What is devicecensus.exe on Windows 10 and why does it need Internet connectivity?

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 23, 2019
Windows, Windows 10

If you are using a firewall on your Windows 10 PCs and have configured the protective layer to inform you about new processes that try to establish outbound connections, you may have noticed that a program called devicecensus.exe attempting to establish a connection regularly.

I noticed the process on a Windows 10 version 1809 machine. The process would try to establish an Internet connection shortly after startup.

A few questions may come to mind:

  • Is devicecensus.exe a legitimate process?
  • Why does it require Internet connectivity?
  • Is it related to Telemetry?
  • What kind of information is it transmitting?

What is devicecensus.exe on Windows 10?

devicecensus.exe process windows 10

The program devicecensus.exe is a legitimate Windows file provided that it is signed by Microsoft and found in the folder C:\Windows\System32 (the Windows installation location may vary depending on how this was set up during installation).

Users or system administrators cannot delete or rename the file in the location.

The process is started by a scheduled task that is run once per day. The task was set to run at 3:00 AM every day and by custom triggers as well on a test machine running Windows 10 version 1809.

devicecensus task

You may check the task in the following way:

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Type Task Scheduler and load the result once search results are displayed.
  3. Go to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Device Information
  4. There you should find a single task called Device.

If you check under the Actions tab, you will find devicecensus.exe listed there as the action.

Tip: system administrators may right-click on the task and select disable to turn it off.

The process appears to have been a part of Windows 10 for some releases including Windows 10 version 1803 and 1809. It caused several issues in the past that Windows users reported including:

  • Trying to access the webcam of the system.
  • Reliability History reporting it as stopped working regularly.

A Microsoft support agent provided the following information in June 2017 about devicecensus,exe on the company's Microsoft Answers support forum:

In order to target builds to your machine, we need to know a few important things:

  • - OS type (home, pro, enterprise, etc.)
  • - region
  • - language
  • - x86 or x64
  • - selected Insider ring
  • - (etc)

This is the background process that runs to check your machine and tell us which build we should send to you. :)

The process submits information about the operating system to Microsoft and Microsoft stated that the information is used to target builds.

Is devicecensus.exe needed to use Windows Update?

Microsoft stated that it uses the information to target builds to systems. Does it mean that systems won't receive updates when you disable the task from running or block it from connecting to the Internet?

To find out, I uninstalled the latest cumulative update that was installed on the system. I fired up Windows Update after the required restart and the update was offered to the system when I did so.

I did not test if devicecensus.exe is required for feature updates or Windows Insider builds. It is possible that Microsoft uses it for these but it is easy enough to enable the task again for that or use third-party means to install the latest feature updates on Windows 10 PCs without using Windows Update at all.

Recommendation: Disable the task or block the outbound connection of the devicecensus.exe task.

Now You: What is your take on the task?

What is devicecensus.exe on Windows 10 and why does it need Internet connectivity?
Article Name
What is devicecensus.exe on Windows 10 and why does it need Internet connectivity?
The guide provides you with information about the devicecensus.exe process on Windows 10 systems that transfers system data to Microsoft.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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