Windows 10 app diagnostics and privacy

Apps in Windows 10 are carefully isolated so that they don’t interfere with each other. However, there are scenarios where it’s useful for one app to see certain types of information about other running apps (for example, it’s useful for diagnostic tools to be able to get a list of running apps). This is especially useful during app development, or for apps like Task Manager that report simple information about running apps. Some people worry about an app getting information about any other apps, but the settings in Windows always give you control over which apps can get this kind of information about other running apps.

App diagnostic controls might be turned off already if you’re using a device assigned to you by your workplace, or if you’ve added a work account to your personal device. If that’s the case, you’ll see Some settings are managed by your organization at the top of the App diagnostics settings page.

Note

In Windows 10, some apps can continue to perform actions even when you're not actively in the app’s window. These are commonly called background apps.

What kind of information is available?

Only certain, very specific pieces of information are made available in app diagnostics, specifically:

  • The name of each running app.
  • The package name of each running app.
  • The user name under whose account the app is running.
  • Memory usage of the app, and other process-level information typically used during development.

How to control which apps can use app diagnostics

In general, to allow or block specific apps and services:

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > App diagnostics.
  2. Make sure Allow apps to access diagnostic info about your other apps is turned On.
  3. Under Choose which apps can access diagnostic info about other apps, turn individual apps and services settings On or Off.

To block most apps from getting app diagnostics:

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings  > Privacy > App diagnostics.
  2. Make sure Allow apps to access diagnostic info about your other apps is turned Off. This will disable app diagnostics for your account on that device while still letting other people enable app diagnostics when they’re signed in with their own accounts.

Exceptions to the app diagnostics privacy settings

Desktop apps won’t appear in your Choose which apps can access diagnostic info about other apps list and aren’t affected by the Allow apps to access diagnostic info about your other apps setting. To allow or block desktop apps, use the settings in those applications.

Note

How can you tell if an app is a desktop app? Desktop apps are usually downloaded from the internet or installed with some type of media (such as a CD, DVD, or USB storage device). They’re launched using an .EXE or .DLL file, and they typically run on your device rather than web-based apps (which run in the cloud). You can also find desktop apps in Microsoft Store.