Windows 10 users have two options when it comes to user accounts on a system running the operating system: they can use a Microsoft Account or a local account.
Both account types have permissions to access the integrated Microsoft Store to download apps or games from the Store; Microsoft unlocked the option in 2016 for local accounts. Microsoft records the application history, the installed applications on the device, for both user account types but restricts access and data for local accounts.
Windows 10 users who use local accounts and the Microsoft Store will notice that Microsoft remembers installed applications. The data seems to be linked to the hardware ID of the device that Microsoft uses for activation purposes; means: a re-installation of the operating system or formatting the hard drive has no impact on the application history as it will become available again when local accounts are created on the device.
To make matters worse, there is no option to delete the app history currently so that anyone may look up the entire history of installed and updated applications on the device. The listing has its uses for users who reinstall their device frequently as it makes it easier to install apps again on the device.
Why is that a problem?
Your entire history of downloaded applications from Microsoft’s Store remains on the device if you sell the PC or give it to someone; this happens even if you format the drive or reinstall the Windows operating system.
The main issue is that there is no option to clean the application history currently to avoid this from happening before you give it away or sell it. You may not want the new owner of the device to know that you downloaded apps or games such as Bieber Dentist, Sex Trainer for Band, or Blood Pressure Manager from the Store.
Installations are tracked for each local account suggesting that Microsoft uses additional data and not only the hardware ID to keep records.
Microsoft distinguishes clearly between application installations linked to a device’s hardware and application installations by Microsoft accounts.
You will notice that application installations by Microsoft Accounts are not displayed when you open the application history when signed in to a local account. Microsoft Account users don’t get the list of applications installed by a local account. Microsoft seems to remembers the application history for each local account individually. The distinction makes sense considering that two different users may use these accounts on the device.
All of this would not really be an issue if Microsoft would have included an option to delete personal information, and installed applications fall into that category in my opinion.
The issue is not really one if you use the computer and don’t plan on selling it or giving it away or if you use a Microsoft Account for all Store activity. Local users who use the Store need to be aware that their application history will become available to the new owner of the device if they sell it or give it away.
What can you do about it?
The two main options that users have that are worried about the recording is to either use a Microsoft Account for all Store downloads or don’t use the Store at all. An option to empty the application history for local accounts would provide users with options to clear the data before they sell the device.
Now You: What is your take on this? (via Heise)