Newer builds of Windows 10 have an interesting feature called the user activity history. This logs some of your user activity and sends it over to the Microsoft servers for enabling the cross-device experience through Cortana, Edge and Timeline. This data collection is done with a good intention of providing better Windows features in the future versions of the operating system. But if you think that it is invasion of your privacy then you can quickly disable it.
Recently we posted about how you can disable the user activity history in Windows 10 through the Windows settings interface. But there is another quicker way through the Windows registry. You can disable the user activity history in just one step by modifying a special registry value and from that point on Microsoft should no longer be getting your user activity logs.
Here is how you can disable Windows 10 user activity history through registry:
- Press the hotkey Win+R to open the Run dialog.
- Type regedit.exe in the Run dialog and press Enter.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System in the Registry Editor.
- Right-click in the right-pane and select New → Dword (32-bit) Value.
- Change the name of the new Dword value to PublishUserActivities.
- If this registry value already exists, you can modify its value to 0.
When the value of this PublishUserActivities value is 0, your user activity in your Windows 10 PC is not recorded and stored with Microsoft. When it has a value of 1, then the history is both being recorded and is stored with Microsoft servers. Even though disabling this feature does boost your privacy as your user activity stays on your computer or is just not recorded, but disabling this feature also disables the cross-device experience (e.g. access and continue browser session of one browser on another device).