Microsoft reissues its infamous snooping patches for Windows 7 and 8.1

Eye spy

It’s good to keep Windows up to date, as it ensures you’re safe from the latest security threats, and you might benefit from other improvements. However, you shouldn’t always blindly install every patch that comes along.

Case in point are the infamous snooping patches KB2952664 (for Windows 7) and KB2976978 (for Windows 8.1), which today get yet another outing.

In the past these triggered a snooping Windows task called DoScheduledTelemetryRun, and were linked to the infamous GWX (Get Windows 10) campaign that forced OS upgrades on Windows 7 and 8.1 users. Microsoft is at pains to point out there’s no GWX or upgrade functionality in the updates now, but you still shouldn’t install them.

Microsoft’s description for the new patches is:

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.

The scheduled tasks apparently run regardless of whether you have CEIP enabled or not, and aside from increased telemetry, which benefits Microsoft, not you, they serve no useful purpose and so should be blocked.

If you’ve blocked these updates previously -- they were last revised and pushed out a month ago -- you’ll need to block them once more now they’ve been reissued.

Image credit: NatUlrich/Shutterstock

43 Responses to Microsoft reissues its infamous snooping patches for Windows 7 and 8.1

  1. lvthunder says:

    "The scheduled tasks apparently run regardless of whether you have CEIP
    enabled or not, and aside from increased telemetry, which benefits
    Microsoft, not you, they serve no useful purpose and so should be
    blocked."

    So Microsoft knowing what's going on with Windows out in the real world doesn't benefit me and serves no useful purpose and should be blocked. What a absurd statement. Of course there are benefits to the users. It allows them to track down issues faster which helps everyone.

    • trparky says:

      If they came right out and told us what exactly what they're collecting in plain English instead of being so secret about it we perhaps wouldn't have a problem with it. But since they won't tell us we have to assume that they're collecting something that perhaps we may not want them to know about.

    • Another_Lurker says:

      First, all phoning home to the mothership by anyone should be completely optional for the user. Second, MS has been very shysterly in how they describe what they are doing; most people are not fluent in shyster. Third, MS has done several actions that make many users distrust what PR flack is babbling (or more accurately lying).

      So explain to anyone with a couple of functioning brain cells why MS' phoning home should be trusted? PR/shyster babble about improving Windows does not cut since MS has not been listening to users recently.

      • Jopin Klobe says:

        "shysterly" ...

        ... perfect adverb ...

      • disqus_8NvNH4baa0 says:

        They're listening, not to what we tell them, only to what they *want* to listen to, which is what we don't want them to listen to and that is none of their G.D. business.

      • Another_Lurker says:

        What I hear others saying is they want a conventional WIMP Interface on a desktop/laptop at least as option they can select. They want control of updates and phoning home even if they accept the OS defaults. They do not want updates to reset their settings on default applications. In other words, treated with respect as befits a paying customer.

      • John Chhouk says:

        One question why I mean people already say no and they already got into trouble with this. It's like somebody studied how to be a successful stalker /successful in a abuseive relationship and turned that into a business model your thoughts

      • Another_Lurker says:

        Someone forgot the first rule of the most successful monopolist, John D. Rockefeller: keep the quality up and prices low. Never give a customer a good reason to want to find alternative supplier either by low quality or high prices. MS has ignored the quality part as well as the pricing part. A poorly executed OS gives someone a good reason for looking for an alternative.

    • YouBloggingLoser says:

      Google tracks MS problems down faster than MS does. ....or did you miss that?

      • MyDisqussion says:

        What are the odds now that Microsoft won't release a March update? Have to check with my bookie.

      • lvthunder says:

        Google reports exploits. They don't report everyday bugs and slowdowns.

    • Pecan says:

      Do you see MS falling-over themselves in the rush to release genuine updates to Win 7 - the OS they're trying to kill? (Every one since then died on its own).
      Security updates yes, but no meaningful functionality.

    • Fantasm says:

      ". Of course there are benefits to the users. It allows them to track down issues faster which helps everyone."
      Really? Then how did Windows ever function before now? Why are there more issues with Windows 10 than previous version of windows?
      And really, you think MS is trying to make Windows 7 better? The OS it would like to see move to Windows 10...?

    • disqus_8NvNH4baa0 says:

      Look at the statements made about messing with the Samba project by MS, then come back and tell us about how they are trying to help us.

  2. MyDisqussion says:

    Why can't Microsoft just do a pop-up when an issue occurs indicating that a problem has been detected, and would you like to report it (along with any other sensitive or proprietary data we can pull out of memory) to the mothership? Dr. Watson at least asked you.

    Microsoft may want to record how long users spend in apps, but knowing what filenames are opened, or metadata associated with those files, is irrelevant outside of an anomalous condition.

    • nvic says:

      Agreed. The most they should really need for compatibility information is the name of the program/program's EXE (NOT the name of the document opened in said program!), the version information of said program, and the number of times it's crashed. That should give them enough to say "version X.Y of program Z is crashing a lot after these patches shipped, we need to look at this".

      Actual crash logs and dumps should get user consent when they're sent. Even better if a user who wants to help could redact things like file names before sending it (as opposed to simply not sending).

      Regardless all data submission should be optional.

  3. nvic says:

    We just blocked KB2952664 in WSUS again at work, and also have a script that runs from GPO to disable the scheduled task for CompatTelRunner and related crap (we had an older version that got deployed and won't uninstall).

    Not only is it spyware, CompatTelRunner is a CPU hog as well, especially right after boot.

    This is getting old MS...

    • Captain555 says:

      Delete CompatTelRunner. W10 work better after.

      • Pecan says:

        Delete W10. Computer work better after. *wink*

      • nvic says:

        We've got 7 here.

        Disabling it's task does the same thing in terms of performance and functionality. The only thing we're not getting is that 15MB of disk space back.

        Maybe next time our PCs get a new image we'll see about eliminating the thing entirely.

    • psycros says:

      All great empires crumble from within.

  4. Order_66 says:

    Thanks for the heads up Wayne, more incoming assaults on consumer privacy from Microsoft that will be blocked yet again.

  5. Slavic says:

    But wait a minute, why they have released this instead of postponed in February updates which should have patched the critical flaws recently publicised by Google? Is this telemetry more important for MS than our security?

    • MyDisqussion says:

      Microsoft wants to get at least one update out this month, hence this patch. It may not bode well for Tuesday.

  6. Order_66 says:

    "The scheduled tasks apparently run regardless of whether you have CEIP enabled or not"

    There really should be a doj investigation into this because it's borderline criminal, deliberately lying so that they can gather potentially personally identifying information from your pc.

    • 1DaveN says:

      They don't investigate half the major crimes that come their way, so I doubt they're interested in conspiracy theories about "potentially" anything.

  7. Pecan says:

    Mmmm, your ethics are showing there MS. Remind me to consider your products for my clients' sensitive, mission-critical needs. It's good to laugh.

  8. Blackholesun says:

    Someone at Microsoft is REALLY SICK !

  9. MyDisqussion says:

    My hands are down. I don't use Media Player or Cortana. I like SMplayer.

  10. realDonaldTrump says:

    Excellent news, great news indeed. This will make it much easier for Microsoft to fix bugs in Windows without collecting any private user data.

  11. Bob Bradley says:

    If it helps the CIA and the progressive cause, shouldn't we ensure that this patch is installed and verified by the NSA? It's for our own protection. After all, the Chinese have a hardware backdoor built in to every device. We mustn't have a spyware gap.

    • disqus_8NvNH4baa0 says:

      Hey watch it there, CIA, NSA, Military, et al are pushed by and associated with the right wing, NOT progressives! Hillary was *not* a progressive, despite her lies to the contrary.

      • Bob Bradley says:

        Ha Ha, they really have you fooled. You are either young or you're ..... I'll just leave it there and assume naivety. It's not nice to point out people with cognitive issues.

      • disqus_8NvNH4baa0 says:

        Sorry, I guess I couldn't stay nice and avoid pointing out your issues.

        Troll, get back under your bridge.

  12. Fantasm says:

    "Hands up if you turned off telemetry and used to use Media Center and then ******* about it being pulled from Windows 10.
    (Or is that not nefarious enough for people?)"
    .
    I see, then by your logic, Edge browser should have been removed a year ago...

  13. Mark Deacon says:

    Problem for Microsoft and getting worse ... can you ever really believe them again especially with the wikileaks and CIA vault 7 release. Dropping windows where I can and triyng not to use it anymore.

  14. Ted de Castro says:

    THANK-YOU I keep a list of all those "poison" updates from the wx push and this one is high on my list. I am glad CNET is there to keep us apprised of these liabilities as they arise.

  15. Bob Grant says:

    This is one of the many reasons why my system has yet to have any OS updates at all since April 2016.

  16. sdbay says:

    Microsoft's head is in the cloud. Aside from spying and advertising Microsoft seems not to care about Windows10 or what their customers think.

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