Microsoft Windows 10 Has A Keylogger Enabled By Default – Here’s How To Disable It
Windows 10 Typing Tracking
Windows 10 users will be shocked to learn that Windows 10 keeps track of everything they type. There has been substantial controversy around the lack of user data privacy in the way that Windows 10 and prior versions like Windows 8 and Windows 7 are configured.
Since the discoveries broke on the web, users have risen up in arms to fix these issues and to push back on Microsoft not to infringe on its’ users’ privacy. To protect your privacy, you should disable Microsoft’s keylogger.
The controversy around the keylogger in Windows 10 continues a backlash by users against potential privacy infringements by software companies. Consumers have pushed back on actions by Microsoft as well as other tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple.
For Microsoft, Windows 10 has been very successful, rising to become one of the most installed operating systems on personal computers. Its popularity with users, however, has coincided with criticism around incidents like the keylogging.
Microsoft also received criticism for its Windows 10 WiFi Sense feature, which potentially exposed users’ wifi passwords and shared them with their contacts. Microsoft eventually eliminated the feature from Windows 10 in the wake of the criticism.
Frustrated users continue to take Microsoft to task for the Windows 10 Keylogger on social networks like Reddit. Users are posting workarounds in a bid to protect themselves and others from Microsoft’s keylogger.
Steps To Disable The Windows 10 Keylogger
The Windows keylogger has the power to capture all your typing and input information while you are using the operating system and storing it on Microsoft’s servers. In addition, in certain cases, Microsoft creates a unique file for the user indicating unique typing information, including names and other details you use.
Users will, therefore, want to read Microsoft’s privacy disclosures to get a good idea of what goes on behind the scenes.
Here is an excerpt from Microsoft’s issued guidance for Windows 10:
“When your Diagnostic and usage data setting (Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics) is set to Full, your inking and typing input data is sent to Microsoft, and we use this data in the aggregate to improve the inking and typing platform for all users. Learn more about Diagnostic data here. As part of inking and typing on your device, Windows creates a user dictionary that stores unique words like names you write, which helps you type and ink more accurately.”
In case it is not clear to you, this means that Microsoft is able to track, log and store all your typing information from the moment you begin using Windows 10.
To disable the Windows 10 Keylogger, this is what you need to do.
First, click on the Windows START button, which will present you with apps and software.
Then select the PRIVACY section, then GENERAL.
Under the privacy options, you now need to toggle off the selection that reads,
“Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future.”
While this might be helpful for Microsoft, it sends your typing and other written messages over to Microsoft, presenting a big privacy as well as a security hole for users. As a result, you are better off turning this off entirely to avoid your sensitive messages and writing from being captured by Microsoft.
To further protect yourself, you might want to read the additional information under the heading,
“Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization information.”
While this disables your keylogging on Windows 10, users need to be aware that all data that Microsoft has collected, would still be available on their servers until they delete it. How long exactly it takes for them to wipe your data from Microsoft’s cloud servers is not entirely clear.
Why The Windows 10 Keylogger Is Controversial
Microsoft has continued to face down criticism of the Windows 10 Keylogger. In fact, core data collection is a big part of Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy. In his remarks, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Joe Belfiore, said that core data collection would go on. The executive indicated that Microsoft views core data collection as good for the system, saying,
“In the cases where we’ve not provided options, we feel that those things have to do with the health of the system.”
The company has indicated that privacy issues would not deter this data collection from keylogging since the data collection helps identify crashes, performance issues, and other issues on the Windows 10 platform.
The stance taken by Microsoft helps explain why privacy advocates and ordinary users have taken the company to task over its privacy policies, including the particular case of its Windows 10 Keylogger.
The keylogger criticism coincides with concerns about the privacy of normal users in the wake of the global debate around so-called “government hacking” which was kicked off by revelations of extensive spying by the National Security Agency(NSA). Ordinary users were deeply upset by the idea that agencies like the NSA and others had all the users’ private information at their fingertips. It was later revealed that software like Windows 10, iOS, Android and others were used by the security agencies to collect data on users through the use of so-called “digital backdoors”. The FBI asserted the right to install these digital backdoors in all software, ostensibly to fight against the threat of criminals and other undesirable actors.
Keylogging in Windows 10, therefore, is a part of a growing trend of digital espionage and data collection issues that continue to threaten the privacy of users of the software.
What Users Are Saying
While you may be angered or surprised to discover the details behind Microsoft’s keylogging activities, as a user, you are not alone.
Across the internet, users and privacy activists have weighed in on social media and other platforms. The picture from all these conversations indicates frustration at the continued use of blanket data collection and online espionage against users.
In a Reddit thread about the Windows 10 Keylogger, users raised concerns about the practice.
User monedula said,
“Can confirm. I also turned everything off at install, and this setting was on just now. This is evil.”
Weighing in on the same conversation, user dangolo said,
“We should still class action MS.”
How To Stay Private When Using Windows Systems
Privacy is becoming a flashpoint when using the software in general, not just Windows or Windows 10. In order to protect yourself, you need to decide which updates from Windows 10 make sense based on your preferences.
The problem with Windows updates is that they can re-enable keylogging, and there is no clear information on Microsoft about how future updates will address privacy concerns.
One thing you can do is to review updates before you apply them, then enable or disable certain features yourself as you see fit.
Some users have gone as far as ditching Windows automatic updates entirely. There is a big risk, staying off the update path could leave your computer vulnerable to known exploits.
The Future Of Keylogging
While the Windows 10 default keylogger has alarmed users around the world, the good part is that disabling it is a straightforward process. The broader issues have to do with how users protect themselves from inadvertently sharing data about themselves that they would not want to become known.
In this regard, the key thing is to take a proactive approach, checking your Windows updates, and potentially doing updates manually. The more control that you can retain over what programs are doing on your computer, the more you can tailor your settings for maximum privacy.