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Old 12-12-2009, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 30+ Windows 7 Features Phone Home to Microsoft

Phoning home

Below, you will find a list of all the Windows 7 features and components that phone home, in accordance with the Windows 7 Privacy Supplement provided by Microsoft. All the information disclosed is publicly accessible, and has been so even before the RTM of Windows Vistaís successor.

ď1. Activation: During activation, product key information is sent to Microsoft, such as: The Microsoft product code, which is a five-digit code that identifies the Windows 7 product you are activating. A channel ID or site code, which identifies where you obtained the Windows 7 product. For example, it identifies whether the product was sold at retail, is an evaluation copy, is subject to a volume licensing program, was pre-installed by the computer manufacturer, and so on. The date of installation. Information that helps confirm that the product key information has not been altered.
If you license Windows 7 on a subscription basis, information will also be sent about how your subscription works. Activation also sends to Microsoft a number generated from the computer's hardware configuration. The number does not represent any personal information or information about the software. It cannot be used to determine the make or model of the computer and it cannot be calculated to determine any additional information about your computer. Along with standard computer information, some additional language settings are collected.

Use of information - Microsoft uses the information to confirm that you have a licensed copy of the software and to confirm whether you are eligible for certain support programs. It is also aggregated for statistical analysis. Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

Choice and control - Activation is mandatory and must be completed within a predefined grace period. If you choose not to activate the software, you cannot use it after the grace period expires. If you do not have a valid license for the software, you will not be able to activate it.

2. Device Information Retrieval: In order to retrieve relevant device information, this feature sends data to Microsoft, including your Device ID (for example, Hardware ID or Model ID of the device you are using), your locale, and the date that device information was last updated. The device information downloaded to your computer might include model name, description, device manufacturer logo, and device-related tasks.

Use of information - The information collected is used to help download relevant device information. No information sent is used to identify or contact you.

Choice and control - If you choose the recommended settings during Windows 7 setup, you turn on Device Information Retrieval. You can turn this feature off by going to Devices and Printers in Control Panel. Right-click your computer icon and then click ďDevice Installation Settings.Ē Select "No, let me choose what to do" and click to clear the "Replace generic device icons with enhanced icons" check box.

3. Device Manager: To determine which updates apply to your hardware, configuration information, such as what printers and other devices you use, is collected from your computer and sent to Microsoft. Device Manager and the Update Driver Software Wizard work with Windows Update to collect this information.

Use of information - The information collected is used to determine which updates apply to your computer hardware and to installed devices. Microsoft does not use the information collected about your computer configuration to identify you or contact you.

Choice and control - Device Manager is enabled by default, and cannot be disabled. However, Device Manager will only send configuration information to Microsoft and download updated drivers when you open the Update Driver Software Wizard and choose to update your driver software.

4. Dynamic Update: To install compatible drivers, Dynamic Update sends information to Microsoft about your computer's hardware. The types of updates Dynamic Update can download to your computer include: Installation updates: Important software updates for installation files to help ensure a successful installation. In-box driver updates: Important driver updates for the version of Windows that you are installing. Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool updates: Updates for the latest version of this tool which can help remove malicious software such as viruses and worms if it detects them on your computer.

Use of information - Dynamic Update reports information about your computer's hardware to Microsoft to identify the correct drivers for your system.

Choice and control - At the start of Windows 7 setup, you will be given the choice to use Dynamic Update.

5. Event Viewer: Event logs contain event information generated by all users and the programs on the computer. By default, all users can view event log entries; however, administrators can choose to restrict access to event logs. You can access the event logs for your computer by opening Event Viewer. To learn how to open Event Viewer, see Windows Help and Support.

Use of information - Event information that is collected and sent to Microsoft when you click the Event Log Online Help link is used to locate and then provide you with additional information about the event. Unless you have previously consented to sending event information automatically, clicking the link will display a dialog box asking for your consent to send the information listed in the dialog box over the Internet. If you consent, the information is sent to a website to see if more information about the event is available, including solutions to problems that are recorded as an event. For Microsoft events, the event details will be sent to Microsoft. Microsoft does not use this information to contact you or identify you. For events associated with third-party programs, the information will be sent to the location specified by the third-party publisher or manufacturer. If you send information about events to third-party publishers or manufacturers, use of the information will be subject to the third party's privacy practices.

Choice and control - No event log information will be sent over the Internet unless you consent to send it.

6. Gadgets: Some gadgets, such as Currency, Stocks, and Weather, contact the Internet to collect information and might send additional information, such as a location for weather information.

Use of information - Information collected by Microsoft from Microsoft gadgets is used to provide functionality for the gadgets but is not used to identify or contact you. If you use a non-Microsoft gadget, use of the information will be subject to the gadget providerís privacy practices.

Choice and control - Certain gadgets, such as Weather, might be pre-configured to contact the Internet when you first use them. However, you might be able to configure or close them later by going to Desktop Gadgets in Control Panel.

7. Games Folder: If you choose, the Games folder will retrieve information from Microsoft about the games you have installed. To do this, information including game identification numbers will be sent to Microsoft.

You can also choose to check for updates to some games by right-clicking the game icon and selecting Scan online for Update. Game version details and game identification numbers will be sent to Microsoft, and you will be notified of any updates that are available. You may choose to have Windows automatically scan and notify you about game updates from the options menu.

Some games, such as Internet Backgammon and Internet Spades, include a feature that will match you with players from around the world. If you choose to "Play," standard computer information and a GUID is sent to Microsoft to provide game play. No information collected is used to identify or contact you.

Use of information - The information sent to Microsoft is used to retrieve information for the games that you've installed. Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

Choice and control - You can turn the information collection or the tracking features of the Games folder on or off. You can choose to retrieve and display game information and to track game playing times from the options menu. You can disable these features at any time by returning to the options menu. If you choose to quit an Internet game that comes with Windows 7, no information will be transferred to Microsoft.

8. Error Reporting for Handwriting Recognition: A list of recently corrected handwriting samples is stored in memory. You can choose to send these handwriting samples to Microsoft. No personal information is intentionally collected; however the samples you choose to send may include personal information. For each report, you can also choose to send a comment about the errors. Microsoft does not use collected information to identify you or contact you.

Use of information - If you choose to send a report, it will be used to improve future versions of the Microsoft handwriting recognition software. No information is sent to Microsoft unless you choose to send it.

Choice and control - You can select which recognition errors you would like to report. You can initiate a report using the Handwriting Recognition Error Reporting tool while using the Tablet Input Panel. The Handwriting Recognition Error Reporting tool will also open when you select an alternate recognition after inking on a Tablet PC or another device. You can select each handwriting sample to be included in the report and review the report before sending it to Microsoft. No reports are sent automatically.

9. Personalization Training: When you use Personalization Training, your handwriting samples are stored in memory. You can choose to send these handwriting samples to Microsoft. No personal information is intentionally collected; however the samples you choose to send may include personal information. Microsoft does not use the information to identify or contact you.

Use of information - If you choose to send your handwriting samples to Microsoft, they are used to improve future versions of the Microsoft handwriting recognition software.

Choice and control - At the end of every training session you have the choice to send handwriting samples to Microsoft. No data is shared with Microsoft if you select "donít send ink samples."

10. IME Word Registration (available in Japanese IME only):Word registration reports can include the information you provide in the Add Word dialog box about the words being reported, and the software version number for IME. These reports may include personal information, for example if you add personal names using word registration, but Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you. You will have the opportunity to review the data being sent with each report before you choose to send it.

Use of information - Microsoft uses the information to help improve input editing.

Choice and control
- Each time you create a word registration report, you are asked if you want to send this report to Microsoft. You may view the information contained in the report before choosing whether to send it.

11. Installation Improvement Program: If you choose to participate in the Installation Improvement Program, the report is sent to Microsoft when you are connected to the Internet. This report does not contain contact information, such as your name, address, or phone number. A GUID is generated and sent with the report. The GUID is a randomly generated number that uniquely identifies your computer; it does not contain personal information.

Use of information - Microsoft and our partners use the report to improve our software. We use the GUID to correlate this data with data collected by the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), a program you can choose to participate in when you are using Windows 7. This GUID enables us to distinguish how widespread the feedback we receive is and how to prioritize it. For example, the GUID allows Microsoft to distinguish between one customer experiencing a problem one hundred times and one hundred customers experiencing the same problem once. Microsoft does not use the information collected by the Installation Improvement Program to identify you or contact you.

Choice and control - You can choose to participate in this program when you install Windows 7 by selecting the "I want to help make Windows installation better" check box.

12. Microsoft Error Reporting Service: The reporting service collects the information that is useful for diagnosing and solving the problem that has occurred, such as: Where the problem happened in the software or hardware; The type or severity of the problem; Files that help describe the problem; Basic software and hardware information; Possible software performance and compatibility problems. These reports might unintentionally contain personal information.

Use of information - Microsoft uses information about errors and problems to improve Microsoft products and services as well as third-party software and hardware designed for use with these products and services. Microsoft employees, contractors, vendors, and partners might be provided access to information collected by the reporting service. However, they will use the information only to repair or improve Microsoft products and services and third-party software and hardware designed for use with Microsoft products and services.

Microsoft might share aggregate information about errors and problems. Microsoft uses aggregate information for statistical analysis. Aggregate information does not contain specific information from individual reports, nor does it include any personal or confidential information that might have been collected from a report.

Choice and control - Windows 7 allows you to report problems automatically by choosing the "Recommended settings" option in setup. If you use automatic reporting, you are not typically prompted to send basic information about errors to Microsoft. If a more detailed error report is required, you will be prompted to review it. You can change this setting at any time by going to Action Center in Control Panel.

13. Plug and Play: When you install a Plug and Play device, the Windows Update client contacts the online Windows Update service to find and download device drivers. The Windows Update client handles all of the communication between the computer and Windows Update.

Use of information - Plug and Play detects and manages Plug and Play devices, performing tasks such as: determining hardware resource requirements; locating appropriate device drivers; loading and unloading drivers; and, in conjunction with power management, handling stop and start processes for devices. When you install a Plug and Play device, the information that is sent to the online Windows Update service is used to download and install the appropriate device drivers.

Choice and control - Plug and Play is enabled by default. To help avoid reliability problems, Plug and Play cannot be disabled. However, administrators can determine the search locations for drivers, or prevent users and computers from automatically accessing Windows Update.

14. Program Compatibility Assistant: The Program Compatibility Assistant works with the Microsoft Error Reporting Service to report incompatibility errors to Microsoft. Error reports may be generated that include information such as the program name, the needed compatibility settings, and your actions with the program so far. (Ö) Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

Use of information - Error reports are used to provide you with responses to problems that you report for your programs. Responses contain links, when available, to the program vendor's website so you can learn more about possible solutions. Error reports created due to program failures are used to try to determine which setting to adjust when you encounter application compatibility problems for the programs that you're running on this version of Windows .

Choice and control - The dialog that notifies you of the error lets you choose if you want to use the Program Compatibility Assistant to report compatibility errors to Microsoft.

15. Program Properties Compatibility Tab: When you apply compatibility settings using the Compatibility tab, Microsoft Error Reporting generates a report that contains the program name and the compatibility settings used. Unless you have consented to report problems automatically so you can check for solutions, you are asked if you want to send the error report. Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

Use of information - Information sent by the Compatibility tab to Microsoft is used to determine and find solutions for compatibility problems for the programs that you're running on this version of Windows .

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Old 12-12-2009, 09:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30+ Windows 7 Features Phone Home to Microsoft

16. Rights Management Services (RMS) Client: RMS uses your e-mail address to identify you. Your e-mail address will be stored on your computer in use licenses and identity certificates created by an RMS server. Identity certificates and use licenses are transferred to and from RMS servers. Your e-mail address is also stored on the RMS server. If your computer is part of an enterprise or networked environment, the RMS server is typically owned by and located within the enterprise. If you are using Windows Live RMS services, the server will be an RMS server at Microsoft. Information that is sent to Microsoft RMS servers is sent in an encrypted form.

Use of information - The use license allows you to access protected information. The identity certificate is used to identify you to an RMS server, and it allows you to protect information and access protected information.

Choice and control - RMS features must be enabled through an RMS-capable program and are not enabled by default. You can choose not to enable or use them, however if you do not enable them, you will not be able to open files with restricted permissions.

17. Teredo Technology: Each time you start your computer, if you need, to connect to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), Teredo will attempt to locate a public IPv6 Internet service on the Internet. If you use a program that requires Teredo to use IPv6 connectivity, or if you configure your firewall to always enable IPv6 connectivity, then Teredo will periodically contact the Microsoft Teredo service over the Internet. The only information sent to Microsoft is standard computer information and the name of the service requested (for example teredo.ipv6.microsoft.com).

Use of information - The information sent from your computer by Teredo is used to determine if your computer is connected to the Internet and if it can locate a public IPv6 service. Once the service is located, information is sent to maintain a connection with the IPv6 service.

Choice and control - Using the netsh command line tool, you can change the query that the service sends over the Internet to use non-Microsoft servers instead, or you can turn off this feature.

18. Update Root Certificates: Update Root Certificates sends a request to the online Windows Update service that asks for the current list of root certification authorities in the Microsoft Root Certificate Program. If the untrusted certificate is on the list, Update Root Certificates obtains that certificate from Windows Update and places it in the trusted certificate store on your computer. The information transferred includes the names and cryptographic hashes of root certificates. Microsoft does not use this information to identify you or contact you.

Use of information - The information is used by Microsoft to update the list of trusted certificates on your computer.

Choice and control - Update Root Certificates is enabled by default. Administrators can configure Group Policy to disable the Update Root Certificates on a computer.

19. Windows Anytime Upgrade: When you use Windows Anytime Upgrade, you will be sent to a Microsoft website. Some additional information will also be sent, including your current Windows 7 edition, country or region code, the version you would like to upgrade to, the vendor that your current operating system was purchased from, and the merchant that your upgrade request should be directed to.

When your version of Windows 7 is upgraded, updates may be available from Windows Update. As part of Windows Anytime Upgrade, these updates will be downloaded and installed on your computer in accordance with your Windows Update settings.

Use of information - The information is used to connect you with the merchant and to help ensure that you can upgrade your computer to the correct version of Windows. The information is first sent to a Microsoft server, where it is used for auditing purposes, and then redirected to the appropriate participating merchant.

Choice and control - You can begin an upgrade at any time, or cancel the purchase process at any time. Administrators can disable Windows Anytime Upgrade through Group Policy. For more information about Windows Anytime Upgrade, see Windows Help and Support.

20. Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP): CEIP reports generally include information about:

Configuration, such as how many processors are in your computer, the number of network connections in use, screen resolutions for display devices, and which version of Windows is running. Reports can also include configuration information, such as the strength of the signal between your computer and a wireless or Bluetooth enabled device, and if some features such as high-speed USB connections are turned on.

Performance and reliability, such as how quickly a program responds when you click a button, how many problems you experience with a program or a device, and how quickly information is sent or received over a network connection.
Program use, such as the features that you use the most often, how frequently you launch programs, how often you use Windows Help and Support, and how many folders you typically create on your desktop.

CEIP reports also contain information about events (event log data) on your computer from up to seven days prior to the time you decide to participate in CEIP. Since most users decide to participate in CEIP within several days of setting up Windows, Microsoft uses this information to analyze and improve the Windows 7 setup experience.

Use of information - Microsoft uses CEIP information to improve our software. We might also share CEIP information with Microsoft partners so they can improve their software, but the information cannot be used to identify you. We use the GUID to distinguish how widespread the feedback we receive is and how to prioritize it. For example, the GUID allows Microsoft to distinguish between one customer experiencing a problem one hundred times and one hundred customers experiencing the same problem once. Microsoft does not use the information collected by CEIP to identify you or contact you.

Choice and control - If you choose the recommended settings during Windows 7 setup, you turn on Windows CEIP. If you choose to participate, CEIP will collect the information described above for all users on your computer. Administrators can turn CEIP on or off by going to Action Center in Control Panel and selecting “Change Customer Experience Improvement Program settings.”

21. Windows Defender: When you enable a connection, configuration files are downloaded to your computer from the remote URL you specify. These configuration files link programs and desktops on remote computers so that you can run them from your computer. Your computer will automatically check for and download updates to these configuration files periodically. These programs run on remote computers and information you enter into the programs is transmitted across the network to remote computers.

Microsoft SpyNet Feature: The Microsoft SpyNet anti-malware community is a voluntary, worldwide community including Windows Defender users. Through Microsoft SpyNet, users can report malware and other forms of potentially unwanted software to Microsoft. When you set up Windows 7, you can choose to join Microsoft SpyNet. If you choose to join, reports about malware and potentially unwanted software are sent to Microsoft. The type of information that is sent in reports depends on your level of Microsoft SpyNet membership.

22. Windows File Association: If you choose to use Windows File Association, the file name extension and your computer display language are sent to Microsoft. The rest of the file name is not sent to Microsoft.

Use of information - When you submit a file name extension, the service returns a list of the programs Microsoft is aware of that can open files of that extension. Unless you choose to download and install a program, the associations for the file type are not changed.

Choice and control - When you try to open a file type without an associated program, you can choose whether to use Windows File Association. No file association information is sent to Microsoft unless you decide to use the service.

23. Windows Help: When you use Windows Online Help and Support, your search queries are sent to Microsoft, as well as any rating or feedback you choose to provide about the help topics presented to you. Windows Online Help and Support does not intentionally collect any information that could be used to personally identify you. If you type such information into the search or feedback boxes, the information will be sent, but Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

24. Help Experience Improvement Program: The Help Experience Improvement Program sends Microsoft information about the version of Windows that your computer is running and about how you use Windows Help and Support, including queries you enter when you search Windows Help and Support.

Use of information - The data collected is used to identify trends and usage patterns so that Microsoft can improve the quality of content we provide and the relevance of our search results. Microsoft does not use the information to contact you or identify you.

Choice and control - If you choose the recommended settings during Windows 7 setup, you enroll in the Help Experience Improvement Program. You can change your participation settings by clicking the Options menu and clicking Settings, or selecting Get online Help from the toggle menu at the bottom of the Help window. Note that selecting Get online Help from the toggle menu doesn’t automatically enroll you in the Help Experience Improvement Program; you must enroll through the settings menu. If you are not enrolled, you will also be given an opportunity to join after submitting feedback.

25. Windows Speech Recognition: When the Windows Speech Recognition document review feature is enabled, text from Microsoft Office Word documents (with .doc or .docx file name extensions) and e-mail (from e-mail folders other than Deleted Items or Junk Mail) on your computer and on any connected file shares included in your Windows search index locations is collected and stored in one, two, or three-word fragments. One word fragments include only words you have added to custom dictionaries, and two or three word fragments include only words found in standard dictionaries.

The profile information is not sent to Microsoft unless you choose to send it when prompted by Windows Speech Recognition. You can review the data before it is sent. If you choose to send this data, acoustic adaptation data that was used to adapt to your audio characteristics is also sent.

Use of information - Windows Speech Recognition uses words from the speech profile to convert your speech to text. Microsoft uses personal speech profile data to improve our products and services.

Choice and control - At the end of any training session you will be given the choice whether to send your training data and other profile data to Microsoft. You can also send data when Windows Speech Recognition is launched by right-clicking on the microphone button and selecting "Help improve speech recognition." In either case, you can view all data files before they are sent, and can choose not to send them.

26. Windows Time Service: The service connects to a time server over the Internet or a local network using the industry standard Network Time Protocol. By default, this service synchronizes with time.windows.com once a week. No information other than standard computer information is sent to the time server.

27. Windows Troubleshooting: If online settings are enabled, Windows Troubleshooting will search for and might download a list of troubleshooting packs from Microsoft to help diagnose and fix problems on your computer. If you choose to run a troubleshooting pack that is not on your computer, Microsoft will download the troubleshooting pack to your computer. After running a troubleshooting pack, the results are saved to your computer. These results may contain personally identifiable information, such as a user alias or the name of a device. Windows Troubleshooting can help you search for problem solutions in Windows Help and Windows communities online.

Use of information - Information collected by Microsoft through your use of Windows Troubleshooting is used to help solve problems our users encounter.

Choice and control - If you choose "Recommended settings" during setup, Windows Troubleshooting will search for online troubleshooting packs by default. To change these settings, go to Troubleshooting in Control Panel. Select "Change settings," and clear the "Allow users to browse for troubleshooters available from the Windows Online Troubleshooting service." check box You can also disable online search by clearing the "Get the most up-to-date troubleshooters from the Windows Online Troubleshooting service” check box. To delete troubleshooting results, click "View history," select a result, and then click "Delete".”

At the same time, there are additional Windows 7 features that communicate with Microsoft servers in order to share user data. However, the components enumerated below all feature extensive privacy statements from the Redmond-based company, which are best suited for online access, as a summary will not do them justice in any manner.

28. Windows Internet Explorer 8: Privacy Statement available here.

29. Update Services: Privacy Statement available here.

30. Microsoft Genuine Advantage: Privacy Statement available here.

31. Windows Media Center: Privacy Statement available here.

32. Microsoft Windows Media Player 12: Privacy Statement available here.

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