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Important

The information in this article applies to Windows 10, version 1903 and later.

Windows is a personalized computing environment that enables you to seamlessly roam and access services, preferences, and content across your computing devices from phones to tablets to the Surface Hub. Rather than residing as a static software program on your device, key components of Windows are cloud-based, and both cloud and local elements of Windows are updated regularly, providing you with the latest improvements and features.

Overview

Microsoft is dedicated to being transparent with our customers and giving them control over their data. As part of this work, we’re moving our major products and services to a model where personal data we collect from customers as they use their devices will be classified as either Required or Optional. This will make it easier for our customers to find information about the data we collect and how we use it, and to make informed choices about their privacy.

This article provides an overview of the types of data that are Required and Optional, the specific categories of personal data that are collected by Windows, and how our customers can change their privacy settings to customize the data they share with Microsoft.

Required data

Data in the required category is necessary to keep our products up to date, secure, and working as expected. This data may be collected either from the Windows operating system or from connected experiences and apps that are part of the operating system, as described below.

In some cases, you can control whether required data is collected by deciding whether to use the product features or services that depend on that required data. For example, if a customer enables Find My Device to locate their lost device, we collect the data required to enable the customer to locate their device when needed.

Required diagnostic data

The required data collected from the Windows operating system and integrated apps and services is required diagnostic data. Examples include information about the version of the operating system, apps and drivers installed on the device, whether updates were successfully installed, and details about your device and its settings that could impact keeping the device secure and up to date. For more details on diagnostic data collected by Windows and how it is used, refer to Diagnostics, feedback, and privacy in Windows 10. For specific details on the data collected as part of required diagnostic data, refer to Required Windows diagnostic events and fields.

Required diagnostic data for Windows is limited to the following data categories:

Data CategoryDescriptionExamples
Device connectivity and configuration data This type of Required diagnostic data includes details about the device, its configuration, and connectivity capabilities.
  • Device properties such as the OEM manufacturer, processor type, and memory attributes.
  • Device settings and configurations, such as networking and peripherals data.
Product and service performance data This type of Required diagnostic data includes details about device or service health and performance.
  • Basic error reporting, such as whether updates were successfully installed.
  • Reliability data about the health of the operating system or services.
Software setup and inventory data This type of Required diagnostic data includes software installation and update information on the device.
  • Operating system version, configuration details and updates installed.
  • Apps and drivers installed on the device.

Required service data

Windows also includes connected experiences to enable additional capabilities. For example, the ability to find your device if you’ve lost it by enabling the ability to keep track of your last known location. To enable these connected experiences, required service data is collected.

Required service data is crucial because it enables us to provide these cloud-based connected experiences and help keep them secure, up to date and performing properly.

Optional data

Data in the Optional category isn’t essential to the product or service experience, and you can control the collection of optional data independently from choosing to use specific product features or connected experiences. Examples of Optional data include data we collect about your inking and typing input to be able to provide more accurate and consistent results. It may also include additional diagnostic logs or crash dumps that allow us to more deeply understand issues that are occurring on your device. We think there are compelling reasons for you to share this Optional data, because it makes it easier for us to troubleshoot issues and creates the opportunity for new or improved experiences, but we want you to understand what’s happening and have the opportunity to make this choice for yourself. For more details on Optional diagnostic data collected by Windows and how it is used, refer to Diagnostics, feedback, and privacy in Windows 10.

We enable you to decide whether to allow Optional data collection at product setup. You can choose to change your mind about Optional data collection any time after product setup has completed on your device.

When you choose to send Optional diagnostic data, it includes more detailed information than what is collected with Required diagnostic data as described above. Required diagnostic data will always be included if you choose to send Optional diagnostic data. Optional diagnostic data in Windows includes the following data categories, but for more details and examples, refer to Windows Optional diagnostic data details:

Data CategoryDescriptionExamples
Browsing history data This type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about web browsing in the Microsoft browsers.
  • Browser activity, including browsing history and search terms in Microsoft browsers.
  • Changes to browser configuration impacting search experiences.
Device connectivity and configuration data This type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about the device, its configuration, and connectivity capabilities.
  • More detailed information about device settings and configurations.
Inking, typing, and speech utterance data This type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about the voice, inking, and typing input features on the device.
  • Samples of the content you type, write, or dictate on the device.
  • Details about status of transcribing input into text.
Product and service performance data This type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about device or service health and performance.
  • More detailed information about device and service health.
Product and service usage data This type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about the usage of the device, operating system, applications, and services.
  • App activity, such as which apps are launched.
  • Operating system and services usage.
Software setup and inventory data This type of Optional diagnostic data includes software installation and update information on the device.
  • More detailed information about the operating system, apps and services installed.

Privacy controls and information

Microsoft provides a Diagnostic Data viewer to enable you to see what diagnostic data is being collected while you use Windows 10, for both Required and Optional diagnostic data.

Microsoft offers users choices on how their data is being collected. Click on the links below to learn more about the data that Microsoft collects and the controls available to users and system administrators.