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Microsoft bundles telemetry into September ‘security-only’ patches for Windows 7 and 8.1

Microsoft bundles telemetry into September ‘security-only’ patches for Windows 7 and 8.1

It’s not the first time that Microsoft has been accused of sneaking telemetry into Windows security updates Microsoft‘s security-only updates released a few days back for its legacy desktop operating systems appear to have dropped new telemetry components on systems running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Microsoft‘s security-only updates are intended to fix only security

Microsoft bundles telemetry into September 'security-only' patches for Windows 7 and 8.1

It’s not the first time that Microsoft has been accused of sneaking telemetry into Windows security updates

Microsofts security-only updates released a few days back for its legacy desktop operating systems appear to have dropped new telemetry components on systems running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Microsofts security-only updates are intended to fix only security flaws in those versions of Windows, and no other features. 

This is not the first time Microsoft has been accused of bundling non-security related features – especially telemetry – within security-only updates.

Earlier in July, the Win7 security-only update (KB4507456) was also found to have installed telemetry feature on systems. While Microsoft never acknowledged the presence of any such functionality in its security update, many users said that the feature was being triggered by newly installed scheduled tasks, namely, Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser, ProgramDataUpdater, and AitAgent.

Some experts defended Microsofts snooping attempt, saying that the company needs telemetry data to monitor Windows 7 installations and to guide users to shift to newest version of Windows operating system. The company was also accused of bundling telemetry features into Windows 7 patches back when it released Windows 10. 

Furthermore, Windows 10 also exfiltrates telemetry data – an issue that is currently being investigated by Ireland’s data protection registrar over claims that it breaches GDPR

Microsoft defines telemetry as the “system data that is uploaded by the Connected User Experience and Telemetry component”. This data includes lots of details about the device and its configuration, including hardware attributes such as installed memory, CPU, and storage. It also includes details about number of crashes, hangs, installed applications, drivers, and much more.

According to AskWoody, users who have already installed the September security-only patches, and want to disable the telemetry functionality can do so by simply deleting or disabling the following schedule tasks after installation (before reboot):

  • MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceMicrosoft Compatibility Appraiser
  • MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceProgramDataUpdater
  • MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceAitAgent

With its September update, Microsoft addressed a high CPU usage issue that was affecting some users on Windows 10 version 1903. The issue reportedly appeared after Microsoft released the cumulative update KB4512941 for Windows 10 version 1903 in early September.

The company said the issued was caused by Cortana process SearchUI.exe, which increased the load on the system.

According to reports, some users still have complaints about broken searchers on the system, even after installing the latest patch. Those who have issues with search said a blank results page appears when they run searches.

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