Windows snooping patches KB 2952664, KB 2976978 are back (again)

Microsoft's nonsecurity patch day introduces 18 new updates for Office 2013 and 2016 in total

Windows snooping patches KB 2952664, KB 2976978 are back (again)
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Windows Update came roaring back today after more than a month in a semi-comatose state, and the chute filled up quickly this morning. Windows Update seems to be working well -- even more reason to check your Win7 and 8.1 systems and make sure it's turned off.

It's the first Tuesday of the month, aka Office's nonsecurity patch day, and we got a passel of them. The official announcement says there are five new Office 2013 nonsecurity patches and 12 for Office 2016.

As usual, there's no indication as yet when those will be rolled into an Office Click-to-Run channel. It's also far, far too early to tell if there will be any problems with these patches, although the past few months have seen very few issues with nonsecurity Office updates.

More disconcerting are the re-re-releases of KB 2952664 (Win7) and KB 2976978 (Win8.1). As I explained last month, those two patches have, in the past, triggered a new Windows task called DoScheduledTelemetryRun.

Even proponents of installing all Win7 and 8.1 patches balk at those patches, which were born in the crucible of the Get Windows 10 (GWX) marched upgrade madness. The series was renumbered, with no explanation: KB 2852664 was renumbered from revision 25 on Oct. 4, 2016, to revision 12 today. Microsoft states:

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. 

Yet it appears as if the scheduled task runs whether CEIP is enabled or not. If there's a reason for installing the patches, other than increased telemetry, I haven't heard about it.

Lest there be any doubt, these are new updates, not a redistribution of old versions. They were digitally signed on Feb. 23, 2017.

Anyway, it would be a good idea to sit tight and see if any problems develop.

Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge.