Hi there and welcome
First off, I would advise to download and install windows 10. The reason is its much smoother to use and more stable and faster then windows 8.
the proper and very functional start menu is back and really, windows 8 was a mis-step between windows 7 and 10.
Regarding the storage of data in the cloud, Microsoft use a service called one drive. And if you do not wish to use this, then you can just save your data locally, like you always did before. Nothing really has changed here, only they try to push this one drive as a storage service, but you can easily ignore it by not using it.
Windows 10 though does collect information on you, but there are steps you can follow to avoid this.
First, instead of using a microsoft account for signing in, use a local account. To do this, once you have done the upgrade,
- Open the Start Menu and search for “Account”, then choose “Manage your account.” (Alternatively, open the Settings app and choose “Account.”)
- Click “Sign in with a local account instead.”
- Create a new username and password.
- Log out and re-log in using your new credentials.
Once you’re logged in to your local account, open up the same section of the Settings app. If your Microsoft account is still listed under “Other accounts you use”, you can remove it here. Of course, you will lose some features (most notably Cortana) if you don’t have a Microsoft account connected, however it’s one of the safest ways to ensure none of your data gets synced or shared without your knowledge.
In additional, its best to go through the privacy settings and turn off what you do not feel comfortable with.
With Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new style of “modern” apps. To go along with it, Microsoft has added a new permissions system. This is mostly geared towards phones and tablets, but as Microsoft steers developers more towards the Microsoft store, more apps may be likely to use these permissions to access things like your camera, microphone, or location. To manage these permissions, open your Start menu, type “privacy” and choose “Privacy settings.”
Here, you can find a number of settings you should tweak to your liking, including but not limited to:
Location: Here, you can set a location that all of your apps use, or disable location tracking entirely. You can also see a list of apps that have the ability to use your location and enable or disable them on a per-app basis. This only seems to apply to the new Modern-style Windows apps, so this may not prevent all apps from using your location if you give an app permission.
Camera and Microphone: Here, you can block access to your camera or microphone on a per-app basis, or disable access entirely. Like the location settings, these sections only apply to Modern apps. It also won’t disable the devices at the system level.
Contacts, Calendar, and Messages: If you use any Microsoft services for managing your contacts, events, or messages, you can control which apps have access to your data here, as well.
Speech and typing: Under “Speech, inking, and typing”, you can disable the “Get to know me” feature. This setting seems weirdly placed and it’s unclear just how much data Microsoft tracks with this one setting, but it does state that it’s used to offer better suggestions, improve dictation, and help Cortana get to know you. So if you’re not comfortable with digital assistants learning your habits, it may be best to turn this off.
Depending on how much you want your operating system to know about you, it may be worth going through the entire Privacy section. Also, keep in mind that any permissions you disable here only apply to the apps that are displayed. Microsoft’s permission system is still relatively new, so unless you downloaded an app from the Windows Store, this probably won’t prevent them from using your hardware.
This is going to minimize the information Microsoft collects on you.
But again, if your on windows 8, I recommend the step to 10, its a much superior system, just remember to back up your data first before doing the upgrade.
If you would like any additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Else if you can take a second to rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen then submit, that would be greatly appreciated.