Speech, inking, typing, and privacy

Windows provides both a device-based speech recognition feature (available through the Windows Speech Recognition Desktop app), and a cloud-based speech recognition service that was introduced alongside Cortana in those markets and regions where Cortana is available. To learn what languages and regions Speech recognition currently supports, search for Cortana’s regions and languages in any browser or in the search bar. Turning on the Speech recognition setting allows Microsoft to collect and use your voice recordings to provide you with cloud-based speech recognition services in Cortana, in supported Microsoft Store apps, and, over time, in other parts of Windows. As part of that service, we also collect information from the user dictionary created on your device. This user dictionary stores unique words like names you write, which helps you type and ink more accurately. Both the voice data and the user dictionary are used in the aggregate to help improve our ability to correctly recognize all users’ speech.

If you’ve allowed Cortana to do so, Microsoft also collects information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts) to help personalize your speech experience, and to help Windows and Cortana better recognize people, events, places, and music when you dictate messages or documents. The information Cortana collects will help personalize your speech experience on all your Windows devices and Cortana apps when you sign in with the same Microsoft account.

Whenever we collect data, even when it’s to make your device work better for you, we want to make sure you have all the information to make the right choices about how and when that data is used. That’s why we provide the info and controls described on this page.

To use speech recognition, Getting to know you (the privacy setting under Speech, inking & typing) must be turned on because speech services exist both in the cloud and on your device. The info Microsoft collects from these services helps to improve them. Speech services that don’t rely on the cloud and only live on your device, like Narrator and Windows Speech Recognition, will still work when this setting is turned off, but Microsoft won’t collect any speech data.

When your Diagnostic and usage data setting (Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics) is set to Full, your inking and typing input data is sent to Microsoft, and we use this data in the aggregate to improve the inking and typing platform for all users. Learn more about Diagnostic data here. As part of inking and typing on your device, Windows creates a user dictionary that stores unique words like names you write, which helps you type and ink more accurately.

How to control data for Speech, inking, and typing

To turn off speech recognition and to clear data stored on the device:

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing.
  2. Select Turn off speech services and typing suggestions. This clears the data on your device, and turns off cloud-based speech recognition. It also resets the local user dictionary used to improve your typing and inking.

Note:

Any voice data that was already sent to the cloud will also be dissociated from your device.

If you’ve allowed Cortana to do so, info such as speech models based on calendar and contacts is stored in the cloud so that Windows and Cortana can give you the best results. To clear this data :

  1. Select the search box on the taskbar. Then select Settings > Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Clear.

To stop letting Microsoft use your typing and handwriting info to improve typing and writing services for all users:

  1. Go to Start , then select Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics.
  2. Turn Diagnostic and usage data to Basic.