Truth Behind Disallowing Telemetry and Data Collection Trick in Windows 10

Everyone seems concerned about their privacy in Microsoft's new operating system Windows 10. Although Microsoft has mentioned several times that Windows 10 doesn't collect any personal data. It only collects some anonymous data and sends it to Microsoft to make the overall user experience and Windows functionality better. The collected data helps Microsoft in improving Windows 10 functionality and performance.

But still many Windows 10 users are worried about this automatic data collection. To help users in improving their privacy, Microsoft has provided several options to disable telemetry and diagnostic data collection in built-in Settings app as mentioned in following exclusive tutorial:

Best Privacy Settings for Windows 10

After disabling the options and settings mentioned in the above tutorial, you can sit back, relax and stop worrying about your privacy in Windows 10.

But many people are still searching on Internet and following guides to turn off telemetry and data collection in Windows 10. Some websites suggest to use 3rd party software to block Microsoft servers IP addresses and URLs to disable telemetry but I'll never suggest this as it may cause serious problems as mentioned in following article:

[Fix] Can't Open Bing, MSN, Outlook or Other Microsoft Websites in Windows 10

Apart from 3rd party software, some websites also suggest a Group Policy trick to disable telemetry and data collection in Windows 10 which is actually useless if you are using Windows 10 (also known as Core or Home) or Windows 10 Pro editions which are the most common and most used editions of Windows 10. That Group Policy trick only works in Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, IoT and Server editions.

I have mentioned this trick long time back in the above mentioned "Best Privacy Settings for Windows 10" guide. I also mentioned that which Windows 10 editions support this trick. Still many people are unaware of the fact. I have received many emails from readers about applying this trick. People are confused whether this method is actually useful or is it just a myth.

That's why today in this article, I'm going to reveal the truth behind this Group Policy trick so that everyone can understand this trick's usage and functionality:

First of all lets talk about the trick!

Its suggested that you can completely disable telemetry and data collection in Windows 10 by changing an option in Group Policy Editor. The whole method is as following:

METHOD 1: Disable Telemetry in Windows 10 Using Group Policy Editor

1. Press WIN+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Now type gpedit.msc in RUN and press Enter. It'll open Group Policy Editor.

2. Now go to:

Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Data Collection and Preview Builds

3. In right-side pane, look for "Allow Telemetry" option.

Allow_Telemetry_Option_Windows_10_Group_Policy.png

4. Double-click on "Allow Telemetry" and select Enabled option in the new window. Now you can set its value to any of following options from the drop-down list:

  • 0 - Security
  • 1 - Basic
  • 2 - Enhanced
  • 3 - Full

Change_Telemetry_Data_Collection_Option_Windows_10_Group_Policy.png

People suggest to set the option to "0 - Security" to completely disable telemetry and data collection in Windows 10.

METHOD 2: Disable Telemetry in Windows 10 Using Registry Editor

Above mentioned method cannot be used in Windows 10 Core or Home edition as this edition doesn't contain Group Policy Editor. If you are using Home edition of Windows 10 or if you can't use or don't want to use Group Policy Editor, you can take help of Registry Editor for the same task. Just follow these simple steps:

1. Press WIN+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Now type regedit in RUN and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

3. Create a new key under Windows key and set its name as DataCollection

Change_Telemetry_Data_Collection_Option_Windows_10_Registry.png

4. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD AllowTelemetry and set its value to any of following:

  • 0 (To set telemetry settings to security only)
  • 1 (To set telemetry settings to Basic)
  • 2 (To set telemetry settings to Enhanced)
  • 3 (To set telemetry settings to Full)

People suggest to set the value to 0 to completely disable telemetry and data collection in Windows 10.

Close Registry Editor and restart your computer to take effect.

What Exactly Does This Trick Change?

This trick disables changing telemetry option in Settings app. Actually you can set what type of diagnostic and usage data should be collected and sent by Windows 10 using Settings app.

1. Open Settings app from Start Menu or by pressing WIN+I keys together.

2. Now go to "Privacy -> Feedback & diagnostics" and here you can select your desired option from drop-down list.

It allows you to set the option to any of following:

  • Basic
  • Enhanced
  • Full

Customize_Diagnostic_Usage_Data_Settings_Windows_10.png

As you can see the "Security" option is not present in the drop-down list. That's why people suggest to use the above mentioned Group Policy or Registry trick to set the telemetry option to "Security" which sends the minimal data to Microsoft.

Once you apply the trick, the option to change diagnostic and usage data in Settings app becomes grayed out and you can't change the option. The page also shows "Some settings are managed by your organization" message at the top of the page.

Customize_Feedback_Diagnostics_Settings_Disabled_Windows_10.png

Truth Behind This Group Policy or Registry Trick

If you are using Windows 10 (Core/Home) or Windows 10 Pro edition, this trick to set telemetry option to 0 - Security is useless for you. Microsoft has mentioned clearly in the description of "Allow Telemetry" option in Group Policy Editor that setting the option to "0 - Security" on Windows 10 Home or Pro editions is equivalent to settings it to "1 - Basic" which you can always change using Settings app without using Group Policy Editor or Registry Editor.

Windows_10_Allow_Telemetry_Option_Description.png

Actually settings telemetry option to "0 - Security" only works on Windows 10 Enterprise (including LTSB), Education, IoT and Server editions.

So if you are using Enterprise, Education, Server or IoT editions of Windows 10, then you can apply this trick to set the diagnostic and usage data collection to minimal (security data only) but if you are using Windows 10 Home or Pro editions, this trick will not work for you.

Also Check:

Do You Need to Worry About Privacy in Windows 10? Answer is NO





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Posted in: Windows 10


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Comments

  • So if we have Windows home without the GPO editor, how do we disable telemetry (i.e. the 0 option)?

  • VG

    ^^ Using method 2 but as mentioned in the tutorial this trick only works on Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, IoT and Server editions.

  • My observation is that changing the group policy, and/or the registry DWORD doesn’t really matter. The setting is reset to the default Basic option after running Windows Update.... even when using Enterprise.

  • Not sure what the latest information is regarding this issue, but, I have Windows 10 Pro and I have the ability to set my usage data to Security Only during a full install. I created install media for 32&64 bit just recently and the option to select this comes up when avoiding any of the express setup options.

    Not sure why anyone would not just disable telemetry in the services. Why would I want to use group policy editor to set it to security only. We get all the security updates eventually. Those who are carelessly using their computers with all their telemetry settings wide open so Microsoft can embed themselves in their lives are all Microsoft needs. They make all to careless mistakes that open the doors to security issues in the first place. Once those security issues come to the attention of Microsoft, they provide updates and we end up getting them. My usage data is not going to mean much on this level, therefore I will not let them have any of it.
    I am of the belief that if you let Microsoft in your computer, it's like letting a stranger in your house. They may end up going through your things, finding something of interest, take it and use it for a purpose it was never intended and without our knowledge. Not gonna happen. Not on any level. Not basic, Not even for Security. Telemetry services OFF. I could care less if MSN, Skype. EDGE, IE or any of their apps work properly as I do not use 1 single Microsoft application & never will. I will use their OS as a vehicle to manage the apps I DO use. Until the day that this isn't possible without the probing of their instruments, I will stay the course. There are other options besides Windows and I might not be inclined to bother with a conversion to Linux right now, however, I can easily be persuaded if arrogance continues to evolve

  • I set this to Basic thru Settings, easy and quick on Win 10 Home.

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