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How do I stop Windows 8 apps from collecting my data?

Some users have noticed that Windows 8 apps cull personal information and display it in live tiles. See how to change settings to protect your privacy.

Some people have expressed concern over the way that Windows 8 collects and uses personal information. Let me shed a bit of light on the process and show you how you can delete some of the data that is collected.

In most cases, Windows 8 apps collect the personal information. You might have seen apps that ask permission to use your location or to share personal info over the Internet. In some cases, these applications may communicate with other apps, thereby resulting in potentially sensitive data being shared among apps.

Another way in which personal information may be used is through the device synchronization process. If you log into Windows 8 using a Microsoft account, then your devices can be kept in sync.

Over time, you might find that some of the data that Windows 8 apps have compiled begins to appear on your live tiles. This behavior is by design. It's how Microsoft tries to give you a more personal experience. However, in plenty of situations, it may not be in your best interest to have such information so prominently displayed.

If you want to clear private information from your live tiles, Windows makes it easy to do so. The process involves opening the Charms bar and then clicking on Settings. It is important to realize that the settings that will be displayed differ depending on whether you were on the Start menu or on the Desktop when you opened the Charms bar.

You must first open the bar from the Start menu. After clicking Settings, click on Tiles. Windows will then display a Clear button that you can click to remove personal information from your live tiles.

If you want to stop a PC from being synchronized, then open the Charms bar, click on Settings, and then click on Change PC Settings. Next, click on OneDrive, followed by Sync Settings. Finally, turn off the Sync Your Settings on This PC option.

Next Steps

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This was last published in December 2014

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