Microsoft is making some seriously confusing changes to Windows 10's security settings

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft is planning some major changes to Windows 10's privacy settings, and they're pretty confusing.

As The Register reports, the updated settings were spotted in a new build released to members of the Windows Insider Program Fast Ring, and involve Windows 10's data-sharing options.

Windows 10 sends diagnostic data to Microsoft to help it troubleshoot problems and generally improve the operating system, and you can choose exactly how much information is included.

At the moment, your options are 'Security', 'Basic', 'Enhanced' and 'Full', though whether you see all of these will depend on your PC's policy settings, and whether it's an enterprise device. You can check these out by typing 'diagnostic' into the Windows search bar and selecting 'Diagnostics and feedback settings'.

Following the latest Fast Ring update, these options are being reduced to just 'Security', 'Basic' and 'Full'. If you're currently using the 'Enhanced' option, you'll be bumped down to 'Basic' to make sure you're not sharing more data than you'd like.

That's a good idea in principle, but it also means you'll stop receiving Windows Insider updates, as these require either 'Full' or 'Enhanced' diagnostic data.

Check your options

If that's not confusing enough, it gets even more convoluted. Microsoft is also changing the names of its different diagnostic data tiers, so 'Security' is now 'Diagnostic data off', 'Basic' is now 'Required diagnostic data', and 'Full' is now 'Optional diagnostic data'. 

Each option still does the same thing, and the new labels are a little easier to understand, but it's pretty puzzling if you're not expecting it.

So what should you do? If you're currently a member of the Windows Insider program in the Fast Ring, take a look at your data diagnostic settings now and make sure you're using 'Optional diagnostic data' if you want to continue receiving Insider updates.

If you're in the Slow Ring, or you aren't part of the Insider Program, you can expect to receive this update at some point in the future, so check in on your diagnostic settings regularly to see if anything has changed. The change might not be rolled out globally until this year's first major update, Windows 10 20H1, but it's best to be prepared.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)