back to article Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches

We recently mused, half seriously, whether the entire point of the Windows 10 upgrade was to harvest your personal information. With Microsoft suffering from a serious case of Google envy, perhaps it felt it had some catching up to do. Now Microsoft is revamping the user-tracking tools in Windows 7 and 8 to harvest more data, …

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      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Hackintosh?

        > Last I checked, a PC of that age would be landfill.

        Not with a proper O/S on it. Sitting at a 2010 PC here (that was cheapo town when I bought it), no plans to replace it in the next three years. I did upgrade RAM once (for HPC), and that was it.

        A top range new system is performance wise "up to" twice as fast (old: AMD Phenom, new: expensive intel Xeon). Yes, I measured it myself.

        Icon for "anything but Microsoft".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hackintosh?

        £250 on Ebay you say for an 8 years old MAC ?

        Second hand MAC buyers

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hackintosh?

        "Apple ... resale/residual values tend to be very high."

        And about to get higher still I suspect.

      4. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Hackintosh?

        Perhaps so... But, I'm on a ca~2006 Core 2 Duo 2x2.13Ghz System on Windows 7. and, for everything need this machine to do... It does! I guess you right about being lucky to still get ~100.00€ for it complete. But, then Beige Boxes just never came with that aura of Cr(Apple) BS attached to it. 'cause these aren't some lovely polished white plastic boxes. These were sold as the then modern workhorses of the world.

  1. theloon

    XP still looking attractive :)

    and that was the final reason I needed to never upgrade my XP machine which runs any type of finance packages... and yes, they all still run on XP, never crash zero problems. Unlikely trying to run them on anything later.... the disaster that is MS.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: XP still looking attractive :)

      But no security updates. How do you keep them from getting pwned over the network or by a stray USB insertion?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: XP still looking attractive :)

        >How do you keep them from getting pwned over the network or by a stray USB insertion?

        Lock down OS (remember XP can be hardened to EAL 4+ ) and deploy decent third-party firewall/security software. The only real question mark is how long will you be able to meaningfully browse the web using an XP-based browser...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: XP still looking attractive :)

        Ahem ... *cough*, "cash register", *cough*

      3. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: XP still looking attractive :)

        But no security updates. How do you keep them from getting pwned over the network or by a stray USB insertion?

        You mean like Windows 10 in 2015?

        "MS15-085: One CVE-listed flaw in Windows Vista through Windows 10 allows an attacker to gain administrator-level access if they plug in an evil USB device."

        From http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/11/windows_august_patch/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: XP still looking attractive :)

          Please note: Windows Vista through Windows 10

          Windows XP is excluded. Meaning this flaw is not being patched, meaning you are permanently at risk from this flaw, and odds are this flaw can bypass any and all third-party mitigations you try, meaning a "bad friend" or "evil maid" can hack your system in a few seconds and there's no way for you to stop it.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: XP still looking attractive :)

            Please note: Windows Vista through Windows 10

            Windows XP is excluded.

            Oh. That makes it all perfectly fine then. It's 2015 and your Windows machine can still be pwned(must be the first time I've typed that horrid word!) from an infected USB stick.

            But that's perfectly fine as MS aren't going to patch this issue for XP. All's OK. MS made a mistake that should be causing heads to roll but that's fine. They aren't fixing the mistake for XP.

            (That said, as Vista was "a complete re-write" then XP could conceivably be safe anyway - if as MS advertised Vista was completely new then there's a very good chance that the idiotic decisions that allowed this to be possible in V-10 weren't made in XP...)

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: XP still looking attractive :)

      Glad my main home PC is still XP

  2. Brandon 2

    bend over...

    ... grab your ankles... I don't walk around naked in the street, because my genitals are private. I don't want MS collecting data on what I'm doing on my computer... not because what I'm doing is illegal... it's JUST PRIVATE! And I value that. I sincerely hope that update has not installed, and I will not be updating Win7 in the near future. I wish Adobe CC worked on linux... i'd never touch windows ever again.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: bend over...

      " I wish Adobe CC worked on linux"

      Have you checked whether it will run under Wine.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does the "Keep Calm..." mug exist?

    I would really, really like one of those so that when the chore of continually checking updates on my machines to keep the slimy fuckers out, one glance at the mug will remind me why I'm doing it.

    What is encouraging about all this is the number of forums that have threads on the subject of Windows 10 data slurping and on keeping Windows 7 and 8 machines free from W10 and the telemetry threat. Threads such as this on Wilders Security Forums List of Windows 7 telemetry updates to avoid are quite handy.

    Plenty of self help about it seems. Which is fortunate, as we don't seem to be well served by the security industry or regulatory bodies.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Does the "Keep Calm..." mug exist?

      It was a mug originally sold by Microsoft on the now non-existent Scroogle store. The Chrome logo has been changed to a Windows logo by Photoshop.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Dan 55 - Re: Does the "Keep Calm..." mug exist?

        Ahh. I didn't realise how appropriate that pic was. Just went to the Microsoft Store - it says "This product is currently unavailable".

        Perhaps they've pulled them in order to change the logos as per the article pic. Wouldn't put it past the arrogant tossers.

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Meh

    Unfortunately

    Unfortunately, the incisive comments here represent a couple of hundred people. OK, maybe more, but much, much less than the ocean of Windows users. Through ignorance, or most likely disinterest, the affairs discussed here don't bother them.

    I'm loath to resort to trite clichés like "sheeple", but maybe the originators have a point.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately

      Over time people who care influence those that do not (or to a lesser degree). Let's hope.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately

        Over time people who care influence those that do not (or to a lesser degree).

        Indeed. Is it fair to say that the Reg commentards tend to be IT influencers, either within their companies or at least their families/friends?

        At the risk of sounding insufferably pompous, I am the "go to" person for IT questions for my relatives, friends, and many of my colleagues. Whatever my opinion - right or wrong - that'll be their guidance. So as I'm lukewarm on Windows 10, that means a whole circle of other people have inherited the same attitude. Probably 30-40 people in total are now putting their Windows 10 updates on hold, based on my "wait and see" guidance.

        My point is that.. yes, you can argue that we are unrepresentative of the market at large. That we're nerds, whiners, ivory-tower techies, or whatever. But we do often have a disproportionate amount of influence.

        As I've said before, I think Microsoft's biggest and earliest mistake was to allow Windows 10 feedback from only those beta-testers who agreed to sign in with a Microsoft ID. Then and there, they excluded feedback from anyone who might have concerns about privacy and data-gathering. So now the OS is released, all this fuss is kicking up, and Microsoft - let's give them the benefit of the doubt - are sitting there wondering "why are so many people upset? We never had any inkling of this during the beta phase!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @David 132 - Re: Unfortunately

          I think you're spot on about the influence of the 'small' group of unsatisfied techies. People who play down our misgivings don't seem to understand your point - that we tend to be listened to by the less knowledgable.

          I would personally not give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt on this matter. The Insider forum has many members who are quite vocal about the flaws in Windows 10 and particularly about the privacy issues. Indeed, some of the useful info on what updates to avoid in Windows 7 and 8 can be found on the Insider forum.

          The problem is not that Microsoft didn't get the feedback, but that they did not take any account of it. Indeed the suspicion of some is that Microsoft never intended to listen to contrary opinions - just to use the Insiders' machines as a source of telemetry.

          If they're going over a cliff it is with their eyes wide open.

  5. Mikel

    Is it time to give up Windows yet?

    Everyone has to hit their personal limit of how much of this they will tolerate before they will install Linux or get a Mac.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Is it time to give up Windows yet?

      I started dabbling with Linux since Windows 8 as I disliked it from a technical and usability perspective; but this user tracking/spying business is a whole new ball game and my trust in Microsoft has now gone. Like many others I take my privacy seriously and use various add-ons such as Adblock+, NoScript, Ghostery and various other privacy and security measures but when the snooping is at the level of the operating system, it is too far, way too far for my comfort. I have confidential/sensitive customer data on my computers and I do not like the idea that Microsoft may be hoovering up anything they like from those computers. I'm now in the process of rewriting all my Windows based application software to run on Linux. I don't consider my privacy and the privacy of my clients fair game for Microsoft to nosey around in.

  6. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Linux

    Microsfoot!!

    "Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry"

    I get the 'telemetry', it's been mentioned/discussed enough in this forum so far, What 'Customer experience' were they referring to though?

    Or is that merely a typo, and it should be 'Customer expletive'.

    Penguin 'cause I'm happy to have been frolicking with the penguin since 2000...Otherwise I'd be even more annoyed World>Hell>Hand-basket etc. & once all commercial OS are like this. it's only a matter of time before 'actors' start demanding Linux et all report in for whatever reasons this is really about...

  7. Spoonsinger

    Well this sucks...

    I was waiting till my dotage before going full on hair shirt.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 update

    My friend is with plusnet and has win7 on his m/c. He just had an email from plusnet to say he'd exceeded his 10GB data allowance and they'd stuck a bit more on for £5. He had a look at his usage allowance to find this huge 6GB download- he thought he'd been hacked. I think it's windows downloading win10 without permission as that's about 6GB iirc. Will know more when I go to see the m/c. Extremely naughty if correct, are Microsoft going to refund his £5?

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: 10 update

      "are Microsoft going to refund his £5?"

      Yes. He can expect the check about the time Satan needs earmuffs and a wooly scarf.

    2. Asok Asus

      Re: 10 update

      "I think it's windows downloading win10 without permission"

      It was. I've found that was downloaded without permission on every PC where KB3035583 was left installed. The folder is C:\$Windows.~BT and can take up to 1GB. Only easy way to remove it is with cleanmgr using the Clean up system files option after the first scan has finished.

    3. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: 10 update

      MS quote 3.8 GB for the update, but it took nearer 7 GB on my 8.1 laptop, making a big hole in my 12 GB per month quota. The first I knew that it had got around to doing the automatic update was when the internet was down for the entire household. We are limited to 2 GB per day and the update took the whole lot before breakfast leaving us without email, skype, internet etc for the rest of the day. Thankfully these automatic updates wont be a problem going forward as nobody will be using Windows 10 in this household any more.

  9. JEF_UK

    This is frankly unacceptable.

    Put Linux on the laptop at the weekend. Previously just on servers...

    Off to turn off all auto approval on my WSUS.

    Thanks for increasing my work MS.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Am I safe

    "Search" doesnt show up any of these updates on my PC; but is "Search" telling the truth??

    The PC I am currently building is going to have Linux on it anyway; as soon as I am comfortable with it, this Win7 box gets Nuked and from then on, only gets used for games.

    1. Kepler
      Facepalm

      Re: Am I safe[?]

      "'Search' doesn[']t show up any of these updates on my PC; but is 'Search' telling [me] the truth??"

      If you open Windows Update in Control Panel, and then click on "Installed Updates", you will be presented with the option to "Search Installed Updates" in the Search box in the upper right-hand corner. This worked for me just now.

      But you have to do your search in that Search box! When I tried to search Windows Update and Control Panel for these three updates last night, nothing turned up! Only a few minutes ago did I discover what I did wrong.

      (If you try to search from Windows Update itself or from "View update history", the Search box that is presented in the upper right-hand corner just says "Search Control Panel". But if you try to search from "Installed Updates", the Search box that is presented in the upper right-hand corner says "Search Installed Updates". Last night, either I tried to search from "View update history" rather than from "Installed Updates", or else — and I think this is more likely — I did do it from "Installed Updates", but I tried to commence the search before allowing sufficient time for Control Panel to fully populate the list of installed updates, thereby causing the search to fail.

      Because Search failed me when I first tried it last night, I had to browse down the list of installed updates with my tired, aging eyes. When I did so, I found that all three of these updates had in fact been installed earlier this month. And as it happened, August's Patch Tuesday fell on my birthday! What a thoughtful trio of gifts from Microsoft! ("[D]on't worry too much about the myrrh next time"!))

      So unless you are sure you clicked on "Installed Updates" — and then waited sufficiently — before commencing your search, and that you therefore searched Installed Updates rather than the rest of Control Panel, I would not trust the answer Search gave you. Instead I would look for the three updates again, in the way I described above, just to be sure.

  11. bobgameon

    Again?

    Another article making people nervous and inciting declarations of a move Linux. Lets see how many follow through. Considering that they have proclaimed(never executed) this over and over again after every pig headed move by Microsoft I wouldn't be surprised its not many.

  12. spam 1

    Turn off Telemetry (W7 Server 2008 R2)

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\AIT\AITEnable

    Change AITEnable from 1 to 0.

    Problem solved. Don't mention.

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Change to the user agreement?

    "Why is it that Comments rubbishing Ubuntu (Unity, I assume) always seem to come from 'Mint' Evangelists, and usually from the 'Mate' congregation? It always seems to strike me as trying to make up for an inferiority complex."

    Probably because Mint and Mate come out of the box without any of the types of changes Unity made to the UI. I just install the "Ubuntu flashback" and don't have to deal with Unity.

    Shouldn't there be a change to the user agreement, or at least a notification, to this much new information being collected? I mean, when people install Win10 it's there in the fine print that they can collect virtually anything they want, and people know what they are getting into. Adding all sorts of "telemetry" in like this seems very shady. (I'm glad I'm not using Windows personally.)

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Change to the user agreement?

      "Probably because Mint and Mate come out of the box without any of the types of changes Unity made to the UI. I just install the "Ubuntu flashback" and don't have to deal with Unity."

      Doesn't really answer the question though. It's rarely the Cinnamon XFCE or LXDE refugees, occasionally you get 'tards commenting from a Gnome-Shell or KDE refuge, but it's the users fled who fled to Mate who generally seem to harbour such a bitter and long-running resentment*.

      Must admit, though, you don't come across many who admit to using 'Ubuntu Flashback' though. Do you get a lot of Mate users trying to 'convert' you?

      * I know many Mate users are happy and confident in their choice, buts it's the bores who harp on about that old schism that colour my perceptions.

  14. Pomgolian
    Terminator

    Security Essentials

    They really want this info - I am regularly in the habit of blocking hosts I don't like or adding other hosts while the DNS catches up in my windows hosts file. Never had an issue before, but after pointing settings-win.data.microsoft.com and vortex-win.data.microsoft.com to 127.0.0.1 Security essentials pops up a warning about "SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack". Clearly it's a big deal for Microsoft, so it ought to be an even bigger deal for all of us to avoid it.

  15. raving angry loony

    Not mandatory

    Don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but none of the three updates mentioned were specified as "mandatory". Thanks to this warning I was able to make sure they're never installed on my gaming system. Hopefully. Unless they change how things are done in the next few months. Which they might.

    32 years I fought the beast. The beast won. My parting shot is "I fucking told you so" when it comes to Microsoft continuing to prove that it's just plain evil.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Not mandatory

      There was however also a mandatory update KB3022345 installed several times between April and June and was not mentioned in the article, presumably because it's superseded, but it is mentioned on ghacks. As it's superseded it's not offered to new machines but if you haven't uninstalled it it's still there. That needs to go too.

  16. Asok Asus

    how to nuke this crap

    to nuke all of this crap on W7:

    from an admin account, select Programs and Features from control panel, select View Installed Updates from the left, wait until that finishes finding all the updates (could be a few minutes), then use the search box to search for each of:

    KB3035583

    KB3022345

    KB3068708

    KB3075249

    KB3080149

    find one at a time, and if found (not all will necessarily be there), right click and uninstall each one in turn.

    check Change Settings on the left in Windows Update selected from Control Panel and make sure Install Updates Automatically IS NOT selected.

    when all are uninstalled, reboot, which btw way can take hours sometimes after these are uninstalled (i have no idea what that BS is about; retribution by MS?).

    after the reboot, go back to control panel, select Windows Update, then Check for Updates. Find all the ones you just deleted, uncheck them, right click and select Hide Update, or otherwise they will come back.

    Also, check to see if C:\$Windows.~BT exists, which is the Windows 10 installer. If so, it can be wasting up to 12GB, so nuke it with cleanmgr started from a cmd window. once cleanmgr finishes its initial (very lengthy) scan, you should select Clean up system files, which will do another very lengthy scan, then check the box for that folder and select OK to nuke it.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: how to nuke this crap

      KB3035583

      KB3022345

      KB3068708

      KB3075249

      KB3080149

      It would have been nice to have actually taken the time to list these little buggers

      KB3035583 - Windows 10 Notification THAT WILL NOT DIE!

      KB3022345 - Prequel of kb3068708 if you have this.. Like I had then kb3068708 will / should NOT show up. More on this in a sec.*

      KB3068708 - Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

      KB3075249 - Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7

      KB3080149 - Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

      * I only noted the earlier kb3022345 'cause of the lack of a kb3068708 in the Windows Update. Apparently kb3068708 was meant for all the bad children who didn't get the earlier kb3022345 update.

      Removing this earlier update seemed to be of little consequence as in regard to the newer version of said update I was back up and, running inside of Five minutes. The dirty little bugger called Diagtrack.*) however is unfortunately still left in place. apparently the trick to getting that piece of trash of your system is to fire up a command prompt. In Admin mode, then enter in:

      sc stop diagtrack

      sc delete diagtrack

      This should then hopefully fully remove the earlier kb3022345 update then.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: how to nuke this crap

        Actually probably easier just restoring to a point previous to the 'patches', then just turn off updates. Then think about what you actually want from your computer.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    May I be the first to welcome our Cortana overlord?

  18. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Re: KB3068708 very slow to complete uninstall

    Well lookie here kb3068708 is just kb3022345 (Diagtrack) by another name... I did kinda think it strange that I had noticed the other Two Updates, but was seemingly missing out on this Third One... Now I know why!

    Needless to say I soon as I found this POS! I removed it from the Control Panel -> Programs, and Features -> Installed Updates. Apparently though this still isn't quite enough to kill the undead that is Diagtrack.

    Apparently to do that you have to open up a Command Prompt with admin privileges and enter:

    sc stop Diagtrack

    sc delete Diagtrack

    ... To be finally rid of this bloat.

    P.s. To the Webmaster / Fourm Mod(s) why is it I can't post cmd.eᵡe without getting what appears to be a B& Hammer message about not being able to post this? I don't frankly get it to be honest.

  19. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Devil

    In the week Wes Craven died...

    We've spent years building firewalls, running anti-virus software and being vigilant on software installations, but THE MONSTER IS INSIDE IN THE HOUSE.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: In the week Wes Craven died...

      If any third party applications did what these Microsoft updates are doing they would rightly be called rootkit spyware, especially when seen in conjunction with the unremovable firmware updates MS are propagating. The average Windows user is clueless about this insidious direction Microsoft are going in: "All on board the cattle trucks for a great customer experience, trust us." The sad/alarming thing is that the average Windows user is clambering onboard with enthusiasm.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: In the week Wes Craven died...

        And finally it becomes true: WIndows, the virus with a user interface.

        1. davidp231
          Angel

          Re: In the week Wes Craven died...

          Your terminology is incorrect, for viruses are small and efficient in what they are designed to do... Windows is by no means small, and efficient? Well...

  20. Captain Badmouth
    WTF?

    Have uninstalled the following, one by one, from my win7 system as per the list on Wilder security. The ones with an asterix required a system restart after uninstall. I then checked for updates and windows wanted to re-install 9 essentials. I hid them last night then restored them this morning. Checking again for updates I find I now have no "essential" updates but have 18 optional ones - including those 9 that were essential last night.

    Has something changed?

    I tried stopping Diagtrack but it doesn't exist on my system, it says.

    KB2923545 RDP

    KB2970228 *

    KB3035583

    KB2990214

    KB3021917 *

    KB3068708 Telemetry *

    KB2592687 *

    KB2660075 *

    KB2506928

    KB2952664 x2

    KB3050265

    KB2726535 *

    KB2994023

    KB3022345 Replaced by KB3068708 Telemetry KB3022345 Caused false sfc result

    KB2545698 (IE9) *

    KB3065987

    These not found on my system. (didn't expect to find the win8 one)

    KB2876229 SKYPE, If you want Skype then install it.

    KB 3068707 - Customer experience telemetry points

    KB 3050265 - Windows Update service updated to accept upgrade to W10

    KB 2977759 - W10 Diagnostics Compatibility telemetry

    KB 3044374 - W8,8.1 Nagware for W10

    KB 3075429

    KB 3080149

  21. Someone_Somewhere

    You can run...

    but you can't hide.

    Before everyone rushes off to embrace the penguin, it might be an idea to investigate systemd, Redhat and their clients.

    I wouldn't recommend Slackware or Gentoo to people new to linux but, unless you're unshakably convinced that the linux dev community is filled entirely with saints possessed of infallible intellect, diamond-strong willpower and is imperviois to infiltration by individuals with personality disorders, character flaws and agendas as nefarious as any that might be pursued by MS/Apple/some_government_TLA, they might well be the only options available to people here.

    And even then, what are you going to secure them with?

    AppArmor is more or less out of the question on anything other than *buntu.

    SElinux is a questionable option, given its origins.

    The future of GRSecurity looks uncertain.

    RSBAC will require people to get their hands well and truly dirty and roll their own - with all the attendent dangers of non-experts implementing their own security solutions.

    I'm not saying people shouldn't make the jump - I did myself - but it's not quite the utopia people might imagine either.

    </my two cents>

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