Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows, Office and more… Please disable your ad blocker – our (polite!) ads help keep AskWoody going!
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • 2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping

    Home Forums Knowledge Base 2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping

    This topic contains 12 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  MrBrian 4 months, 1 week ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #117301 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping

      By @woody

      Published 21 May 2017 rev 1.0

      This is likely the most controversial topic for Windows 7 (and 8.1) customers, everywhere. I expect the comments will go on forever.

      We know that Microsoft is snooping. We know that the snooping is getting worse. But we don’t know what’s being snooped. We don’t know how the “telemetry” is used to change things. And we don’t have any way to review the collected data, contest it, or delete it.

      In other words, we’re flying blind. In the absence of hard facts from Microsoft, all we really have is an uneasy sense that many of the more recent Win7 and 8.1 updates are sending more data back to the mothership than some folks would like.

      That said, here’s what I would suggest for a moderately concerned Windows 7 or 8.1 user.

      Step 1. Turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

      Click Start > Control Panel > Action Center. On the left, click the link to Change Action Center settings. Under Related settings, click Customer Experience Improvement Program settings. Choose No, I don’t want to participate in the program. Click Save changes.

      Step 2. Uninstall KB 2952664 (Win7) or KB2976978 (Win8.1) if you can.

      Click Start > Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Installed Updates, then Uninstall an update. Sort the list by Name or “Installed on” date. Look for “Update for Windows 7 (KB2952664).” Right-click on it and choose Uninstall.

      Unfortunately, KB 2976978 can’t always be uninstalled.

      Step 3. If you are not going to upgrade this computer directly to Windows 10, uninstall KB 3150513 if you can.

      Instructions are similar.

      There’s a lengthy discussion by @pkcano in AKB 2952664 including several suggestions from @mrbrian for disabling specific services and a synopsis by @abbodi86. AKB 2952664 also lists several additional KB patches you may want to delete.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, this is exactly the approach recommended by @mrbrian.

      To haul out the bigger guns, if you’re handy with batch files, there’s a script maintained by @abbodi86 that’ll stop the Unified Telemetry Client service and the Compatibility Telemetry Appraiser services and remove their registry entries. (If you have to ask, “What’s a script?” don’t bother with this approach — it’s too advanced for you.)

      Many of you are looking for blocklists — a specific list of KB numbers to uninstall, and/or a list of services to disable and/or a list of ports to block. You’re welcome to post your favorite list here, in the replies. But for those of you who don’t want to wade into the deep part of the gene pool, realize that we fundamentally don’t know what Microsoft’s doing.

      • This topic was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  woody.
      • This topic was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  woody.
      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #117333 Reply

      MrBrian
      AskWoody MVP

      In my opinion, of the three steps listed, only step 1 is mandatory. If you’ve done step 1, then even if you don’t do step 2, according to my Windows 7 tests, very little telemetry from KB 2952664 (Win7) gets transmitted to Microsoft. If you’ve done step 1, then the main reason to do step 2 is to stop the gathering of telemetry, which happens even if step 1 is done, and can consume nontrivial cpu and disk resources.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  MrBrian.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #117334 Reply

      MrBrian
      AskWoody MVP
    • #117336 Reply

      MrBrian
      AskWoody MVP

      From Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 Telemetry Updates (Diagnostic Tracking):

      “There are a few more settings that you can turn off that may send telemetry information:

      To turn off Windows Update telemetry, you have two choices. Either turn off Windows Update, or set your devices to be managed by an on premises update server, such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

      Turn off Windows Defender Cloud-based Protection and Automatic sample submission in Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender.

      Manage the Malicious Software Removal Tool in your organization. For more info, see Microsoft KB article 891716.”

      I’ll add one more: Windows Error Reporting.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #117707 Reply

        ch100
        AskWoody MVP

        I would add that Windows Error Reporting should be disabled on All Users to avoid sending data for the whole system. Even if the data sent are not considered harmful, there is the potential for creating huge logs (tens of GB) filling the drive C:\ and as such consideration should be given to this setting.
        In Windows 10, Windows Error Reporting can be disabled only by using a Group Policy, or possibly by directly editing the registry.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #119759 Reply

        MrBrian
        AskWoody MVP
    • #117338 Reply

      MrBrian
      AskWoody MVP

      For those interested in privacy issues involving network connections to Microsoft, both telemetry and non-telemetry, you may wish to browse Links: Microsoft privacy statements and Windows network connections to Microsoft.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #117361 Reply

      anonymous

      As a somewhat easier way to find random “KB” numbers in the list of installed updates, at least in Windows 7, the “Search Installed Updates” box at the right-hand end of the Address Bar can be used to search for a specific KB number.

      After going to Control Panel, Programs and Features, and clicking on “View Installed Updates” in the left side bar (and waiting for awhile for the list of updates to come up…), then the Search Installed Updates function can be used.

      EG: to find if KB2952664 is currently installed on a system, just start typing KB2952664 in the Search Installed Updates field.  As you type K, B, 2, 9, 5, 2… the list of installed updates will be narrowed down to any matching as much of the KB number as you have entered.

      Once you have found the update you are looking for (or not if nothing is found), it can be clicked on to see if it can be uninstalled.

      Repeat for KB3150513 (or any other KB you are looking for).

      This is much easier that scrolling down a HUGE list of updates on a system (eg: my current old laptop has 536 updates installed!), and doesn’t require any sorting or grouping of the update list.

      I can’t remember where I found out about this, but I know it is sure lots easier than trying to find an update by scrolling up and down, and trying to pick the KB number out of a mass of text on the screen.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #117553 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        If you click on the title of the column (Update name, date, etc) it will sort on that column. It is a toggle – first click ascending, next click descending, etc. That puts the updates in each section (updates, Security update. .NET…) in alphanumeric order, and looking for an update by its KB number is easy.
        (Works like a spreadsheet)

    • #117382 Reply

      owdrtn
      AskWoody Lounger

      Turn off Windows Defender Cloud-based Protection and Automatic sample submission in Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender.

      Don’t see any such thing on Win7 ? Could this apply only to later OS ?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #117501 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        Pertinent settings in Windows Defender on Win 7:

        Win7Defend1

        Win7Defend2

        There might be some terminology confusion on Windows 7 between “Microsoft Security Essentials” and “Windows Defender”, since the former grew into the latter on later OS versions. If you have MSE, note the MAPS setting:

        MAPS

        -Noel

        • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Noel Carboni.
        • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Noel Carboni.
        • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Noel Carboni.
        Attachments:
        You must be logged in to view attached files.
        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #117677 Reply

      SueW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Don’t see any such thing on Win7

      When I searched for Windows Defender, this is what I got:

      Windows-Defender-Turned-Off-1

       

       

       

      Win 7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit; Office 2010; Group B; Former 'Tech Weenie'

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  SueW.
      • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  SueW. Reason: Reduced image size
      • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  SueW.
      Attachments:
      You must be logged in to view attached files.
    • #117939 Reply

      anonymous

      #117301

      I’m a newbie from the Comments on AKB 2000003 “Group B” ongoing list of w 7 & w 8.1 updates.  Thank you for the telemetry preventive course of action.  Will pass on to other newbies who need the help.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: 2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information:


    One Response to “2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping”

    1. […] install all of the offered patches, turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program (Step 1 of AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Windows 7 and 8.1 snooping) before you install any patches. (Thx […]