Microsoft has expanded its diagnostic data collection with Windows 10, making mandatory what had been a voluntary telemetry program.
Windows 10 includes a telemetry and diagnostics service that cannot be fully disabled. In earlier editions of the OS -- including Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 -- Microsoft's data gathering was optional. Users had to agree to join the "Customer Experience Improvement Program," or CEIP, for telemetry to be collected and sent to the Redmond, Wash. company from those operating systems. And if users changed their mind, they could stop it.
Microsoft kicked off CEIP with Windows Vista in late 2006.
According to the CEIP documentation, the data collected is used "to improve the products and features customers use most often and to help solve problems." CEIP harvests data from both Microsoft's own software, including the operating system, and from "third-party applications that interact with Microsoft products."