Windows 10: Activity may be recorded even if you disable it

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 12, 2018
Updated • Dec 13, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

The Privacy dashboard on Microsoft's website lists recent activity, e.g. visited sites or started applications, even if Activity History is disabled on a Windows 10 device.

Recent versions of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system support a feature called Activity History that is keeping track of some of the things that users are doing on the device so that they may "jump back".

Activity History powers the operating system's Timeline feature. Timeline, which you may invoke with the shortcut Windows-Tab, displays a timeline view of activity when opened.

Only some applications such as Microsoft Edge or Office applications support it at the time. The main idea behind the feature is to display a history to users similarly to browsing histories of web browsers.

It is easy to go back to a particular application or re-open a website using the feature.

Three main options are exposed to users and administrators in the Settings application:

  • Store my activity history on this device.
  • Send my activity history to Microsoft.
  • Show activities for specific accounts.

The first keeps track of activity on the device, the second sends it to Microsoft.

Update: Microsoft contacted us and told us that the issue is not caused by a bug. Activity History in Windows 10 and the Activity History listing on the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard refer to two different things.

According to Microsoft, Activity History on the Privacy Dashboard is controlled by the Diagnostic & Feedback setting. The company plans to change the name to eliminate the confusion.

“Microsoft is committed to customer privacy, being transparent about the data we collect and use for your benefit, and we give you controls to manage your data. In this case, the same term “Activity History” is used in both Windows 10 and the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard. Windows 10 Activity History data is only a subset of the data displayed in the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard. We are working to address this naming issue in a future update.” – Marisa Rogers, Microsoft

If a customer wants to prevent their Windows 10 device from sending apps and service Activity History to Microsoft they need to use the following two Windows Settings configurations:

1.     Under Settings->Privacy->Activity history: ensure the setting “Let Windows sync my activities from this PC to the cloud” is not checked

2.     Under Settings->Privacy->Diagnostics & feedback: ensure Diagnostic data is set to Basic


Even if you disable all three options in Settings, activity may be listed on Microsoft's Privacy Dashboard website on the company's site.

A user on Reddit noticed this and published a question on the site about the issue. Sign in was done with a local account and a Microsoft Account was used only for the Store.

Even with all Activity History toggles disabled, Activity History was displayed on the Privacy Dashboard for the Microsoft account.

privacy dashboard

I verified the claim on a Windows 10 device. With Activity History disabled in the Settings application, Microsoft's Privacy Dashboard would still display records of activity on the device on which the change was made.

You can verify this as well by opening the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard website and selecting Activity History when it is loaded.

The disabling of Activity History in Windows' Group Policy did not change the collecting and display of data either.

  1. Visit Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > OS Policies.
  2. Disable "Allow publishing of User Activities.
  3. Disable "Enables Activity Feed".
  4. Disable "Allow upload of User Activities"

The changes have no effect on the collecting and display of activity data on the Microsoft Dashboard website under Activity History.

Closing Words

The leaking of Activity History data even when the feature is disabled is likely an, admittedly, serious bug.

Windows 10: Activity may be recorded even if you disable it
Article Name
Windows 10: Activity may be recorded even if you disable it
Activity History may be transferred to Microsoft and displayed on the company's Privacy Dashboard website even if the feature is disabled on Windows 10.
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  1. Scot said on January 22, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I guess that more people must start using encryption, then data will be visible less, and organisations will be not able to record it. or at least it will be much harder to do it. I choose to protect my data with Nordlockr Been using it for about 4 months and I am frankly impressed with it. No bugs or issues that could have noticeable impact on performance. Recommend

  2. Steve said on January 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH ….. Windows 10 is NSA OS – MS and NSA have been tight together developing it 50% by 50% !!! Ask MS about it !!!! They want control the whole world !!! We all know it !!! Whats the fuzz here ? This is POLITICS of MS and all the others involved !
    It will only hurt MS when they making losses until then: If you do not like it you do not use it !
    When win 7 is no more everybody who prefers their own privacy and security would go to Linux or use Win 10 offline or in virtual locked down environment with all the crap trowed out of OS !!!!
    Windows is inefficient OS even with powerful hardware that i have it choke like old DOS 286 lack of everything comp ! For web use il switch to Linux due MS and Chrome not the best friends ! MS is digging its hole slowly !

  3. Alisha Ross said on January 9, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I am deciding to definitely remove my Vista OS from my pc. I already used Linux OS like Debian, fedora or redhat (when it was free).

    After many installation and years I still don-t understand why Linux community is not able to make installation process ease, and when I say ease I meant just that. Ease.

    If I don-t follow the standard procedure than everything became hard to do. let me explain the last case.

    I am trying to format my hard disk where I have mounted Vista so to delete it definitely. I have also other partitions whit data I would like to keep. So if don-t accept to install the new os close to old one I have to possibility to choice one partition or the whole disk.
    I opted for one partition / where vista was installed / and the installing process ask me to define a mount point. I did. Then he asks me define the swap area, but I can-t find how to do it. unless I don-t opt for a full manual installation. I know, somebody will show me how easy it is. But why the process it is not intuitive and idiot/tailored? Think me like an idiot that just want to install new OS on the old partition. can the community think something simpler?
    Next time some of you will design a process, please follow the K.I.S.S. requirements.

  4. Sophie said on December 14, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t get this “feature” at all, or the Timeline, since I froze my version at 1607, and have no intention of budging away from that version. Works perfectly, and feel very happy to not have all this spying bloat being added by later versions.

    Long live 1607 thank you! Oh, and don’t talk to me about danger of not patching. I cover my bases in my own way. I’ve long said that the biggest “malware” danger out there is actually Microsoft themselves.

  5. noemata said on December 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    .. and yes, the next operating system will be linux mint. thx @ man.

    looks good. then can pi-hole:

    or maybe this:

    to be deployed. i hope so.

    .. but only when my current ancient – device enters the bit-emptied nirvana (then there will be “winchromium” on the market anyway). but for now, a self-frickled “windows – light” is enough. habits are hard to give up (i’ve been on the road with windows since 1999).

    but even another os doesn’t change the degenerated web per se (and many other factors). and certainly not googles (the pichai-hearing was a joke) spreading (like a cancer). the hearing:


    (if google is blocked by dns and/or firewall or whatever, there’ s no direct access to it (which is a good thing), but one can convert resp. simply download yt-videos on other sites with a yt-link; even if google – domains are blocked:



    “invidious” unfortunately does not load these videos. seems to be a bug:

    .. well, facebook is dying, it could at least also happen to microsoft. maybe it’s happening right now; it’s on the users only (“microsoft” also is “made of people”. “companies” don’t exist, people do. as long as this is the case, something can change. primarily through insight. not primarily through money and the associated greed.

    .. but then “new people” and their artificial “companies” and other risks come up to us :

    especially at the beginning of the so-called “quantum – computing – era”. actual, universal – quantum – computers (= quantum – turing – machines) will probably still need 10-50 years for mass-production; before that, large “companies” = people and various goverments = people will benefit from this, which could have serious consequences in terms of encryption/security). “slimmed down forms” (“quantum annealers” = limited “simulations” of an uqc resp. qtm (like “d-wave”) are already in use.

    and “ibm” claims, that they already developed a five – qubit universal – quantum – computer:

    the physicist anton zeilinger (famous for his “beam” – experiments across the danube or his quantum-encrypted video – call from austria to china per quantum entangled photon pairs and per satellite) is a little more skeptical about actual/current “qtm” resp. “uqc”. probably also because he is a european physicist.

    and yes, exactly, the chinese government (= people) like the us-government (=people) or other major nations/government (= people) are particularly interested on this topic.

    the end-user .. *lol*. well, tutanota is already beginning to prepare for it (publicly). at least as far as quantum – cryptography is concerned:

    however, mathematical gimmicks but very important.

    but only long after the market-ready (actual) uqc/qtm – era, humanity will come to its senses.

    as i have written several times: “how would it be to coordinate the backward social development of humans with their technical developments? then we can continue”.

    perhaps this coming era will help us – because then we could discover strange similarities (our brain itself) resp. the ability “to understand”.

    It’s not just a matter that conviction: “nothing can be known/understood by being told”.

    this statement from george spencer brown (laws of form) became apparent in another thread regarding privazer/ccleaner.

    I actual – understanding / actual – knowledge / actual – insight / actual – meaning requires reenactment. direct experience. implementation. yes. otherwise it would only be “faith”. hearsay. but:

    II a distinction is made between understanding and actual understanding.

    III the term “understanding” is to be equated with “possible actual understanding”, as long as the non-contradictory proof for actual understanding has not been made. context: point VII.

    IV reenactment/implementation can also mean: trying to actually understand. afterwards, implement what was understood.

    V if that, which was understood in the first implementation, contradicts in the second implementation what was understood in the first implementation, it was not actually understood.

    VI the second implementation of what was understood by the first implementation, namely “trying to understand” (something, what i’m not mentioning; it’s kind of a task), acts as a test if it was actually understood.

    VII if the first implementation was actually understood, the second implementation of what was actually understood, is non-contradictory to what was actually understood in the first implementation.

    implication: it seems that actual understanding is more fundamental than mere implementation. one can implement something without actual understanding. but is it then actually implemented – or not?

    without actual understanding, no actual implementation?
    without actual implementation, no actual understanding?
    without understanding, no implementation?
    without implementation, no understanding?
    and what if understanding should be implemented?
    and what if understanding should be actually implemented?
    and what if actual understanding should be actually implemented?
    is the last point meaningful and/or logically necessary? hidden places.

    anyway, sir roger penrose, who is certainly not only to be respected as “the doctor father of stephen hawkings” :

    laughed at in the 90s, now more topical than ever and possibly proven in the future. in every thinkable way. also in every unthinkable way and also in a completely hidden way.

    maybe on the basis of a completely new physical thesis/theory/discovery. or on the basis of a new “non-physical” thesis/theory/discovery.

    yep, imho it’s all about “actual understanding” (and not “zombie-like-syntactic-chewing-again” in connection with the neuronally generated illusion “to understand”). in contrast to penrose, i think that’s exactly what is going on right now (and before) : “zombie-like-syntactic-chewing-again” in connection with the neuronally generated illusion “to understand”.

    at least in part. very often. most of the time. _with important exceptions_. and a lot of potential to step out of this circle of non-understanding – if we don’t wipe ourselves out first with our partial, unrecognized, apparently – intrinsic stupidity.

    technology only emerges from understanding, meaning, insights. at the present time, mostly from non-understanding. that’s okay, but it doesn’t work forever; only it seems to. that it doesn’t really work, one can see every day from the ongoing news and efforts to escape from the accumulated technological and more and more associated political insanity.

    meanwhile almost everyone knows that something is definitely wrong. one just doesn’t know/understand exactly what.

    we’re living in a time of ignorance, greed and irrationality (therefore “basic-non-understanding”). in a future context, maybe the following will apply (imho) :

    “science is a map, not the territory”

    and this statement will (maybe) be based on pure rationality. the mathematician/metamathematician/logician kurt gödel already showed (mathematically, based on the “principia mathematica”) that pure rationality can go far beyond formalism/mechanics/computability.

    later, he (imho seemingly) went mad. but he also said: “i do not fit into this century”.

    sry for off – topic in the end. from linux/windows to quantum computers to xy. but there are very soon new – and initially – more (dangerous) challenges in this area (google is directly involved in this qc/uqc/qtm/qa/qc-topic as well).

    and ghacks will be clearly not unaffected by these (for some time) pure “technical developments”. in every possible way.

    .. but maybe not “geeks” .. asking the questions or giving the directive or instruction: how to geek (?)(!) . i’m not a geek and don’t want to be a geek. just a user (with old html and css2 knowledge, that’s all) on an ancient laptop.

    i refuse smartphones. because they brought more insanity & more (strange) people (to the previously more idealistic) web : obviously, naturally. no judgment. facts. clearly, in direct consequence.

    and in direct comparison to the previous (but also exclusive/excluding) “academic” – web – culture : _now_ it can be clearly seen – the technological development happens too fast, while human values/developments are lagging massively behind.

    the solution opposing this asymmetry is unfortunately somewhere in the distant future. maybe. or not. i do not know (actually). well, that’s enough. this time really for a longer time; maybe too much caffeine tablets thrown into my coffee.

    1. Cicero said on December 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      You know… Eloquence is brevity…

      1. noemata said on December 13, 2018 at 11:35 pm

        uh – ad hominem – alarm!
        *ring* ( = only alarm bells)

        .. at least close to the border or already climbed the first stairs.

        so i will continue to respond in my own way at the current moment, if this post becomes enabled. without limiting myself. because: the short core is somewhere in the middle of the text anyway. but cannot be grasped. because something is missing; consciously skipped. the whole surrounding was necessary to get to the core. it was a running – process. ultimately only happened for this one purpose. in retrospect. psychological. not intended. self – running. will recede by itself over the next few days. that’s life, if you’re not a “zombie”.

        I hormesis – metapher : “mitochondrial hormesis is a biochemical process in which the activation of mitochondria leads to the increased formation of free radicals in the cell [efforts/stress in writing], which ultimately leads to the activation of the cell’s own defence against oxygen radicals [core/consequences]” (wiki).

        II strange – hormesis – metapher:

        “.. recent research suggest that from its inception life embraced quantum effects such as
        ‘tunnelling’and ‘coherence’ while competition and stressful conditions provided a constant driver for natural selection. we believe that the biphasic adaptive response to stress described by hormesis – a process that captures information to enable adaptability, is central to this whole process. critically, hormesis could improve mitochondrial quantum efficiency, improving the ATP/ROS ratio, whereas inflammation, which is tightly associated with the aging process, might do the opposite” (alistair v.w. nunn, geoffrey 2. guy† and jimmy d. bell, university of westminster, london)

        III however.

        ps: the mentioned “future context”: “science is a map, not the territory”. seemingly one step further : natural science, mathematics, logic, philosophy, etc. can only be seen as a mere metaphor. nothing of this can really be taken seriously; from the point of view of actual understanding. finally (but there’s still something in between).

        pps: even “if-it-works”. cars. f.. smartphones .. .. .. obviously. + entropy, death and life.

        ppps: i have closed my ghacks – circle with the last posting for a few weeks. this posting is just an add-on. reading is less stressful. but doesn’t allow much either. that’s ok. at this point.

  6. AnorKnee Merce said on December 13, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Seems, you can fully disable this thing, …….
    But bear in mind that M$ may use Win 10’s forced auto-updates to reenable it and disable such blocking in the future.

    1. Deron J said on December 14, 2018 at 3:11 am

      Martin, perhaps you could update the article with the information on how to disable it, per the post by AnorKnee Merce. (Better hurry before Hoffman posts the info and claims it was his idea…)

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 14, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Deron, added info from Microsoft as a quote that explains how that is done. Thanks!

  7. Kevin said on December 13, 2018 at 4:11 am

    “Windows 10: Activity may be recorded even if you disable it”

    An industry standard practice today. That does not make it okay, it just means I saw it coming from ten miles away!

  8. Dennis said on December 13, 2018 at 2:45 am

    One must wonder what else is being harvested and NOT disclosed on the “Privacy Dashboard”…..

  9. ULBoom said on December 13, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I have a hard time believing MS really gives a crap about most of the data they collect; I mean they screw up everything else. They probably have some inane user sampling program that may net you by mistake, since that probably doesn’t work right either.

    Probably a good idea to keep MS at arms length; it may keep your device from being blown up by their bumbling, if nothing else.

  10. StorageMan said on December 12, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t know. I’ve had W10 since its beginning (Was a insider for about 1 year), I never login to my account. I have and had all of the privacy components disabled and they have been since I shut down my Insider account 3 years ago. I signed into my MS account for the first time since I set this machine up, and there was NO history to look at or delete except for a short period when I forgot to Nuclear Cortana between March on July of this year. I had 5 searches saved but nothing else. Maybe data is being saved because on logging in to your MS account while you log into windows. I don’t do that.

  11. John in Mtl said on December 12, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Its not a bug, its a feature!

    C’mon everybody, get with the program!
    NOT !!!

    Viva Windows 7 (and 8.1 to some extent)

    1. ddk said on December 12, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      8.1 is really pretty good & if you don’t care for the start menu layout….classic start menu to the rescue. Plus shut up O & O.

      Win LTSB 1607 or 1809 works OK in my experience if not minding the re-installs every 9 months. (initial 90 eval plus two 90 day rearms) But c’mon Linux distro hoppers are always installing/re-installing constantly, mostly due to looking for the next big & hopefully stable, bug free “miracle’ Distribution.

      1. John Fenderson said on December 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm

        @ddk: “if you don’t care for the start menu layout….classic start menu to the rescue”

        That’s hardly the only thing that makes versions of Windows after 7 less than desirable.

      2. Man said on December 13, 2018 at 12:01 am

        I haven’t had to reinstall Linux Mint since I first installed it in 2012. Every upgrade-in-place to the next long-term-support version has worked like a charm…or if you prefer, miraculously. No bugs, and very stable.

  12. AnorKnee Merce said on December 12, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Maybe, the NSA wanted to know every line of code and everything you do on your computer at every Time. So M$ obliged with Timeline on Win 10.

    About 40% of world computer users are on Win 10 and they are being two-timed by M$.?

  13. SocialMediaGrandpa said on December 12, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Definitely a bug. No way this could be intentional, don’t even worry about it.

  14. Man said on December 12, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Why do people continue to tolerate this Microsoft bulls*t? It’s a frustrating, disorganized, unreliable, and demonstrably dishonest operating system. There are other options. Linux Mint, for example, is a pleasure to use. Take back your privacy and independence, ffs.

  15. Gary D said on December 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    @ Chris Hoffman

    I ‘ve just read a REALLY high tech article on How To Geek.

    “The Best Inexpensive Foam Mattresses” by Michael Crider | @MichaelCrider | December 10, 2018.

    Do the mattresses have built wifi / SSD storage? It didn’t say in the article.

  16. noemata said on December 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    .. the “anti-privacy-potential” of this “timeline – function” should be obvious; deactivated from the beginning.

    just a report in this context (windows security resp. security from windows). everyone as they like:

    i have my “windows – light v.1” since yesterday; associated with a lot of work. including dangerous trial and error attempts. but finally … at least this tells me ..

    .. i am _relatively_ (not/never completely) “more free” – (for windows & web standards).

    .. but only under massive ip-range rules (e.g. from some peerblock lists, ported into the windows – firewall per windows firewall control) and some harder tweaks that _a non-techie_ (like me) is capable of:

    ( + blocking other – imho – unnecessary win-services per wub.ini (not intended for brainless – imitation; just as an example and in my special case) :

    AMD External Events Utility=3,4
    sedsvc=3,4 )

    (most of the settings considered to be safe have been set – but be careful.)

    (is only used to activate some firewall settings. in the future other settings may also be used)

    (self-explanatory, almost everybody is familiar with, (in my case) almost (not) every setting set – or taken over from other apps (if you take them over via this app).

    (well, perfect)

    .. latest beta of exe radar only from:


    + in combination with “connections viewer”) :

    (i can only reach this whois – page. e.g. : ..

    is not reachable because of my settings. sure for good reasons.)

    + _testing_ opendns: google, ms, fb .. blocked. i have no access to youtube, google or microsoft pages. not even is loaded (although it is allowed by ublock origin).

    + .

    only invidious – videos are still loading. probably has a special ip-range. could also be blocked (firewall or opendns or ublock origin), but so i have at least one way to watch yt-videos (javascript = disabled on this page – per ublock origin)

    .. all these apps .. = pay attention to doublets in the firewall.

    much more important (again: imho) than the mere firewall : senseless (windows) – functions & options (“senseless functions & options” also applies to browsers), which can be uninstalled or at least deactivated (in this case simply with some of these apps).

    if i am tired of opendns – for privacy reasons; just activate google/facebook/ms ip – range in my firewall again.

    what you have to renounce due to various tweaks: windows – store – apps (with the exception of 5 very basic apps – in my case), their communication with each other / the windows store itself / windows defender / windows updates / indexer / cortana .. et cetera . never change a running “system” .. i mean “windows”. not anymore).

    only onedrive still runs with full functionality. but even there, various backups and files are only stored in encrypted form


    i don’t trust this offer (although it would provide e2ee) :

    virus total:

    false positive or not. furthermore, this offer is so well hidden that their financial interests take precedence over everything else. disgusting. switzerland, of course (again: imho).

    in combination with all this: even an opened (& hardened) firefox communicates at least to a lesser extent with “the evil ones” resp. @home. another positive side effect (ghacks were open).

    or firefox closed:

    ps: not to forget: i only log into windows via a “local account”.

    pps: funny for german speaking users: this is how winfuture now looks on my system. neither ublock origin nor the tracker list of firefox 65.0b3 are active. javascript is enabled. again funny: this is the only site where something like this happens to me. that’s what i call “real blocking”:

    ppps: otherwise: speed increase. windows like web.

    pppps: tired. misspellings and incorrect grammar can be kept – especially today. as well as various gaps and incomplete informations.

  17. Jozsef said on December 12, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Microsoft doing something underhanded is not what I’d call shocking. If it was inadvertent then I am shocked.

  18. Tamris said on December 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Cool, another reason to never downgrade to W10.

  19. Baby Talk said on December 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Its hypocritical to cut down invasive MS technology when When Reddit allows Google to collects and stores your every keystroke, twitch. posts and IP[1].

    Center of The Universe
    The sad thing here is someone else could come to reddit and claim the same against you there. But they don’t because if you care about privacy you don’t use ANY social media in addition to blocking invasive Goggle Eyes.
    An attorney would also advise there is no basis for your immature outburst. Your posts to Reddit do not belong to you, silly bird!

    Martin is a gracious guy who presents the facts and reserves judgment to his knowledgeable readers. He moderates comments yet still allows your unmerited attack.
    He’s a rare, genuinely honest, competent, gracious human being on the Internet. His articles are framed to encourage readers to respond. All without tracking or login. I trust him.

    The REAL privacy issue (NEVER discussed on click-bait Internet) here is Reddit (like countless website dependent upon Google Advertising dollars) ALLOWS partner Google to completely data-mine user actions while claiming itself a good guy[2].

    [1] Reddit Ads and Analytics Partners
    We may partner with third-party advertisers, ad networks, and analytics providers to deliver advertising and content targeted to your interests and to better understand your use of the Services. These third parties may collect information sent by your computer, browser, or mobile device in response to a request for content, such as unique identifiers, your IP address, or other information about your computer or device. For example:
    We use analytics partners (such as Google Analytics) to help analyze usage and traffic for our Services. As an example, we may use analytics partners to analyze and measure, in the aggregate[1], the number of unique visitors to our Services.

    [2] I wrote this first so you are not allowed to discuss do-evil Google anywhere else
    Sign here ___________

  20. M+G=LOVE said on December 12, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I have a lot of fun reading in windows10 reddit and forums fanboys moaning that Goolag is a spyware and spy and at the same time they are in denial that their sweet Windows 10 is a big fat spyware with ads. They are delusional enough to think that their favourite corporation doesn’t monitor their activity.

    1. Anonymous said on December 12, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      lol Goolag.

    2. SaladFan said on December 12, 2018 at 10:19 am

      I have a lot of fun reading your word sallad.

      1. M+G=LOVE said on December 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

        Microsoft or Goolag fanboy? My guess, Microsoft. Did I hit a nerve fanboi?

  21. Yuliya said on December 12, 2018 at 9:45 am

    >The leaking of Activity History data even when the feature is disabled is likely an, admittedly, serious bug.
    A very convenient one too, convenient for Microsoft that is.

    1. Yuliya said on December 12, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      ADD: if what I found online about this feature is correct, then this feature has been introduced in Windows 10 1803. So technically 1709 or older should not be affected by this. Builds like 1507 or 1607 LTSB should definitely not have this problem.

      More precisely it was introduced in the preview build “Windows 10 build 17040”, which was a beta version of 1803.

  22. Anonymous said on December 12, 2018 at 9:39 am

    If you install Windows 10 and create users without linking it to a Microsoft account, how can they publish the data on the Microsoft website?

    You can convert your Microsoft account to a local account.

    I look forward to the day when I am just using Linux.

    1. Anonymous said on December 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Just the way Microsoft verified your Windows. That key become your machine id

    2. Anonymous said on December 12, 2018 at 9:50 am

      They make shadow accounts linked with your hardware, for example this is how they monitor which apps you have installed in Microsoft store.

  23. AxMi-24 said on December 12, 2018 at 8:44 am

    GDPR 4% of global turnover fine is only solution to this. MS is either under contract with NSA to hoover up all user data or they are trying to outperform both Facebook and Google in spying on their users.

  24. Chris Hoffman said on December 12, 2018 at 8:43 am
    1. Sophie said on December 14, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      I was extremely disappointed to see this attack on Marin, as expressed by Chris Hoffman.

      None of us know your site Chris (well, not many at least), and your way of describing your concerns was impolite and would now put me off anyway.

      Disappointed in you Chris, I’m sorry to say. Where are the manners?

      1. Scot said on December 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm

        Nearly every one of those links credit How To Geek though.
        And they all came after the article. The few that don’t, credit some place.. that posted their story after How To Geek.

        So I think that negates your point some here.

      2. Silver said on December 13, 2018 at 11:49 pm

        That may be the case but that still doesn’t change this article’s originality compared to all those other articles that only breaks the news while referring to Hoffman’s article as to the plausibility of the situation.

        The most important part is to reference the original source of the news, which is on reddit. It’s also important to reference another article if there are further content that is taken from it. However, in this case, Martin took read the original source, test it himself, and wrote this article with new original material, including the updated material with Microsoft’s reply.

        Which is why I find Hoffman’s accusations out of line.

    2. Vrai said on December 13, 2018 at 2:18 am

      That being said, Ghacks is the best tech blog out there.
      I gave up on How To Geek quite a while ago. It’s just a shill site now. Such a shame as it used to be great.

    3. gazoo said on December 12, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      @Chris Hoffman,

      This is a story that first appeared on reddit. It was also posted on HN (which gave it prominence) and *various* other blogs. It’s standard for news like this to spread based on the original source. Martin did his own testing and wrote an original piece based on the evidence (linking to the original source).

      This is much more than even the entertainment industry known as the Main $tream Media does, btw.

      You are way out of line here. I use to be a howtogeek subscriber but found that I rarely accessed most articles. I rarely saw anything of real substance and the site certainly doesn’t cover the unethical practices of the tech industry the way ghacks does.

      Your latest piece was a rare exception – though, once again… you excused the behavior by editorializing an unsubstantiated opinion at the end. This essentially told readers… nothing to see here, move along (as always).

    4. Henk said on December 12, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      PS – forgot to add, just by way of illustrating my comment: yesterday, Ian Barker on the Betanews site also had a post about this very same item (“Windows 10 sends activity history to Microsoft even when told not to”). Authors want to alert their own readers to what struck them as noteworthy news, regardless how many others already did the same somewhere else.

    5. Henk said on December 12, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Dear Chris, both your site and Martin’s are on my daily check list: I appreciate the good work of both of you. And (not just in this case, but also in general) I feel that we need to make a difference between two things: (1) passing on the latest news items, and (2) content plagiarism.

      (1) Means that authors discuss or describe “hot issues” that they’ve found coming up elsewhere, in order to note such an “hot issue” for their own public. This is in fact what we expect sites such as yours and Martin’s to do for us: the author following more (and more in-depth) sources than we readers can do, gathering the latest info from those various sources, reworking it if necessary, and passing the gist of it on to us, either with or without adding a specific twist to the item. This is how it works, this is OK. No one can “own” a topic online, not even the one who first “discovered” it.
      On the other hand, (2) means that authors simply copy content from another one’s post, the literal text or large parts of it, or even the images that came with it. Pasting such a copy and presenting this copy as your own work is plagiarism, and plagiarism is a kind of theft. This kind of thing actually happened to me a few times, years ago when I still had my own site, and yes it made me furious!

      I am aware that in some cases there may be something like a grey zone between the ok (1) and the not-ok (2). But in this case it seems to me that Martin is in (1). Apparently he noted on Reddit that this item was discussed and decided to post about it for his own public. I can quite well imagine you don’t like the fact that Martin did not refer to you as one who signaled the same item a few days before. But apart from mentioning our own first source (which authors really should do every time) we don’t need to list all other sources that already discussed the same item: this would just complicate any simple post.

      What I did back in my own time to expose actual plagiarists was simple and (I think) still a well-known strategy that’s used by many content creators: in my original posts I hid a few single-char spelling errors and one or two (very minor) factual errors. Such as a slightly edited screenshot. If I found those very same errors reappearing in someone else’s post, then I knew for sure he had just copied content from my post without any thinking-or-checking of his own. So then I could rightfully tackle him as a content plagiarist.

      In short: content is something people can steal. A new topic, in itself, is not.

      I will continue to follow both How-To Geek and Ghacks, and I hope both of you will remain fair, on top of the news, without unnecessary mutual grudges… and duly appreciated by a lot of readers.

    6. ULBoom said on December 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      I see a dozen links over the last few days for the same thing in a search. There are more I’m sure but why look? News sites and TV shows cover mostly the same stories with different slants. Politicians are constantly surrounded by reporters all of whom report the same event.

      When ghacks follows with mattress, thermostat, coffee cup, tool kit, door bell and chocolate reviews, maybe there will be some validity to the point.

      I’ve gained a lot of good knowledge from both sites but this stuff is trite.

      The big players have turned the Internet into a Black Plague of Suspicion! Sad.

    7. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Martin succeeds in being polite and I will as well when reading Chris Hoffman’s hysteria.

      I’ve just removed from my RSS feeds.
      I’ve just removed from my bookmarks.

      I dislike loud and aggressive site administrators, site journalists.

      If Chris Hoffman apologizes I may reconsider my position regarding HowtoGeek.

      1. Anonymous said on December 12, 2018 at 6:10 pm

        same here

    8. Martin Brinkmann said on December 12, 2018 at 8:49 am

      The source is Reddit, as you can see clearly in the article.

      1. gdsfg said on December 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        is not a bug, you are just naive, grow up

      2. Chris Hoffman said on December 12, 2018 at 9:23 am

        and yet you posted this two days AFTER I did, as always.

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on December 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

        Look, I’m trying to be polite and I understand that it is frustrating if sites don’t list their sources.

        I don’t read your site, I’m not subscribed to your site in my RSS Feed Reader, and the only instance that I’m exposed to articles posted on your site is when they appear on Reddit or Hacker News.

        Can you, at least for a moment, consider that I’m not doing what you believe I’m doing?

      4. Chris Hoffman said on December 12, 2018 at 10:14 am

        Sorry, too late for that, because this isn’t the first time. This is just me catching you red handed and letting you know that you have.

        Look, coincidence happens once, not every now and then. You can justify to make yourself feel better but don’t think I will buy this story and let you know I’m still polite, If I wasn’t, you would be seiing a completely different set of arguments, so say what you will.

      5. jan said on December 13, 2018 at 9:13 pm

        Hi Chris. I am a little worried about your anger and the big dent in your ego. Take my suggestion to go and see a psychiatrist soon. Do not delay, please!

      6. John Fenderson said on December 12, 2018 at 5:40 pm

        @Chris Hoffman:

        Oh, man. Even if your accusation is correct, addressing it this way does not reflect well on you or your site.

        You haven’t even given any reason to think your accusations are correct. The couple of times I’ve seen you make this accusation in the past, it’s been about things that have been reported on many different sites in the first place.

        Also, even if your accusation is correct, what’s the problem? Are you saying that if you write an article about something, nobody else can write about the same thing? That doesn’t sound right…

      7. John G. said on December 12, 2018 at 2:21 pm

        I think that you are talking too much about the other people’s work, without providing a single kind word of support or help. Ghacks is my current favorite site to be informed every day, if you don’t like it please just read other sites. Thank you @Martin for all the work done every day! 😃

      8. pndy said on December 12, 2018 at 11:17 am

        You just pick a really shitty way to promote your site man. That’s not even buzz marketing.

      9. Robert O'Keefe said on December 12, 2018 at 10:56 am

        Hi Chris, I also saw your article first on your site, however there’s nowhere on your site to openly and anonymously discuss the article, as we can here on Ghacks, without requiring sign-up with, which has its own privacy and tracking problems. This is one of the reasons Ghacks is so popular, in addition to, as you’ve just seen, Martin is quite involved and respectful. Readers appreciate this. FWIW this ‘scoop’ isn’t really all that surprising for those who’ve been following Microsoft’s modus operandi for some time.

      10. Steve#99 said on December 16, 2018 at 5:05 pm

        ^ +1 >>> My favorite site to chat or post on is ghacks. Martin is a good guy and many posters are insightful. And, the last I checked, when tech news breaks, there are many people that cover it. Grow up Chris, there is no such thing as exclusive copyright to cover tech news.

        I wasn’t going to post today but now that I started…
        “Microsoft is committed to customer privacy”. In my eyes, Microsoft privacy is an oxymoron in much the same way as Microsoft security, Microsoft cares, or google privacy are pure oxymorons.

        PS: I used windows 10 server at work on Friday; what a miserable OS. RDPd in, attempting to copy a large group of files via drag/drop… an icon that is 5x bigger than the target folder icon appears, obscuring the target folder icon I was attempting to copying to. Piss poor gui, absolutely piss poor. Oh, and do not attempt to choose your own app to open those files; MS win 10 server INSISTS on using its own POS spyware app. Attempt to take the .extension over via many means but the next time I try to open the file, MS pops up a modal insisting I try their app. Win 10 Server is a miserable, horrible, slow OS; MS is miserably failing at this OS as a service bs.

  25. seeprime said on December 12, 2018 at 8:29 am

    This was a great reminder to check what’s been collected by MS. In my case there was no activity history stored. I had everything turned off. I also clear all history when browsing and run bleachbit every time. It’s fast and apparently keeps most data private. I still don’t trust Microsoft due to their opacity concerning privacy when Windows 10 was originally released. They’re a sloppy company where quality is concerned..

    1. John Fenderson said on December 12, 2018 at 5:34 pm


      I’m not saying that these “check what data we have about you” things are worthless, but they still require a huge amount of faith in the companies that supply them. How do you know that the data they list is actually all the data they have? How do you know that if you delete that data, it’s actually deleted?

      The answer: you have no way of knowing. You are necessarily taking their word for it. You are trusting them to both be honest and to not be screwing up. As such, while these things are helpful, they are entirely inadequate.

  26. 420 said on December 12, 2018 at 8:11 am

    does not surprise me, probably come to find out none of the privacy settings do anything either, lol.

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