Microsoft and KB2952664 and KB2976978, a never-ending story - gHacks Tech News

Microsoft and KB2952664 and KB2976978, a never-ending story

Microsoft released new versions of KB2952664 and KB2976978 for Windows 7 and 8.1 on July 11, 2018, something that the company does several times a year. We reviewed previous updates released in February 2017 and October 2016.

MS PowerUser reports that Microsoft changed the level of both patches to critical. The updates were optional or rated as important in the past, and Windows users and administrators could not get rid of these updates permanently.

While it is possible to hide the updates, any re-release by Microsoft would bring them up again in Windows Update and other update management systems.

Microsoft pushed Telemetry a lot in its products in recent years. The company tries to gather usage data to help prioritize development and react to issues and bugs more quickly.

compatibility update

While those are certainly important goals for Microsoft, it is clear that many users don't want anything of that; they paid for the operating system and don't want data about their usage collected and transferred to Microsoft; especially so if the chance exists that it could leak private information.

Microsoft burned a lot of bridges in the past when it included the Get Windows 10 application with updates and made the Telemetry updates prerequisites for it.

It is my personal opinion that Microsoft is not very good at communication when it comes to these things, and that the company would not face as much criticism if it would provide clearer and all-cards-on-the-table information about what it collects, why it collects the data, and what it does with the data.

Microsoft added options to recent versions of Windows 10 that gives users access to the Telemetry data that the company collects, and options to control Telemetry collecting. While Microsoft refuses to integrate a simple off switch even on Windows 10, it is at least possible to limit what Microsoft collects.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users and admins are in a slightly different boat. The operating system don't include Telemetry collecting natively, but will collect data if users opt-in to the User Experience Program.

Users don't have any say in the matter when they join though; there is no option to view the collected data, delete it, or limit it.

KB2952664

Title: Compatibility update for keeping Windows up-to-date in Windows 7

KB2976978

Compatibility update for keeping Windows up-to-date in Windows 8.1

Description (identical)

This update performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. The diagnostics evaluate the compatibility status of the Windows ecosystem, and help Microsoft to ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows. There is no GWX or upgrade functionality contained in this update.

Microsoft notes that Telemetry is only collected if users participate in the Windows Customer Experience  Improvement Program; that would mean, on the other hand, that the updates are useless if users did not opt-in to the program.

Born notes that the Telemetry updates did cause issues such as boot issues, error codes during installation, or freezes. He recommends that users hide the updates and don't install them and that is in my opinion the best option as well.

Closing Words

I don't think that Microsoft will get it right any time soon. Pushing Telemetry updates as critical updates will certainly install them on more user systems, but whether that is a good idea or note is up for debate.

Now You: What is your take on this?

Summary
Microsoft and KB2952664 and KB2976978, a never-ending story
Article Name
Microsoft and KB2952664 and KB2976978, a never-ending story
Description
Microsoft released new versions of KB2952664 and KB2976978 for Windows 7 and 8.1 on July 11, 2018, something that the company does several times a year.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Straspey said on July 23, 2018 at 6:59 pm
    Reply

    If I had 5¢ for every time I’ve hidden KB2952664 — I’d be as rich as Bill Gates – if not more so…

  2. Apparition said on July 23, 2018 at 7:02 pm
    Reply

    If you value your privacy, you have three options. You can use a BSD, macOS, or Linux. Windows (7, 8.1. or 10), is no longer an option.

    1. Yuliya said on July 23, 2018 at 7:13 pm
      Reply

      >macOS
      lol. It’s as bad, if not even worse, than Windows 10. Cloud integration everywhere and a policy which will make you cry upon reading what you’ve just spen.. uhm, wasted your money on.

      1. Sören Hentzschel said on July 24, 2018 at 12:43 pm
        Reply

        I use macOS since eight years and I never used the iCloud. It’s not needed at all and I really don’t know what you mean with “cloud integration everywhere and a policy which will make you cry upon reading what you’ve just spen.. uhm, wasted your money on”. Maybe you shouldn’t speak about operating systems you don’t know.

      2. Yuliya said on July 24, 2018 at 1:01 pm
        Reply

        I didn’t say you have to use it. I said it’s there. Which is enough of a privacy insult.

      3. Ionensturm said on July 24, 2018 at 4:56 pm
        Reply

        @Soren Hentzschel

        How are you able to tell whether or not macOS is sending telemetry, independently of iCloud. Little Snitch indicates a suspiciously high number of connections going out to Apple… Seems legit, alright.

  3. Yuliya said on July 23, 2018 at 7:10 pm
    Reply

    So happy we have SImplix Update Pack on 7. Fast updates with not telemetry or other microsoft nonsense in it.

  4. coakl said on July 23, 2018 at 7:49 pm
    Reply

    Also, I’ve read various forum posts that say even if you don’t participate in the telemetry transmission, the KB 2952664 diagnostics run anyway, consuming CPU and resources.
    This way, an up-to-date telemetry report is always ready to be sent, the moment you elect to participate.

    Another good reason to avoid KB 2952664: less baggage, less overhead running in the background.

  5. John Fenderson said on July 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm
    Reply

    “It is my personal opinion that Microsoft is not very good at communication when it comes to these things, and that the company would not face as much criticism if it would provide clearer and all-cards-on-the-table information about what it collects, why it collects the data, and what it does with the data”

    I don’t agree. I think that used to be true, but they’ve actually been pretty clear about what they collect and why these days. I think that the criticism is rooted in two things:

    1) You have to take Microsoft at their word about this stuff, and lots of people have learned not to do that.

    2) Knowing what’s collected and why is meaningless if you can’t stop the data collection.

  6. ddk said on July 23, 2018 at 9:43 pm
    Reply

    Marketing more than anything. With the increase of update issues I’m concerned their “fixes” are just a backdoor method of more fine tuned telemetry & surveillance.

    Maybe overly paranoid but MS is closed source & a lot of code isn’t publicly scrutinized. We really don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.

    Despite Win 10 LTSB being a limited time eval, it seems to be the more stable & less intrusive option vs other editions. It’s getting to the point where my next comp. will most certainly be a Mac. At least their privacy standards tend to have a much better reputation.

  7. AAA said on July 23, 2018 at 10:39 pm
    Reply

    Microsoft is becoming Google day by day… Wake up sheeple! We need to go back to pigeons… old ways!

  8. jasray said on July 23, 2018 at 10:43 pm
    Reply

    In a sense. it is “a never-ending story.” Since MS has a reputation for unnecessary eavesdropping, I rather doubt it’s going to stop. Those unfortunate users who complain about updates wreaking havoc with their computers and causing blue screens, black screens, green screens and scribbly esoteric writing should have learned by now, just as those who use Linux on a daily basis, the full backups are essential.

    “I am 100% responsible; I am not the victim” of some large corporate scheme insidiously nudging me to adopt Windows 10. I have machines on Windows 7 [no problems with updates], Windows 8.1 [no problems with updates], and Windows 10 [one problem that may have been a user error, but a fresh image had been made and a quick boot into a Linux distro allow us to save recent files].

    AntiBeacon is still available.

    As an aside, I wanted to try the Chrome OS system, and I placed it on a USB. How much information Google collected from me, I don’t know, but it truly was a refreshing experience–much like any Linux distro. Maybe refreshing because it was so simple.

    There are other OS systems, so what is the point in continually quoting Born who usually notes nothing other than he likes to sit on both sides of the fence–neither for nor against MS policies–and provides links so others can say something truly derogatory.

    In the meantime, so many workers are actually producing something of worth that all the MS bashing is futile because many, many employees and employers have developed positive relations with MS and understand what it means to be thankful for the opportunity work through the problems with MS.

  9. Bobby Phoenix said on July 23, 2018 at 10:51 pm
    Reply

    So I believe most of the users that do everything they can to disable telemetry are the same users who always seem to have issues every patch day, and/or version updates. What do you expect? If you don’t give Microsoft the info they need to prevent bugs/issues then don’t complain when things break on patch day, or version updates. How can they prevent issues when they get no data from you? Yes I may be wrong, but it seems to go hand-in-hand when I read who the users are who complain they disable everything, and then complain things don’t work later on. I opt-in to everything, and have never had one issue on five different machines since Windows 10 came out. All are running 1803, and are fully patched/updated.

    1. Iron Heart said on July 24, 2018 at 5:07 pm
      Reply

      > Yes I may be wrong, but it seems to go hand-in-hand when I read who the users are who complain they disable everything, and then complain things don’t work later on.

      How would one data set Microsoft could theoretically receive from my PC change anything? Seriously, even 1000 such data sets wouldn’t change anything. Only a tiny minority of PC users cares about their privacy, and if any issue were really widespread, Microsoft would still receive enough data sets to deal with the issue – and I would profit from the fix as well. Your “blind Microsoft” argument would only work if the majority of users actually cared about telemetry, which I doubt is the case. What’s more, we have no idea what exactly they are collecting (privacy evasive or not) – Windows is closed source, after all.

      > I opt-in to everything

      Sleep, sheeple, sleep…

    2. John Fenderson said on July 24, 2018 at 5:49 pm
      Reply

      “How can they prevent issues when they get no data from you?”

      The same way they did it before telemetry was a thing: comprehensive testing. While buggy updates have always been an issue, I find it rather interesting that they seem to have become much more common since Microsoft shifted to relying on telemetry instead of testing.

      The underlying issue here is that Microsoft decided to get on the rapid release bandwagon — but, and I think we have more than enough real-world data to substantiate this, going rapid release means that there will be a reduction in stability and quality of what gets released.

  10. AAA said on July 23, 2018 at 10:52 pm
    Reply

    Hehehehe… here’s your 5Cents, now be a good Russian troll bot or we will kick u from this botfarm! 🌚

  11. Mikhoul said on July 23, 2018 at 11:11 pm
    Reply

    With “WSUS Offline Update” it’s easy to control everything you just create an EXCLUSION list that you put in C:\WSusOffline\exclude\custom\ExcludeList.txt and ExcludeListForce-all.txt

    You just write inside the file each KB you want exclude (one per line) like this:

    kb971033
    kb2952664
    kb2976978
    kb2990214
    kb3021917
    kb3022345
    kb3035583
    kb3044374
    kb3068708
    kb3075249
    kb3080149
    kb3123862
    KB4012218
    KB4012219

    1. klaas said on July 24, 2018 at 2:41 pm
      Reply

      @Mikhoul: many thanks for pointing that out. Standard Windows Update does not work anymore on my Win 8.1/64-bit PC, and I gave up trying to fix it, so I switched to using WSUS.

      Regarding the list you refer to, right now I have nothing in the custom exclude folder. Should I make 2 .txt file with the same list, and naming 1 file ExcludeList.txt and name the other .txt file ExcludeListForce-all.txt?

  12. Tom Hawack said on July 23, 2018 at 11:24 pm
    Reply

    For Windows 7 and 8.1 users it is an ending story given the users of these OSs put an end to Windows Updates. I have done so in October 2016 and lived happily ever after. I won’t describe what I think of Microsoft because reasonable words wouldn’t be adequate.

    Concerning Windows 10 friends and I had a good laugh when one of us imagined a company developing an intentionally bugged OS in order to legitimate patches meant to follow the users. None of us subscribed to this strange scenario yet laughs calmed down and we observed a silence, gazing at each other. I think I was the only Windows user when all other were “Linuxians”.

    Microsoft is a bad company, as Google, as Amazon and Apple, as Tweeter and Facebook. A bunch of imperialists who run the Web. The Web as we knew it is disappearing. The whole thing is disgusting. The idea now is to digitally survive is the Web. Those companies rotten mentalities are infecting all middle ones who strive to become major ones, such as Avast. The only spots left are those of emerging, young companies until they get bought if valuable and infected on the go. Then we’ll have to focus on newer ones etc etc etc … what a fantastic world : Hey kids, look what they’ve done of our Web.

    Windows 7 with NO Windows Updates, with Microsoft blocked by its domains, urls, services, scripts, IP ranges. Same for the others except Google because Google is the worst considering blocking their servers would block at least half of the Web : avoided as far as possible.

    After? Linux and Tor. That’s how an enthusiast user of the early ages of the Web slowly but surely became a hater of major Web companies, a close to cynical mind wasting half of his time in defensive attitudes considering the Internet now is closer to Chicago of the twenties than to this new world who had all hoped.

    As far as i’m concerned my age allows me a dream maybe inaccessible to the younger ones : totally eradicating Internet and computing devices and move off to a part of this planet guided by other values and aims, if it exists.

    Sorry guys. I ain’t having the blues, i’m only observing this digital era. It stinks.

    1. Sophie said on July 31, 2018 at 2:56 pm
      Reply

      Tom, you are so right. I really get you here!!

      1. Tom Hawack said on July 31, 2018 at 3:13 pm
        Reply

        @Sophie, so nice to read you, seems to have been quite a while.
        Ups and downs like everyone, expressed when some have the education or mentality to not bother others with their own state of minds. Looks like I was particularly extroverted the day I wrote the above comment. A week ago, already. It wasn’t the blues only exasperation in the face of realities versus idealism. “Take people and the world as they are” would repeat our professor of relational psychology, some forty years ago. remains true!

        I don’t deny that comment though it doesn’t bring anything to a technological blog, unless maybe that no Windows Updates correlates to no Windows Updates issues, which is too obvious to be noted :=)

        Hope to read you more often, Sophie.

  13. justaned said on July 23, 2018 at 11:26 pm
    Reply

    I have basically given up on Windows. I have a dual boot between Windows7 and Linux Mint. I surf with Mint, and only keep Windows for certain paid programs and ease-of-use for my scanner (printing is no problem). I have not updated Wingows since last December and have updates disabled.
    Never 10.

  14. CIA BSOD said on July 24, 2018 at 1:32 am
    Reply

    Microsoft and Google are monopolies created by and protected by the US government. Stop kidding yourself that such companies are innocently collecting data for “our own good”, they work directly with the government.

    1. John Fenderson said on July 24, 2018 at 5:53 pm
      Reply

      @CIA BSOD

      Huh? The majority of people here are not saying that such companies are innocently collecting data “for our own good”. It clearly is not. However, i think that whether or not they’re doing so on behalf of a government isn’t important, as the situation is equally bad either way.

  15. Anonymous said on July 24, 2018 at 3:01 am
    Reply

    At the beginning Technology was here to propose solutions, well. But at the Silicon Valley with these monopolistic enterprises particularly Microsoft Technology is now here to impose solutions, to the entire planet. If they can’t stop this neocolonialism right now destroying all real social relationships, destroying the power of democratic states, at the next revolution soon their leaders and shareholders will be the first to have their heads on pikes like in 1789. One of our slogan on our oriflammes will be “Remember KB2952664 and KB2976978?”.

  16. 420 said on July 24, 2018 at 4:08 am
    Reply

    These people that say I only use windows 7 blah blah blah are amusing. I find win 10 ltsb so much better than windows 7 pro or 8.1 pro. Another bonus is only 12 freaking updates instead of 190+ anyways that is my opinion. Also anyone who uses mint should try manjaro, it is a much better os in my opinion.

    1. Weilan said on July 24, 2018 at 9:42 am
      Reply

      Windows 10 is garbage. It has even less freedom than Windows 7. To say you think 10 is better, you are clearly a child, who still thinks the newer is always better.

    2. John Fenderson said on July 24, 2018 at 4:57 pm
      Reply

      @420: “I find win 10 ltsb so much better than windows 7 pro or 8.1 pro”

      Good for you! But I’m curious about why you think that the fact that lots of people don’t find it better is “amusing”. That implies that you think that your use case and needs are the same as everyone else’s. I can guarantee that’s not the case.

  17. Rush said on July 24, 2018 at 4:59 am
    Reply

    Two machines, Win8.1, WinUpdates via WSUS approved security only, both machines have 83 updates each, not updated since sometime in late 2016….both very active laptops operate like a hot knife through butter. Never, EVER looked back.

    Tom above…I could not have said it better, Thank you.

  18. FERNANDO said on July 24, 2018 at 5:25 am
    Reply

    my bat file
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2876229 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2923545 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2970228 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3035583 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2990214 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3021917 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3068708 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2592687 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2660075 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2506928 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2952664 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3050265 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2726535 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2994023 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3022345 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3022345 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2545698 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3065987 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3044374 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3080149 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:3075249 /quiet /norestart
    wusa /uninstall /KB:2952664 /quiet /norestart

    sc stop Diagtrack
    sc delete Diagtrack

    pause

    1. ad said on July 24, 2018 at 3:41 pm
      Reply

      Could you please specify the details of creating such a batch file?

      1. FERNANDO said on July 25, 2018 at 3:42 am
        Reply

        i don’t know what you need to know. But with this i get ride of undesirable patches, even when i hide they came back some how.
        No problems on running this bat until now. Uninstall without restart the patchs and stop and delete diagtrack (telemetry)

  19. Anonymous said on July 24, 2018 at 11:09 am
    Reply

    The more time MS spend in trying to access userdata the less time they spend to develop bugfree updates… not very clever.

  20. Al CiD said on July 24, 2018 at 11:11 am
    Reply

    The more time MS spends in trying to access more and more userdata the less time they spend to develop bugfree updates… not very clever.

  21. Killmepls said on July 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

    And people laugh at me for still using Vista, at least I don’t have to deal with bs like this.

    1. Iron Heart said on July 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm
      Reply

      How about Linux? Surely Linux still has a better track record than Vista.

  22. Not Me said on July 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm
    Reply

    It seems this particular computer is now infected with a piece of Microsoft crap known as KB2976978, despite my best efforts to disallow any attempt to upgrade (read: DOWNGRADE) the OS from Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with Media Center to Windows 10, to prevent any telemetry between it and Microsoft (including tools such as computers used by Microsoft to violate the privacy rights of end-users of Microsoft products) for any purpose, and to basically prevent unwanted programs that fall into the broad category of ‘malware’ or, more specifically, ‘spyware’ from being installed or run on this computer.

    Maybe KB2976978 is part of the not-so-secret plot by Russia to interfere with elections in the US, or criminal organizations to coordinate their efforts trafficking in child pornography, illegal narcotics, or Iran’s plans for creating new WMD! Who knows? It is not as if Microsoft is known as a vendor of open source software, or much of any kind of transparency in about what it is actually doing to its customers.

    Then again, Microsoft may have just hidden the last known location of the server with Hillary Clinton’s missing email stored on it. Then again, if Hillary’s minions were using a Microsoft Exchange Server, it might have self-destructed after forwarding all the contents to Bernie Sanders.

    Not Me

  23. AlCiD said on July 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm
    Reply

    Kommentarfunktion kaputt?

  24. AnorKneeMerce said on July 24, 2018 at 5:15 pm
    Reply

    Win 7/8.1 were released in 2009/2012 with Windows Update defaulting to Automatic-download & install, but can still be set to Manual.

    Satya Nadella became the new CEO of M$ in Feb 2014. His oldest son, Zain, was born quadriplegic.

    In July 2014, Satya abolished the Windows Testing Division, comprising of about 150 employees/testers and 1200 lab computers, in order to save costs. July 2014 marked the beginning of the downhill slide of Windows Update for Win 7/8.1 and later Win 10, eg Windows Update did not work properly after a clean reinstall of Win 7.

    In Oct 2014, the Windows Insider Program for Win 10 was launched.

    On 29 July 2015, Win 10 was released. It came with forced auto-updates/upgrades and Telemetry & Data collection, along with the GWX KB3035583 campaign to upgrade Win 7/8.1 Home & Pro for free for 1 year.

    In Oct 2015, Telemetry updates were sneakily introduced by M$ for Win 7/8.1, eg KB2952664.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Having gotten rid of the Windows Testing Division in July 2014, Satya’s grand plan to save costs on support for Windows Update is to use M$ employees and Windows 10 Insiders as unpaid Alpha-testers and use Win 7/8.1/10 Home & Pro users as unpaid Beta-testers through forced or sneaked Telemetry & Data collection. More like being abused by M$.

    Hence the low quality of updates every monthly Patch Tuesday, which sometimes borked the unpaid testers’ computers before the buggy updates can be fixed by M$ = costs and time loss incurred by the involuntary and unpaid testers = the classic ‘businesses passing the costs to consumers’.

  25. Rush said on July 24, 2018 at 9:31 pm
    Reply

    Corporate greed.

    CEO’s today, do not care about customers, they only care about hitting their mark while they are alive while sitting in the golden chair.

    They cut costs affecting quality, they force product obsoletion, limit product life cycle.. All designed to make corporate shareholders fat, happy and rich.

    To hell with the customer.

    Today’s CEO’s are not concerned with the future of the customer as long as THEY hit their mark, and retire rich.

  26. Anonymous said on July 25, 2018 at 10:32 pm
    Reply

    I like how Microsoft tries to reassure Windows 7 users that this update is not a forced update to Windows 10:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2952664/compatibility-update-for-keeping-windows-up-to-date-in-windows-7
    There is no GWX or upgrade functionality contained in this update.

    Who would believe Microsoft?

  27. Clas said on August 3, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    Reply

    It’s always so much fun to read these comments. I am like so many others: win7 with updates off and am on this thing a lot and do a lot and never a problem. google? i find it easy…open my gmail in a sandboxed portable browser off a flash drive…and thats all thats open there. everything else in a different browser. and I agree that new does not mean better. prove it to me first then maybe i will “update” Until then its win7 with everything tight as a dead dog’s eye..and never a problem and the computer becomes a fun and relaxing time. Clas

  28. Tom Hawack said on August 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm
    Reply

    Welcome to the Windows 7 Happy Users’ Club (W7HUC), though you seem to be a member already (I don’t know ’em all, so many!).

    Your comment, Clas, took the words out of my keyboard :=)

  29. clas said on August 3, 2018 at 4:33 pm
    Reply

    thanks tom, i always appreciate your comments as well-thought-out and on the money.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 3, 2018 at 4:51 pm
      Reply

      @clas, I had to look up on WordReference.com what “on the money” meant in French : “tomber juste”. It’s slang, meaning correct, accurate. I’m off-topic again but always happy to learn (and to say/write it) :=)

  30. Thomas L said on August 10, 2018 at 8:28 am
    Reply

    Just to let you know: KB2976978 was installed silently on 13th July 2018 after i hid it in the past.
    I deinstalled it again. This morning 10th August 2018 i booted my PC and some update was going on. KB2976978 was installed and now deinstallation is NOT possible anymore. F.ck you MS.

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