Microsoft to add new data privacy tool in next Windows 10 beta update

Microsoft brings new privacy controls
A display for the Windows 10 operating system is seen in a store window at the Microsoft store at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York July 29, 2015 REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Microsoft collects a mishmash of data from all computers running the Windows 10 operating system, giving them access to a user's search history, location and other bits of information. In its recent announcement, the company says it is adding two new privacy tools, including the one that allows users to selectively delete specific data.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17083 arrives on Thursday with a revamped privacy dashboard and an improved Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. The latter is designed to give users more control over their raw data associated with their Microsoft account, particularly in removing items that they don't want Microsoft to track down.

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The Microsoft Privacy Dashboard lets users manage their data and alter what data is accumulated by adjusting the privacy settings on the device or browser at any time. Users having the ability to manipulate their computer's data increases their chances of dodging targeted ads, among other capabilities.

As Microsoft detailed, granular privacy controls for users to manage or block include common data like operating system's name, device ID and version; device connectivity and configuration like preferences and settings, peripherals and device network information; product and service performance and usage data like device health, movie consumption, applications, install history and device update information.

Meanwhile, the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer "provides even greater transparency to all the diagnostic data received from your Windows device", says Microsoft. It will be available in the Microsoft Store as a standalone app, allowing users to see, search and take action with diagnostic data.

"Our commitment is to be fully transparent on the diagnostic data collected from your Windows devices, how it is used, and to provide you with increased control over that data," writes Marisa Rogers, privacy officer of Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft. "This is all part of our commitment to increase your trust and confidence in our products and services."

Windows Insider Program non-participants will have to wait a few months before they can lay their hands on these new improvements. At the moment, beta testers are the only ones allowed to try on them.

This article was first published on January 25, 2018