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  • Anti-Telemetry Softwares. Surveillance Capitalisms.

    Posted on Michael Austin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Outside the box Rumors and what-ifs Anti-Telemetry Softwares. Surveillance Capitalisms.

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      • #2141618 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        My thought here was sparked by what bbearren opined about using straightforward drive images — to smoothly and easily recover from mistakes Microsoft makes in their ridiculously labrythine game of Windows 10 (Whac-a-Mole OS) patching. Apple has the same attitudes about iOS.  Apple’s and Microsoft’s untrustworthy records of security or reliability patches tell me they’re not releasing the patches because it’s always and only about security or reliability. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

        “I do like how your philosophy sounds and reads, bbearren. And I agree with most of it. I already keep drive images. That way if Micrsoft does something truly stupid which breaks my computers, I can smoothly recover from it. I also use 3 different, separate data backup locations. I have backups of my backups.

        I’m what most adept geeks on Ask Woody would call a power user. But while I’m capable of granular management of all software publishers’ shenanigans, I prefer not to have to babysit the ridiculously-granular functions and problems which Microsoft’s or Apple’s incessant, destructive, teenage churning games of Whac-a-Mole they bring to me and everyone. They release their illicit churnings as ‘security updates’ and that’s often quite a transparent lie. It’s also not true that everything they do is illicit. That makes me an outlier to opine those things. Yet by looking at their behaviors it’s easy to show that where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Half-baked security updates to any software giants’ OS softwares are one thing, which unnecessarily cause problems which would otherwise be completely avoidable.

        My main interest managing the invasive Microsoft, Apple, or Google telemetries and unauthorized theft of my own data exhaust, gleaned without my permission from any of my machines. I own my machines, Not Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, or Amazon. These companies now-common surveillance capitalisms amount to heinous thefts of everyone’s privacies. But you don’t have to lay down and accept that.

        I am not the sum or synergy of my data exhaust. They have never been granted any rights to them. And there are never acceptable reasons for us to agree to let them do it. Like you would with any rapacious, greedy company, you must stand up to them in appropriate ways, and that often means en-masse.

        Just today my web crawlers picked up two separate media articles in support of this:

        So… I’m especially interested in finding the newest software companies who know how to prevent the theft of my telemetry data, and who share the perspective that my data are my data and no one else’s. That means looking for software which babysits alleged software security updates for me, in a manner I like, on both Microsoft and Apple operating systems. When I built and ran a LAN I used a patch management server for this. The market has changed many times since then.

        The philosophy of the new company, Jumbo Privacy, mentioned in the 1st article is especially encouraging.”

        Who have y’all seen who’s publishing great anti-telemetry softwares? Thank you. When I rewrote this I’m reminded that there are also virtual machines to be used which put everything in a RAM sandbox instead of committing changes to operating drives.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2141662 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Looking forward to discovering some great anti-telemetry software.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2141669 Reply
        b
        AskWoody Plus

        Telemetry data is not stolen. You agree to it when you accept the Windows 10 License Terms:

        By accepting this agreement and using the software you agree that Microsoft may collect, use, and disclose the information as described in the Microsoft Privacy Statement (aka.ms/privacy),

        Microsoft collects Windows diagnostic data to solve problems and to keep Windows up to date, secure, and operating properly.

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2141697 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          Telemetry data may not be stolen. And yes, we agree to it when you accept the Windows 10 License Terms.

          But we do not have to like it.  We started using Microsoft software decades ago when DOS was king – long before the internet and  telemetry.

          We are a small business and at this point our cost of moving to from Windows to another operating system will be in the tens of thousands of dollars for new software as well as the cost of programing and data migration.

          So, we are forced to agree to Microsoft’s terms and conditions under duress.

          We do not have to like telemetry and it is in our best interest to minimize the amount of data software developers can harvest from our machines.

          5 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2141747 Reply
            b
            AskWoody Plus

            You should run the Diagnostic Data Viewer to discover what is being transmitted to Microsoft:

            The Diagnostic Data Viewer is a Windows app that lets you review the Windows diagnostic data your device is sending to Microsoft, grouping the info into simple categories based on how it’s used by Microsoft.
            Diagnostic Data Viewer Overview

            Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2141761 Reply
            Michael Austin
            AskWoody Plus

            Most telemetry data will be misused because laws governing its use are intentionally skewed towards the companies which assemble and sell it, and/or because there inadequate or inadequately enforced laws about them.

            Shoshona Zuboff’s book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, mentions a group who had a look at scale and scope of the now ubiquitous, interdependent, clickwrap licensing of software publishers and cloud data companies like Google and facebook. My recollection of what she said is that if an individual user were to read all of the clickwraps and their inter-related licenses one uses, it would take over a year of full-time work to sort through upwards of 1,000 pages of software agreements. So are those ethical agreements? No. Were they ever? No.

            This environment did not exist at time DOS and the Windows OS series were conceived and released.

            Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2141699 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        To anyone who feels capable to understand it, did the Avast license permit and make legal the way they sold data through Jumpshot?  Computer scientists often say that most anonymized or de-identified data can easily be reassociated with a unique, even known person.  Does GDPR change your answer to the above, if the customer is in Europe?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2141755 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        To anyone who feels capable to understand it, did the Avast license permit and make legal the way they sold data through Jumpshot?  Computer scientists often say that most anonymized or de-identified data can easily be reassociated with a unique, even known person.  Does GDPR change your answer to the above, if the customer is in Europe?

        It seems your questions are phrased rhetorically. No, its my understanding that Avast never explained to its end-users what they’d do with their private data or their data exhaust, or ask them for permission. And GDPR should change nothing — unless US law prefers to continue its policies of encouraging the widespread use of our personal data without reasonable consent.

        From what I’ve seen the new surveillance capitalisms had many precursors. One that came to mind was very old data clearinghouse MetroMail. You could give them an unsorted list of personal names, and they could easily match your list with their databases to find out where you lived, your private telephone number, your likely range of income and personal net worth, and many other things. Did most people find that kind’a creepy? Yes. Were MetroMail’s programs used to sell you things against your own interests. No.

        These days machine learning and AI create new, completely different, heretofore unimagined opportunities and problems. And by their plodding nature the governments which were meant to look after our privacy interests are hopelessly outgunned and outpaced by the boundaryless, international, virtual nation states of many giant companies.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

      • #2141771 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Spybot anti-beacon is a great and east anti-telemetry software.

        https://www.safer-networking.org/products/spybot-anti-beacon/

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2141791 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          Does anyone else use Spybot anti-beacon?

          • #2141805 Reply
            Bluetrix
            AskWoody MVP

            Does anyone else use Spybot anti-beacon?

            I used it pre v1809, then I switched to O&Oshutup which had better control options and descriptions of what it did. imho

            Now I use  Glasswire paid version.  Requires user observation to block MS “spying”, but does a lot of other things.

            For a just “click and stop” program try both O&O and Spybot.  Then choose, both work to a degree.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2142007 Reply
              wavy
              AskWoody Plus

              Now I use Glasswire paid version. Requires user observation to block MS “spying”, but does a lot of other things.

              They do not seem to advertise an unpaid version which is not unusual. The idea of a firewall for Android is interesting. I find the fact that they hide the fact that the price is for a SUBSCRIPTION buy leaving that info to the end and using the word BUY is enough to make me jump back.

              🍻

              Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
              • #2169303 Reply
                JohnW
                AskWoody Plus

                I paid for GlassWire Pro and it is well worth it, using the “click to allow” feature to only allow applications that you want to access the network.

                My blocked list is rather extensive.

                Can’t block everything without breaking the network completely, but otherwise it’s a very helpful tool that lets you eliminate a lot of  “phoning home”. Also logs what has accessed the network. It’s a very good start to minimizing the problem!

                3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2154126 Reply
            DriftyDonN
            AskWoody Plus

            I used it back in 2000 but I find it interesting that they now use Bit Defender Antivirus engine…..wikipeadia says, sooo……

            I use BD now and its something of a pain at times. But it does seem to work!

            • #2169397 Reply
              DriftyDonN
              AskWoody Plus

              this was supposed to be a reply to Anonymous and Kathy Stephens re: does anyone use spy bot…..somehow replying to posts go wherever they happen to land.

              Lets see where this goes…its posed to be reply to my post ….dang forgot the #

              ” spybot uses Bitdefender av engine…”

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2141819 Reply
        satrow
        AskWoody MVP

        Debotnet seems to be worth a look, it’s being updated frequently:

        The Windows 10 default privacy settings leave a lot to be desired when it comes to protecting you and your private information. Whenever I set up a new computer or update a current setup for my family or job, I always carefully go through the privacy settings for each install, making sure to lock it down to make it as private as possible.

        Windows 10 has raised several concerns about privacy due to the fact that it has a lot of telemetry and online features, which send your data (sensitive and not) to Microsoft and can’t be disabled, which means Microsoft can:

        Run software on your computer without your consent
        Get data from your computer without your consent
        Remove software and files from your computer without your consent

        Features

        Disable telemetry and online features, which send your data (sensitive and not) to Microsoft
        Choose which unwanted functions you wish to disable
        Debotnet will show you what it’s doing. You have full control, because the executing code can be viewed in a simple text editor
        Simple scripting engine for adding custom privacy rules
        Debug mode. E.g. the Test mode lets you see which values are twisted in registry or commands executed
        Scripts updated on GitHub
        Modern and familiar UI, with theme support
        Small footprint. No installation required.
        Portable

        New in version 0.6.0:

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2153457 Reply
          Rick Corbett
          AskWoody_MVP

          I’ve just had a look at Debotnet 0.6.0 and I’m impressed.

          Not only is it tiny (~4MB) and portable (which I like) with a very clear GUI but I love that it provides very clear information about each of the items.

          I like that it allows you to test each script and shows (if you want) exactly what changes will be made. Be aware though that ‘Undo script’ does *not* re-install built-in apps that it removes:

          debotnet_undo_script

          I also like that it’s not just a privacy-enhancing app like ShutUp10 but far more. For example, it facilitates the installation of Ninite-packaged apps and the download from Winaero of ‘classic’ versions of some Windows apps (Calculator, Paint and Sticky Notes) for those of us who aren’t all that impressed with the ‘modern UI’ versions.

          I noticed a few typos in the explanations (hopefully not in the scripts themselves) but this is absolutely minor.

          I’m going to spend a lot more time on it on some test devices but, in the meantime, thank you @satrow, for bringing Debotnet to my attention.

          Attachments:
          5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2141824 Reply
        Michael432
        AskWoody_MVP

        Installing software on Windows to block Windows telemetry/spying seems like playing whack-a-mole. Microsoft is always changing the game. Long term, I think DNS blocking of the telemetry domains is the way to go.

        Take a look at nextdns.io – its a DNS service that blocks ads and trackers and it is extremely customizable. Plus, it can work on just one computing device or, like Pi-Hole, it can work on an entire LAN. Even works on Chromebooks via its Android app. Expect to take some time getting up to speed, there is quite a lot to NextDNS. It also encrypts your DNS traffic too.

        Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2142074 Reply
        Bluetrix
        AskWoody MVP

        I find the fact that they hide the fact that the price is for a SUBSCRIPTION buy leaving that info to the end and using the word BUY is enough to make me jump back.

        The free version allows a 7 day look-see. From Glasswire’s FAQ:

        Can I use GlassWire for free, and what are GlassWire’s free features?

        GlassWire 2.0 comes with a free 7 day trial so you can try out all its paid Basic, Pro, Elite features. After 7 days GlassWire will revert to its free version. The free version of GlassWire includes its extreme network monitoring functionality where you can see your live and past network activity in detail. You can also set Data Alerts to stay under your data limits, and scan your network related apps with VirusTotal. GlassWire’s free version also allows you to monitor one PC remotely. The free version of GlassWire has no firewall functionality, and none of our security features are activated with the free version of GlassWire. (Buy now link removed) to upgrade to its paid version.

        I never said free, though way back when, I did use the free version. It was 30 days for free back then.

        Because user interaction is required to block MS telemetry connections, or any connections (doesn’t matter who or what is connecting) with Glasswire, I didn’t go into a detailed description of everything Glasswire is capable of, I was staying on topic 🙂

        The question by the OP was, (paraphrased) “what do you use or know about”.  While Glasswire doesn’t portray it’s product as an anti-telemetry App, it certainly can be used as such, among all the other things it can do. Most blocking Apps do only that – block, with little or no interaction required. (blindly)

        I got tired of running different Apps to do just one, or a few functions only. Glasswire does a whole bunch of things and I’ve learned how to use it for unintended purposes, within it’s normal operation. Telemetry blocking is one.

        As I am using my computer, Glasswire will alert me (if enabled) about any inbound or outbound traffic. Clicking on the attempt in a GUI graph shows exactly what is connecting, I can either allow or block. Blocking and unblocking is ‘one click’. Using Glasswire for only blocking telemetry is probably not worth it to most people. The programs many other functions are worth the investment to me. I love free Apps, but I will pay for something I find value in. (AskWoody for instance) ymmv

        I’m looking at @satrow‘s suggestion of Debotnet to recommend to others. @satrow doesn’t suggest anything that isn’t worth at least a look-see. imho

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2142082 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Maybe there is another approach for dealing with Microsoft telemetry – systematically deleting from our drives the information that Windows 10 sends back to the company.

        We use CCleaner’s default settings to remove data saved by Windows, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Windows Explore, Firefox, and an assortment of other software.

        CCleaner can be set to run a more aggressive cleaning routine to remove data form:

        1. Windows Log Files,
        2. Windows Error Reporting,
        3. DNS Cash,
        4. Start Menu Shortcuts,
        5. Desktop Shortcuts,
        6. Windows Event Logs,
        7. Old Prefetch data,
        8. Menu Order Cache,
        9. Tray Notifications Cache,
        10. Windows Size/Location Cache,
        11. Environment Path,
        12. User Assist History,
        13. Customs Files and Folders,
        14. Wipe Free Space,
        15. Windows Game Explorer, and
        16. MS Search.

        Does anyone know if Windows 10 stores telemetry related data in any of the above areas?

        Will deleting data from the areas identified above reduce the amount of information available to Microsoft via telemetry?

        Is there risk of using CCleaner’s aggressive approach to cleaning our hard drives?

      • #2142104 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Windows 10 Pro, although it does collect telemetry, transmits it over SSL in an encrypted form.  They use it for their own purposes, and one assumes hand it to law enforcement, but there is no proof they have or will sell it to anyone.

        Ccleaner is owned by the company that owns Avast.  The company has been proven to have sold user data.  So, I would not rely on Ccleaner to try to and help the situation.

        Many programs appear capable to block much of the Windows telemetry.  O&O Shutup10 is from a reputable company who made a famous defrag software.  WPD has a better and simpler interface.  If you use WPD, and in privacy pick “disable all” but not advanced, and in blocker pick “spy” but not the others, I think that does a pretty good job without a lot of complicated steps.  Do a system backup first, of course.

        Although Windows 10 Pro does not have it, Windows 10 Enterprise has a setting to pick telemetry level none instead of basic.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2142112 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          Just looked at Avast’s privacy statement.

          Goodbye old friend it was good to knowing you CCleaner.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2142115 Reply
            Bluetrix
            AskWoody MVP

            Just looked at Avast’s privacy statement.

            Goodbye old friend it was good to knowing you CCleaner.

            I will continue to use CCleaner. I have blocked CC from connecting to the internet with Glasswire. CC can’t share anything. 😀

            You could do the same with Windows firewall with a tad more effort.

            4 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2142117 Reply
              Kathy Stevens
              AskWoody Plus

              Hello CCleaner it is good to see you again.

              2 users thanked author for this post.
              • #2153286 Reply
                DriftyDonN
                AskWoody Plus

                You might want to do a deeper dive into ccleaner. They have been around a long time and have a history. The program has also been infamous for removing much more than it should, thereby messing up proggies it should not.

                Just my opinion. I used the paid version for awhile about 20 yrs ago didnt get any real use out of it At least I think it was ccleaner…..hmmm…;-) INVESTIGATE!!

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2153311 Reply
                satrow
                AskWoody MVP

                The program has also been infamous for removing much more than it should

                That’s very harsh.

                3 users thanked author for this post.
              • #2153777 Reply
                DriftyDonN
                AskWoody Plus

                Apologies! I was confusing revo uninstaller w/ ccleaner. Altho I have seen comments about problems w/ ccleaner…
                Too long ago, so much to recall…my harddrive is turning into a floppy and losing a lot of Data!!

                2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2169312 Reply
              JohnW
              AskWoody Plus

              I also blocked CCleaner with just one click on GlassWire Firewall…

              🙂

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2176353 Reply
                EP
                AskWoody_MVP

                and speaking of CCleaner,
                (EDITED – duplication)
                see [my] earlier post about latest update and final build information.

      • #2153357 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        The program has also been infamous for removing much more than it should

        That’s very harsh.

        That’s very true.

        CCleaner does remove more than asked for, especially registry entries, but not just..

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2153383 Reply
          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          Default settings are fine, cautious even, for the data cleanup. Valid bug reports of CCleaner messing a System up are incredibly low – note that many inexperienced users throw a bunch of cleaning tools at a ‘problem’ during one sitting and it’s usually either the suggested or last run software that gets the blame.

          No-one in their right mind would suggest a non-expert should use any registry cleaner.

          7 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2153600 Reply
            Bluetrix
            AskWoody MVP

            No-one in their right mind would suggest a non-expert should use any registry cleaner.

            It’s been written to death, cleaning the registry via an App can be deadly to your OS, any App. Registry cleaners were very popular years ago when computer disk memory was really limited, and every iota of space was important, that hasn’t been true in decades.

            CCleaner has been around for a while, you can do many of it’s functions by using Windows built-in Apps, this wasn’t always true. That is one reason CCleaner became ubiquitous as a one stop shop, compiling lots of functions in one place for ease of access. As @Kathy Stevens so aptly called it, “old friend”.

            Windows Disk Cleanup, Start Menu, Storage Sense for unused files and more can all be accessed using Windows itself. You can even find a better Duplicate file finder App than CC offers, but as with Windows itself, I probably will never call it an “old friend”.

            Avast was the reason I stopped using AVG, and for a short time in 2017, CCleaner.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2153803 Reply
              Kirsty
              Da Boss

              It’s been written to death, cleaning the registry via an App can be deadly to your OS, any App.

              Well put @bluetrix!

              As @swiftonsecurity (a well-respected security writer & Microsoft MVP) writes on decentsecurity.com:

              ”Registry cleaners” will offer to damage a brand-new installation of Windows just to make it look like they are useful. Imagine being told your brand-new car with 50 miles on it needs the “headlight fluid” replaced. It’s the same scam.

              The registry is extremely complicated and should only be touched by professionals addressing specific problems. Professionals don’t use registry cleaners to fix problems. You never find a problem where the actual solution is to run a registry cleaner.

              That’s because registry cleaners don’t fix problems. They invent them.

              6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2153629 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Let us get back to Soul Rider’s original question, “Who have y’all seen who’s publishing great anti-telemetry softwares?”

        One recommendation in this thread was to run Microsoft’s Diagnostic Data Viewer to discover what is being sent to Microsoft. Interesting, but it does not address the search for great anti-telemetry software.

        With respect to anti-telemetry software the following have been discussed: Spybot anti-beacon, Glasswire paid version, Debotnet 0.6.0, a privacy-enhancing app like ShutUp10, O&Oshutup, and nextdns.io – a DNS service that blocks ads and trackers.

        Quite frankly, I am not happy to be spending so much time trying to block telemetry from our machines. And, I have just discovered that in addition to Microsoft HP has installed its Touchpoint Analytics Client telemetry software on our desktops.

        Is it possible to develop a consensus as to the best software available to block or limit telemetry?

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2153637 Reply
          Rick Corbett
          AskWoody_MVP

          Kathy, Unless you’re running Windows 10 Enterprise or Education then it’s apparently just not possible to ‘block’ telemetry… all you can do is limit it (with ‘Basic’ being the least intrusive for consumer editions).

          All the apps/utilities mentioned just allow various degrees of control over ‘privacy’.

          Without knowing what exactly MS slurps nor how, there’s never going to be a solution to MS’ moving target.

          (That doesn’t mean that peeps should stop trying. 🙂 )

          4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2153649 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Rick

        Thank you.

        If we can not block telemetry is there a way to discover and scrub the data Microsoft collects before it is transmitted? See my earlier question re CCleaner and if can scrub the data to be sent to Microsoft by setting it to remove data form any of the following:

        1. Windows Log Files,
        2. Windows Error Reporting,
        3. DNS Cash,
        4. Start Menu Shortcuts,
        5. Desktop Shortcuts,
        6. Windows Event Logs,
        7. Old Prefetch data,
        8. Menu Order Cache,
        9. Tray Notifications Cache,
        10. Windows Size/Location Cache,
        11. Environment Path,
        12. User Assist History,
        13. Customs Files and Folders,
        14. Wipe Free Space,
        15. Windows Game Explorer, and
        16. MS Search.

         

        • #2153783 Reply
          DriftyDonN
          AskWoody Plus

          Does anyone know if win10.cmd.bat addresses issues in
          #2153649 above? or if it is for win10 even?
          D

        • #2153820 Reply
          Rick Corbett
          AskWoody_MVP

          @kathy-stevens – Well, the answer has to be ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Whilst ‘scheduled tasks’ which fire off the data slurping still remain visible (so far) then we can continue to try to adjust or stop them.

          However, it’s not ‘our’ OS… so Microsoft is perfectly within its right to try to thwart that… for example, services like WaasMedic that were introduced to thwart those who had the temerity to try to stop Windows Update from stomping all over their own personal schedules.

          It’s always going to be ‘whack-a-mole’ now MS apparently see us as endpoints to be data-mined (and worked against), not valued customers to actually work alongside.

          (Consider the MS mindset since Satya Natella took charge and luminaries like Mark Russinovich – who always used to be so helpful to the curious – were shunted off to the more profitable MS areas like Azure).

          I think MS’s difficulty is trying to dissuade the decades/legions of tweakers who remember back when Windows was eminently changeable to how one wanted Windows to work for oneself individually rather than today’s game.

          Maybe it’s just a figment of my failing memory but I seem to remember a time when MS used to document *everything*. Compare that to now when MS  is actively removing TechNet (and other) articles. (I guess it no longer has the bajillions needed to buy and maintain storage.)

          It’s understandable now the potential threat base has expanded exponentially (thanks, script kiddies) but I miss the days when I could, for example, ensure all new Explorer windows were in ‘Details’ view for all users without reverting to registry trickery. Perhaps that’s a bad example – I’m very old and now forget stuff – but I’m sure you know what I mean. 🙂

          4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2153858 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I believe that at least some of the Telemetry stuff is stored in files with a .etl extension. I don’t know if it is possible to configure CCleaner to find and delete such files, but it can be done using the Advanced Cleaner tab in Wise Disk Cleaner (and presumably the corresponding section in Wise Care 365?) – see http://www.wisecleaner.com/download.html . I use the portable version.

          Under the Advanced Cleaner tab, in the bottom right corner select Advanced Settings and in the bottom left corner of the smaller window which opens, select Add. There you can add a new file extension e.g. *.etl and click OK. It asks for a wordy description, so add something to remind you that you have added this to their defaults and click OK. Now when you Scan in the Advanced Cleaner tab you will see .etl files listed. From their names and paths you can see which are Windows and which 3rd party stuff, so select or ignore as appropriate.

          Now it may not delete files currently in use (?) and this may not be all of the telemetry stuff, but it may help.

          I have been doing something similar from the command line in the “C:\Windows” folder using “del *.etl /a /s /q /f” in W7, W8.1 and W10 for a few months (since MS added telemetry to the W7 and W8.1 security only updates) without any obvious problems, but obviously I cannot guarantee that there aren’t any. I’ve used W8.1 most of that time and W10 least. From the command prompt it sometimes indicates that it cannot delete a file in use, hence my comment above. In W8.1 I typically see 6 to 8 files deleted. In W10 there are more. I usually do this as part of my PC switch off sequence. (I only leave my PC switched on when I’m using it.) I should probably do it more often, but I do not know when. If I was using W10 on a day by day basis I would investigate further.

          BTW: Wise Disk Cleaner itself attempts outgoing internet access, so you may want to block this in your firewall. (This may be to cause messaging to prompt us to buy their paid for version of Wise Care 365? From very vague memory I think I have seen something like this?)

          HTH. Garbo.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2210512 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Garbo adds:

            Kathy.

            I don’t know if you investigated CCleaner deleting .etl files any further, but I have just found out how to do this if you are interested?

            From the main CCleaner left hand side menu, select “Options”, then “Include”, then “Add” (on the right hand side). This opens a small “Include” window. Initially I selected the specific “File Types” setting (half way down) and added *.etl expecting to be able to click OK and this to be added. However, I found that I also had to define a particular “Drive Or Folder” (at the top), so I selected “C:\Windows” and “C:\Users\<my account name>\AppData”, and now I was able to select the OK button.

            Then back in the main CCleaner window, under the “Windows” tab, scroll down to the “Advanced” section at the bottom and select the “Custom Files and Folders” tick box.

            Now when you select “Custom Clean” and “Analyze” you should find some files with .etl extensions listed under a new “Custom Files and Folders” category. If you double click on this, you can see the files and their paths. (I also added *.log and see more of these than .etl extension files. I did this using W8.1, so no doubt there would be more of both extension types in W10. I don’t have a W10 system partition available to try this on at present.)

            As an exercise I re-started the PC (assuming that telemetry files will be added to or (if absent) created, at start-up) and then immediately ran CCleaner to delete all that was there. I then ran the Advanced options in Wise Disk Cleaner (as described in my post above) to see how many (if any) were left and found just 3. So either CCleaner is not quite as thorough as Wise Disk Cleaner, or maybe these extra files were created between my running CCleaner and Wise Disk Cleaner.

            There is no quite the same level of granularity in CCleaner which would delete all files of that type as in Wise Disk Cleaner which allows you to select the files individually in a list, but I suppose in the CCleaner “Options > Include > Add” setting rather than using *.etl, you could add individually named files if you only want to delete specific .etl (or other extension) files. This is more messy, but (I think?) would achieve the same effect.

            So in summary it looks as if you can achieve what you asked originally in CCleaner, but it needs a bit more work than with Wise Disk Cleaner. You would need to know which specific files contain telemetry data in both cases.

            HTH. Garbo.

             

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2153651 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        ah! soul rider, what if the telemetry data being sent doesn’t reach it’s intended destination?

        8.1 and telemetry…

        • #2153784 Reply
          DriftyDonN
          AskWoody Plus

          Good question-who is it you might think is intercepting it? I am concerned about how many get access after it reaches its intended destination also.

          • #2153800 Reply
            Kathy Stevens
            AskWoody Plus

            I know that our internet service provide can intercept our data streams for one.

            That is why we started using a VPN.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2153787 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Windows 10 Pro, although it does collect telemetry, transmits it over SSL in an encrypted form.  They use it for their own purposes, and one assumes hand it to law enforcement, but there is no proof they have or will sell it to anyone.

        Ccleaner is owned by the company that owns Avast.  The company has been proven to have sold user data.  So, I would not rely on Ccleaner to try to and help the situation.

        Many programs appear capable to block much of the Windows telemetry.  O&O Shutup10 is from a reputable company who made a famous defrag software.  WPD has a better and simpler interface.  If you use WPD, and in privacy pick “disable all” but not advanced, and in blocker pick “spy” but not the others, I think that does a pretty good job without a lot of complicated steps.  Do a system backup first, of course.

        Although Windows 10 Pro does not have it, Windows 10 Enterprise has a setting to pick telemetry level none instead of basic.

        There’s no proof? I don’t require proof that any company with a record of rapacious, sometimes predatory capitalism doesn’t intend to do dirty deeds with their power. And would I recommend to Home or Pro Windows users that they shell out the cost of 5 Windows seat licenses to stop telemetry so they could use the block telemetry option of Enterprise? No. Although it’s helpful that you pointed that out and I thank you because I didn’t know.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        • #2153804 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          We have ten Windows 10 workstations and some notebooks.

          How can we obtain a valid Windows 10 Enterprise Key Code?

        • #2153808 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          Can Windows 10 Pro for Workstations block telemetry?

      • #2153826 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        I’ve been looking at my last remaining Windows 7 PC to work out what needs to be moved to what’s going to be my new (well, secondhand) ‘main’ PC. I still use MS Office Pro 2010 (from the heady days when I was so valued by MS that they gave me a free copy of it… which I’ve been using ever since…)

        I used ‘Everything‘ and stumbled across something that was new to me. MS Office Pro 2010 keeps a history list of the last 10 items I’ve worked on. ‘Everything’ came up with a different history list showing many, many more docs I had worked on in the following folder:

        C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Office\Recent

        There is no doubt in my mind that the list – titles of documents, etc. – will stay with my PC alone and not be data-slurped… but I may change ‘my favourite ****’ to ‘recipes for everyone’. 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2153841 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Quoting  swiftonsecurity:

        The registry is extremely complicated and should only be touched by professionals addressing specific problems. Professionals don’t use registry cleaners to fix problems.

        I know what he’s getting at (I’m not crazy about registry cleaners either), but “professional” is not the same as “competent.”  Taking money for something doesn’t make you good at it,  and not doing something for money doesn’t mean you’re not good at it.  You shouldn’t go messing with the registry if you have no idea what you’re doing, but let’s not pretend it’s some mysterious thing that only the anointed can comprehend either.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.3).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2169319 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          There’s nothing a good image restore cannot fix! (Or a registry restore, if you know how to do that).

          😉

      • #2153961 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Kathy

        Thank you for your participation and guidance in these discussions Kathy. Given the timbre of what I’d seen so far on Ask Woody I didn’t expect that someone like you would be a participant on this website. The discussions about having expert IT people perform workarounds to divert telemetry instead of stopping it are mildly interesting. Yet I don’t see them as my preferred solution. I still prefer a single 3rd party software which is designed to implement all the anti-telemetry choices I make for myself or the people with whom I share the software.

        I see many pitfalls with trying to divert the telemetry because those strategies will involve tricky levels of granularity which will need consistent, regular process design and management by one of more IT experts. I see that as a game of Whac-a-Mole which I prefer not to play.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2153967 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Does anyone else use Spybot anti-beacon?

        I used it pre v1809, then I switched to O&Oshutup which had better control options and descriptions of what it did. imho

        Now I use  Glasswire paid version.  Requires user observation to block MS “spying”, but does a lot of other things.

        For a just “click and stop” program try both O&O and Spybot.  Then choose, both work to a degree.

        Glasswire looks like a promising software. I might try it and thank you for suggesting it.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2153968 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Enterprise

        Thanks for your summation, Kathy. You covered all the tools anyone mentioned. From what I’ve seen so far in this thread I started it looks like Ask Woody participants know several very good Windows-only anti-telemetry tools. But those tools also require significant thought and intervention to make them work properly. That means to me that unless someone points out a new tool which no one had mentioned, I’ll use one of those mentioned.

        Based on the very clear trail of Microsoft’s changes across recent years it also looks to me like I’d prefer not to be their subscriber for much longer. I’d take me and many others with me to different platforms where our private data can be private, and not subjected to the surreptitious prying of companies who feel they own our private data.

        I also noticed that no one has mentioned Linux or Apple platforms.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        • #2153980 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          As I mentioned earlier, we are a small business and at this point our cost of moving to from Windows to another operating system will be in the tens of thousands of dollars for new software as well as the cost of programing and data migration.

          One option that we are considering is Windows 10 Enterprise but I have to figure out how a small business can obtain a Key Code.

          So far, it looks as if Windows 10 Enterprise is only available to large corporate customers of Microsoft.

      • #2154033 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks to everyone who has participated in this discussion.

        Clearly, it will be difficult to impossible to avoid telemetry by Microsoft, HP, and others.

        Over the coming weeks we will follow the development of software designed to address the issue.

        We will also review our other options including unplugging our Intel® Xeon® work horses from the internet altogether, reexamining how we use our LAN, and work on ways to mask the identities for each of our machines.

        Longer term, we will review our policy of purchasing PCs from major manufacturers such as HP vs. building our own in shop.

        We are also examining our internet usage by app (Windows Settings>Network & Internet>Data usage). We were surprised to find that on one of our PCs 68 apps had Ethernet usage histories.

        Of the 68 the third highest usage was by “System”.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2162344 Reply
          Rick Corbett
          AskWoody_MVP

          @kathy-stevens… Automating the mangling of key data within your device’s registry would have the effect of rendering any transmitted data valueless. Not that I’m recommending this, of course. 🙂

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2154045 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks to everyone who has participated in this discussion.

        Clearly, it will be difficult to impossible to avoid telemetry by Microsoft, HP, and others.

        Over the coming weeks we will follow the development of software designed to address the issue.

        We will also review our other options including unplugging our Intel® Xeon® work horses from the internet altogether, reexamining how we use our LAN, and work on ways to mask the identities for each of our machines.

        Longer term, we will review our policy of purchasing PCs from major manufacturers such as HP vs. building our own in shop.

        We are also examining our internet usage by app (Windows Settings>Network & Internet>Data usage). We were surprised to find that on one of our PCs 68 apps had Ethernet usage histories.

        Of the 68 the third highest usage was by “System”.

        My quick and incomplete search of Windows Enterprise licensing shows that in 2016 five or more workstation licenses must be purchased at maybe $90 annually each. I don’t imagine those costs have remained the same. Given everything else you’ve written, and appreciating the levels of fiddly, cobbled tech support you’d need to suppress Microsoft’s telemetry, it seems like if Enterprise truly allows you to block telemetry, getting licensed for that could be a cost-effective solution compared to devoting research and configuration time for other strategies.

        If I were doing that, I’d also be interested in how much other overhead and configuration Enterprise licensing would introduce.

        Here’s another summary page which suggests a table of costs.

        For several years I’ve run my own perfectly serviceable volume license version of Office 2010 Professional Plus.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2154047 Reply
          jabeattyauditor
          AskWoody Lounger

          Michael, please don’t take this as argumentative, as it’s not meant in that spirit…

          If you go the Enterprise licensing route, aren’t you still putting yourself in much the same position – the bottom line being that you’ll still have to trust Microsoft to do what it promises, and you won’t have the tools to be certain they’re living up to that promise.

          You’d be trading Microsoft’s promise that it’s collecting impersonal information and not using it nefariously (Windows 10 Pro) for Microsoft’s promise that it won’t collect that information (Windows 10 Enterprise).

          Is there a reason you’d trust one promise over the other?

      • #2154051 Reply
        satrow
        AskWoody MVP

        Older but worth a look to see what you’re up against with W10: Privacy Implications of Windows 10 Telemetry: Summary Stats and Conclusions

        This report is based on traffic recording of virtual machine with Windows 10, which was run continuously for 346 days, from 2017-02-15 to 2018-01-27. After the installation, Windows 10 was left alone. This OS had default settings and was running without any third party software installed.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2163008 Reply
          Rick Corbett
          AskWoody_MVP

          Wow. Thanks @satrow for finding this. It shows how seemingly pointless it is to try to reduce Win 10’s relentless two-way communications

          Perhaps try a different tack… skew the results to make them meaningless? I have no problem renaming my devices ‘Slurp-Off MS01’, ‘Slurp-Off MS02’, etc. and can automate this easily

          There’s no end of ‘identifiers’ in the registry that can be changed randomly.

          However, at the end of the day, just how paranoid are we? 🙂

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2169305 Reply
          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Plus

          I’m sure I am not the only one who would find it very enlightening to see the results of a comparator study of the data going in and out of a fresh Windows 7 system over a similar amount of time.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2154055 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Michael, please don’t take this as argumentative, as it’s not meant in that spirit…

        If you go the Enterprise licensing route, aren’t you still putting yourself in much the same position – the bottom line being that you’ll still have to trust Microsoft to do what it promises, and you won’t have the tools to be certain they’re living up to that promise.

        You’d be trading Microsoft’s promise that it’s collecting impersonal information and not using it nefariously (Windows 10 Pro) for Microsoft’s promise that it won’t collect that information (Windows 10 Enterprise).

        Is there a reason you’d trust one promise over the other?

        Yes, there’d be a reason why I’d provisionally trust one promise over the other:  what they agree to in writing in their marketing and sales materials and in their licensing agreement. None of those will be simple to read or even especially clear. But that’s a cost of time and a cost of biz with a rapacious company culture like that of Microsoft’s.

        But what they agree to in writing is what I’d go with. At least you’ve then got a potential means of recourse if they change something.

        That doesn’t mean you want to trust them perpetually without annual audits of their policies which suit their purposes. But that goes for any company. Any written agreement is only as effective as the people upholding or undermining it.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        • #2169314 Reply
          jabeattyauditor
          AskWoody Lounger

          Yes, there’d be a reason why I’d provisionally trust one promise over the other:  what they agree to in writing in their marketing and sales materials and in their licensing agreement. None of those will be simple to read or even especially clear. But that’s a cost of time and a cost of biz with a rapacious company culture like that of Microsoft’s.

          The Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise agreements are both available in written form, yet it seems (perhaps I’m not understanding you) that you trust the Enterprise agreement more than the Pro agreement.

          You don’t trust Microsoft when they say they’re only pulling specific info from Pro installs and that they’re only using it for certain reasons, yet you do trust Microsoft when they say they’re not pulling any info from Enterprise installs (assuming you configure them thusly).

          I read contracts and interpret them for upper management; it’s part of my job. I’m just wondering why you trust one over the other when the same organization wrote them both.

      • #2154057 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Older but worth a look to see what you’re up against with W10: Privacy Implications of Windows 10 Telemetry: Summary Stats and Conclusions

        This report is based on traffic recording of virtual machine with Windows 10, which was run continuously for 346 days, from 2017-02-15 to 2018-01-27. After the installation, Windows 10 was left alone. This OS had default settings and was running without any third party software installed.

        That’s a really good post. Thanks. It exposes some very significant Microsoft policies.

        Now, if one thinks about what Microsoft is doing, they can also very cleverly interpolate and extrapolate myriad facts you might not think would even be possible. In the few years since that was compiled, machine learning and AI have had significant advances which very few of us have taken the time to look into. Examples at the top of my own mind? If Ben Goertzel and tribe are doing what they are at Singularity.net, and if Hanson Robotics is doing what they are, then Microsoft’s behemoth, hegemonous wallet can’t be that far behind those examples.

        My own decisions about my private data come down to a philosophy that the devil I ‘know’  — and with whom I already do business  —  is better than the devil whose policies I don’t know. Of course every policy has its limits.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

      • #2154059 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Is there a reason you’d trust one promise over the other?

        I have already posted this some time ago. This is a list of tens of services harvesting data by Microsoft on Vista OS. I don’t think that there is/will be an anti-telemetry Windows 10 software (not even LTSB/C..)to block all these services unless in can block ALL connections Microsoft servers.

        Windows Update, Web Content, Digital Certificates, Auto Root Update, Windows Media Digital Rights Management, Windows Media Player, Malicious Software Removal/Clean On Upgrade, Network Connectivity Status Icon, Windows Time Service, and the IPv6 Network Address Translation (NAT) Traversal service (Teredo) are the features and services that collect and deliver data to Microsoft from Windows Vista. ..

        Microsoft has an additional collection of 47 Windows Vista features and services that collect user data…
        Activation, Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), Device Manager, Driver Protection, Dynamic Update, Event Viewer, File Association Web Service, Games Folder, Error Reporting for Handwriting Recognition, Input Method Editor (IME), Installation Improvement Program, Internet Printing, Internet Protocol version 6 Network Address Translation Traversal, Network Awareness (somewhat), Parental Controls, Peer Name Resolution Service, Plug and Play, Plug and Play Extensions, Program Compatibility Assistant, Program Properties-Compatibility Tab, Program Compatibility Wizard, Properties, Registration, Rights Management Services (RMS) Client, Update Root Certificates, Windows Control Panel, Windows Help, Windows Mail (only with Windows Live Mail, Hotmail, or MSN Mail) and Windows Problem Reporting are the main features and services in Windows Vista that collect and transmit user data to Microsoft…

        https://news.softpedia.com/news/Forget-about-the-WGA-20-Windows-Vista-Features-and-Services-Harvest-User-Data-for-Microsoft-58752.shtml

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Alex5723.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2154056 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Spybot Anti-Beacon is $10 per computer per year (with some discount for multiples) and yes, it is playing whac-a-mole with new addresses and scheduled tasks, but I think it is succeeding.  Deploying a firewall solution like Glasswire could be more complicated, but it could give other benefits.  A firewall or network monitor could show or warn on large data transfers, which could be a sign of someone taking your data.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2161986 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        cost of moving to from Windows to another operating system will be in the tens of thousands of dollars

        An alternative may be to set your router to prevent outgoing comms and install a proxy and WSUS server. That allows you to control external access and reduces the update traffic significantly.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169301 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Wow. Thanks @satrow for finding this. It shows how seemingly pointless it is to try to reduce Win 10’s relentless two-way communications

        Perhaps try a different tack… skew the results to make them meaningless? I have no problem renaming my devices ‘Slurp-Off MS01’, ‘Slurp-Off MS02’, etc. and can automate this easily

        There’s no end of ‘identifiers’ in the registry that can be changed randomly.

        However, at the end of the day, just how paranoid are we? 🙂

        I don’t disagree with the sentiments of your post. Yet personally and professionally I feel like finding ways to short-circuit Windows telemetry is quite do-able and absolutely justified:  because many, many people have already noticed what’s happening (before we did) at Microsoft, and they already disliked some of it so much they authored and now publish some pretty good anti-telemetry software tools.

        Having to read thousands of pages (literally) of intentionally obsfuscated, intentionally interwoven and intentionally and debilitatingly legalistic click-wrap ‘licensing’ agreements for each app is a sublimely ridiculous expectation of any company or any one. I don’t have to accept that sort of surreptitious behavior from any one or any company.

        And I don’t see or hear any of this thread as paranoia. Here’s only one example of why I think it’s important for me (or us) to create and stand our own ground, “Who will really benefit from the EU’s big data plan?“, contained in a Wired magazine article dated only yesterday. A thoughtful reading of what’s written there will show you why now’s a great time to stand for your own rights to the privacy of your own data and/or that of your customers’.

        Now, in all this I’ve the feeling that as a company, Ask Woody will tend to remain politically neutral about telemety transmissions of formerly private user data, even as a crowdsourced IT solutions site. If I were Woody I might do the same. Or maybe not.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

      • #2169328 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        I think you missed my point. We can fight (pointless really as we all agreed to Win 10’s EULA), outwardly range against it or just subtly bork/skew any data slurping.

        Just wondering if a bajillion workstations all named FUBAR-MS might potentially fubar data-collection agorithms?

        Just asking for a friend, of course…

        Yes… I know that’s not how MS identifies individual devices. Duh! The point was to perhaps make MS aware of its … oh never mind.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2169332 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        You don’t trust Microsoft when they say they’re only pulling specific info from Pro installs and that they’re only using it for certain reasons, yet you do trust Microsoft when they say they’re not pulling any info from Enterprise installs (assuming you configure them thusly).

        If Microsoft writes that it doesn’t pull telemetry from Enterprise, that’s my preference for the written click-wrap to which I’d agree.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169334 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        I think you missed my point. We can fight (pointless really as we all agreed to Win 10’s EULA), outwardly range against it or just subtly bork/skew any data slurping.

        Just wondering if a bajillion workstations all named FUBAR-MS might potentially fubar data-collection agorithms?

        Just asking for a friend, of course…

        Yes… I know that’s not how MS identifies individual devices. Duh! The point was to perhaps make MS aware of its … oh never mind.

        🙂

        I prefer two strategies for myself. The first is to “bork/skew” (I like that 😉 ) their rapacious (absolutely unjustified, privacy-skewing data slurping intentionally hidden amid thousands of pages of one-sided, self-only-serving) click-wrap agreements.

        The second:  because any one or any company attempts to gut my/our personal rights to data privacy because they say they know what’s good for me doesn’t mean I have to sit around and let them do or try it. I am anyone but the first to notice or do this. No, I don’t spend all day on these things. But I’ve found over time that groups of people who stand up for themselves get lots of excellent things accomplished.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

      • #2169335 Reply
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        After I was recently reviewing my firewall info, I thought I should clarify a statement that I made earlier about GlassWire Pro firewall.

        It is great at easily blocking MS applications that make their own network connections, or any 3rd party applications.

        But Windows itself frequently uses “Host Process for Windows” [C:\Windows\System32\svchost.exe] to establish network connections with various cloud servers.

        Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for services that run from dynamic-link libraries. https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/what-is-svchostexe-and-why-is-it-running/

        That’s probably where the Microsoft telemetry occurs, and I have no idea how to effectively stop that. If that’s a problem, then it’s probably better not to use Windows, or just unplug from the network.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169406 Reply
        DriftyDonN
        AskWoody Plus

        Anyone have this file try to run in the last 2 days? I looked around for info and denied it running thru Bitdefender firewall warning. Is this pre 1909 force feed? Interestingly, It is part of telemetry so not off topic!
        CompatTelRunner.exe
        see https://windowsreport.com/compattelrunner-exe-file-issues/

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by DriftyDonN.
      • #2169410 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Anyone have this file try to run in the last 2 days? I looked around for info and denied it running thru Bitdefender firewall warning. Is this pre 1909 force feed? Interestingly, It is part of telemetry so not off topic!
        CompatTelRunner.exe
        see https://windowsreport.com/compattelrunner-exe-file-issues/

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by DriftyDonN.

        I have the file on my 1903 system.
        Your link to windowsreport.com is blocked by WOT.

        compt

        Attachments:
        • #2169451 Reply
          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          windowsreport.com is blocked by WOT.

          Could you check WoT for the reason, please?

          • #2169460 Reply
            DriftyDonN
            AskWoody Plus

            Do not know but perhaps they are Biased? windows report IS independent. As far as out of date posts , check the dates on your search engines results- many articles for example are YEARS old….

            I really have no info about WOT I dont know what they are or who they represent. Duckduckgo is privacy driven sure(GREAT)- but all results lead to pro-amazon somehow- products especially. Bye ddg hello startpage—for now 😉

            how bout this?  https://www.file.net/process/compattelrunner.exe.html

            You can search for yourself. I just know it uses system resources for a LONG time AND it’s TELEMETRY relative esp w/ ver 1909  on the horizon- or maybe just down the block!

             

            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by DriftyDonN.
          • #2169470 Reply
            Alex5723
            AskWoody Plus

            I really have no info about WOT I dont know what they are or who they represent.

            WOT – Web of Trust is a well known browser extension that warns from shady URLs.

            When you search the WEB and use WOT you will get a red circle pointing to shady sites, green circle for OK sites.

            Attachments:
          • #2169476 Reply
            Alex5723
            AskWoody Plus

            windowsreport.com is blocked by WOT.

            Could you check WoT for the reason, please?

            PUP and scam.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2169483 Reply
              satrow
              AskWoody MVP

              PUP and scam.

              Of adverts on their site? If so, I’m glad I use an adblocker, not WoT (which I’m currently blocked from, still checking out by what/where/why).

              • #2169485 Reply
                Alex5723
                AskWoody Plus

                PUP and scam.

                Of adverts on their site? If so, I’m glad I use an adblocker, not WoT (which I’m currently blocked from, still checking out by what/where/why).

                WOT has no relation to adblockers. It notifies about sites marked by users as harmful.

              • #2169507 Reply
                satrow
                AskWoody MVP

                WOT has no relation to adblockers. It notifies about sites marked by users as harmful.

                Having previously been a WoT user, I knew that 😉 so it’s not 3rd party adverts it’s flagged up for, it’s the site itself?

              • #2169665 Reply
                access-mdb
                AskWoody MVP

                According to this thread WOT became somewhat tarnished. Is it now good to use? I never heard that they had stopped these practices – or even that they hadn’t done them in the first place. These posts are going a bit off topic – or are they?

      • #2169678 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        According to this thread WOT became somewhat tarnished. Is it now good to use? I never heard that they had stopped these practices – or even that they hadn’t done them in the first place. These posts are going a bit off topic – or are they?

        I still trust WOT in addition to uBlock and build-in Google/Firefox URL filtering.

      • #2169755 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Telemetry data may not be stolen. And yes, we agree to it when you accept the Windows 10 License Terms.

        But we do not have to like it.  We started using Microsoft software decades ago when DOS was king – long before the internet and  telemetry.

        We are a small business and at this point our cost of moving to from Windows to another operating system will be in the tens of thousands of dollars for new software as well as the cost of programing and data migration.

        So, we are forced to agree to Microsoft’s terms and conditions under duress.

        We do not have to like telemetry and it is in our best interest to minimize the amount of data software developers can harvest from our machines.

        Hey Kathy… maybe you’d enjoy this Guardian article? “Peter Lewis’s 2020s vision: stop glibly signing over your data and take control“.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is being readied for a March/April 2020 debut.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169837 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Michael

        An interesting article but I am not optimistic on the privacy side.

        If there is an economic interest in people’s personal data it will be harvested, processed, and sold.

        Corporate law departments are ingenious in writing contracts (terms of service). As a condition of use they can get people to waive their legal rights or move the jurisdiction for enforcement to a favorable location – think Belize, the Cayman Islands, or Luxembourg.

        Think about arbitration provisions in agreements of employment. Under the terms of an arbitration agreement the employee waives a number of legal rights including the right to argue in court if the employer violates the rights.

        Then there are contract provisions regarding the jurisdiction of enforcement. Most contracts clearly indicate the state or other jurisdiction where legal challenges can be adjudicated.

        And the corporate legal obstructions go on making it all but impossible for an individual to defend themselves from a corporate entity.

        The best way to undermine the process is to simply overwhelm the system with bad information. A unique email address for each Windows license. An email address that is used for no other purpose then activating the Windows license.

        • #2169851 Reply
          b
          AskWoody Plus

          The best way to undermine the process is to simply overwhelm the system with bad information. A unique email address for each Windows license. An email address that is used for no other purpose then activating the Windows license.

          You don’t need an email address to activate a Windows license.

          Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

          • #2169859 Reply
            Kathy Stevens
            AskWoody Plus

            That is interesting.

            Why did I need to provide an email address to set up a Microsoft Account when I set up Windows 10 for the first time.?

            • #2169860 Reply
              PKCano
              Da Boss

              You didn’t have to set up a Microsoft account when you set up Windows 10 for the first time. You could have set up a Local account, in which case you don’t have to provide an email address and Windows activates on the license key alone.

            • #2169862 Reply
              DriftyDonN
              AskWoody Plus

              I happened to have  hotmail .com and live.com accounts so I didnt give it much thought. but being superb MARKETERS (BS SHOVELERS) we just followed along -partlt because they made it seem like it was REALLY GOOD for us(big Brother) and we rally should so this brand new unknown OS would work properly. I didnt give it to them because I was skeptical especially after they wanted an XBOX id too….I don wont own MS hardware, they cant hardly produce software!! Most of us were suckered by slick wording and implied promises.

              I didnt give them my accounts when I installed BUT I keep getting notified my MS accounts need attention…click and into accounts I go and there they are!! one account is 20 yrs old and a spam account(I dont use it…and the other 18yrs old…I dont use that one either. I have paid for account and they will not pry that out of me-willingly. No doubt they can find it anyway from their branch at the NSA

              Peace and Love y’all

               

            • #2169869 Reply
              JohnW
              AskWoody Plus

              As PKCano stated, Windows does not need a Microsoft account in order to activate it. If you still need a Microsoft account for other products, just use a local account for Windows, and for privacy reasons do not link the two.

              How to Create a Local Account While Setting Up Windows 10

              https://www.howtogeek.com/442792/how-to-create-a-local-account-while-setting-up-windows-10/

              In fact, you do not even have to activate Win 10. An unactivated version of Windows 10 doesn’t have many restrictions, just some cosmetic limitations and a few nags, but it never expires… 🙂

              You Don’t Need a Product Key to Install and Use Windows 10

              https://www.howtogeek.com/244678/you-dont-need-a-product-key-to-install-and-use-windows-10/

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2169964 Reply
              Kathy Stevens
              AskWoody Plus

              Think about it. You take home a brand-new Windows 10 computer, open the box, read the quick start manual, plug-in the keyboard and mouse as well as your Internet connection.

              You push the start button and the machine comes to life. Wow this is great.

              Chris Hoffman’s article How to Create a Local Account While Sitting Up Windows 10, that was referenced above, clearly indicates that Windows 10 tries its hardest to make the new user use a Microsoft account.

              Upfront, Chris clearly indicates that the option to not to set up a Windows 10 account is hidden in the Pro version and is not offered in Windows 10 Home while the PC is connected to the internet.

              Who knew about the Internet connection?  HP’s Getting Started manual for its Business PCs skips over the part about not connecting the machine to the Internet. All the HP manual says is that the Windows 10 operating system is set up to activate automatically the 1st time you turn on the computer. It then goes on to instruct you to run Windows Update as soon as possible after you set up your computer. The HP manual is silent about not connecting the new PC to the Internet while starting the PC for the 1st time. And, as I recall, if the PC is connected to the Internet during the starter process Microsoft asks for an email address while setting up the Microsoft account.

              How many of the tens of millions of Windows 10 users knew not to connect their brand-new computers to the Internet when starting their machines for the 1st time?

              3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2170693 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        The saga continues.

        In a recent post on BleepingComputer https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/windows-10-privacy-guide-settings-everyone-should-use/ Mayank Parmar states that, “Like almost all products these days, in its default state, Windows will track a lot of your activities to not only improve their products and services but also deliver ads and promotions.”

        He then goes on to review how to disable the operating system’s tracking and other settings to improve your privacy.

        Areas covered include:

        1. Disabling advertising, suggested content, and app launch tracking;
        2. Disable Start Menu suggestions and promotions;
        3. Disable the Windows Timeline;
        4. Restrict App permissions;
        5. Restrict Online Speech recognition;
        6. Restrict Diagnostic data;
        7. Turn off location, microphone, camera;
        8. Disable inking & typing personalization;
        9. Disable Bing in Windows Search;
        10. Disable Cortana; and
        11. Use local account.

        EDITED for content.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2210528 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        We just spent the weekend in computer h*** trying to fix issues with the way one of our computers was handling data files.

        So, the question is, is there a downside to deleting .etl files?

      • #2210907 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        You could do the same with Windows firewall with a tad more effort.

        Or you could use Sordum‘s Firewall App Blocker (Fab) v1.6 (free, portable) and block CCleaner *really* easily:

        fab

        Hope this helps…

        Attachments:
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2210925 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        So, the question is, is there a downside to deleting .etl files?

        Yes and no, depending on what it is that you are trying to achieve.

        The biggest downside of deleting Event Trace Log files is that you’re deleting the very log files which may pinpoint the cause of the problem you are experiencing. On the other hand, it takes a skilled and practised techie to decrypt their obfuscated format and analyze them. (Microsoft can do this easily of course… all automated.)

        However, if you’re worried about breaking something in Windows by deleting them… MS’ own Answers forum has several posts confirming that deleting .ETL files won’t harm anything. (Google delete etl files)

        One issue you may run into is… which .ETL files? Compare these 2 results – one using MS’ built-in search and the other using Everything. Consider the discrepancy between the results (a and b) of exactly the same search criteria:

        etl_files_discrepancy

        Another issue may be permissions, even when using an account in the ‘Administrators’ group. Post back if this is an issue… there’s ways round it.

        I tend to use 3 tools regularly to get a feel for problems:

        1. Reliability Monitor to get a real quick GUI showing a history of issues.
          (Enter reliable into Windows’ Search and choose Reliability Monitor when it appears as a search result.)
        2. Resource and Performance Monitor to get an overview of system diagnostics showing identified issues.
          (Use Winkey+r together to open the Run dialog then enter perfmon /report. After 60 seconds a report will be displayed.)
        3. Event Logs… but I don’t use Windows’ clunky built-in Event Viewer. Instead I use Nir Sofer’s FullEventLogView (free, portable) which IMO is faster to display the logs and allows grouping from multiple logs at the same time (which Event Viewer doesn’t) so I can view sorted by date/time easily.

        One of these 3 (in the order above, based on speed of results) may help you pinpoint what’s causing the problems with data files.

        Hope this helps…

        Attachments:
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2210979 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        He then goes on to review how to disable the operating system’s tracking and other settings to improve your privacy.

        Unfortunately the article barely scratched the surface of what you need to do to improve privacy. To be fair, the article title did mention it was about ‘Settings’… and Win 10’s ‘Settings’ app was what it concentrated on.

      • #2210981 Reply
        DriftyDonN
        AskWoody Plus

        Found 1300 etl files!! Deleted a lot but then hit a batch that says need system permission.

        Never had that kind of permission asked for. Any help?

        D

      • #2210994 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Deleted a lot but then hit a batch that says need system permission.

        The primary reason is that they are currently in use. An easy fix is just to reboot and try again (whilst disconnected from the internet in  case the process holding them open is an uploader).

        Alternatively, use TechNet/SysinternalsProcess Explorer to search for the process/thread holding the file open and close its handle. (See the Dealing with Locked Files or Folders section in this How-ToGeek article for more info.)

        The secondary reason is that, whilst not in use, you may need to take ownership of them or, alternatively, run Explorer with higher privileges than an account in the Administrators group or even the (normally hidden) Administrator account itself, i.e. use System or even TrustedInstaller (the most highly privileged account). There are several third-party utilities (e.g. Winaero‘s ExecTI or ) that let you elevate to these giddy heights… not that I recommend any of them unless you know what you’re doing, have backups (that have been tested for successful restores) or have no problem having to start again from scratch with a repair install/clean install of Windows.

        Another alternative is to make a note of their location then delete them offline, either by removing the SSD/HDD and mounting it in another device/USB caddy or booting into another OS like Linux running from a USB stick or CD.

        Note that whilst these workarounds will indeed work, when you get to this level of recalcitrant .ETL files then – unfortunately – even if you *do* delete them, a lot of them (most) will just immediately come back again… because the same system processes that created them will be up and running again.

        Using the law of diminishing returns, my advice is to delete only the .ETL files that you can easily on a regular basis by all means… but leave the ‘difficult’ ones to another day when they may not be in use. If you’re still determined then have a look at this article for more info: How to delete files that won’t delete

        Note also that this info is about deleting .ETL files, and *only* .ETL files… not any other system files which could lead to you mucking up the OS to such an extent that you have no option but to start over.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211031 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I think that the Reply buttons on this thread are not putting replies in the correct place and that Kathy’s question about “downsides to deleting .etl files” in #2210528 may have been a reply to my comments #2210512 and #2153858 in reply to an earlier question from Kathy, where I wrote that I believed that at least some telemetry data is stored in .etl files. These comments then describe how CCleaner (in my #2210512 reply) or Wise Disk Cleaner (in my #2153858 reply) can be extended to delete .etl files. All getting convoluted! Anyway …

        I originally wrote my belief about telemetry stored in .etl files from memory, but I have now found where this “memory” came from. Back in 2015 and early 2016, when I thought I might change to W10 out of choice, I was reading up and making notes about tweaks to improve W10’s shortcomings. From somewhere (I don’t have the original source) there was the suggestion to run the command ‘echo “” > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl’ from a command prompt “run as administrator” to empty this file, and “take ownership” of the “AutoLogger” folder and make it read-only so that the file stays empty. These notes were last updated in March 2016, so presumably were relevant to the W10 1511 version. I don’t know if this is still valid for more recent W10 versions.

        In abbodi68’s W7 and W8.1 telemetry reducing script “W10Tel.cmd”  (see #219238 – from its name I assume this was originally intended to reduce W10 telemetry), the 3 lines at the end of the “Unified Telemetry Client” section also manipulate and delete files and folders in this area, so maybe it is these .etl files containing telemetry data which should be deleted? I believe that abbodi68 has since concluded that trying to tame W10 telemetry is a “lost cause” (his words – again from my memory).

        To answer Kathy’s recent “downsides to deleting .etl files” question, in my non-expert experience, mainly in W8.1, but a few times in W10, I’ve seen no downsides, but given that these files seem to be re-created again, I don’t know if there are enough “upsides” to doing this! If I was using W10 more frequently I would investigate further, but for now I am fortunate to have W8.1 licences. (I’m a home PC user, with a small Microsoft footprint, just using Windows itself and 3rd party s/w for everything else.)

        Sorry for any confusion I may have caused, but my #2153858 reply was to try to partially answer Kathy’s “using CCleaner to delete telemetry data” question, when other’s replying seemed to be answering different questions.

        HTH. Garbo.

         

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