Microsoft is installing the Windows 10 privacy problems on Windows 7 and 8

Microsoft is installing the Windows 10 privacy problems on Windows 7 and 8
September 1, 2015
By Justin Ferris

The new Windows 10, like any new version of Windows, has stirred up its fair share of controversy. It's fast, secure, has a promising new default browser, brought back the Start Menu and overall manages to create a nice blend of the best features of Windows 7 and 8.

Unfortunately, it also brought with it a loss of control over updates and quite a few privacy concerns. From the personal assistant Cortana learning everything about your life to phoning home even when it shouldn't, Microsoft's default settings leave something to be desired. That's why some people are sticking with earlier versions of Windows for now, but that might not help as much as they think.

A few of the latest updates in Windows 7 and 8 include some of Windows 10's tracking features. These are listed as "Diagnostic and Telemetry" tracking, which let Microsoft know what goes wrong with your system or other points of data Microsoft can use to improve Windows in the future.

Most of this information doesn't really endanger your privacy, and Microsoft already has customer experience and troubleshooting tracking built into Windows 7 and 8. Of course, it generally asks before sending information to Microsoft, unlike the new updates.

Still, one of the new updates does tell Microsoft what kind of programs are triggering the User Account Controls (that message that a program needs administrator permission to install, run or change settings). That can give Microsoft an idea of what kind of programs you run.

The updates in question are KB3068708, KB3022345, KB3075249 and KB3080149. To see if they are installed, go to Control Panel>>System and Security. Then under "Windows Update," click the "View installed updates" link.

Scroll down to the "Microsoft Windows" section. If they're installed, they'll be in the August batch of updates. Once you find them, you can remove them without a problem.

If you don't see them, or only see one, the rest are listed as Optional and Recommended updates and your computer might not install those automatically. If not, then you don't have to worry about them.

Of course, there's nothing to say Microsoft won't start slipping more tracking features into future updates. If it does, we'll let you know so you can take steps to protect your privacy.


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