A security flaw on Windows 10 Activity History puts Microsoft users' information at risk, here's what's going on and what to do
Microsoft might be inside the eye of the storm again for a new case of violation of its users' privacy. In fact, the Windows 10 operating system could track people's activities even if they have disabled tracking by Microsoft.
On Windows 10 there is an activity tracking feature, in programs developed by the Redmond company itself, which serves users to report any inefficiencies, incompatibilities or bugs and Microsoft to constantly improve the developed software. Each user can decide on Windows 10 which programs to leave with tracking active and on which to disable this permission. A user could also decide to block this tracking on all Windows apps. So far nothing strange, except that many people in recent days have discovered that even if they turned off activity tracking by Microsoft, the US company was still able to "spy" on what they were doing with various programs.
Activity History on Windows 10
The "Activity History" allows Windows to run on all devices on which you use your Microsoft account, without making you lose documents or app data if you switch devices. History is a feature that creates an archive of your activities on Windows 10, including documents, tabs and apps, and allows you to restore them within 30 days in case of issues. As mentioned it works not only on the PC you're working on, but also on the other devices you're logged into with the same Microsoft account. In Windows 10, Activity History can either store data for 30 days on the device or send it to Microsoft. But apparently, data is collected and uploaded to Microsoft even when a user turns off sharing this information.
How to find out if Microsoft is spying on you
The first thing you need to do to find out if Windows 10 is tracking everything you do is to check if Activity History is enabled on your device. To do this we need to go to Settings, then Privacy and finally Activity History. In the tab that will open we will see two entries at the top, "Allow Windows to collect my activities from this PC" and "Allow Windows to sync my activities from this PC to the cloud". If present, let's uncheck the blue checkmark on both items. We then scroll down to the Show Account Activity heading and uncheck the blue checkmark next to the name of the accounts activated with Microsoft Activity History. To make sure that the data shared in the past is deleted we can finally click on Clear History, and that's it.
How to figure out if Windows 10 keeps spying on us
If we've performed the previous steps Activity History should already be disabled and no data should be sent to Microsoft. But as we said before, some information is still uploaded to the US computer giant's servers because for some reason the user's settings are ignored by Microsoft. To understand if Windows 10 keeps tracking what we do let's go to our Microsoft account page and check the activity history information. If you see new data recorded after disabling "Activity History" on your device, it means that tracking continues to work. And we will be able to report it to Microsoft to request that this tracking be put to an end. No word on this from Redmond for now, but it's likely that Microsoft will be releasing a statement and update shortly to remedy the privacy flaw that many users are starting to complain about.