Create a Password Reset Disk for Windows 10 Beforehand to Secure your Windows 10 PC

If you’ve got a complex password, it’s usually easy to forget. When you do forget, you’ll need a password reset disk to get you out of the jam. A reset disk is basically a bootable disk image that can unlock your Windows 10 PC when you forget the login password. You can easily create one if you know your current password.

To do this, first insert a USB drive or a DVD/CD into your Windows 10 PC, then use the Search bar (Windows + S) to look for and click on User Accounts. You’ll see an option called Create password reset disk. Click on it to launch the Forgotten Password Wizard, and follow the instructions to create your Windows 10 password reset disk.

This method doesn’t work with Microsoft accounts, only local user accounts. Also, if you’ve already forgotten the password, you can’t create a password reset disk using this method because you need to enter it to create the disk in the first place. However, there are other tools to do this such as TunesBro WinGeeker Ultimate. In addition, this method varies by OS version and can’t be relied on 100% to unlock any Windows password. However, since this is a critical component of security, we’ve shown you a fool-proof method of creating a password reset disk using a software application that has a 100% password recovery rate.

#4: How to Secure Your Windows 10 PC with Windows Defender Antivirus

Windows Defender has come a long way since it was first introduced with Windows XP as downloadable anti-spyware. On Windows 10, it represents a strong line of defence against malware attacks. However, you have to ensure that security updates are regularly downloaded and applied. Microsoft keeps updating the service to include new strains of malware and other malicious applications, so keep it up to date at all times.

For best results, turn on cloud and real-time protection by going to Settings > Update & Security. Here, enable Automatic sample submission, Cloud-based protection and Real-time protection. It’s also a good idea to use Microsoft Edge rather than another browser, since both IE and Edge are well integrated with Windows Defender.

These best 5 security tips for Windows 10 should be applied in addition to security best practices. That means getting serious about password security, applying strong privacy settings and being careful about sharing any information over the Internet, whether that’s by email, chat or other channels.