Windows 10 Reportedly Sends User Data to Microsoft Even When Told Not To

Windows 10 reportedly continues to send data to Microsoft even when users tell it not to. Users on Reddit noticed the discrepancy between their privacy settings and the information Microsoft had about their usage history. Microsoft also confirmed that there is a way to ensure your data is not sent to the company.

The Windows 10 April 2018 update added a new “Activity History” feature to the OS. Activity History and Timeline work hand in hand to allow users the ability to resume applications and documents in a way similar to web browser history. Timeline collects documents you use at particular times into individual “activities” that can be used to quickly get back to what you are doing. Users were able to opt out of the Activity History feature in their privacy settings, although now it seems that Microsoft continued to collect some data.

Reddit user a_potato_is_missing noticed the difference, and The Register received confirmation from Microsoft about the issue. Microsoft told The Register that “Activity History” is the name of two separate setting settings in Windows 10 and the Microsoft Privacy dashboard. The tech giant is looking to address the issue in a future update. Microsoft also included information in how to ensure your activity history was not being shared with the company.

  1. Go to Settings>Privacy>Activity history and uncheck the “Let Windows sync my activities from this PC to the cloud”
  2. In Settings>Privacy>Diagnostics & Feedback set the Diagnostic data to Basic

Following these steps will keep your activity history away from Microsoft. The original Reddit thread also double checked that it wasn’t only Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, which require a Microsoft account and have different settings attached. Windows 10 programs were sending some info back to Microsoft regardless of user settings.

The European Union’s new GDPR guidelines were also brought up in this debacle, as some believe Microsoft is violating the new rules about collecting user data.