Microsoft gives users better privacy control in Windows 10
Windows 10 has brought a number of new features and capabilities to PCs, such as a user interface that can work with both desktops and touch-centric 2-in-1 devices. While Microsoft backed off from its original plans of having a billion Windows 10 users by 2018, the company has still managed to upgrade an impressive 400 million users to its newest and most strategic operating system.
Things haven’t been all smooth sailing for Windows 10, however. One of the areas generating the most significant number of complaints has been Microsoft’s privacy policies regarding how Windows 10 gathers and passes along various information. Today, Microsoft announced some upcoming changes to how it manages private information, including granting more control to Windows 10 users.
The new privacy dashboard is available starting Tuesday, January 10. While it’s not perfect, the new system does provide significantly more transparency into what information Microsoft is collecting, and you can now clear out much of that information if you think the company is in possession of too much of your personal data.
First up is a new privacy dashboard that provides access to new information regarding the kind of data Microsoft is collecting on users. All you need to do is go to the privacy section of Microsoft’s account website while signed in with your Microsoft account. Once there, you can click on the Privacy tab and check out various historical information that’s saved whenever you’re logged into Windows 10 and have certain settings turned on.
Browsing history through Microsoft’s Edge browser can be managed with the privacy dashboard as long as you have Cortana set to track it. If you’re logged into your Microsoft account on Bing, your search history can be managed there as well. Location data tracked on devices via GPS can be controlled, and you can clear the information Cortana is using to keep you updated on your various interests.
Next up are some changes coming to Windows 10 in the Creators Update coming in the spring. These changes will be available to Windows Insider participants to try out, but if you’re not in Microsoft’s early-access program, here’s what you have to look forward to.
The first change is a new, more explicit installation routine that will provide more obvious options for setting up your privacy settings. If you’re already running Windows 10, then you’ll receive notifications to specifically choose the same privacy options.
The next change is a more simplified diagnostic data collection process. Instead of three options, you’ll now have just two: Basic and Full.
Finally, the Basic level will now collect less data. After the Creators Update, only data that’s vital to Windows 10’s operation will be collected. This will help keep apps secure, updated, and reliable, with only basic error reporting.
As with much of what Microsoft is doing lately, the company is clearly interested in responding to the feedback it has received from customers. While these privacy changes will likely not satisfy everyone who’s concerned about the information that’s being collected, Microsoft is at least making an effort to be more transparent.