With all the noise regarding Windows 10 and its somewhat flexible definition of privacy, it might be worth giving the rest of your most-used applications the once over to make sure they’re not sending your information back home without your knowledge.
Fortunately, there are a variety of capable tools to help you figure out which programs are doing more than they should. As gHacks’ Martin Brinkmann explains, the best two utilities are Fiddler and Wireshark.
You’ll need to spend some time monitor programs and sifting through their network traffic, but it shouldn’t take long to identify ones that shouldn’t need to communicate online. Sure, checking if a new version is available is OK, but most standalone applications shouldn’t have much use for the internet while you’re using them.
Once you have a list of addresses to block, you can just hit up your HOSTS file and point the offending numbers to
Of course, save yourself some trouble and make sure the questionable programs don’t have a “disable analytics” toggle buried in a settings menu somewhere first.