Beginning with the April 2018 feature update, Microsoft will release a tool that allows Windows 10 users to inspect diagnostic data collected and sent to Microsoft’s telemetry servers. Windows Insider Program members can test the app starting today.
Earlier this week I noted a pair of mysterious (and inactive) links in the Privacy settings of recent preview releases of Windows 10, apparently offering the ability to view and delete telemetry data.
Today, Microsoft officially confirmed that the next public release of Windows 10 will include a Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer utility. The app will allow anyone with an administrator account to inspect the telemetry data being collected from a device and sent to Microsoft through the Connected User Experience and Telemetry component, also known as the Universal Telemetry Client.
(For more details on how this data collection works, see “Windows 10 telemetry secrets: Where, when, and why Microsoft collects your data.”)
Microsoft’s enterprise customers have had this capability for some time, using a bare-bones tool available to IT professionals. The new viewer is considerably more polished and intended for use by nontechnical Windows 10 users.
Members of the Windows Insider Program will have access to the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer app in a new build scheduled to be delivered later today. Although the app will be delivered through the Microsoft Store, users won’t be required to sign in with a Microsoft account to download and install it.
In a blog post published today, Marisa Rogers, Privacy Officer in Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, positioned the new tool as a way to be “fully transparent” about what data is collected from a device.
I haven’t been able to use the tool yet, but a pair of screenshots Microsoft released confirm that most of this data is intended to give Microsoft details about the type of hardware and apps in use by the 600 million-plus Windows 10 devices.
As this screenshot shows, the viewer might be easy to navigate, but the data itself is typically binary.