Microsoft Secretly Includes Telemetry Software in More Windows Updates

Telemetry is a necessary evil, as software developers need to collect certain data to be able to improve their products and fix issues that would otherwise be impossible to diagnose.

But when telemetry is secretly included in Windows updates and then enabled in the operating system without telling users, people get worried.

This is what happened back in July when Microsoft included telemetry code in an update aimed at Windows 7, all without making it clear enough in the KB pages.

And now Microsoft is doing it again, according to Woody Leonhard of CW, as telemetry services are part of the latest updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 and shipped on September 10.

Interestingly enough, Windows 7 is not the only one getting the telemetry this month, but also Windows 8.1, the OS version that will continue to be supported until January 10, 2023. Windows 7, on the other hand, will be retired in January next year.

Scheduled tasks

According to the cited source, one way to deal with the telemetry installed in the latest monthly rollups for Windows 7 and 8.1 is to get rid of the following scheduled tasks:

MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceProgramDataUpdater

MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceMicrosoft Compatibility Appraiser

MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceAitAgent

While Microsoft remains tight-lipped on this, all we have is the information that the company includes in a separate update labeled as KB2952664 and enabling similar telemetry capabilities:

“This update performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. The diagnostics evaluate the compatibility status of the Windows ecosystem, and help Microsoft to ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows. There is no GWX or upgrade functionality contained in this update.”

Is something similar happening right now? Hard to say, but if telemetry is indeed part of the latest Windows monthly rollups, Microsoft really deserves everyone an explanation on what exactly is happening.

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