Microsoft announces new tools to view data collected by Windows 10

Microsoft will now let Windows 10 users see the data it collects in order to improve the operating system.

  • Published: January 25, 2018 5:47 PM IST

Microsoft is trying to become more transparent as far as user data collection is concerned on its Windows operating system. The company has been taking series of steps after concerns around its data collection with Windows 10 became an issue and France ordered the company to stop tracking users of the latest version.

In response to concerns raised by France, the European Union and EFF, Microsoft revealed what data it really collects from Windows 10 users last year. Now it is going a step further with the introduction of Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. In a blog post, Microsoft says it will release the diagnostic data viewer with the release of next build to its Windows 10 testers. The data viewer will include an overview of data being sent to Microsoft’s servers by the operating system.

Microsoft, like other tech companies, collects a bunch of anonymous user data in order to improve the operating system and make its products better. The new viewer that will be released as part of Windows 10 Insider build will show Windows 10 users what encrypted data is being sent and will let them decrypt that data.

The diagnostic data will include common data like the operating system’s name, the version, device ID, device class, diagnostic level selection and so on. Other details will include device connectivity and configuration such as device properties and capabilities, preferences and settings, peripherals and device network information.

Microsoft will also include product and service usage data, software setup and details of installed applications and history. It will also include information such as movie consumption suggesting the company is prepared to handover granular data to Windows 10 users.

The feature will be available first as part of Windows Insiders Preview and Microsoft is promising to release it as part of next major Windows 10 update. The next update, codenamed Redstone 4, does not have an official name but it is expected to arrive sometime later this year. It is possible that Microsoft announce the update at Build developer conference.

The Windows Data Viewer is definitely a better way to see all the data being collected by Microsoft than the policy documents shared by the company in the past. The update is definitely an attempt by the company to curb the scrutiny around its aggressive data collection. Microsoft is trying to open up about its data collection but it needs to be seen whether it would be enough to silence the critics and their concerns.

  • Published Date: January 25, 2018 5:47 PM IST