Windows 10 privacy settings: What’s new in the Creators Update

Microsoft Account dashboard

windows10onlineprivacydashboardIan Paul/IDG
Microsoft Account online privacy settings.

Microsoft released a web-based privacy dashboard in January. Users will see it more often with the Creators Update, however, because there are more direct links to this webpage built-in. This dashboard includes items such as a user’s browsing history in Microsoft Edge, search history, location data, and the Cortana Notebook.

To access the online privacy dashboard go to account.microsoft.com/privacy and log in. One of the handiest pieces in this section is the ability to clear the location activity in one click. Go to the location section and look for the Clear location activity button on the right-hand side.

The Settings app

cuprivacysettingsIan Paul/IDG
The Privacy section of the Settings app in the Creators Update.

The changes to the Privacy section of the Settings app in the Creators Update are mostly subtle. There’s the usual left-hand navigation pane to scroll through all the privacy categories, including location, camera, microphone, the new tasks feature, and many others.

The most significant change is that each privacy screen in the Settings app now has a sub-heading titled Know your privacy options, with a Learn more link underneath. Clicking Learn more takes you to Microsoft’s online privacy pages with a description for each setting. This is the explanation of Windows 10’s general privacy settings, for example.

You’ll find many other new links on the various Privacy settings screens. The aforementioned link to location activity, for example, is also available toward the bottom of Settings > Privacy > Location and is labeled Manage my location info that’s stored in the cloud.

creatorsupdatebackgroundappsIan Paul/IDG
The background apps privacy settings now offers a universal off button.

One other notable addition to the new Privacy section of the Settings app is that the Background apps section now has a universal “off” button. Previously, users had to turn off each app’s background process one by one.

Basic and Full diagnostic data

The final significant change with the Creators Update is that Microsoft is being more transparent about the types of diagnostic data it collects. The default amount of information is Full, and you’ll see that level selected for you in the Feedback & diagnostics section of the Privacy settings.

windows 10 privacy setting basic full dataMicrosoft
You have to send at least a little data to Microsoft, but you can now choose between Basic and Full levels of collection.

You may, of course, choose the Basic level. You can’t forgo both—you’re going to send Microsoft at least a little data whether you like it or not.

The Creators Update doesn’t make any significant changes to how privacy works on Windows 10. What it does have, however, is privacy information that is more transparent, and easier to access and understand.

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