Microsoft details Creators Update privacy changes

Since Windows 10 was released, its telemetry functionality has ruffled more than a few feathers—mainly because it's never been clear exactly what data the operating system is collecting. In a new blog post over at the Windows Experience blog, Microsoft's Marisa Rogers and Terry Myerson try to assuage users' concerns by clarifying Microsoft's stance on user privacy and data gathering.

Starting with the upcoming Creators Update, Microsoft will be adding descriptive text and a "learn more" button to each option in the privacy settings screen. The company will also be adding an easier-to-find option to let users tell Microsoft that they only want to send "basic" diagnostic data. Addressing some folks' accusations that Windows doesn't respect user settings, the Creators Update will at be asking users before it resets privacy options.

Along with the changes in Windows, Microsoft is publishing a summary of the diagnostic data that it collects over on TechNet. That summary is a fairly high-level overview, but there's a more technical description of the specific telemetry data collection that will probably be of interest to system administrators and programmers. The list of data collected is long, but having looked through it this morning, nothing in it strikes me as extraordinary.

With that said, it seems unlikely that these changes will calm Windows 10's loudest critics. There's still no way to fully disable the built-in telemetry in non-Enterprise versions of Windows 10, for example. Microsoft also isn't letting users control the installation of possibly-unwanted apps without diving into a morass of configuration options. As the company itself all but admits, the privacy panel revamp seems to be primarily intended to bring the operating system into compliance with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.

In any case, these changes are a step in the right direction for an operating system hounded by its predecessors. NetMarketShare reports that nearly half of all desktop web traffic still comes from Windows 7. That's almost twice Windows 10's current market share. While privacy concerns probably aren't high on the list of the average user's concerns, the OS's adoption rate might have still suffered on that account.

For its part, Microsoft says it is "fully committed to putting [users] in control and providing the information [they] need." We hope that Ms. Rogers, who is the Privacy Officer for Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, can keep the company moving on the right track.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Is there gonna be a big old list (or ideally a script) that I can run to just turn off all the unnecessary tracking/Windows store/unwanted apps/adverts/and tip of the day (advert tips)?

    I have a mental note of the many things that need to be done to a current W10 fresh install but I have to admit that I’m starting to get overwhelmed trying to remember it all.

      • MOSFET
      • 3 years ago

      [url<]https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/[/url<] is a pretty good place to start.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    I say it every time these articles pop up, but people need to get real about state of telemetry these days. Crucifying MS for doing what everyone else is doing is a big double standard. Your phone collects telemetry on your usage, Chrome browser collects telemetry data on your usage. Heck, thanks to Trump, your ISP and cell company now collects telemetry data on you more than anything else to date….

    Bunch of whiny crybabies. At least MS gives you the option to turn off some/most of their telemetry.

    On the unwanted apps…..ever used a cell phone?

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 3 years ago

      “You should accept bad things because other bad things exist”

        • ludi
        • 3 years ago

        No, no…he has a point. We buy these devices and expect the software to have lifetime maintenance agreement, especially now that always-online connectivity means continual security patching is absolutely required. But that costs money to somebody.

      • slowriot
      • 3 years ago

      MS can’t get away with it because to much of their market they’re a) not improving their products and b) have been held hostage to the Windows platform. Something like 70% of people were against the ISP bill as well (though you’ve misrepresented the who/what/when a bit there), largely because people see their ISP’s as providing a poor level of service and there’s no competition in most markets. Same story with MS.

      On the other hand, there’s definitely a lot of people who have voiced their issues and concerns over Google and Apple. But most people see those companies as having provided continual product improvement. Obviously none of this is universal but flat out I think that general sentiment explains entirely why people complain more about MS doing this than say Google.

      • sophisticles
      • 3 years ago

      The difference is that a smart phone collects data to enable it to collect to wifi (when available), to allow gps to work and to give dining recommendations and in many smart phones, like my Galaxy S6 active I can disable it all if I so choose.

      With Windows 10, aside from collecting data that it sends back to Microsoft, it also serves up advertisements and that can’t be turned off, what MS allows you to do is turn off “Relevant Ads”, which if you read what MS tells you means that you won’t be served up targeted ads but rather more generic ads.

      Who in their right minds thinks that it’s OK for an OS that you paid between $100 and $150 for to also serve up ads? Why do people use that garbage?

      In the Linux world, in an OS that’s legally free, if the distro served up ads or collected telemetry it would be skewered and shunned, hell Ubuntu for a while had that whole Dash/Amazon thing and people ripped them a new one on every forum and boycotted them but at least since it was open source it was possible to rip that functionality right out of it, you can’t do that with Win10.

    • Laykun
    • 3 years ago

    &#x1f427;

    Just sayin’

    • dyrdak
    • 3 years ago

    “There’s still no way to fully disable the built-in telemetry in non-Enterprise versions of Windows 10, for example.”
    Sure, if only corporate Admins were aware and cared for it.
    Also, can anyone explain what this registry key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection]
    “DisableEnterpriseAuthProxy”=dword:00000000
    does on Enterprise edition? Not in Pro. Is it there to make sure that the telemetry that ignorant user and unconcerned admin left at default settings was able to pass around corporate web proxy? Nice one MS.

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 3 years ago

      If you really care that much it’s pretty easy to firewall out though…

    • odizzido
    • 3 years ago

    Control huh? Give us control of updates plzkthx.

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    talk about shadier than facebook! seems like your best bet is to never been connected to the internets.

    is the pirated version able to circumvent all this nonsense in win10? just sayin.

      • DancinJack
      • 3 years ago

      you can’t just sayin’. Forum rules apply to comments.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      Protip: Internet and meaningful privacy have always been mutually exclusive terms.

      The genie already left the lamp decades ago.

    • dikowexeyu
    • 3 years ago

    Sorry. I accept nothing else but total control on what is INSTALLED (not “disabled”). Total control of my property, not Microsoft control of what my computer does, records, and transmit.

    My privacy is my personal PROPERTY. Is not anybody else. Is not for free, is not for sale.

    I’m not a slave. Nobody owns me. Nobody peeks or use my property.

      • DancinJack
      • 3 years ago

      That’s cute. “accept nothing but total control”

      Do you realize it’s 2017?

      • curtisb
      • 3 years ago

      You don’t have that these days regardless of the OS, browser, and applications you use. Thinking otherwise is delusional. You haven’t had total control of any of that since…well, ever.

      • sunner
      • 3 years ago

      Well spoken, dikowexeyu.

      In 1776, the Fathers of our Country fought and many died, for the “right to Privacy”.

        • NTMBK
        • 3 years ago

        Hah, no, they just wanted lower taxes.

          • Krogoth
          • 3 years ago

          Actually, they originally fought for the right to have a voice in English Parliament but decided to server all ties instead. The rest is history.

          • kvndoom
          • 3 years ago

          Readeth my lips, ye foul Brits! No new taxes!

      • Ifalna
      • 3 years ago

      Have fun living in a cave w/o any sort of modern technology.

      Though, s/o could still spot you while hunting or gathering = privacy invaded!

    • Welch
    • 3 years ago

    “Microsoft’s Marisa Rogers and Terry Myerson try to assuange users’ concerns by clarifying Microsoft’s stance on user privacy and data gathering.”

    There, fixed it for you 😉

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    The update supposed to be available as early as today via the update assistant; ymmv.

    • not@home
    • 3 years ago

    Still not good enough for me.

    • slowriot
    • 3 years ago

    All I ask with these data collection services is a supported way to fully disable them and some level of reciprocation for me allowing the service. I don’t think this is really all that much to ask but these companies don’t seem to have any interest in meeting me halfway.

    Windows in particular bothers me because Microsoft segments privacy settings such as disabling telemetry data collection to enterprise only. Why? That’s a total jerk move. But even more so… when I allow Google to collect my info fully on my phone I do in fact receive a benefit in features/services. On Windows? Uh…. not a thing? Annoying ads and political propaganda like some of the statements they’ve decided I need to be told on my laptops lock screen? I have no need for Cortona on a device with a real keyboard. Microsoft has made regressive UI changes since Win7, etc, etc.

    It’s just a one way street with MS and I think that’s why people blast them for similar data collection most of the industry does.

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 3 years ago

      For some of the settings, I agree, but I don’t think it’s fair to generalize *all* of them in those terms.

      For instance, some settings do directly give you-the-user benefit; ex. SmartScreen, page prediction, location, etc. Most of the others provide a aggregated benefit to everyone using windows: speech/ink data, telemetry, etc. The fact that you can still reap these benefits even if you disable feeding into the pot is actually one thing I would be even more annoyed if they took the phone model on… i.e. if I disable location history Google shuts off a ton of crap that isn’t “individualized” at all, but just based on the vague notion that if I’m not helping “the cloud”, I shouldn’t benefit from any of it. That latter attitude pisses me off as well, so I don’t think anyone has gotten this perfect yet.

      Anyways it’s pretty easy now to just shut everything relevant off and forget about it in Windows. Conversely if you really want to disable similar information collection on Google, Facebook, iOS, etc. there’s actually quite a lot of pretty well hidden places that you have to go, many of which you can only realistically reach via a PC which is extra stupid.

      I’m generally against this sort of thing as well – specifically when it’s individualized data vs. just aggregating stuff like crash telemetry – but at this point I think they’ve made it clear enough even to the average joe.

      (The blatant advertising stuff is still BS though, we can all agree on that! Not sure why anyone would ever leave that one on, but again turning the similar setting off in Google is quite a chore!)

      • moog
      • 3 years ago

      Telemetry is useful for bug fixes and usability. Prioritization of work, pattern identification etc.

      • tsk
      • 3 years ago

      I think you hit the nail on the head here.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 3 years ago

    If it’s just log files as to what the OS is doing, I don’t have a problem with that.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    I would prefer if their privacy settings asked [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdrjzE1SE58<]Would you like to know more?[/url<]

      • SoM
      • 3 years ago

      lmao

      • Flying Fox
      • 3 years ago

      Or “Click here to get your [b<]FREE[/b<] privacy mastery gift"?

      • dpaus
      • 3 years ago

      They could even supplement it by showing how Microsoft developers [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QmvEbphF8c<] use the data.[/url<]

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        I would like to know more.

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        You see, Ivan, when you break bug now you have two bug. Bug always win.

      • NovusBogus
      • 3 years ago

      Telemetry guarantees citizenship!

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