Forget Copilot+, Windows is already tracking everything you do — here's how to disable it

Written on 06/11/2024

Activity history is already in Windows, and you might want to disable it if you're worried about privacy.

Since announcing Copilot+ PC a few weeks ago, Microsoft has been having a PR nightmare. Many users are concerned about their privacy because the Recall feature remembers everything you do on your PC, making it easy to get back to what you last did. The company has addressed these concerns in a recent update, but here's something you might not know: Windows is probably already tracking everything you do.

What most people don't know is that Windows already includes a feature called Activity Tracking. In Windows 10, this feature was used to enable the Timeline feature, which was essentially a dumber, less powerful version of Recall. However, this feature was removed in Windows 11, but activity tracking is still there and enabled by default. Here's how to disable them:

How to disable activity history in Windows 11
Thankfully, disabling activity history in Windows 11 is relatively simple. here's what you need to do:

1. Open the Settings app (you can find it in the Start menu).
2. Click Privacy & security in the menu on the left.
2a. On Windows 10, select Privacy from the main menu screen.
Choose Activity history.

3. Choose Activity history.

4. Turn the toggle Off for Store my activity history on this device (or uncheck the box on Windows 10).
5. Also click Clear history to clear recent data that was already collected if the option is available.

Once the above steps are completed, your activity history will no longer be tracked on your Windows computer. You will need to do this for every new Windows computer you use, though, since it's enabled by default.

Keep your privacy strong

Considering that Activity History was only used for the Timeline feature, which is not available here, disabling Activity History will not negatively impact your Windows 11 experience. Even in Windows 10, Timeline is no longer very useful because it no longer syncs data across devices. To be fair, as I said, this data is not synced online, so it may not be a big deal. However, if you are worried about recalls in Copilot+, it won't make a huge difference.

Even if you disable this feature, there are still a few other ways that Microsoft can collect data about you through Windows, so you may want to check the other privacy settings. If you want to learn more about this, check out our guide on how to increase privacy in Windows 11.