Windows 10's upcoming Device Usage feature is unfortunately not very spectacular

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 14, 2021
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft is working on a new feature called Device Usage that it plans to integrate in future versions of the operating system. Device Usage is available in the latest Insider builds for testing.

When it was discovered initially by Twitter user Albacore, its scope was not clear immediately. The description revealed some information, that Windows would use the information to create personalized experiences, such as "customized suggestions for tools and services", but some hoped that Microsoft would turn device usage into more than just basic categories for its tips service.

Found under Settings > Personalization > Device usage, it turns out that Device usage is not a very spectacular feature. All it does, in essence, is to give users an option to select how they plan to use the device. The operating system uses the information to display recommendations to the user.

The Insider version lists six different categories, from gaming and family, to entertainment and business. Users who enable the feature and check the options may get suggestions based on the selection, e.g. the checking of gaming could result in Microsoft Store game recommendations, or the selection of Creativity, that the Paint 3D app is now found in the Store and no longer included on the device.

All the feature does, at least at this point in time, is to display tips to users about tools and services that fall into one of the selected categories. The nature of the tips is unclear at this point; it is possible that it will include suggestions to use Microsoft services and tools, or Microsoft partner apps.

It appears that Microsoft won't use the information to provide useful customizations, e.g. by adding tools or services to the operating system by default, optimizing the system for specific uses by applying tweaks, or even removing some tools or services that fall into a group that has not been checked by the user.

Closing Words

I can't see Device Usage becoming a particularly useful feature for Windows 10 users. It may prove useful to Microsoft, but users may want to keep it turned off or skip it during setup, if it is displayed there, as it is likely that it won't be of much use.

Now You: what is your take on Device Usage? Would you use it?

Windows 10's upcoming Device Usage feature is unfortunately not very spectacular
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Windows 10's upcoming Device Usage feature is unfortunately not very spectacular
Microsoft is working on a new feature called Device Usage that it plans to integrate in future versions of the operating system.
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  1. Toxic said on April 20, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Unfortunately Windows 10 is not very spectacular

  2. JohnIL said on April 19, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    I can’t see myself ever using this, and it just seems like another way for Microsoft to gather analytical data about how we use our devices and most likely market stuff to end users based on this data. People complain about Google and rightly so about all their data sucking. But Microsoft isn’t much better and Windows has become more or less a similar marketing platform for Microsoft.

  3. Tron said on April 19, 2021 at 12:03 am

    @Martin: Shame on you for jumping the gun and resorting to such click bait articles; didn’t expect GHacks to do this… Since you have zero clue like everyone else not in Microsoft about exactly how this feature will evolve and pan out, already recommending users to disable it is completely irresponsible.

    As for any responses from the usual trolls here related to spying and so on, save your energy and go direct your BS at other gullible fools like you instead.

    1. Anonymous said on April 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      First you think that guy talks about linux because he hates microsoft, only to discover a few comments below that the existence of linux is only for him an excuse to defend the spying by Microsoft. Classic.

  4. ULBoom said on April 16, 2021 at 12:00 am

    I wonder how many users know about the Graphics performance settings in System in the Gear Thing?

    You choose Desktop App or MS Store App and get to increase performance or battery life. This is on my laptop; I’m too lazy to go see if it’s on our desktop, probably is. At least the E word appears nowhere. Yay!

    The same setting is in at least three other places.

    How do these useless settings remain long after they’ve been forgotten?

    That Device usage thing seems like a survey. No one answers surveys. Classic MS!

    1. anon said on April 16, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      What are you on about?

      The setting you’re describing is very helpful if you have a laptop with dual gpu (cpu & dedicated), then you get to choose which program runs on which gpu, in order to save some battery juice.

      ..and what about this?
      “”the same setting is in at least three other places”” —please enlighten us!

  5. Anonymous said on April 15, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Using Windows 10 always feel like i’m being scammed by some fake telemarketing farm in India. No one asked for these useless data harvesting features. Its time they stop it. What they should instead do is redo that garbage settings app from the ground up without ugly uwp design. It still looks and functions like some kindergarten smartphone app.

  6. pwned said on April 15, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    This is another way to profile you the user, and for that purpose its a pretty spectacular feature, for MS that is.

    Its none of their business anyway how I plan to use anything, even if after paying for the OS, they still own it, you own nothing, but if MS really wants to know, I plan to use the device to shove it up their collective backdoors.

    Now queue the usual trolling

  7. Corky said on April 15, 2021 at 9:25 am

    This sort of reminds me of Clippy, it looks like you’re writing a document would you like me to show you how to do something else?

    It looks like you’re about to play a game, would you like me to show you how to use the Game Bar, Xbox something something, or some other annoying feature instead of actually playing the game.

    It looks like you’re about to get some school work done, would you like me to show you Microsoft Teams, how to connect to your school network, or some other distracting thing rather than doing your actual school work.

    1. ULBoom said on April 16, 2021 at 12:07 am

      Oh, I wondered what Clippy did. First time it appeared, I began clicking madly to make it disappear, then disabled it.

      The dog was kinda cute but I had a real one.

    2. Peterc said on April 15, 2021 at 11:10 pm


      “It looks like you’ve disabled a Windows feature due to an unhealthy obsession with privacy. Would you like a referral to a Microsoft-approved neurosurgeon for a lobotomy consultation?””

      You clicked ‘No,’ indicating that you’re in denial. A team of friendly orderlies has been dispatched to pick you up and escort you to your appointment.”

  8. Anonymous said on April 15, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Is ‘windows 10 home’ worse at privacy than ‘windows 10 pro’ (or any other editions).

  9. m$h8r said on April 15, 2021 at 6:53 am

    m$ invents useless features as an excuse to spy on more of your activities. Ad 3 more clicks to complete tasks, a topping of nagware and bigger cell phone icons for even more user aggravation. Someone make it stop.

    1. Tron said on April 18, 2021 at 11:51 pm

      Someone called Linus already did, a long time ago. If only you had the brains to use his creation…

  10. Herman Cost said on April 15, 2021 at 3:40 am

    Of course I would not use it. But I actually don’t mind it when they waste time on nonsense like this as long as I can disable these marketing gimmicks. It allows them to gather data from customers who apparently don’t know or don’t care that they are tracked and manipulated, and keeps them away from me. Its the stuff you can’t opt out of that annoys me (see the FLoC article below, although I would never even remotely consider Chrome as a browser option).

  11. Anonymous said on April 15, 2021 at 3:06 am

    More Spyware and Telemetry = Yuck ! and Macrospy seriously cares about your Privacy, also. ( in case you forgot )

    1. Tron said on April 18, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      So why are you using the OS, or reading and commenting on articles about it? Butthurt much?

  12. David said on April 15, 2021 at 2:14 am

    I don’t know. Microsoft sees “something someone else is doing” (Timeline/Apple?) then copies it, uncaring if users actually WANT said feature(s) and then – when it finds out users aren’t actually using said features (Timeline, Groove, Cortana, etc) kills them off. Microsoft is a has-been, “me too” Company that couldn’t innovate even if they were forced to.

  13. Anonymous said on April 15, 2021 at 12:32 am

    How about a better backup app or a decent file manager?

  14. ddk said on April 14, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Absolutely wouldn’t use it in current form. Appears to be another marketing gimmick behind the scenes.

  15. Nick said on April 14, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    The last thing I want is even more “””suggestions””” in Windows 10.

    Does Microsoft have no shame at all?

  16. John G. said on April 14, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    I will mark all options and then W10 would open a worm hole to other universe! :]

    1. pwned said on April 15, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      A universe where all the users have permanent chips on brain that tells MS when they had (amongst other things) the last dump, the consistency of it, how much excrement came out of the sphincter, then they can sell you add on sensors to determine the smell in a scale of 1 to 10, the bacterial content, color and then down the line if there were undigested pieces of food, like corn, seeds etc.

      In this universe, everything would be controlled by corporations, so you wouldn’t be able to buy non MS food products because you would be biologically controlled by the chip, so if you had an Apple chip you could only live on Apple products and so on.

      Sorry, its not a trolling comment but rather one possible universe and possible scenarios based on your suggestion.

      And this comment and suggestion is owned by myself, so if any writers for some dystopic universe where the story line follows this premise, my fee is 10% of gross income with 5% upfront. =) thanks.

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