Okay, maybe not ‘watching you’, but they are spying on you. Seems that Microsoft MSFT 245,18 -2,97 -1,20% was not content with just spying on Windows 10 users. They have pushed through some ‘Telemetry’ updates on Windows 7 and 8.1 which allow Windows to collect and send data back to Microsoft. Keep in mind if you have opted-out of previous ‘feedback/telemetry’ programs with Microsoft, these updates undo all that (including user privacy settings in the Windows hosts file).
…(the updates) all add “customer experience and diagnostic telemetry” to Windows 7 and Windows 8. This is shorthand for monitoring how you use Windows and sending that data back to Microsoft HQ for evaluation.
There are four ‘Update for Microsoft Windows’ to check for in your installed updates (Control Panel > Programs and Features > View installed updates):
Click on the update (you have to do this one at a time) and right-click selecting Uninstall. Upon removal, you will be prompted to reboot your machine, you can wait to reboot until you have finished removing all of the above updates. After rebooting, be sure to go back into Windows Update and right-click on these updates and select ‘Hide Update’ so they don’t get reinstalled in the next round of updates. It seemed to be hit and miss on my two machines; I had the old KB3022345 on my Windows 8.1 machine and nothing else, but I found a couple of the others on my Windows 7 laptop.
Update: Just checked for updates on my Windows 8.1 machine: KB3075249 and KB3080149 were ‘recommended updates’ which were selected to be installed. I’ve since hidden these updates. If they are not showing as currently installed, check to see if they are available to be installed.
via Forbes > Gordon Kelly