Disabling Windows 10 spy features

You were warned. Really, and not once – do not trust big corporations, do not trust robots. And now, look at that: humanity is either driven into stinking holes, nearly stone age style, or obeys every command of that monster tower, the AI deity. If only we could go back in times when Windows only has began to set itself as self-aware entity, about year 2015, when there was version 9… no, 10. They did not ship 9 actually. If only we were wise enough to shut it down due to this code…

Jokes aside, but some users are being paranoid on Microsoft spying on their data. Also there is this annoying “Get free Win10” thing which clearly violates common sense and humane respect laws, even if it’s legal by license agreement (one you most probably even haven’t read, ha-ha) that you’d like to turn off if you are perfectly happy with you The Seventh.

But wait, doesn’t The Seventh spy on you, too? Let’s dig into history of question.

On one forum [1] there is such a conspiracy theory:

 Did you know: Your computer BY DEFAULT is spying on you and sending everything you do to MS... It's true OPEN the following (following applies to win7)
 Start Menu
 System Tools
 Task Scheduler
 On the left you'll see "Task Scheduler Library" seems innocent enough right... Expand it the expand microsoft then expand Windows. As you go through the list some are innocent enough but there are several that are sending your use info to "who knows who" at MS. Just a few that I've disabled are "application experience" "customer experience improvement program" "location" "WPD"

We can’t really say what Microsoft does with data labeled as ‘customer experience improvement’ or what kind of data it is, but following strings enact many background tasks you are not aware of – and by deleting them you free some performance resources. Also, if you conduct some secret activity against Rise of the Machines, this is extremely useful.

Click for full view of location
Click for full view of location

To kill ravaging advertisement for MS Windows 10 it is advised to shut down some of these installed updates [2]:

KB2952664 Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7
 KB2990214 Update that enables you to upgrade from Windows 7 to a later version of Windows
 KB3021917 Update to Windows 7 SP1 for performance improvements
 KB3022345 Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
 KB3035583 Update installs get windows 10 app in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1
 KB3068708 (replaces KB3022345) Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
 KB3075249 Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7
 KB3080149 Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

In order to commence this go to your Control Panel, open whichever application that is responsible for Programs and Components in your version of Windows, and search for abovementioned codes.

Now, if you want to get Windows 10, but are still being bugged with getting it, you could try something of the above or follow instructions by How to Geek [3].

After all these vanilla issues, let’s sink deeper in paranoia: you do not have to install Windows 10, already infamous with spying on you, to lose your privacy, according to Extremetech [4]. There are some updates for Win7 and Win8 that make them to “phone back home” (send so-called telemetry) as it is with newest operating system from Microsoft. You might want to dispose of these, too, in a way described above:

  • KB 3068708
  • KB 3068708
  • KB 3022345
  • KB 3075249
  • KB 3080149

And in case you were wondering what telemetry is, here are some answers, collected in comments on Reddit [5] – and they are pretty obscure, especially what concerns ‘unintentionally’ grabbing parts of your secret private documents on World Domination or newest Flying Submarine designs, and then you have special forces eliminating you in zero time amidst the night:

This bellow is from Windows 10 but will give you a general idea of what they are collecting and since Miscrosoft likes for you to enable Full data collection that will probably be the default option for windows 7 and 8.1
As you use Windows, we collect performance and usage information that helps us identify and troubleshoot problems as well as improve our products and services. We recommend that you select Full for this setting.
  • Basic information is data that is vital to the operation of Windows. This data helps keep Windows and apps running properly by letting Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also turns on basic error reporting back to Microsoft. If you select this option, we’ll be able to provide updates to Windows (through Windows Update, including malicious software protection by the Malicious Software Removal Tool), but some apps and features may not work correctly or at all.
  • Enhanced data includes all Basic data plus data about how you use Windows, such as how frequently or how long you use certain features or apps and which apps you use most often. This option also lets us collect enhanced diagnostic information, such as the memory state of your device when a system or app crash occurs, as well as measure reliability of devices, the operating system, and apps. If you select this option, we’ll be able to provide you with an enhanced and personalized Windows experience.
  • Full data includes all Basic and Enhanced data, and also turns on advanced diagnostic features that collect additional data from your device, such as system files or memory snapshots, which may unintentionally include parts of a document you were working on when a problem occurred. This information helps us further troubleshoot and fix problems. If an error report contains personal data, we won’t use that information to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. This is the recommended option for the best Windows experience and the most effective troubleshooting.

We’ve put all this here for your convenience on what to print out and save for descendants in time-resisting capsules or being told as prophecies to save world someday.

Also we are sorry, but Friday evening was too tempting to resist fancy of using tabloid sensation slang for this article.

Special thanks to Alexei Parnowski for gathered links.

  1. Windows 7 Espionage
  2. Windows 7 telemetry issues
  3. Disabling Windows 10 icon in tray
  4. Windows 7 and 8 get same spyware as Windows 10
  5. Removing telemetry from Windows 7 and 8x

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