Everyone should have some sort of antivirus software on their computer. What not everyone knows, is that Windows 10 actually has a pretty good antivirus product built-in. Windows Defender is free and pre-installed on all versions of Windows 10 and receives regular updates through the Windows Update service.
One of the features that Windows Defender includes is automatic sample submission. Sample submission is where an antivirus program submits a copy of a suspicious file to the developer for further analysis. The idea behind this is that automatically sharing potential threats with the antivirus developer can help identify and then protect you and other users from the threat. Unfortunately, it’s possible for legitimate files with private details to be identified as suspicious incorrectly and then be uploaded for analysis. This is rare but it can happen.
If you want to disable automatic sample submission, you first need to open the Windows Security app. To do so, press the Windows key, then type “Windows Security” and hit enter. Next, you need to click on “Virus & threat protection” in the left column. Then, to open the settings, click “Manage settings” under “Virus & threat protection settings”.
To disable automatic sample submission, click on the slider labelled “Automatic sample submission”. Turning off this setting may cause a User Account Control (UAC) prompt to appear, as this change requires administrative rights. Once the setting has been disabled, a warning will appear saying that disabling automatic sample submission can leave your computer vulnerable. While you are safer with this setting enabled, feel free to dismiss the warning and turn it off if you prefer.
To re-enable automatic sample submission, just click the slider again. Re-enabling this setting will not generate a UAC prompt.
Tip: Even if you turn this off, other users still submit their samples, and all in all, the service continuously improves and identifies threats anyway!