Blocking Telemetry in Windows 7 and 8.1
Microsoft pushed patches to devices running Windows 7 and 8.1 in recent time that collect information and transfer data to Microsoft regularly.
One of the main issues that Windows users may have with telemetry is that Microsoft does not reveal what it is collecting, and what is included when telemetry data is transferred to the company.
The following tutorial provides suggestions on limiting Windows data collecting and transferring. There is no guarantee that nothing is collected and/or submitted after making privacy related changes to the operating system, but a guarantee that data collecting is severely limited at the very least.
Make sure you back up important data before you continue.
Update: Eric @ Tweakhound created scripts that you can download and run. It is recommended that you go through the scripts first before you execute them.
Blocking Telemetry in Windows 7 and 8.1
The following Windows updates are related to telemetry and diagnostic data.
- KB971033-- Description of the update for Windows Activation Technologies
- KB2952664 -- Compatibility update for keeping Windows up-to-date in Windows 7
- KB2976978 -- Compatibility update for keeping Windows up-to-date in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8
- KB2990214 -- Update that enables you to upgrade from Windows 7 to a later version of Windows
- KB3021917 -- Update to Windows 7 SP1 for performance improvements
- KB3022345 -- Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
KB3035583-- Update installs Get Windows 10 app in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1
- KB3044374 -- Update that enables you to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10
- KB3068708 --Â Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
- KB3075249 -- Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7
- KB3080149 -- Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
- KB3123862 -- Updated capabilities to upgrade Windows 8.1 and Windows 7
You can remove any of the patches using two methods:
- Tap on the Windows-key, type Windows Update, and hit the Enter-key.
- Select Installed Updates on the window that opens.
- Right-click on updates and select uninstall to remove them from the system.
Second method uses the command line instead:
- Tap on the Windows-key, type cmd.exe, hold down Shift and Ctrl, and hit the Enter-key. This opens an elevated command prompt.
- Use the command wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart to remove updates.
- Replace the number after kb: with the update that you want to remove.
Make sure you hide any update that you have removed, as it will be picked up by Windows again the next time Windows Update checks for update.
The Windows\System32\CompatTel folder
The CompatTel folder is still there after you remove the telemetry updates on the machine. One change that you may notice is that the older Telemetry client, diagtrackrunner.exe is in that folder, and not the newer compattelrunner.exe.
You cannot remove the folder or files directly, as you need ownership first for that.
Turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program
We have posted a tutorial already that explains how to turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program.
Basically, what you do is click on Start, type customer experience, and select the "change customer experience improvement program settings" result. Select "No, I don't want to participate in the program" when the new settings window opens.
Remove the Telemetry service
Next thing on the list is to remove the Diagnostic Tracking service. It may not exist anymore already, but I suggest you run the commands below just to make sure.
Open an elevated command prompt -- if it is not still open -- and run the following commands:
- sc stop Diagtrack
- sc delete Diagtrack
The first command stops the Diagtrack service, the second deletes it.
Blocking Microsoft Servers
Caution: Some servers and IP addresses may be used by other Windows services. If you notice that some are not working anymore, disable them one by one until you find the culprit that you need to exclude from the blocking.
Note: the following servers cannot be blocked using the hosts file. You need to block them using another means, e.g. router firewall or installed firewall.
Other servers you may want to block:
Deleting Scheduled Tasks
Windows 7 and 8.1 run a lot of tasks that send data to Microsoft.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type Task Scheduler, and hit the Enter-key.
- Navigate to Microsoft > Windows in the task hierarchy, and delete (or disable) the following tasks:
- All tasks with Application Experience.
- All tasks with Autochk.
- All tasks with Customer Experience Improvement Program.
- DiskDiagnosticDataCollector under DiskDiagnostic.
- WinSAT under Maintenance.
- Deactivate all Media Center tasks.
There is always the chance that new updates will add new services or tasks. This is why it is recommended to set Windows Update to inform but not download and install automatically.
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