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Don’t want Windows 10 because of its excessive privacy invasions? Well those reasons have now disappeared but only because Microsoft is trying to bring them to Windows 7 and Windows 8 – for a second time…
Yes, in a quite bizarre move Infoworld spotted Microsoft has simultaneously reissued no less than four controversial user tracking patches for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Stranger still in an attempt to get them onto more computers, Microsoft has even reclassified one as ‘Important’ so it will now install automatically on any PCs and laptops running default Windows Update settings (read: the vast majority).
The four patches are:
1. KB 2952664- a secret snooping patch first pushed to Windows 7 back in April. Officially described as merely a “compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7″, Infoworld discovered it actually adds a program to the Windows Task Scheduler called ‘DoScheduledTelemetryRun’ which sends usage information to Microsoft even for those who have specifically opted out of the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
2. KB 2976978 – last issued in June, it is a scanner which sends diagnostics to Microsoft from CEIP participants. But the sneaky bit: if you let it scan it automatically signs you up to the CEIP program, which then gives Microsoft full usage tracking rights over your computer.
3. KB 2977759 – another diagnostic scanner, this one analyses computers to see whether their hardware is compatible for upgrades to Windows 10 and sends the data to Microsoft. Which leads us nicely onto…
4. KB 3035583 – this patch contains the infamous ‘Get Windows 10’ nagware pop-up which anyone who hasn’t upgraded to Windows 10 will likely have disabled by now. Well Microsoft thinks you need reminding, because now it has been reclassified as ‘Important’ and will therefore install automatically. So prepare for those Get Windows 10 pop-ups to start appearing again.
For those who don’t know Microsoft has a habit of reissuing patches it deems important now and again, but to push out a flurry of hardware analysis, Windows 10 upgrade compatibility and Windows 10 upgrade prompt patches simultaneously is far from subtle.
Windows 10 Upgrade Pressure Is Excessive
In fact these four re-releases come just one month after Microsoft formally admitted it has started automatically downloading the full Windows 10 upgrade (over 3GB) onto all Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers – even for users who specifically stated they do not want to upgrade.
“For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade,” justified the company in an official statement at the time.
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