Tech Guide

How to download a copy of everything Microsoft knows about you

Key Points
  • Microsoft knows my location, the apps I open on Windows 10 and what movies I've watched.
  • Microsoft lets you see this data and download a copy of your own archive.
  • Here's how to download the info Microsoft has on you.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a company event in New York in May 2017.
Source: Jason DeCrow, AP Images | Microsoft

I've written detailed guides on what Amazon, Google, Twitter and Facebook know about us and, when possible, how to download that data. For some reason I didn't really think Microsoft knew a lot about me.

I was wrong — it does know a pretty decent amount. Here's a look at some of the data that I found Microsoft has:

It knows where I am right now.

It knows what apps I opened on my Windows 10 computer, down to the exact day I opened them.

It has all my search data from its Edge browser.

It knows what movies I watched with its Windows 10 movie player, down to the exact date and time.

The good news is that, while some of this is kind of creepy — like Microsoft's knowledge of the apps I opened on my home computer — Microsoft doesn't seem to have as much as other companies ... at least not on the surface. If you use the Edge browser and, like me, share your location with Microsoft, then you might see even more information about yourself.

You can see what Microsoft knows about you by visiting Microsoft's Activity History page.

To download your data:

- Visit Microsoft's data archive site.

- Select "create new archive." This will take a couple of minutes.

- Open the archive from your "Downloads" folder.

- Open individual files in the archive with Notepad in Windows.

If you're interested in what data other firms have on you, check out some of our earlier guides:

- How to find out what Facebook knows about you

- How to find out what Amazon knows about you

- How to find out everything Twitter knows about you

- How to download a copy of everything Google knows about you