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  • Looks like KB 2952664 (for Win7) and KB 2976978 (Win 8.1) are back

    Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 12:16 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    These are the two patches implicated with various snooping proclivities, and tied into upgrading from Windows 7 to Win10, or Win8.1 to Win10 — which should be a non-starter tat this point.

    I can see them in the Microsoft Update Catalog:

    KB 2952664

    KB 2976978

    They’re both listed as “Last Updated 2/17/2017.”

    They aren’t listed on the Windows Update official page, but PKCano reports that she’s seeing the Win 8.1 patch, released today, optional and unchecked.

    Of course you should avoid them.

  • What happened to the February patches?

    Posted on February 15th, 2017 at 10:17 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There’s a lot of conjecture. I haven’t seen any Feb “Patch Tuesday” style patches. Have you?

    Hard to believe all of the patches – Vista, Win7, 8.1, various 10s, the Offices including Click-to-Run, IE, .NET, and all the weird supporting patches have all gone missing.

    Even the two odd snooping patches, KB 2952664 (for Win7) and KB 2976978 (Win 8.1), are no longer available in the Windows Update Catalog.

    The only conclusion I can draw – and it’s 100% speculation – is that Windows Update is broken. Or maybe compromised.

    Do you have any better info – or a contrary opinion?

    UPDATE: Gregg Keizer at Computerworld just posted an interview with a security expert who, amazingly, seems to say exactly what I’m saying.

  • Martin Brinkmann’s deep dive into removing telemetry in Win7 and 8.1

    Posted on February 11th, 2017 at 08:05 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    On the heels of Günter Born’s discoveries about the just-reissued “snooping” Win7 and 8.1 patches KB 2952664 and KB 2976978, Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks has just posted:

    • A thorough list of telemetry-inspired Win7 and 8.1 patches
    • A list of dozens of Microsoft servers that only exist to snoop
    • Details about disabling the Customer Experience Improvement Program, the Diagnostic Tracking Service, and scheduled tasks that phone the mothership.

    If you’re concerned about Win7 snooping – and you should at least be aware of the, ahem, feature and its manifestations – this is an amazing central repository of information.

  • A way to mediate the telemetry gathering in Win7 and 8.1

    Posted on February 10th, 2017 at 22:02 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Windows guru Günter Born has just posted an English-language article on his web site about KB 2952664 and KB 2976978, the re-issued snooping patches for Win7 and 8.1 (see entry below).  His article includes a detailed description of how one might cut off the telemetry in those patches.

    The question is “why Microsoft re-releases those updates, although they has been installed on many machines, and why as a extraordinary update on a Thursday?” Microsoft kb articles doesn’t give a clue what’s in.

    He goes through a series of steps to take down a program called compattelrunner.exe, a telemetry data gathering routine that “has been known as a trouble maker driving many systems CPU and RAM load to 100%.” Born admonishes:

    But note, I haven’t tested it – so you are at your own risk – and we don’t know how long this trick will work. But it’s maybe helpful.

    He also includes a list of telemetry related patches that many of you will find interesting.

    Check it out.

  • Microsoft re-releases snooping patches KB 2952664 (for Win7), KB 2976978 (Win 8.1)

    Posted on February 9th, 2017 at 15:14 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    What’s going on?

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    UPDATE: The replies here are getting thick and uninformative. Opinions are great, but they belong in the Rants forum, not here.

    I sealed off the replies, and point you to this comment by Mr. Brian:

    I think we have a decent idea of what KB2952664 does (at least the older version that I tested). KB2952664 adds task Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser. Task Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser is a gatherer of information that is sent to Microsoft by service Diagnostics Tracking Service.

    Detailed KB2952664 (older version) test results: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/care-to-join-a-win7-snooping-test/#post-21407.

    Method of listing the telemetry data that Diagnostics Tracking Service sends to Microsoft: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/care-to-join-a-win7-snooping-test/#post-21414.

    I will test the newer version of KB2952664 when time permits.


    I’ll update this as definitive information arrives.

  • Windows 8.1 snooping patch KB 2976978 re-re-re-released

    Posted on November 2nd, 2016 at 10:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s an optional patch, so you won’t get it unless you ask for it.

    The KB article is now up to revision 32.

    Microsoft is careful to note (this time):

    This update performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. The diagnostics evaluate compatibility on the Windows ecosystem and help Microsoft to ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows. There is no GWX or upgrade functionality contained in this update.

    It’s the Win8.1 analog to the much-discussed Win7 KB 2952664.

    While Microsoft implies that the patch only does its snooping if you enable the Customer Experience Improvement Program, I haven’t found any official confirmation.

  • What do you know/think about KB 2952664?

    Posted on October 11th, 2016 at 19:52 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We know KB 2952664 snoops – and we’ve known that for more than a year.

    Microsoft re-released it as a standalone patch today – Optional, Recommended.

    Do we have any definitive word on what the patch does, whether it’s actually beneficial (and, if so, how?), or if it’s just a spy that deserves to get ignored and/or uninstalled?

  • Win 7, 8.1 customers getting hit by the old KB 2952664 ‘Get Windows 10’ telemetry patch

    Posted on October 5th, 2016 at 07:47 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s back, tho its purpose isn’t clear.

    Why does Microsoft keep digging itself into the same hole?

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    UPDATE: I just got a nudge from SB and have appended this to the comments at the end of that InfoWorld patch:

    I’ve just been told of a significant reason why some folks may want to install this new version of 2952664. It looks like the patch is used by the Windows Update Analytics service – and this is their telemetry hook.

    I stand corrected: If you expect to use the Windows Update Analytics service, you need this patch.

    SECOND UPDATE: Microsoft reached out to me with a statement that

    There is no Get Windows 10 or upgrade functionality contained in this update. This KB article is related to the Windows Update and the appraiser systems that enables us to continue to deliver servicing updates to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices, as well as ensure device and application compatibility.

    The InfoWorld page has been updated, and the update should be propagating even as we speak.