Question Timeline and Activity History – Are my files being uploaded / sent to Microsoft?

emilfrederiksen

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Jul 6, 2018
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Dear all

When I Windows + Tab I can see my Timeline and many files I have opened
1.
The items / activities on the Timeline are the same as Activity History?

If I send my Activity History to Microsoft
2.
Do I send any of the files I have used / opened?

Thanks in advance for replying
Best regards
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
1. I don't think so, the Timeline mostly just shows what you do in Microsoft Applications, on mine it would show mostly word info as I only use Office. Activity history seems to cover more as it can include chrome
2 I don't think it sends any files, it just shows what files you use often

It appears it only sends activity to MS if you use a school or work account and give permission
Activity history helps keep track of the things you do on your device, such as the apps and services you use, the files you open, and the websites you browse. Your activity history is stored locally on your device, and if you’ve signed in to your device with a work or school account and given your permission, Windows sends your activity history to Microsoft.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/-windows-activity-history-and-your-privacy-2b279964-44ec-8c2f-e0c2-6779b07d2cbd

 

emilfrederiksen

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Jul 6, 2018
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1. I don't think so, the Timeline mostly just shows what you do in Microsoft Applications, on mine it would show mostly word info as I only use Office. Activity history seems to cover more as it can include chrome
2 I don't think it sends any files, it just shows what files you use often

It appears it only sends activity to MS if you use a school or work account and give permission


https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/-windows-activity-history-and-your-privacy-2b279964-44ec-8c2f-e0c2-6779b07d2cbd

Dear Colif

Thank you for your reply and the links

I can conclude, that the Timeline uses the Activity History data.

I would just like a clear answer / source, wether the Activity History data are the actual files shown on the Timeline?
And / or how much data / info about the files is in the Activity History data?

Thank you
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Dear Colif

Thank you for your reply and the links

I can conclude, that the Timeline uses the Activity History data.

I would just like a clear answer / source, wether the Activity History data are the actual files shown on the Timeline?
And / or how much data / info about the files is in the Activity History data?

Thank you
Actual files uploaded? No.

File names? Probably.

Now...if you have your account set to sync across multiple devices, then at some point, that file needs to move from System A to System B. Through the MS servers.



And this only applies if you are logged in with a Microsoft account.
It is entirely possible to use a Win 10 PC without being logged in with an MS account.
I do this every day, on all my house systems.

Local users, both Standard and Admin.
MS account only if I need to interact with the MS Store, or some licensing issue.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Time line doesn't exist in win 11, clearly not enough people used it.
Activity history does still. I thought desktop syncing was being removed but I see its still there.
if you only use a local account, nothing gets shared.
 

emilfrederiksen

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Jul 6, 2018
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Actual files uploaded? No.

File names? Probably.

Now...if you have your account set to sync across multiple devices, then at some point, that file needs to move from System A to System B. Through the MS servers.



And this only applies if you are logged in with a Microsoft account.
It is entirely possible to use a Win 10 PC without being logged in with an MS account.
I do this every day, on all my house systems.

Local users, both Standard and Admin.
MS account only if I need to interact with the MS Store, or some licensing issue.
Dear USAFRet

As always, I can count on you helping me out. So thank you for that.


Now...if you have your account set to sync across multiple devices, then at some point, that file needs to move from System A to System B. Through the MS servers.
Whats Windows settings are you here referring to: "account set to sync across multiple devices"?

And this only applies if you are logged in with a Microsoft account.
I use a local account.
I have logged on microsoftonline.com, through a browser. Does that also count as logged in with a Microsoft account?

Further more:
In Timeline, it shows a preview of image files.
Is the preview being sent to Microsoft (activity history)?

I also found out, if I use a local account, the Activity history setting option "Send my activity history to Windows" is available. If I use a MS account, the option is gone.
Do you have any idea why?

Thank you in advance for replying

Best regards
 

emilfrederiksen

Reputable
Jul 6, 2018
130
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4,585
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Time line doesn't exist in win 11, clearly not enough people used it.
Activity history does still. I thought desktop syncing was being removed but I see its still there.
if you only use a local account, nothing gets shared.
I use a local account.
I have logged on microsoftonline.com, through a browser. Does that also count as logged in with a Microsoft account?

I think they "shutdown" the Timeline function as of July 2021?
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/get-help-with-timeline-febc28db-034c-d2b0-3bbe-79aa0c501039
 

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