Over the last few releases of Windows 10 there have been questions and, to some extent, concerns about the telemetry that Windows 10 gathers and relays back to Microsoft. Last year Microsoft released more details about the data collected from the early versions of Windows 10. With the release of Creators Update, Microsoft provided more “control” over the data that is sent back to Microsoft by providing two optional settings for data collection: Basic and Full. The documentation released last year described all the data collected in the “basic” setting but only gave a broad outline of the kinds of things that the “full” setting collected.
The good news is that we will start understanding which data is being sent with the next release of Windows 10, presumably v1803. Microsoft has announced the Preview Release of a utility called Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. The utility will allow users to browse and review the data that the system has collected.
The utility will present the following diagnostic data:
- Common Data, like the operating system’s name, the version, device ID, device class, diagnostic level selection and so on.
- Device Connectivity and Configuration such as device properties and capabilities, preferences and settings, peripherals, and device network information.
- Product and Service Performance data that show device health, performance and reliability data, movie consumption functionality on the device and device file queries. It’s important to note that this functionality is not intended to capture user viewing or listening habits.
- Product and Service Usage data includes details about the usage of the device, operating system, applications, and services.
- Software Setup and Inventory such as installed applications and install history, device update information.
- The Diagnostic Data Viewer provides you with the features such as view, search and filter of your diagnostic data, as well as the ability to provide feedback about the viewer.
In the end, the addition of this tool brings Microsoft one step closer to transparency. The concern still exists as to what Microsoft plans to do or is doing with all the data points it is collecting. In my opinion, the data points serve as a repository to make offerings such as Advanced Threat Protection more valuable, as the number of data points Microsoft can attain will far exceed those of any other vendor. In addition, the data can only help make future releases of products more stable and secure based on the data reported back by those that choose to participate. When it comes to providing Microsoft telemetry, the question will always remain, is sharing truly caring?