How to disable diagnostic data from being sent to Microsoft in Windows 10 and Office

I have never put much thought into disabling diagnostic data from being sent to Microsoft, because I’ve always given them the benefit of the doubt that they benefit from using this data to identify faulty drivers and things that cause reliability issues in Windows. However, according to Microsoft, this data may contain “personal data” as defined by Article 4 of the European GDPR (more on that below) and therefore our friends in Europe have asked for guidance on how to disable this diagnostic data from being sent to Microsoft.

If you want to see what type of information is being sent to Microsoft, Windows 10 now includes the ability to view the diagnostic data by downloading a tool called the Diagnostic Data Viewer.

Step 1. Enable the Viewing of Diagnostic Data in Windows 10 (full documentation is here)

Step 2. Download the Diagnostic Data Viewer tool from the Microsoft App Store

Step 3. Launch the tool to review the diagnostic data that was sent to Microsoft.

According to this Microsoft Support article (here)

“Diagnostic data may contain “personal data” as defined by Article 4 of the European GDPR, but it does not contain your name, your email address, or any content from your files. All diagnostic data Microsoft collects during the use of Office applications and services is pseudonymized, as defined in ISO/IEC 19944:2017, section 8.3.3.

According to this Microsoft article (here) this is what the basic data is:

We use Basic diagnostic data to keep Windows devices up to date. Microsoft uses:

  • Basic error information to help determine whether problems your device is experiencing can be addressed by the update process.
  • Information about your device, its settings and capabilities, including applications and drivers installed on your device, to ascertain whether your device is ready for and compatible with the next operating system or app release and ready for update.
  • Logging information from the update process itself to understand how well your device’s updates are proceeding through the stages of downloading, pre-installation, post-installation, post-reboot, and setup.
  • Data about the performance of updates on all Windows devices to assess the success of an update’s deployment and to learn device characteristics (e.g., hardware, peripherals, settings, and applications) that are associated with the success or failure of an update.
  • Data about which devices have had upgrade failures and why to determine whether to offer the same upgrade again

 

However, if you want to block the transmission of this diagnostic data, on a per machine basis you can go into Windows 10 and change the default ‘enhanced’ to ‘basic’


 

To disable this on all machines, deploy the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection

Create a new a 32-bit DWORD value named AllowTelemetry and set it to 0

Windows 10 build 1511 and newer disable these two services:

Connected User Experiences and Telemetry
dmwappushsvc

Then restart the computer.

 

Now as it relates to Office, you need to go into the settings of the Diagnostic Viewer and enable the Office data viewer toggle as shown here:


For Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft documents the diagnostic information sent to Microsoft (here)

You can manually turn this off on a per user basis as shown below, or you can disable it for all users using the config.office.com website also as shown below.

Office 365 ProPlus Manual Configuration

File Account > and under Account Privacy select Manage Settings.


 

Office 365 ProPlus Configuration for all machines (use config.office.com as shown below)

 


 

 

And for Windows 7, the July 9th 2019 security patch added telemetry. Disable or delete these scheduled tasks after the security patch installation but before rebooting the computer.

\Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\ProgramDataUpdater
\Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser
\Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\AitAgent

Reference: https://www.howtogeek.com/428265/windows-7s-july-2019-security-patch-includes-telemetry/