Microsoft details upcoming privacy changes in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Microsoft has today unveiled upcoming changes in the Windows 10 Creators Update that will make it easier for users to control their privacy settings, and make said settings more understandable to the average user. With the Creators Update, Microsoft is building a new setup experience that will provide users upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8 direct access to changing privacy settings.

The experience will be slightly different for users already on Windows 10 and planning to upgrade to the Creators Update. You'll still be able to configure your privacy settings, but you'll be prompted to do so via popup notifications rather than via a full-on setup window. This makes the most sense, as upgrading from one version of Windows 10 to another is much more seamless compared to an upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.

First, we will introduce a new set up experience for you to choose the settings that are right for you. This experience, which replaces previous Express Settings, will look slightly different depending on the version of Windows you are using. If you are moving from Windows 7 or Windows 8, or doing a fresh install of Windows 10, the new set up experience will clearly show you simple but important settings and you will need to choose your settings before you can move forward with setup. If you are already using Windows 10, we will use notifications to prompt you to choose your privacy settings.

Not only that, but Microsoft has also changed its Diagnostic data collection, reducing its three levels to just two. With the Creators Update, you'll have the option of Basic or Full, and if you choose the basic level, even less data will be sent to Microsoft than beforehand.

...we've further reduced the data collected at the Basic level. This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft.

Microsoft says they are committed to making privacy choices easy to understand, and clarifies that Microsoft, no matter what privacy options are selected, will not use the contents of you email, files, chat, or pictures to target relevant ads.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • It seems to me that's pretty much the same settings as before but with a new UI.
  • They got rid of the "Express Settings" option so that users can disable things they don't want easier.
  • Hokay, that's something.
  • I feel like this is a screen that would appear during setup.
  • It's basically been reorganized but the Express Settings seems gone. I think this new one seems nicer. Hopefully they won't forget to polish the new setup screen though. I really don't trust MS these days when it comes to UI polish.
  • Sounds like they're now going to be forcing you to send a lot more sensitive information in order to give feedback in the feedback hub. I use the Enhanced setting to send feedback while avoiding sending sensitive information. Now that's gone. Also, looks like they've moved the 24/7 tracking of your typing and writing habits from that insanely privacy-invading "get to know me" setting to the "full" diagnostics...guess I'll simply never enable it on my personal system. On the bright side, it looks like you don't need to fully enable that insanely privacy-invading "get to know me" setting that was 24/7 tracking not only your speech habits, but also your typing and writing habits in order to simply do a voice search with cortana. Now they only track your speech habits for that, which makes sense, but is still privacy invasive if it's 24/7 instead of only when you initiate a voice search. Speaking of Cortana, wonder if it still requires you to sign in with a skynet account just check the weather or play a song from your local library. That's one seriously asinine requirement. Not even google voice search is that desperate to track everything.
  • That's why i don't upgrade to windows 10 - too much data is been collected Windows 8.1 forever - or untill current CEO is out
  • It is absolutely unacceptable that you can't use speech recognition, one of the most advertised features of Win10, without sending all your PRIVATE and personal speech data to Microsoft, with the only alternative being to disable it completely. There should be an option to use speech but disable the data mining of private voice data by Microsoft. As for diagnostics, why is the alternative to ON, Basic? Why the hell can't we completely turn of this invasive data gathering, if you don't want to send anything to Microsoft? As for the location settings, that should be done on a per app basis and not an all or nothing setting globaly for whole windows. Maybe time for the European Commission to have a closer look at these data mining practices by Microsoft. Extorting consumers by giving Microsoft all their data or having key features of the OS disabled is unacceptable, if anyone thinks otherwise they are just a Microsoft apologist, not caring one bit about consumer privacy.  
  • man, how do you think speach recognition works? in what world do you live in? they don't spy on you and they don't collect more data than google or apple. they need telemetric data so the speach recognition works. please remember that cortana works with written text as so complicated that it cannot survive locally with no interaction with anything...
  • Speech recognition works fine without sending data to Microsoft. What they specificaly state is that they want your speech data to "help improve speech service" not to make the feature work. If Microsoft wants my speech data to help them improve THEIR service then they should pay for it and not hold a Windows feature at ransom for your private speech input data. Why should I help Microsoft improve their service if I am not compensated for it? While they then go on and make millions from the improved service. Speech recognition in Windows should work, and the ability to help Microsoft improve it by sending them your data should be the real option people can decide on. But instead Microsoft decided to make it compulsory to get your data or you won't get to use this core Windows feature.