Published: Thu, January 25, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Windows 10 users will soon be able to delete telemetry data

While telemetry collected can never be zero, Microsoft has been proactively including options for more transparency.

However, the Diagnostic Data Viewer tool's feature set doesn't now seem to allow this same level of control, which isn't much of a step beyond the company's current position on the matter. Ahead of the Data Privacy Day, Microsoft today introduced a new Diagnostic Data Viewer app for Windows 10-first coming to Windows Insiders-that enables users to view all the diagnostic data that's being collected by Windows 10. This includes information related to device connectivity and configuration, product and service usage data, and common data, among other things. It's a lot more transparent than Microsoft publishing documents and hoping to ease concerns.

As with the specification from previous year, the new tool is a step forward in openness but arguably not really addressing any of the data-collection complaints that Windows 10 has generated. The Security telemetry option is seldom mentioned by Microsoft, but it's only available with Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 and isn't recommended for organizations that use the Windows Update service, accord to this Microsoft document description. In the Diagnostic Data Viewer app, you can view your diagnostics events, search your diagnostic events, filter your diagnostic event categories, and more.

With users' permission, Microsoft collects Windows diagnostic data to fix the reported bugs (for example a screenshot).

Software Setup and Inventory such as installed applications and install history, device update information. When an administrator sets the Diagnostic Data level, a user can choose to update the Diagnostic Data setting.

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Available now, this is a new web page within the online Microsoft account website with detailed, visual representations of your voice, search, location and web browsing data. Microsoft has also updated the Privacy Dashboard with a new Activity History page that will provide a clear and easy way to see the data that's associated with a user's Microsoft account. It also offers the ability to view and edit preferences saved in the Cortana notebook.

Microsoft has taken steps to address these concerns - including the implementation of a "privacy dashboard" - but they haven't managed to silence them entirely.

The company announced today initial tests for this new feature as part of its Windows Insiders program.

While IT pros have control initially over the telemetry settings when they provision Windows 10 PCs, Microsoft is signaling that it will be adding greater control on the end users' side with Windows 10 build 17083. In theory, it should confirm Microsoft's contention that telemetry data is used for product improvement and not for tracking its users' activity.

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