Microsoft Updates Windows 10 Data Collection Options

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Windows 10 comes with the Telemetry feature enabled by default which collects user activity and sends it to Microsoft. These services are collecting various information about the software installed on your PC and even personal data stored on your computer. Microsoft claims they may not be used to personally identify you.

Telemetry and Data Collection settings are known for not giving the user the option to opt out unless he is running an Enterprise edition of the OS. There are four states of Telemetry available in Windows 10. Prior to Build 19577, Windows 10 had the following names for Telemetry options:

  1. Security - Telemetry is disabled. In this mode, Windows 10 will send minimal data to Microsoft. Security tools like Windows Defender and Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) will send a small set of data to the company's servers. This option can be enabled only in Enterprise, Education, IoT and Server editions of the OS. Setting the Security option in other Windows 10 editions has no effect and automatically reverts to Basic.
  2. Basic
    Basic information is data that is vital to the operation of Windows. This data helps keep Windows and apps running properly by letting Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also turns on basic error reporting back to Microsoft. If you select this option, Microsoft will be able to provide updates to Windows (through Windows Update, including protection by the Malicious Software Removal Tool), but some apps and features may not work correctly or at all.
  3. Enhanced
    Enhanced data includes all Basic data plus data about how you use Windows, such as how frequently or how long you use certain features or apps and which apps you use most often. This option also lets Microsoft collect enhanced diagnostic information, such as the memory state of your device when a system or app crash occurs, as well as measure reliability of devices, the operating system, and apps.
  4. Full
    Full data includes all Basic and Enhanced data, and also turns on advanced diagnostic features that collect additional data from your device, such as system files or memory snapshots, which may unintentionally include parts of a document you were working on when a problem occurred. This information helps Microsoft further troubleshoot and fix problems. If an error report contains personal data, Microsoft claims they won't use that information to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. This is the recommended option which they recommend for the best Windows experience and the most effective troubleshooting.

New Telemetry Options

Starting in Windows 10 build 19577, Microsoft will use new names for telemetry levels.

  • Security diagnostic is now named Diagnostic Data Off.
  • Basic is changed to Required diagnostic data.
  • Full is renamed to Optional diagnostic data.

Microsoft removes the “Enhanced” (level 2) option. The company notes the following:

As part of this change, any device that was previously set to Enhanced will be defaulted to Basic.  This will result in some devices not receiving flights as expected.  Enabling Optional Diagnostic Data will set the device to diagnostic level 3 (formerly Full) and return users to flighting as expected.

To change the options, open Settings and navigate to Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback. Check out

Change Diagnostic and Usage Data Settings in Windows 10

Note that to receive Insider Builds, Windows 10 requires the Data Collection option to be set to Optional diagnostic data/Full.

Microsoft mentions that in the future they will also be providing more granular Group Policy settings to configure the data that is collected from customers. However, there are no details yet regarding the upcoming Group Policy change.

If you need to disable the telemetry and data collection completely, refer to the following articles:

Another reason to limit how much diagnostics data Windows 10 is sending is that the telemetry data can be shared with third-parties.

Finally, check out How to Delete Diagnostic Data in Windows 10.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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