How to disable Microsoft SpyNet on Windows7
When Microsoft Security Essentials is installed on a computer with Windows 7, you automatically become a member of the Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Defender community and grant Microsoft the ability to automatically collaborate with the your computer through Microsoft SpyNet.
Installing one of the programs adds the user automatically to a membership group which tracks program related activities and how threats are handled on the computer.
Microsoft uses the information to gain a better understanding of threats, and to improve the handling of threats for all users of the applications.
Update: Please note that Microsoft has modified how SpyNet is enabled on user systems in recent versions. You can now disable SpyNet during setup, so that you won't become a member automatically.
Besides gathering activity related information, it is also monitoring the Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Defender services to make sure they are running properly on the computer system.
Microsoft Security Essentials offers two types of membership to users: basic and advanced. From basic members, SpyNet obtains information such as the origin of the software, the actions taken by Microsoft Security Essentials or the user, as well as whether the actions were helpful or not. Action in this regard means how detected files were handled, e.g. quarantined.
It also collects some personal activity information. As an advanced member, in addition to the personal information, SpyNet also sends information such as hardware or software type, IP addresses, web browser, operating system, and so on.
Though Microsoft does not use this information for any other purpose, some of you might not wish to have your personal information floating out there for others to see.
Below you will find the information that you need to get access to all of the functionality of Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Defender without having to share your personal details.
You can use the following two methods:
Blocking SpyNet by Changing Registry Entries
Here you will need to change the following Registry entries on your computer using the Registry Editor. Do this by following these simple steps:
- Click on Start menu from your windows desktop. Alternatively, press the Windows key and continue with step 2.
- Go to Run Dialog and type â€œRegeditâ€ in the open field and click OK. The â€œRegistry Editorâ€ window will open as seen in figure 1.
- In the left pane navigate to the following path,
- Click on â€œEditâ€ and then â€œPermissionsâ€ option to open the permissions for SpyNet Dialog box.
- Select the username, for which you want to disable SpyNet, from the â€œGroup or user namesâ€ pane.
- Check the â€œFull Controlâ€ box to allow editing. This will give the selected user full control over the SpyNet key.
The dialog box should look like figure 2.
- Click on Apply then OK to save the settings.
- In the Registry Editorâ€™s right pane, Right click on â€œSpyNetReportingâ€ and select Modify. As seen in figure 3.
- Change the Value to 0 for enabling no membership to Microsoft SpyNet. Other options are,
Value = 1; for Basic membership, Value = 2; for Advanced membership
After selecting 0 as the value, the Microsoft SpyNet screen will look like the snapshot as in figure 4. Note that both membership options are not selected.
Blocking SpyNet Using Host Files
Both Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender use the following domains to communicate with the Microsoft server:
Modify your hosts file by adding the following addresses:
- 127.0.0.1 Spynet2.microsoft.com
- 127.0.0.1 Spynettest.microsoft.com
You can find the hosts file at the following location: C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
Open the file using Notepad and follow the instructions given in the file.
This procedure will not affect your spyware definitions or the program's ability to update.Advertisement