Diagnostics, feedback, and privacy in Windows 10

Together, diagnostics and feedback are how you and your Windows 10 device tell Microsoft what's really going on.

As you use Windows, we collect diagnostic information which helps us find and fix problems, improve our products and services, and provide you with personalized experiences. Also, to make sure we're listening to you, our customer, we've built ways for you to send us feedback anytime, and at specific times, like when Windows 10 asks you specific questions about how something is working for you.

What data is collected and why

Diagnostic information is collected based on the setting you choose: either Basic or Full. This data helps us fix things and improve Microsoft products and services and, if you choose to turn on Tailored experiences, can also be used to personalize your experiences with Microsoft products. This data is transmitted to Microsoft and stored with one or more unique identifiers that can help us recognize an individual user on an individual device and understand the device's service issues and use patterns. At Basic we collect only data necessary to keep Windows devices up to date and secure. Basic data includes information about the device itself, the proper function of Windows and Microsoft Store updates, and basic error data. We collect the following data at the Basic level:

  • Device, connectivity, and configuration data:
    • Data about the device such as the processor type, OEM manufacturer, type of battery and capacity, number and type of cameras, and firmware and memory attributes.
    • Network capabilities and connection data such as the device’s IP address, mobile network (including IMEI and mobile operator), and whether the device is connected to a free or paid network.
    • Data about the operating system and its configuration such as the OS version and build number, region and language settings, diagnostics level, and whether the device is part of the Windows Insider program.
    • Data about connected peripherals such as model, manufacturer, driver, and compatibility information.
    • Data about the applications installed on the device such as application name, version, and publisher.
  • Whether a device is ready for an update and whether there are factors that may impede the ability to receive updates, such as low battery, limited disk space, or connectivity through a paid network.
  • Whether updates complete successfully or fail.
  • Data about the reliability of the diagnostics collection system itself.
  • Basic error reporting, which is health data about the operating system and applications running on your device. For example, basic error reporting tells us if an application, such as Microsoft Paint or a third-party game, hangs or crashes.

For detailed info about the data that Microsoft collects at the Basic level, see Windows 10, version 1703 basic level Windows diagnostic events and fields (English Only).

Full data includes everything collected with Basic data, plus additional information that enables Microsoft to fix and improve products and services for all users. The following list includes examples of the additional information Microsoft collects at the Full level:

  • Additional data about the device, connectivity and configuration beyond that collected at Basic.
  • Status and logging information about the health of operating system and other system components (in addition to data about the update and diagnostics systems collected at Basic).
  • App usage, such as which programs are launched on a device, how long they run, and how quickly they respond to input.
  • Browser usage, also known as browsing history.
  • Small samples of inking and typing input, which is processed to remove identifiers, sequencing information, and other data (such as names, email addresses, and numeric values) which could be used to reconstruct the original content or associate the input to the user. This data is never used for Tailored experiences as described below.
  • Enhanced error reporting, including the memory state of the device when a system or app crash occurs (which may unintentionally contain parts of a file you were using when the problem occurred). Crash data is never used for Tailored experiences as described below.

We provide limited portions of error report information to partners (such as OEMs) to help them troubleshoot products and services which work with Windows and other Microsoft product and services. They are only permitted to use this information to repair or improve those products and services.

If you choose to turn on Tailored experiences, we will use some of the data described earlier to personalize your experiences with Windows and other products and services. This includes suggestions on how to customize and optimize Windows; and recommendations and offers of Windows features and supported apps, services, hardware, and peripherals. For example, to help you get the most out of your device, we may tell you about features you may not know about or that are new. If you are having a problem with your Windows device, you may be offered a solution. You may be offered a chance to customize your lock screen with pictures, or to be shown more pictures of the kind you like, or fewer of the ones you don’t. If you are streaming a movie in your browser, you may be recommended an app from Microsoft Store that streams more efficiently. Or, if you are running out of space on your hard drive, Windows may recommend you try the OneDrive online storage service, or purchase more space if you need it. The scope of data will depend on whether you choose Full or Basic as your Diagnostic data setting. For example, if you choose Full, your data will include browser and app usage. However, even if you enable Tailored experiences, we will not use your crash, speech, typing, or inking input data for personalization.

How to control your diagnostics and feedback settings

When you choose privacy settings for your device when your Windows 10 device is first set up, you can choose to have your Diagnostic data setting set to Basic or Full. If you set Diagnostic data to Basic, you send Microsoft less data to fix and improve Microsoft products based on your usage and errors you encounter.

During setup, you can also choose whether or not you’d like Tailored experiences set to On or Off. If this is set to Off, your tips and recommendations may be more generic or less relevant to you. When tailored experiences is set to On, Microsoft will use your diagnostic data to provide more relevant tips and recommendations to tailor Microsoft products and services for your needs.

To change the Diagnostic data setting

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback.
  2. Under Diagnostic data, select the option you prefer. If the options are grayed out, you may be using a device managed by your workplace or organization. In that case, you'll see Some settings are hidden or managed by your organization at the top of the Diagnostics & feedback screen.

To change the Tailored experiences setting

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback.
  2. Under Tailored experiences, you can choose the setting you’d prefer.

You can view diagnostic data for your device in real time by using the Diagnostic Data Viewer. Note that you will only be able to view data that is available while the Diagnostic Data Viewer is running. The Diagnostic Data Viewer does not allow you to view your diagnostic data history.

To view your diagnostic data

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback.
  2. Make sure that the Diagnostic data viewer setting is turned On, and then select Diagnostic Data Viewer.

Under Delete diagnostic data, you can delete diagnostic data for your device. Note that selecting this option does not delete the diagnostic data that is associated with your user account, nor does it stop your diagnostic data from being sent to Microsoft.

To delete your diagnostic data

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback.
  2. Under Delete diagnostic data, select Delete.

We will occasionally display a message asking you to rate or provide written feedback about the product or services you use. You can use the Feedback frequency setting to adjust how often we ask you for this feedback.

To change how often we ask you for feedback

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback.
  2. Under Feedback frequency, select the option you prefer.

To send us feedback at any time

  1. Type Feedback Hub in the search bar.
  2. Type some keywords from your issue in the box marked Give us feedback to make Windows better and press Enter.
  3. If you find your issue, upvote it. If you don't find it, select Add new feedback, then fill out the form.