Software

Windows 10 April 2018 Update: How to delete activity history from your Timeline

With the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, everything you do on your devices is being tracked and saved for the Timeline. Here is how you can delete that information.

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Image: iStock/Michail_Petrov-96

The Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update added many new features and enhancements to the operating system. However, one new feature you are likely to notice almost immediately, especially if you use Task View on a regular basis, is called Timeline. You may also feel compelled to change some of Timeline's default settings after you realize what this new feature actually does.

Timeline adds a comprehensive list of your previous activities to the Windows 10 Task View feature. Every document, application, and website you have opened or visited in the past is now noted, saved, listed, and linked in Task View. The default setting for maintaining the history is three days, but it can be set to as many as 30. The feature allows you to get back to a document or website quickly and easily, which can be a real time saver in a busy work environment.

Timeline is also integrated with your Microsoft account, so all your past activities can be automatically uploaded to the cloud. When you change devices, for example, you'll still be able to view your Timeline as long as you log in to the same Microsoft account on the new device. That way, you can quickly pick up where you left off.

Of course, all this convenience comes at the expense of a certain amount of privacy. While Timeline will be helpful in many situations, there are times when you may want to eliminate your Timeline history completely, or at least cull some of its entries. This tutorial shows you how to delete specific entries from your Windows 10 Timeline and how to delete an entire Timeline should the need arise.

SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)

Timeline

To access Timeline, click the Task View icon located on the left of the Taskbar next to the Cortana search box or use the keyboard shortcut of Windows Key + Tab. Scroll down past the familiar Task View and you will find your Timeline, which should appear similar to Figure A.

Figure A

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To remove an individual item from your Timeline, right-click the entry and click Remove. You'll also be given the opportunity to delete the entire day's activity if you prefer (Figure B).

Figure B

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SEE: Windows 10 April 2018 Update: An insider's guide (free TechRepublic PDF)

To eliminate an entire activity history from the Windows 10 Timeline, you will have to go to the Privacy settings screen. Click the Start Menu button and then click the Settings icon. Select the Privacy link to open the appropriate screen, and then navigate to the Activity History item (Figure C).

Figure C

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Scroll down the page and then click the Clear History button. This settings screen is also where you go to manage most of the Timeline's major characteristics. You can even turn off the feature, if you prefer. Click the OK button to confirm that you want to clear your activity history (Figure D).

Figure D

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Privacy and convenience

The ability to get back to work exactly where you left off, especially if where you left off was a few days ago on another device, could be helpful to many users. However, many individuals are uncomfortable with the idea that their devices are tracking such detailed information about them. Whether you prefer convenience or privacy is an personal decision. Fortunately, when it comes to the Timeline feature installed as part of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, you have options.

Your thoughts

Have you used the new Timeline feature in Windows 10? Did you realize it was tracking everything you do? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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