This has been going around on the ‘Net the past few days. It has been found that Windows 10 uploads data to its servers even when every “feature” and app that normally might be expected to do that is disabled/uninstalled. For example, even if you don’t use the Cortana voice-command feature or Bing search, stuff is still being uploaded to Microsoft servers related to this. And even when users choose to not participate in any sort of customer improvement options and disable any kind of tracking, it is still tracking and uploading things.
Not only is this a big privacy issue, there is also a system performance issue, as extra CPU cycles must be run and disk and network activity must occur to process these telemetry-related tasks.
And it is also the case that Windows 8.1 and 7 also are now doing this. Microsoft has been adding all these telemetry and tracking aspects to them lately through Windows Update, making them closer to Windows 10.
The advice from many experts now is to not go near Windows 10. Do not install it. Retain your privacy and control over your systems.
Below are instructions for disabling the unwanted telemetry/tracking in Windows 7 and 8.1
Below is a list of Windows updates which add telemetry/tracking. Before uninstalling them and rebooting make sure that you have Windows Update set to not automatically install updates:
KB3083325 Windows Update for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2: September 2015.
KB3083324 Windows Update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: September 2015.
KB2976978 Compatibility update for Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.
KB3075853 Windows Update Client for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2: August 2015.
KB3065987 Windows Update Client for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: July 2015.
KB3050265 Windows Update Client for Windows 7: June 2015.
KB3075851 Windows Update Client for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: August 2015.
KB2902907 MS Security Essentials/Windows Defender related update [no description/information available]
KB3068708 Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry.
KB3022345 Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry.
KB2952664 Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7.
KB2990214 Update that enables you to upgrade from Windows 7 to a later version of Windows.
KB3035583 Update installs Get Windows 10 app in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1.
KB971033 Description of the update for Windows Activation Technologies.
KB3021917 Update to Windows 7 SP1 for performance improvements.
KB3044374 Update that enables you to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to a later version of Windows.
KB3075249 Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.
KB3080149 Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry.
They can be uninstalled manually via elevated command prompt with the following commands:
wusa /uninstall /kb:3083325 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3083324 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:2976978 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075853 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3065987 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3050265 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075851 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:2902907 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:2990214 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:971033 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3021917 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3044374 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart
Alternately, here is a .bat file to run the above commands. It must be run in an elevated command prompt. (Don’t forget to reboot afterwards. You can proceed to finish the next steps before rebooting.)
The following services should be removed:
In an elevated command prompt run the following:
sc stop DiagTrack
sc stop dmwappushservice
sc delete DiagTrack
sc delete dmwappushservice
echo "" > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl
Open the Task Scheduler (Win key then type “sched”). Under Task Scheduler Library -> Microsoft delete the following items:
Everything under “Application Experience”
Everything under “Autochk”
Everything under “Customer Experience Improvement Program”
Under “Disk Diagnostic” delete only the “Microsoft-Windows-DiskDiagnosticDataCollector”
Under “Maintenance” “WinSAT”
“Media Center” and click the “status” column, then select all non-disabled entries and disable them.
Now you can reboot. When you open Windows Update again it will ask to install whichever updates above were removed. Right-click on each one and select “hide”.
Finally, log in to your broadband router and look for an option like “content filtering” or “block sites”. Add the following hosts to be blocked. On my Netgear router each host is a keyword that must be added.