How to Stop Microsoft from Tracking Your Activity in Windows 11

How To Solved issue

Question asked by:

Zola Marie F.

Issue:

How can I prevent my Windows from tracking my activity both online and offline?

Hey techies! I'm trying to turn off Microsoft's activity tracking for a bit more privacy. Can you give me a hand?
Thanks a bunch!
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Windows is notorious for tracking, which carries on to its successor. Tracking on Windows 11, especially the user activity data, can leave a sour aftertaste to privacy-conscious users.
If you’re one of these users who want to stay as private as possible, check out this tutorial on how to stop Windows 11 from tracking your data. 

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How to Stop Microsoft from Tracking Activity History

What is Windows 11 Tracking & Why Do They Do That?

Windows 11 needs a Microsoft Account1 during the initial boot-up to ensure flexibility with multiple devices. However, this also means the Microsoft OS can record, store, and utilize user activities, behavior, and computer interactions per account to deliver invasive ads. 

Some of the unwanted and very intrusive ads are called pop-up ads. In some cases, this might be an adware infection and we have a guide explaining how to remove them here.

If minimizing your data footprint is one of your priorities, you must be aware of these features from the get-go.
We’ll discuss ways to turn off your account’s activity tracking to maintain your privacy. 

How to Disable Different Modes of Tracking in Windows 11?

Most of these steps will access the Settings app, so you must be familiar with how to navigate this system app.
We provided instructional screenshots below, but the settings may vary from computer to computer. 

Turn Off General & Ad-Tracking Activities

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Windows 11 collects data sent to Microsoft to provide personalized ad experiences based on your app usage and web activity. If this approach to advertising doesn’t align with your preferences, check the steps below to opt-out.

  • Open the Settings app and click on Privacy & security.
  • Open the General tab. 
Go to Privacy and security then General
  • Toggle off every switch shown on the following settings page. 
General & Ad-Tracking Activities

How to Turn Off Diagnostics & Feedback Reporting

This feature collects data on device performance and usage, which helps improve Windows 11 when the data is used properly. For those concerned about privacy, there are ways to manage or limit this data collection.

  • Go to your Settings > Privacy & security > Diagnostics & feedback. 
Diagnostics & feedback
  • Tick off the Tailored Experience switch to prevent your OS from sending diagnostic data. 
Tailored experience
  • You can also delete all diagnostic data collected by clicking Delete diagnostic data. 

Turn Off Activity History

Activity History is a Windows 11 feature that tracks your app usage, browsing history, and file access. These insights are aggregated and used to provide personalized interactions with the operating system. Here’s how to disable this feature from getting your data. 

  • Go to Settings > Privacy & security > Activity History. 
Activity History
  • Make sure that the “Store my activity history on this device” option is turned off. 
Store my activity history
  • You can also clear the activity history related to your Microsoft account. 

How to Turn Off Location Tracking

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Location Tracking uses your device’s geographical position to offer location-based services like maps and weather updates to apps and services. The apps above won’t work correctly if this feature is turned off. 

However, if you have privacy concerns or prefer not to use location-based services, you can turn off this feature by following the steps below.

  • Click on Privacy & Security > App Permissions > Location. 
  • Unmark the options “Location will be available to Windows and anyone using this device” and “Let apps access your location.”
Location Services

Disable Microsoft Edge Browsing Data Tracking

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Microsoft Edge collects browsing data to improve service quality and offer personalized web experiences. This includes your browsing history and habits. To adjust these settings for enhanced privacy, refer to the steps below.

  • Open your Microsoft Edge browser and click Privacy, search, and Services in the left pane. 
  • Under Tracking Prevention, select the Strict option. Your content should not be personalized based on your activities.
Tracking Prevention

Last Piece of Advice

Like a trusted friend in the journey of digital privacy, we hope this guide has helped you to protect your data, activities, and preferences from unwarranted eyes.
Remember, your digital footprint is yours to control. With these steps, you can navigate Windows 11 with confidence and peace of mind.

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  1. Microsoft accounts explained — via support.microsoft.com []
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About the author
Ross Zilbert - Expert Author

Ross is an avid author on WindowsGuided.com. He’s been working in the field of software and networks as a technician for more than 6 years.

Now he’s sharing his expertise and awesome guides with the broad public.