Windows 7 and 8: Microsoft User-Tracking Update

A while back, we wrote about how Windows 10 was equipped with a lot of annoying default settings that essentially tracked everything you did and sent them back to Microsoft to be used for just about anything. Some things were innocent enough, like wanting to collect data to make the user’s experience better. However, the company also wanted to build marketing profiles around other data. Welp, now this isn’t just a Windows 10 problem. Microsoft has recently pushed a Windows 7 and 8 update that does all of the same shenanigans.

UPDATES TO LOOK OUT FOR ON WINDOWS 7 and 8

Originally found by Ghacks, these are the three Windows 7 and 8 updates that are tracking your data.

KB3068708 – “This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices by applying this service, you can add 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.” In other words, this tracks Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
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.” Again, this is another diagnostic tool for Microsoft’s CEIP.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WINDOWS 7 and 8

The good news is that the last two updates are optional, which means that if you have your computer set to automatically update, then it shouldn’t download them. However, KD3068708 is a Recommended update, which means it will automatically update. In other words, you’ll have to manually update your computer if you want to avoid this from downloading onto your device.

Another way to avoid it is by turning off Microsoft’s CEIP altogether. Unfortunately, this is a little more involved than it might seem at first glance. Take a look here for a step-by-step tutorial on how to do that.

OTHER SETTINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

If you’re a Windows 10 user that wants to keep Microsoft out, then you might want to check out a few features and decide if they’re worth having. Wi-Fi Sense is one of them. This feature will allow new users to connect to new Wi-Fi networks much easier. If you have friends over, they would be able to access your Wi-Fi network without even needing to ask for the password. Unfortunately, you can’t pick who is able to access this, and your friends can pass on network information to others they meet up with down the line, so it’s not exactly the most secure feature to have, even though it is pretty convenient.

Cortana is another feature that wants access to just about everything, and is always listening in to you. According to Microsoft, the company will never send this information to advertisers, but the honest truth is that you don’t know what Microsoft is doing. You can go into Cortana’s “About Me” section to review what type of information she is collecting and edit it, or completely turn her off.

If you were hoping Microsoft would reverse some of its privacy issues related to Windows 7 and 8, now would be a good time to stop holding your breath.


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Brandon is a tech enthusiast who is always on the lookout for interesting stories. In his spare time he teaches guitar, manages a gaming blog, drinks gallons of coffee, and has even been known to enjoy a mouthwatering sandwich from time to time. He writes Space and Technology news for Clapway.