Microsoft collects your usage data in Windows 11 for their telemetry system. With some knowledge, you can stop the data collection process.
Microsoft systematically collects usage data from every user of Windows 11 or Windows 10. It’s standard procedure. Microsoft uses this data about which apps you use, which settings you have chosen, and which websites you have visited to better understand how their customers use their operating systems. Presumably Microsoft is doing this so they can make improvements. The data is collected through the telemetry system.
TO SEE: IT Security and Privacy: Concerns, Initiatives, and Forecasts (Tech Republic Premium)
While the intent of this data collection to the telemetry system is generally harmless, it still involves collecting and storing your personal and private information about how you interact with your PC. Default settings do not prevent Microsoft from collecting data for their telemetry system. However, if you have the right version of the operating system, a quick hack of the Windows registry file can completely shield you and your private usage data from Microsoft.
Disable telemetry data collection in Windows 11 Home
Unfortunately, Microsoft does not allow users of Windows 11 or Windows 10 Home Edition to completely disable telemetry data collection. However, those users can still restrict some optional data collection through System Settings.
Open the Start menu in Windows Home and select the Settings app. From the left navigation bar, select Privacy & Security, then scroll through the list of items on the right to find Diagnostics & Feedback, as shown in Image A.
Windows 11 Home edition users can restrict telemetry data collection by disabling the Send optional diagnostic data setting.
Disable telemetry data collection in Windows 11 Professional
Users with the Enterprise, Education, or Professional editions of Windows 10 or 11, or users with Windows Server 2016 or later, can disable telemetry completely through an edit to the Windows registry file or through the Group Policy Editor.
TO SEE: Data management checklist for your organization (Tech Republic Premium)
To disable the collection of telemetry data in Windows Pro via the registry file, type “regedit” into the desktop search and select Registry Editor from the results. Navigate to this button, as shown in Figure B:
Right click on the DataCollection key and select New | DWORD (32-bit) Value from the context menu. Name your new key Allow Telemetry. Double click on the new Allow Telemetry key and change the Value data to zero as shown in Figure C.
When that’s done, click OK and quit Regedit. Restart your Windows PC for the new setting to take effect.
To disable the collection of telemetry data in Windows 11 Pro through the Group Policy Editor, type “group policy” in the search box of the desktop and select the Edit Group Policy item in the results. Use the left navigation bar in the Group Policy Editor to find this entry, as shown in Figure D:
Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Data Collection and Preview Builds
In the right pane, find the Allow diagnostics entry and double click on it. To disable data collection for the telemetry system, click the disabled radio button (Digits E) and then click OK.
When the procedure is complete, exit the Group Policy Editor and restart your PC.
To undo the setting and allow the collection of usage data for the telemetry system again, navigate to the same key in the Windows registry file or entry in the Group Policy Editor and change the values to 1 or enabled, respectively.