How to turn off Windows 10's keylogger (yes, it still has one)

Microsoft can track your keystrokes, your speech, and more. Here are the settings to turn it all off.

J Confusion worries that, despite assumptions that it would be removed, the final version of Windows 10 still has a keylogger.

Last fall, I discussed the keylogger that Microsoft openly put into the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The company admitted that “we may collect voice information” and “typed characters.” At the time I defended Microsoft, pointing out that the Preview was “intended for testing, not day-to-day use,” and that Microsoft recommended against installing the Preview on a computer with sensitive files. I said that “I seriously doubt that the worst spyware features will remain in the finished product.”

I was wrong.

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Microsoft pretty much admits it has a keylogger in its Windows 10 speech, inking, typing, and privacy FAQ: “When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information—including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts)…”

If that makes you feel creepy, welcome to the human race.

Speaking of online Microsoft documents, you may want to browse the company’s overall Privacy Statement. To Microsoft’s credit, it’s in plain English rather than legalese. On the other hand, it’s about 17,000 words (as someone who’s paid by the word, I’m frankly jealous), so it will take time to find out if there’s anything else that’s truly awful inside.

The good news is that you can turn off the keylogging. Click Settings (it’s on the Start menu’s left pane) to open the Settings program. You’ll find Privacy...ummm....hold on a sec...OH! There it is!—on the very last row.

Once in Privacy, go to the General section and Turn off Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future. While you’re there, examine the other options and consider if there’s anything else here that you may want to change.

Now go to the Speech, inking and typing section and click Stop getting to know me. (I really wanted to end that sentence with an exclamation point.)

You may also want to explore other options in Privacy. For instance, you can control which apps get access to your camera, microphone, contacts, and calendar. I wish I had that capability in Android.


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