Now Microsoft privacy issues are aimed at Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

It seems Microsoft’s privacy invasion has now continued to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Recently these “telemetry” updates are added to those versions of Windows.

The mandatory update KB3068708 (titled “Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry”) as well as the option updates KB3075249 (titled “Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7”) and KB3080149 (titled “Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry”) are the culprits.

Depending on your operating system you can silently uninstall them in an elevated command prompt:

  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart

Note that KB3022345 is replaced by KB3068708. So if you remove the latter, it will still be sending out information.

You can also add the following to your host file or firewall to block:

127.0.0.1                         settings-win.data.microsoft.com

127.0.0.1                        64.4.54.253 # settings-win.data.microsoft.com

127.0.0.1                        vortex-win.data.microsoft.com

127.0.0.1                       64.4.54.254 # vortex-win.data.microsoft.com

 

Testing for Windows 10 compatibility

If you are unsure if your system is compatible with Windows 10 or why you haven’t seen the Get Windows 10 icon in the system try, the following may give you a hint.

Prerequisite: You will need the full installation media on your hard disk, a DVD or a USB key.

Start the test by using the full installation media. If you don’t have it, use the Windows Media Creation Tool and be sure not to upgrade but to create an ISO or USB key.

Locate SETUP.EXE and run the following in an elevated command prompt:

SETUP.EXE /Auto Upgrade /Quiet /NoReboot /Compat ScanOnly

What this will do is check your system for compatibility with Windows 10 without installing or upgrading. It will return one of the message following:

  • No issues found: 0xC1900210
  • Does not meet system requirements for Windows 10: 0xC1900200
  • Migration choice (auto upgrade) not available (probably the wrong SKU or architecture)· 0xC1900204
  • Compatibility issues found (hard block): 0xC1900208
  • Insufficient free disk space: 0xC190020E

[The return codes are actually large negative numbers but these look more readable. Don’t ask me why they are like this instead of 0, 1, 2, …]

If unsure of the error or you need more information, look at SETUPACT.LOG or SETUPERR.LOG generated by SETUP.EXE to see what the specific error that could stop the upgrade.

 

Uninstalling Windows 10 applications that have no uninstall option

There are a number of the Windows 10 applications (the so-called Universal applications) that have no uninstall option. Luckily they can be removed using PowerShell.

Launch an elevated PowerShell box and then run the following command to remove it:

Get-AppxPackage ** | Remove-AppxPackage

As an example, to remove the built-in Camera applications you would use:

Get-AppxPackage *camera* | Remove-AppxPackage

If you want to view all the packages, use the following command:

Get-AppxPackage | ft Name, PackageFullName -AutoSize

Here are a list of some of the common ones you may want to uninstall. They are listed below with the part of package name to use:

  • Camera – *camera*
  • Groove Music and Movies & TV – *zune*
  • Mail and Calendar – *communi*
  • People – *people*
  • Xbox – *xbox*
  • Solitare – *solit*
  • 3D Builder – *3d*
  • Money, Sports, News, Travel, Health, Food and Weather – *bing* [removes all 7 applications]

For the last one, you can remove all or to just remove certain ones use *bingmoney*, *bingsports*, etc. You can use the following command to view the names:

Get-AppxPackage *bing* | ft Name, PackageFullName -AutoSize

Note that other applications may be uninstallable by right clicking on the link in the Start menu or via the System settings and looking under Apps & features.

Options to install Windows Live Mail

Windows Live Essentials [WLE] was a collections of applications primarily released for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Older versions would also work with Windows XP.

WLE contained a number of applications including Windows Live Mail [WLM]- which is an upgrade to Windows Mail that came in Windows Vista as well as Outlook Express in Windows XP.

While WLM had a few nice additions, one thing I didn’t like was that every Email was contained in its own file. So 10,000 Emails would mean 10,000 files. In comparison, Outlook Express had one file per folder and Outlook had one file for everything.

You can directly download the offline installation file [130MB] here.

Note that as a prerequisite, .net Framework 4 is required [install .net Framework 4.6 which was released in July 2015].

Windows 10 doesn’t have most of these applications because the applications were superseded with new applications.

To install, run the installer with the following options:

wlsetup-all.exe /AppSelect:,! /q /log: /noMU /noHomepage /noLaunch /noSearch

/log: logging your installation

/noMU disable Windows Update

/noHomepage prevent homepage to become Msn.com

/noLaunch prevent Messenger to launch just after installation as finished

/noSearch prevent your default search engin to be replaced by Bing.com

/q mean silent installation

/AppSelect: select features you want to install can be:

  • ALL (Full live essential)
  • Mail
  • PhotoGallery
  • OLC (Outlook Connector)
  • Messenger
  • Writer
  • MovieMaker
  • Companion (Messenger Companion)
  • FamilySafety
  • wlsync (Live Mesh)
  • Bingbar
  • idcrl (Live Sign in Assistant)

! are features that should not be installed

Here are some examples :

Installing Messenger and Live Writer only:

wlsetup-all.exe /AppSelect:Messenger,Writer /q

Installing full package except Bingbar and MovieMaker:

wlsetup-all.exe /AppSelect:ALL,!moviemaker,!Bingbar /q

How to do a clean upgrade installation of Windows 10

This blog will give you three options on how to do a clean installation of Windows 10. Each option has a level of complexity.

Note: Back up your data. Take inventory of your applications that you have installed.

Start the upgrade either from the Get Windows 10 application or by using the Windows Media Creation Tool [WMCT].

In the case of the WMCT, run the SETUP.EXE with elevated access in the root of the ISO. Do not boot off the ISO.

Once the upgrade has started follow one of the three options below:

Option 1:

This is the most complex option. Upgrade as normal. Log in with a Microsoft ID to activate and store your computer’s activation information in a Microsoft Store database. Once you confirm your computer with Windows 10 is activated [System applet in the Control Panel], boot off the ISO, wipe the disk and install from scratch. When asked to insert a serial number ignore.

Log in with your Microsoft ID used at the beginning. Once the installation is finished, your computer’s activation information from the upgrade will be used to send your computer the serial number transparently.

Option 2:

Once the upgrade is completed, run Windows Update [located at Start -> Settings -> Update and Security -> Windows Update] to verify that Windows is up to date.

Once up to date, navigate to a recovery [Start -> Settings -> Update and Security -> Recovery].

Under the option Reset this PC, select the Get started button.

Select the option to Restore factory settings.

Option 3:

At the beginning of the process, you should see a window titled Ready to install. Under Keep personal files and apps, select Change what to keep.

In the Choose what to keep, select Nothing and click on the Next button. When selecting this option, effectively your old operating system, applications and settings will be removed.
Continue the steps to complete the upgrade.

As usual, test first. Use at your own risk.

Microsoft to release out-of-band update to Internet Explorer tomorrow

No word on which versions and/or operating systems. Should be MS15-093 unless a re-release.

Should be available after 10am PST / 1pm EST.

More on Windows Update Delivery Optimization

I mentioned Windows Update Delivery Optimization in a previous post and how to permanently disable it. In this post, I’ll explain more.

WUDO lets you pick up Windows updates as well as Store applications from computers near you [with the same architecture]. This can be useful particularly if you have a slow Internet connection.

Theoretically, if you have 5 computers in your house with Windows 10, one computer could receive all the updates and the other four receive their updates from that one computer.

By default this feature is turned on to get updates from Microsoft’s servers, computers in your network [if applicable] and the Internet [other computers in the vicinity but you may not know them owners]. Some may wish to turn off the option to use the Internet. The internet option is not turned on if using an Enterprise edition of Windows 10.

Obviously, it can only retrieve the updates from other computers if they have the update already and of the same architecture [32-bit or 64-bit].

When it retrieves updates, it may retrieve pieces of an update from different computers on the local network, Internet of Microsoft’s servers. This works very similarly to torrents.

Updates that are downloaded in full are kept for a short period of time before they are removed. Once removed, other computers must get the update elsewhere.

WUDO does not access any personal data locally. Parts and the final whole updates are checked to verify they haven’t been tampered with before installing.

To adjust settings:

  1. Go to the Start button icon, then Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, and then select Advanced options.
  2. On the Advanced options page, select Choose how updates are delivered, and then use the toggle to turn Delivery Optimization off. When turned off, you’ll still get updates and apps from Windows Update and from the Windows Store.

If you’d just like to stop downloading updates and apps from PCs on the Internet, select PCs on my local network.

Windows 10 won’t automatically download updates or applications if it detects that your computer is using a metered connection. As well WUDO won’t automatically download or send parts of updates or applications to other computers on the Internet if it detects that you’re using a metered connection.

If you use a Wi-Fi connection that is metered or capped, make sure you identify it as a metered connection. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Go to the Start button icon, then Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced options.
  2. Use the toggle under Set as metered connection to set your Wi-Fi connection as metered.
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