All the data Windows 10 collects about you

Microsoft recently updated its approach to security and privacy ahead of the launch of its Windows 10 Creators Update.

This change sees the implementation of many new features and security enhancements.

In an attempt to remain transparent regarding user privacy, Microsoft has revealed more information about what data it collects from Windows 10 users.

The company has also implemented an option for users to view any changes to the Privacy Policy using a dedicated Change History page.

Windows 10 users now have a better overview of which actions are recorded at each security level.

Security settings

After updating their systems, Windows users will be able to toggle the following privacy settings:

  • Location
  • Speech recognition
  • Diagnostics
  • Tailored experiences with diagnostics data
  • Relevant Ads

It should be noted that when the Relevant Ads option is turned off, you will receive the same amount of advertisements – it will just be less relevant to your habits.

An important privacy setting is diagnostics collection, which cannot be turned off. Instead, users can choose between Full and Basic diagnostics options.

This means that Windows 10 will always record certain actions and collect usage data to some extent.

Microsoft released information about diagnostics data collection for each option in the interest of transparency.

Basic Diagnostics

The Basic level of diagnostics gathers a limited set of information critical for understanding device configuration.

This helps to identify and roll out updates for problems on devices.

The basic diagnostics level collects functionality data in the following areas:

  • Hardware configuration
  • Installed apps software
  • Peripherals and drivers
  • OneDrive updates and login events
  • OS and Windows Store updates
  • Error reporting
  • Scheduled device reboot

This option sends Microsoft data critical for the operation, updating, and improvement of the Windows 10 operating system.

Full Diagnostics

The Full telemetry option expands the amount of data Windows 10 collects about the user to include content consumption habits, search history, download URLs, and more.

Below is a summary of diagnostic categories and data types collected by Windows 10 at the Full telemetry level:

  • Common – Microsoft/Xbox UserID, IP address, and device type.
  • Device, Connectivity, and Configuration – Hardware specifications, local network information, and peripheral specifications.
  • Product and Service Usage – App interaction data, in-app content searches, favourites, and image/video editing app data.
  • Product and Service Performance – Crash dumps, device responsiveness, and disk footprint.
  • Software Setup and Inventory – Installed application data and Windows update information.
  • Content Consumption – Video performance, music streaming URLs, photo resolutions, time spent reading content.
  • Microsoft Browser and Search – Auto-completed text, URLs, search terms, and page titles.
  • Inking Typing and Speech Utterance – Speech recognition success rate and pen gesture recording.
  • Licensing and Purchasing – Purchase history, store history, and OS licence type.

Windows 10 collects the data above in addition to that listed under the Basic telemetry level.

How to turn on Basic Diagnostics

Users can switch between Full and Basic diagnostics in the Windows 10 privacy settings section, as shown below.

Windows 10 Creators Update Privacy options

Now read: How to check if someone is spying on your smartphone

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All the data Windows 10 collects about you