Windows 10 collects diagnostics data from its users. In its early days, Microsoft opted its users in to this data collection feature. If a user stumbled on to the setting, only then would they realize their data was being collected. The data isn’t personally identifiable however Microsoft wasn’t upfront about collecting it. This naturally drove users to disable data collection out of fear for their privacy. Windows 10 now asks if you want to disable it when you update or install the OS. For those that enable information collection, Microsoft is adding a new feature that allows you to view diagnostic information collected by Windows 10.
View Diagnostic Information
This new feature works via an app called the Diagnostic Data Viewer. You can download and install the app from the Microsoft Store now however, it will not work unless you’re running Windows 10 Insider Build 17083. This feature, if enabled, may consume upto 1GB of disk space.
If you are running Windows 10 Insider Build 17083 though, you can install the app from the link above. Alternatively, open the Settings app and go to Privacy>Diagnostics & feedback. Scroll down and click the ‘Diagnostics Data Viewer’ button. It will open the Microsoft Store page for the Diagnostic Data Viewer app. If you already have the app installed, it will launch the app. You can also launch the app from the Start Menu’s app list.
Diagnostic Data Viewer App
The Diagnostic Data Viewer app gives you a detailed look at the information that has been collected however, you can have it show you basic information by enabling the ‘View Only Basic Diagnostics’ switch from the app menu.
The detailed information can be sorted by category i.e. Browsing history, Device connectivity and configuration, Inking, Typing, and Speed Utterance, and Product and Service Performance. The categories give you an idea as to what type of information Windows 10 collects.
You can export the data and check out what sampling policies Microsoft uses when collecting data. If you ever feel like changing how much data Windows 10 is allowed to collect, you can click the Privacy Settings button inside this app to jump to the settings panel in the Settings app. You can also clear the data any time though it will only delete a local copy of it. If Windows 10 has already sent the information to Microsoft, it won’t be deleted from the company’s database.
We should mention that the data Windows 10 collects cannot be traced back to a particular user. The data, e.g. the inking and typing data, is used to improve the inking feature in Windows 10. Other system data helps Microsoft generate useful information such as an app compatibility list for Windows 10. It isn’t all evil.