Windows 10 has been installed by more than 50 million users worldwide, yet, it remains a little known fact that Windows 10 operating system captures and reports user data back to Microsoft servers.
Due to this, many loyal Windows users are unhappy with Windows 10 spying capabilities, and have chosen to instead stick with Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1. However, the latest updates Microsoft has been pushing to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users could change everything for the privacy conscious.
KB3075249 adds telemetry points to consent.exe running in Windows 7 and the 8.1 operating system versions. Microsoft’s support page describes the two updates as:
- KB3075249 – “This update adds telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature to collect information on elevations that come from low integrity levels.”
- KB3080149 – “This package updates the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices. This service provides benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that have not yet upgraded. The update also supports applications that are subscribed to Visual Studio Application Insights.”
Simply put, if these updates are installed on any Windows machines, they will snoop on you and report data back to Microsoft servers just as Windows 10 does by default. Once the updates are installed, the machine is no more private than a Windows 10 machine as it reports swaths of personal data right back to the company.
Windows 7/8/8.1 Snooping Updates Don’t Stop There
There is little to no news regarding the updates, however, tech forums are enraged about the company’s spying habits. Users throughout various forums have reported users should avoid the following updates from Microsoft:
- KB3035583– According to Microsoft, this update enables “additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications when new updates are available”.
- KB2952664 – Labeled a compatibility upgrade for upgrading Windows 7, its purpose is to “make improvements to the current operating system in order to ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows”.
- KB2976978 – A compatibility update for Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 which “performs diagnostics on the Windows system [..] to determine whether compatibility issues may be encountered when the latest Windows operating system is installed.
- KB3021917 – Does the same as KB2976978 but on Windows 7.
- KB3044374 – This update for Windows 8.1 enables systems to upgrade from the current operating system to a later version of Windows.
- KB2990214 – Does the same as KB3044374 but on Windows 7.
If you enjoy your privacy and have stuck to an earlier Windows version to avoid Microsoft’s data collection abuse, we highly recommend you avoid the updates mentioned above. But how do you know if any of the following updates were installed on your machine? Easy!
How to Uninstall the Privacy Violating Updates
To check if any of the following updates are installed on your system, you can:
- Click the Windows Start Menu on the bottom left, type in CMD and hit enter
- Type powershell and hit enter
- Run the following command to check whether or not an update is installed: get-hotfix -id KB3035583
- If you wish to speed things up you can run multiple checks in a single command like this: get-hotfix -id KB3035583,KB2952664,KB2976978,KB3021917,KB3044374,KB2990214,KB3022345
If no update is found, the command prompt may bring up some red text with an error, don’t worry though, it’s simply stating no update with that label exists. However, if an update is found, it should display some information such as description, ID and the date it was installed.
If you wish to remove any of the updates you can follow the steps below to remove these privacy violating updates in Windows 7/8/8.1 (we cannot be help responsible if anything happens to your system during any of these processes):
- Once again click the Windows Start Menu, type CMD and hit enter. If you are still in powershell from the previous commands, type exit to leave.
- Execute the following command to uninstall any desired patches and change the end numbers to uninstall different updates: wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664
A full list of updates that can spy on you was listed on SevenForums, with users claiming the following should not be installed:
KB2876229 (if you want Skype then install it), KB2923545, KB2970228, KB3035583, KB2990214, KB3021917, KB3068708 , KB2592687, KB2660075, KB2506928, KB2952664 x2, KB3050265, KB2726535, KB2994023, KB3022345 (replaced by KB3068708 Telemetry), KB3022345 (caused false sfc result), KB2545698 (IE9), KB3065987, KB3080149 and KB3075249, however this list has not yet been independently verified.
To ensure your system stays safe from these spying updates, be sure to check the status code before installing any updates. If you notice any of the above, simply right click the update, and select hide this update. Be careful though, they may reappear after a reboot.