Microsoft will change Diagnostic Data (Telemetry) Naming in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 7, 2020
Updated • Mar 7, 2020
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft released a new build to the Windows 10 Insider channel recently which brings the build number to 19577.

The accompanying blog post highlights the changes in that version and the very first entry reveals that Microsoft will change diagnostic data naming in future versions of Windows 10.

Windows 10's Settings application lists two different diagnostic data levels currently. The levels, Basic and Full, determine how much data is collected and transferred to Microsoft. Generally known as Telemetry data, it has been at the center of controversy surrounding Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.

Tip: check out our overview of privacy tools for Windows 10.

windows 10 telemetry

According to the announcement, both Basic and Full settings will be renamed in upcoming versions of Windows 10 starting with Insider versions this month (subject to change). Basic will be renamed to required, and full to optional.

The company notes:

As part of the Microsoft initiative to increase transparency and control over data, we’re making some changes to the Settings app and Group Policy settings that will start showing up in Windows Insider builds this month. Basic diagnostic data is now known as Required diagnostic data and Full diagnostic data is now Optional diagnostic data.

A post on Microsoft's answers forum reveals plans to change the Enterprise-only Telemetry levels Security and Enhanced as well. According to it, Enhanced is going to be removed and Security renamed to Diagnostic Data Off.

  • Security diagnostic data becomes Daignostic Data Off.
  • Basic diagnostic data becomes Required diagnostic data.
  • Enhanced diagnostic data is removed.
  • Full diagnostic data becomes Optional diagnostic data.

Microsoft will provide "more granular" Group Policy settings to commercial customers to better configure the data that is collected in the organization. Details about these improved Group Policy settings have not been published yet but will be made available "closer to the retail release".

Organizations who have set diagnostic data collecting to Enhanced, one of the options only available in Enterprise editions of Windows 10, need to change the level on PCs running Insider builds as these won't be provided with future flights if diagnostic data collecting is set to Enhanced.

To continue receiving Insider build updates, devices need to be set to Full diagnostic data (Optional diagnostic data).

It appears that the planned changes only affect the names of the diagnostic data levels but not what is being collected. The only change to that comes in the form of new Group Policy options that organizations will have access to.

Now You: What is your take on the change?

Microsoft will change Diagnostic Data (Telemetry) Naming in Windows 10
Article Name
Microsoft will change Diagnostic Data (Telemetry) Naming in Windows 10
Microsoft plans to rename the three Windows 10 Telemetry settings Security, Basic, and Full, and remove the Enhanced level in future Windows 10 versions.
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  1. Peter Newton said on March 26, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Hello all …. again … lol

    I could be really vicious with this comment, but I’m not going to be, instead I’m going to make a suggestion.

    Why don’t you try switching to Linux, and stop once and for all, beating yourselves to a pulp with this devils colon of an OS, delivered directly from hell to the physical realm by express DHL, known as Windows 10.

    For those whom have watched “Security Now” on the TWiT network, hosted by Steve Gibson and Leo La Porte, you will be aware that the network largely reports on Microsoft tech and OS development. In these days of Satya Nadella-HELL, even the greatest long term advocates of Microsoft are getting rather pissed off, to say the least !

    If you don’t believe me try this link:

    I never thought I’d ever hear him say that !

    Oh … and to be absolutely fair, it DOES take a little effort and learning, before you get Linux to the point where it is perfect for you, and depending on the complexity may take quite some time too, but I think you’ll find its worth it in the end.

    Peter Newton [London UK]

    1. Baba Ganoosh said on July 5, 2020 at 11:48 pm

      @Peter Newton

      I’ve been a Linux user for a long, long time and Unix before that. I’m fairly familiar with it.

      Linux is not ready for major Desktop/Workstation use.

      1) Dirty bytes settings; large file USB transfers take forever, or not, and that’s been a problem for some time now;

      2) MTP file transfer; trying to get photos, videos or anything else on and off a phone is a hassle;

      3) iPod/iPad support is basically non-existent;

      4) IoT interoperability is non-existent; for example, I can screencast from MacOS to Apple TV with great frame rate and audio; with something like Air Parrot, I can do so from Windows, and, with a bit of tweaking, get decent performance; however, from Linux… yeah, no such luck

      5) Hardware support; if a person is going to switch to Linux full time, they had better do their homework on hardware: scanner and printer support is sketchy; network scanning support is all or nothing; anybody remember the AMD Ryzen fiasco for the Linux kernel?; not to mention sound issues, video card support, et al.

      6) I do not support systemd, at all; if it works, it works; however, if there’s a problem, especially for the technically illiterate, nothing but a reinstall will work.

      I could go on. Windows 10 is a hot mess, but so is Linux; hell, you can even throw in Mac OS. When it comes down, today is about the worst time for DEs and OSes since quite a long time ago, where we have ubiquitous telemetry, horrible interoperability, horrible driver support, and/or proprietary software that will work on one system but not another.

      I’d be cautious in adopting Linux these days.

  2. ard said on March 10, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    I am still looking for that setting in W10 that stops ALL M$ data collections. Till such time I have found it, I prefer other O.S.

    1. brightspark said on March 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      What other OS? What OS does not collect any data?

      1. Anonymous said on March 25, 2020 at 7:10 pm

        Most GNU/Linux distributions? Try Linux Mint, for example.

  3. Bindere Dundat said on March 9, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Another site with the never-ending moron parade.
    Free to choose and use something else, but no.
    They have some perverse need to use a specific OS and endlessly bitch about it.
    And when it’s not that OS, it’s the web browser. Gawd.
    So this becomes a mini social-media site where the “members” get their jollies by posting regularly.
    Oh well, the daily traffic keeps the site alive so, keep it up.

    1. brightspark said on March 10, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      Agree 100%. Seems this site has attracted a brigade of birds-of-a-feather whingers who get their jollies comparing conspiracy theories. I wonder how many own an iPhone or Android device, or use Chrome as their default browser.

      1. SpywareFan said on March 11, 2020 at 3:04 pm

        “Free to choose and use something else, but no.”
        Maybe you don’t work with expensive professional software that run only under WinOS and maybe you never had the cance to run that sw on the same hw with W7 an W10 (with W10 productivity loss is about 20%), but the most important thing is that your arguments bring nothing to the discussion.
        Best regards.

  4. Anonymous said on March 8, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    “Security diagnostic data becomes Diagnostic Data Off” -> to make it less obvious that it’s still sending data. That’s going for less transparency, not more.

    And the scary “security” reason that makes it look likes it’s the most justifiable data collection ever, the survival-motivated one, is often a justification for the most unnecessary privacy invasions, like collecting browsing and download data (and sometimes even selling it to advertisers like Avast) which is becoming the norm instead of the obviously superior and private solution of doing local checks with a downloaded blacklist.

    “Required Diagnostic Data” : usually required data means the minimal data that it is absolutely necessary to send for a service to work. But here they are using the term as “absolutely unnecessary but required by us because we want this data about you and we have enough power on you peasant to deprive you of the freedom to deny this privacy invasion”. From this point of view, less transparency too.

  5. Kincaid said on March 8, 2020 at 9:01 am

    So Microsoft is now going to implement dishonest terminology in their mainstream OS?

    Instead of using “Security diagnostic data”, they will now use “Diagnostic Data Off”. The latter makes it sound like no unverifiable data is being transmitted from your systems, but that’s not what it actually means. The old terminology at least made it obvious that some data was being transmitted from your computers. The new terminology is obviously deceptive and dishonest.

    I think Microsoft is trying to one-up Google in being the most evil.

  6. smee said on March 8, 2020 at 7:30 am

    This is applying lipstick on a pig.

    MS should just allow all users to do the same thing and have same consistency how this works across different editions, not have different editions behave differently.

    More hidden knobs in a Windows edition that people cant buy and want to.

  7. Anonymous said on March 8, 2020 at 5:22 am

    If they wanted to be transparent they’d name it something else.

    1. Limited Privacy
    2. Zero Privacy

  8. Mayfield said on March 8, 2020 at 4:50 am

    This is the one reason above all else I don’t use Windows 10 at business or home.

    Telemetry data gathering enabled by default and no easy, obvious one-click option provided to disable and remove it all.

  9. John in Mtl said on March 8, 2020 at 3:49 am

    Whatever they rename it as, its still putting lipstick on a pig. No windows10 here, ever. Offline win7 & online Linux, until M$ gets its s**t together but I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

  10. ULBoom said on March 8, 2020 at 2:19 am

    If “Off” really means “Off”, then fine. That would make Win 10 maybe 1% less junky than it is. There are many, many other routes for data collection beside the direct one.

    MS’s claim, possibly to use as a defense in ongoing “tech” spying investigations, of no telemetry is tantamount to bragging about partially closing the curtains on one window in a house while the rest are wide open.

    It takes me 30 minutes or less to do a clean install of Win 10, resulting in an obnoxious “experience” with flyouts, notifications, apps trying to take over, the store launching for no apparent reason, voices from nowhere, etc.

    Hours and hours spent turning off Settings that let apps do whatever they want, followed by gpedit, services and task scheduler get the OS almost OK. Add Open Shell and the desktop finally looks decent with a menu that does what YOU want vs. hiding everything useful with huge tiles that block a quarter of the screen.

    Next disable Windows Defender, disable everything possible in Chredge and IE. Block Chredge, IE and anything stupid in Windows Firewall. Then install my AV, browser, system level ad/tracker blocker, VPN’s, video player, etc.

    Everything above was done offline. Here is the truly moronic part: after installing the drivers for Intel and nVidia graphics, the only way to get the GUI for them is to download it from the MS Store. So, I go online, download the GUI’s, find where the Intel one’s hidden (it’s an App now!), go offline, disable the store and useless apps and I’m done. MS holding Intel and nVidia hostage is disgraceful.

    Of course, all this has to be documented in case I need to reverse something a few months from now because who’s going to remember all this crap?

    Final result, a very nice OS, one that others love when I replicate for them. One that takes 30 minutes to install and hours to make usable. Windows is a kit, put it together right and it’s nice; out of the box, it’s total garbage.

    1. George said on March 8, 2020 at 11:22 pm

      @ULBLOOM Could you make your notes available to us so we can learn from you? It would be most helpful.

      Also, what AV are you installing?

    2. Rayband said on March 8, 2020 at 10:16 am

      It says it’s just a renaming so off doesn’t really mean off. Plus for most that’s academic as even if it wasn’t a lie then it only applies to the enterprise version which 99.99% of people don’t use.

  11. VioletMoon said on March 8, 2020 at 12:47 am

    And readers are being forewarned of this “existential threat” for what reason?

    Is there a petition to sign somewhere? I may have missed it.

  12. Anonymous said on March 8, 2020 at 12:46 am

    Wheres the option to turn it all off?

  13. popcorn said on March 8, 2020 at 12:32 am

    I firewall the whole friggin OS now, whitelist the progs I want to let through and manually install updates. I’ve installed manjaro on my secondary rig, learning is fun.

  14. Anonymous said on March 7, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    Name a Skunk whatever you like, it still stinks. Paint it another color, it still stinks. Look at it from the front, side , top… it stinks. You can try a lot of things but the only solution that works is surgical removal of whatever it is that causes the odor.

  15. Anonymous said on March 7, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve moved on from Microsoft. Windows 8 was crap. Windows 8.1 was doubling down on crap. Windows 10 is more of the same without proper QA.
    Linux has been working great and I’m never looking back.

  16. Anonymous said on March 7, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    So they gave it an Euphemis treatment, same wine in just new bottles.

  17. seeprime said on March 7, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    My take is that Microsoft seems to be using doublespeak in order to increase their overall collection of user data.

  18. Linux said on March 7, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    > Security diagnostic data becomes Daignostic Data Off.

    Sounds really misleading. It claims its “Off” but that doesnt actually disable it, just imply it is.

  19. Yuliya said on March 7, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Name it whatever you like, as long as LTSC and Server have full control over it, I don’t care.

    1. Anonymous said on March 25, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      Where can you get a legal license of LTSC for home use if you are a regular user?

    2. Anonymous said on March 7, 2020 at 10:35 pm

      LTSC still makes unsolicited connections to telemetry servers.

      1. Yuliya said on March 9, 2020 at 10:07 pm

        Not really. Mine cannot even connect to Windows Update anymore to get something like NET Framework 3. I had to use the ISO and install it via DISM.

  20. Klaas Vaak said on March 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    How can anyone still be interested in using Windows privately? It’s buggy, M$ does care about home users, M$ does not listen, and users are screwed into believing M$ is reducing its telemetry.

    1. Rayband said on March 7, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      The trouble is the main competitor for home is Macos and the hardware is just too expensive for many and each release is usually less affordable than the last.

      It will never the year for linux on the desktop, the money is in servers. If they’d done things differently and all got together and created a single desktop linux distro the best they possibly could with a people who understand what average users expects rather than wasting who knows how many man years repeatedly re-inventing the wheel then it might have been the dominant os but they didn’t. People can pretend all they want that it’s fine for non-techies but it certainly isn’t.

      So most are stuck with Windows and MS’s dubious practices. But it seems that the number who care about privacy are in the minority, probably a small minority. For example not many have dumped Facebook or and look at how many use chrome… and it can’t be because they don’t how bad they are.

      1. Anonymous said on March 8, 2020 at 2:30 pm

        > The trouble is the main competitor for home is Macos and the hardware is just too expensive for many and each release is usually less affordable than the last.

        And anyway Apple is in the same league as Microsoft and Google in the fight against privacy, whatever their marketers pretend. Worse, they give even less freedom to the users to counter their attacks or even to know what is going on (more proprietary than Google and generally more tyrannical corporate control freak on your device than Google and Microsoft). Even if their products became affordable, Apple has never been a privacy alternative, and will very probably never be, looking at how they’re still evolving towards worse now.

    2. Mike Wazowski said on March 7, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Games, and new hardware doesn’t support older versions of Windows without hacking the OS.

  21. pat said on March 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    lost of time as usual at microsoft. They can’t focus on really needed features.

  22. kanade said on March 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    I wonder how this change will break things for people who are using some kind of third party privacy programs.

    It’s not looking good for them. Hopefully they won’t have to resort to reset/clean install due to this update screwing up with their current privacy settings.

    1. Anon said on March 9, 2020 at 10:36 am

      @kanade: No worries, devs of those third party programs will catch up and update their apps accordingly. Nothing will change for the end-user.

  23. Rayband said on March 7, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Renaming something that’s hated doesn’t make it any less hated when underneath it hasn’t changed.

    1. vanp said on March 8, 2020 at 2:43 am

      The new names are better from a standpoint of clarity, regardless of what anybody thinks of the situation/functionality involved.

      1. Rayband said on March 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

        basic->required, full->optional isn’t my idea of being more clear if anything it’s less clear. Enterprise is no better, for example renaming security->off is a lie unless they’ve changed what is being transmitted and the article says they haven’t.

    2. Klaas Vaak said on March 7, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      @Rayband: +1

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