Microsoft collects data about your Windows 11 usage for their telemetry system. With some knowledge, you can stop the data collection process.

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Microsoft systematically collects usage data from each user of Windows 11 or Windows 10. This is a standard operating procedure. Microsoft uses this data about which apps you use, which settings you choose, and which websites you visit to better understand how their customers use their operating system. Presumably Microsoft is doing this so they can make improvements. Data is collected through the telemetry system.

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While the intent of this telemetry system data collection is generally harmless, it still involves the collection and storage of your personal and private data about how you interact with your computer. By using standard settings, you cannot 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 protect you and your personal data for use by Microsoft.

Turn off telemetry data collection in Windows 11 Home

Unfortunately, Microsoft does not allow Windows 11 or Windows 10 Home edition users to completely turn off telemetry data collection. However, these users can still limit the collection of some optional data through the system settings.

Open the Start menu on the Windows Start page and select the Settings app. In the left navigation bar, select Privacy and Security, and then scroll down the right list of items to find Diagnostics and Feedback, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

In the left navigation bar, select Privacy & Security, and then scroll down the right list of items to find Diagnostics & Feedback.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Users of Windows 11 Home edition can limit some of the telemetry data collection by turning off the option to send diagnostic data.

Turn off telemetry data collection in Windows 11 Professional

Users running Enterprise, Education, or Professional editions of Windows 10 or 11, or users running Windows Server 2016 or later, can completely disable telemetry by editing the Windows registry file or using the Group Policy Editor .

SEE: Data Governance Checklist for Your Organization (TechRepublic Premium)

To turn off telemetry data collection in Windows Pro via the registry file, type “regedit” in the desktop search tool and select Registry Editor from the results. Navigate to this key as shown in Figure B:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsDataCollection

Figure B

Move to the switch.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Right-click the DataCollection key and select New | DWORD (32-bit) Value from the context menu. Name your new key Allow Telemetry. Double-click the new Allow Telemetry key and change the value data to zero as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Double-click the new Allow Telemetry key and change the value data to zero.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

When this is done, click OK and exit Regedit. Restart your Windows PC for the new setting to take effect.

To turn off the collection of telemetry data in Windows 11 Pro through the Group Policy Editor, type “group policy” in the search box on the desktop and select the Edit Group Policy item from the results. Use the left navigation bar in the Group Policy Editor to locate this item, as shown in Figure D:

Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Data collection and build preview

Figure D

Use the left navigation bar in the Group Policy Editor to find this item.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

In the right pane of the window, find Allow input of diagnostic data and double-click it. To turn off telemetry system data collection, click the disabled radio button (Figure E) and then click OK.

Figure E

To turn off data collection for the telemetry system, click the disabled radio button.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

When the procedure is complete, exit the Group Policy Editor, and then restart the computer.

To reverse the setting and re-enable usage data collection for the telemetry system, 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.

How to turn off Telemetry System usage data collection in Windows 11

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