From Microsoft's documentation Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 Telemetry Updates (Diagnostic Tracking).
Under "Microsoft Data Management Service".
Microsoft isn't its own partner. A partner means a 3rd-party. A business agreement with a 3rd-party means a profitable transaction. What Microsoft is saying, in a sterilized PR manner, is that they sell the data they collect through Windows 10 to whoever has the money to pay for it just like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, do.
A key difference between Microsoft's harvesting of personal data and those other companies' harvesting of personal data, though, is that Microsoft collects data from people's personally-owned OS environments and activities that those individual Windows 10 owners host and pay for the housing, hardware, software, electricity, maintenance of, whereas the other mentioned companies collect data from online services that each of those companies hosts and pays for the housing, hardware, software, electricity, maintenance, of.
From Microsoft's document Configure Windows diagnostic data in your organization, in the "Data use and access" section.
From Microsoft's "privacy statement", in the "Advertising" section.
From Microsoft's "privacy statement", in the "Reasons We Share Personal Data" section.
If Microsoft opts to think of the personal data that Microsoft has harvested through Windows 10 as theirs to sell (a position I think is legally indefensible and amounting to unjust enrichment), then Microsoft would count that data as their assets. And so, a "sale of assets" as a corporate transaction would describe the sale of collected personal and personally-owned (by the individual Windows 10 instance owners the data is harvested from) data for the sake of Microsoft's profit.
Additional thoughts and resources
While Microsoft claims in one case that the data they share with 3rd-party companies has been made anonymous due to aggregation, it should be noted that Microsoft does not claim the data they share is exclusively anonymous. And in some situations, such as sharing data with law enforcement (which Microsoft states they do elsewhere in the "privacy statement"), it would logically not be anonymous. So, Microsoft hasn't given a clear answer as to how much of the data that it shares is anonymous, and how much isn't, and has only offered that some data which they share has been made anonymous.
It should also be remembered that Microsoft originally claimed that all of the data they collect is anonymous to begin with, but the year-long Dutch DPA investigation revealed that claim to be a lie and that all data harvested by Microsoft is attached with identifiers cataloguing it according to the person, the device, the network, and more that it came from, so that all collected data on each person can form a comprehensive virtual profile of that person:
"It turns out that Microsoft’s operating system follows about every step you take on your computer. That results in an intrusive profile of yourself. What does that mean? Do people know about this, do they want this? Microsoft needs to give users a fair opportunity to decide about this themselves." - Wilbert Tomesen, vice-chairman of the Dutch DPA
"In our full report (only available in Dutch unfortunately), we deal extensively with the points of forced install. We also explain why all the telemetry data collected by Microsoft are indeed personal data, and certainly not anonymous, regardless of the view of MS that they would only relate to the system/be 'mere' technical data." - Dutch DPA
For more information about how data collected in Windows 10 is tagged according to the type of account that is logged into a Windows 10 session, see this post:
An incomplete documentation of the minimum data that Microsoft harvests from all devices running a copy of Windows 10 Home or Pro as of version 1803 of Windows 10 can be viewed on Microsoft's website. Microsoft's website documentation of data that's harvested at the "Basic" setting is revealed to be incomplete when comparing the transmitted data reported by Microsoft's Diagnostic Data Viewer to the data that is documented on Microsoft's website.
Microsoft Ad Monetization platform
7 ways Windows 10 pushes ads at you, and how to stop them
Windows 10 isn't an operating system, it's an advertising platform
A highly important aspect of owning property, such as your computer hardware, the data on it as well as any data it generates, your Windows operating system, and other software you've purchased, is exclusively being the person that has the authority to make decisions over it, and being able to make the decisions that you know are the best for your situation.
As the European Union and Australia's top courts have ruled, and as even the US Supreme Court has indirectly supported, you own the software that you purchase, and you possess full property rights apply to your personally-owned software (with no comparable court in the world ruling contradictory to the European Union and Australia's top court rulings). The ownership rights that people possess over their software naturally includes full decision-making authority concerning whether their software may become modified or not, such as by updates.
In recent years, ever since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has shown itself to be struggling to grasp the understanding of these things. Microsoft's efforts to oppose and sabotage Windows and PC system owners' ability to control and stop updates from being installed on their machines and modifying their OSes and storage drives against their wills constitutes a clear violation of property laws and is vandalism of people's computer systems and their personally-owned Windows OSes.
If you'd like more information about your ownership of your software, including Windows 10, and to learn about the nature of software licenses and EULAs, you can check out this link: You legally own the software that you purchase, and any claims otherwise are urban myth or corporate propaganda
Despite Microsoft's ongoing failure to meet its legal obligations to respect Windows owners' rights and property, there are a variety ways to take back control of your OS and make it more secure and reliable by controlling Windows Update. Here are 10 of them:
One method is by using the Group Policy editor. The Group Policy editor is only available in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. If you have Home edition, you will have to follow one of the other methods.
Setting the Group Policy editor policy for Automatic Updates to Disabled does the following: "If the status for this policy is set to Disabled, any updates that are available on Windows Update must be downloaded and installed manually. To do this, search for Windows Update using Start."
To Disable the automatic updates group policy:
Step 1 - In the start menu, search for Group Policy, and open the policy editor
Step 2 - Navigate to: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
Step 3 - In the folder containing policies for Windows Update, double-click on the policy titled "Configure Automatic Updates"
Step 4 - In the top-left area of the window that pops up, check the box that says Disabled
Step 5 - Press OK to close that window
If you don't want to stop Windows Update from letting you know when new updates are available, but want to stop automatic downloads and installations of updates, then follow this guide:
If following that video guide to stop automatic downloads and installs of Windows updates, then after about 2 months, you might start getting full-screen pop-ups after you boot into the OS saying that updates are available for your OS. There are additional guides online showing how to disable those full-screen pop-ups (which shouldn't be happening in the first place, but Microsoft is not a good company and acts abusively by nature).
Method 2 --- now possible with Windows 1803 and newer!
Windows Update can be fully disabled by opening Services and then disabling the item for Windows Update. To re-enable Windows Update at a later time, just re-enable its service.
If using Windows 1803 or newer, you will have to first give your Windows account "ownership" over the WaaSMedicSvc.dll file that's located in C:\Windows\System32, and possibly over the entire System32 folder. A guide on how to do that is here.
After you have control over the WaaSMedicSvc.dll file, then do the following:
Step 1 - Go to C:\Windows\System32\
Step 2 - Locate and delete or rename the file WaaSMedicSvc.dll
Step 3 - In the start menu, search for and open Services
Step 4 - In the Services window, search for Windows Update and double-click on it to open it. Press Stop, and the set the Startup Type to Disabled. Then press OK to close the window.
If you need to re-enable the Windows Update service at a later time:
Step 1 - In the start menu, search for and open Services
Step 2 - In the Services window, search for Windows Update and open it. Press Stop, and the set the Startup Type to Disabled. Then press OK to close the window.
If using Windows 10 1709 and earlier, then the WaaSMedicSvc.dll file that automatically resets the Windows Update service isn't there, and so all it takes to disable Windows Update in earlier versions of Windows is this:
Step 1 - In the start menu, search for and open Services
Step 2 - In the Services window, search for Windows Update and double-click on it to open it. Press Stop, and the set the Startup Type to Disabled. Then press OK to close the window.
Here is another Group Policy editor method. If you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can run the Group Policy editor (GPEdit.msc) and set the Windows Update Source to a non-existent URL.
Step 1 - In the start menu, search for Group Policy, and open the policy editor
Step 2 - Navigate to: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
Step 3 - In the folder containing policies for Windows Update, double-click on the policy titled "Specify Intranet Microsoft update service location"
Step 4 - In the upper-left of the Set the policy to "Enabled"
Step 4 - In the top-left area of the window that pops up, check the box that says Disabled
Step 4 - In the lower-left area of the window, under Options, set the intranet update service address and the intranet statistics server address to a URL that doesn't exist
Step 5 - Press OK to close that window
Use 3rd-party program NTLite to completely remove the Windows Update module from Windows.
Removing Windows Update via this method apparently, or might (according to one person), also remove the "turn Windows features on or off" section in the Windows control panel. I don't know if this is true, and it sounds strange to me, but if it does then individual Windows components can still be enabled or disabled using PowerShell.
For information on how to do that, visit this page: https://www.ghacks.net/2017/07/14/use-windows-powershell-to-install-optional-features/
Here's a quote of the comment which appears to me to claim that removing Windows Update via NTLite also removes the "turn Windows features on or off" section in the Windows control panel:
In Windows 10 1803, Microsoft behaves criminally and vandalizes Windows owners' OSes by re-enabling WU-restarting scheduled tasks and the WU service via a new service titled "Windows Update Medic Service". If "Windows Update Medic Service" could be independently disabled, it would be possible to first disable that service and then disable the Windows Update service and have it stay disabled. However, Microsoft is not an honest and fair player, and doesn't respect their customers nor even treats them as people with legitimate interests and goals concerning their personally-owned OS. So, things aren't quite that straight-forward.
However, they're still somewhat straight-forward, and here are some programs that will block Windows Update and disable the offending Windows Update Medic service:
Block Updates on Windows 10 using StopUpdates10, a 3rd-party tool which disables Windows Update:
Block Updates on Windows 10 using Windows Update Blocker, a 3rd-party tool which disables Windows Update:
Block Updates on Windows 10 using StopWinUpdates, a 3rd-party tool which disables Windows Update:
Disable Windows Update with one click using StopUpdates10
There is a method to disable Windows Update involving using an offline Windows account (instead of a Microsoft account) described here:
For people not wanting their personal and personally-identifiable data harvested by Microsoft, it is strongly recommended to use a regular, "local" Windows account anyway and not a Microsoft account to log into Windows, as using a Microsoft account significantly increases the amount of personally-identifiable Windows usage data that is harvested by Microsoft.
SimpleWall is a 3rd-party firewall program that has built-in protection rules for Windows Update that can be enabled.
There is a registry tweak to disable Windows Update, which might work for people on Home editions of Windows 10:
Step 1 - Open the Run command (Win + R), in it type: regedit and press enter
Step 2 - Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU
Step 3 - In there create a ‘32-bit DWORD’ value called ‘AuOptions’ and under ‘Value Data’ type 2 and click ‘OK’
Step 4 - Open the Settings app (Win + I) and navigate to -> Update and Security -> Windows Updates. Click ‘Check for updates’ which applies the new configuration setting
Step 5 - Restart your PC
Alternatively, you can try this registry edit:
To enable updates again, remove the "AU" registry key or delete NoAutoUpdate DWORD.
This Microsoft documentation offers alternate registry edits to disable Windows Update:
You can also manually block Windows Update in your router's firewall, or in 3rd-party firewall software such as Comodo Firewall and PeerBlock. An advantage of using this method is that there is nothing that Microsoft can do to over-ride, reset, or ignore the block.
Be aware that some people have claimed that adding Microsoft servers to the Windows hosts file and to the Windows Defender Firewall will not block then because Windows 10 is maliciously designed to ignore any instructed blocking of Microsoft's own servers. I don't have confirmation that this is true, but if it is then you're going to have to block Microsoft's servers in a a 3rd-party firewall program such as those mentioned previously.
These are all or some of the Microsoft servers to block in your router's firewall or 3rd-party firewall software to block Windows Update:
That list was last updated in 2015, so there could be some servers to add to it. There is an updated list of Microsoft's data-harvesting servers to block, and a hosts file with Microsoft's data-harvesting servers already included in it, here:
There might be an updated list of Microsoft's Windows Update servers on that site, too.
You can turn off your Windows 10 OS' connection to Microsoft's Windows Update server.
"Used to download operating system patches and updates. If you turn off traffic for these endpoints, the device will not be able to download updates for the operating system."
Source process: svchost
For more information on that approach, see this link: https://mspoweruser.com/these-are-the-websites-your-clean-install-windows-pc-connects-to-by-itself/
Prevent Windows Update's ability to connect online via the registry. I haven't tried this method and I'm just reporting it as I've seen it stated.
People should be aware that the reason why Microsoft tries to prevent Windows Update from being disabled is not due to security of your PC (if that was Microsoft's goal there would be a security-only updates setting, and it would be truly security-only), or making things easier for Microsoft's support efforts (which are dedicated from the outset of a new Windows release to run for a certain time-frame, and can't be reduced otherwise Microsoft would be guilty of false advertising), but is to provide Microsoft as many opportunities as possible to reset your Windows and default programs settings, as well as your data-harvesting settings, all back to the Microsoft defaults where Microsoft is able to harvest as much personal and personally-identifiable data about you as possible, while having lots of opportunities to add more data-harvesting to your OS.
And at the "Basic" setting, which is the most minimal data-harvesting setting in Windows 10 Home and Pro versions, Microsoft is continuously harvesting your personal and personally-identifiable data from over 3,500 individual data points. Altogether, that data forms a meticulous and comprehensive picture of all your activities in your Windows OS.
Also, Microsoft's documentation on the volume of data they are harvesting at the Basic setting is incomplete, as watching Microsoft's Diagnostic Data Viewer tool on the transmitted data reveals transmitted data containers that can't be referenced in Microsoft's documentation.
Selling your personal and personally-identifiable data is a big part of Microsoft's business model now - despite that it is actually illegal for Microsoft to do it because Windows 10 is legally and factually a product (which you own) and not a service (which you merely access). So, Microsoft harvesting your data is analogous to a thief entering your home, taking your possessions, and selling them for profit. This activity by Microsoft, where they commercialize Windows owners' PCs without a license, constitutes the indictable crime of unjust enrichment.
Another major reason why Microsoft wants to force Windows updates on people's personal Windows OSes is because the large bi-annual Windows 10 updates grant Microsoft frequent opportunity to deliberately break any 3rd-party UI customization software twice a year.
Microsoft does this because any 3rd-party UI customization software stops Microsoft's own UI systems from harvesting your personal and personally-identifiable data. Since Microsoft wants to steal as much of that data from you as possible so that Microsoft can then sell it for their unjust enrichment, Microsoft seeks for chances to break your custom software, and typically does so with each major update when Microsoft resets your Windows, program defaults, and data-privacy settings at the same time.
Trying to reason with Microsoft is like talking to a deranged psychopath who doesn't care about you in the least and who is only looking to exploit you as though you are not even human, and expecting them to see common sense and express empathy. Microsoft seeks to dominate and harvest, and not to serve and take into account its customers' needs and interests. Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft views its customers as its enemies to be defeated.
I hope this help many people regain their rightful control control of their operating system and to have a much more comfortable and stress-free experience in their own OS.
In Windows 10 version 1803 and onward, the "Windows Update Medic Service" keep re-starting Windows Update and related scheduled tasks and re-creates Windows Update related scheduled tasks even after a person manually stops them, disables them, and removes the scheduled tasks. You could find another way to disable Windows Update Medic Service, which otherwise keeps re-starting Windows Update, and then disable Windows Update and any associated scheduled tasks.
One way to disable Windows Update Medic Service might be to disable Remote Procedure Call, which is what starts Windows Update Medic Service: http://batcmd.com/windows/10/services/rpcss/
Or by deleting the file "WaaSMedicSvc.dll" that's in the %WinDir%\System32 folder or possibly replacing it with another file and setting its permissions to "read only".
There is some information on disabling Windows Update medic Service and preventing it from re-enabling on this page: https://www.sordum.org/9470/windows-update-blocker-v1-1/
Method -- (superceded by current method 2)
Remove the files for all Windows 10 services that violate the commands of the system and Windows OS owner.
As of Windows 10 1803, the three offending Windows 10 services are:
- Windows Update (wuauserv)
- Windows Update Medic Service (WaaSMedic)
- Update Orchestrator Service (UsoSvc)
Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), which might be thought of as also being involved, reportedly doesn't have any influence over the Windows 10 updates regime.
The files to be removed to stop the 3 offending services are all in the directory Windows\System32, and are the following files:
wusa.exe - windows update stand alone installer
wuapi.dll - windows update
wuaueng.dll - windows update
wuauclt.exe - old windows update
UsoClient.exe - update orchestrator
usoapi.dll - update orchestrator
usocore.dll - update orchestrator
WaaSMedicAssessment.dll - new medic service
WaaSMedicSvc.dll - new medic service
WaaSMedicPL.dll - new medic service
One Windows owner has reported that removing these files has fixed the Windows Update service from re-starting without authorization, without any detrimental effects on the rest of their system's operation. I haven't tried this method myself, and if anyone wants to add their feedback after trying it, please do.
My experience while dual-booting both Windows 7 and Windows 10 is that more games run on Windows 7, and games run better on Windows 7.
1. Windows 10 has DirectX 12, but Windows 7 has Vulkan, which does the same thing as DirectX 12. And Vulkan seems to be the favourite between the two by current developers, due to its cross-platform abilities and open-source nature. The only games that you'll miss out on by not having Windows 10 and DirectX12 are Microsoft exclusive games (as Microsoft wants to force people to Windows 10 by withholding their games from other markets).
And there ends the only semi / potential benefit of gaming on Windows 10 that I'm aware of.
2. If you play old games, then Windows 7 natively had better compatibility for them. Some games I haven't even been able to get to run in Windows 10. I can't immediately think of the list off the top of my head, but the MechWarrior 4 series is one of the recent ones, and there have been others, too. Granted, MechWarrior 4 Mercenaries still takes some tweaking in Windows 7 to get it running, but at least I was able to get it running.
3. Another point is that, though many older games can be played in Windows 7 and 10 with some tweaking, they might take more tweaking to get working in Windows 10 than in Windows 7. There are some compatibility features that are just present in Windows 7 which are either turned off by default in Windows 10, or are missing and need to be added manually. This can included absent system DLL files, or something like .NET Framework 3.5 for legacy game support which needs to be manually enabled in Windows 10.
4. While some people mention that FPS between Windows 7 and Windows 10 should be mostly similar (some more in one OS, and some more in the other), there are some definite and even serious caveats to that:
- Due to Windows 10's ironically-titled * Game Mode which is turned on by default, Windows 10 seems to lose some FPS in a lot of situations unless that Game Mode is disabled.
- If you play Ubisoft games, they get a chunk more FPS in Windows 7 than they do in Windows 10. Sure, Ubisoft is just bad at PC coding, or whatever else you want to explain it as, but the fact is, Ubisoft games get a chunk more FPS in Windows 7 than they do in Windows 10.
5. Also, Windows 10 interrupts gaming sessions with background downloading, updates, system resets, and the general diminished stability that Windows 10 has compared to Windows 7.
6. Lastly, there are mounds more community guides, fixes, and tweaks designed for older games running in Windows 7 than there are for older games running in Windows 10.
In my view, without a doubt, Windows 7 is more stable, more reliable, and more compatible with a wider range of games than Windows 10 is. And Windows 7 is at least on-par with Windows 10 in the area of FPS. If you just want a rock-solid gaming rig that can do just about everything while not interrupting or obstructing your experiences, then I think that Windows 7 is the way to go, as I think that Windows 10 is a compromised experience both in and out of games.
Update: The below video is not representative of newer (maybe 1803 onwards?) versions of Windows 10, which generally show parity in performance between having Game Mode on or off.
* LTT made a video comparing Windows 10 running games in Game Mode to running games with Game Mode turned off:
After I used Windows 10 as my primary OS for many months, I realised that I wouldn't miss anything about it if I went back to Windows 7. And since I found that everything was more difficult, more frustrating, more ugly, and more time-consuming on Windows 10, I went back to Windows 7 as my primary OS. Windows 10 made the detail of just having an OS a chore and liability all on its own, whereas Windows 7 is just passively there, like an OS should be, and just works for whatever I decide to do, without any of the barriers, talk-back, and convolution of Windows 10.
This post's sections include:
1) General Windows 7, Windows 10 user experience comparison
2) Gaming and application-wise
3) The modern Microsoft factor
4) My conclusion
General Windows 7, Windows 10 user experience comparison:
These are many of the reasons why I found Windows 7 to be a much more sophisticated, smartly-designed, and user-friendly OS than Windows 10:
Windows 7 has a more useful and efficient start-menu design, that takes up less screen space, and requires less mouse travel distance to get to what you want. Pinning applications to a space-efficient list directly above the start button is a lot more space-smart, and functionally-useful than the live-tiles design in Windows 10.
Windows 7 has an intelligent Windows Update set of choices, whereas in Windows 10, unless you edit Group Policies, you have basically no choice. The choice to defer updates is not useful, since deferring them still causes the same ambiguous and random update process to automatically occur, just a couple of months later. There isn't even a choice for how long to defer them. Also, with the Anniversary Update, Microsoft has reduced the availability of Group Policy options in Windows 10, a move which certainly wasn't done to be of any service to Windows 10 Pro license owners.
Customizing file-associations in Windows 7 is straight-forward, while in Windows 10 it can be a repeating arm-wrestle with the OS, as sometimes Win 10 resets the file associations you've changed, and sometimes the ability to change file-associations "bugs," and it doesn't let it be changed, or doesn't list the application you want and doesn't provide any means to add the application you want to use to the list (such as to use Chrome to open URLs from offline, non-browser text).
Windows 10's UI isn't very aesthetic to many people, and Windows 7's UI feels a lot more comfortable to me. Windows 10's UI can be changed to some extent, using programs like Startisback, Classic Shell, or Start 10, and Aero Glass.
Windows 10's data-collection is invasive, and it isn't straight-forward to turn it off. Microsoft has made effort to spread the settings for various aspects of data-collection in many different places, to make it challenging for a person to find them all and disable them all. And extra efforts may be required to put a more thorough stop to MS' collection of your data, such as those described in the link in my signature. Don't presume that just because you turned off telemetry and data-collection during the Win 10 installation process that you got it all. You'll find more data-collection settings in individual MS apps that need turning off in them after the OS has completed installation.
Windows 10 has so far tended to often require users to redo their OS customization work with new big updates, which can have the magical ability to reset things back to the way MS wants them to be. For that reason, and because of data-collection, and because of file-association challenges, Windows 10 is not a user-friendly OS. It's a for-Microsoft OS, that a user might have to struggle with quite a bit to get the way they want, and to keep it the way they want. It's rather abusive, in this.
In Windows 10, there are in-OS ads, which is something Windows 7 doesn't have. Does anyone want to see advertisement in their personal space? I don't.
In Windows 10, Windows Defender is a nuisance, unless it is permanently disables in Group Policy Editor, and all system warning notifications are disabled (otherwise Windows 10 will constantly bother the user to re-enable Windows Defender).
Windows 10 has (lots of) bugs, and while new versions and patches fix some, they also often create new ones, sometimes major ones. Windows 7 has been generally bug-free (or, few enough that I haven't encountered any since its release).
Microsoft uses Windows 10 to pester users about whatever random thing they want to happen:
Microsoft is disgustingly sneaky: Windows 10 isn't an operating system, it's an advertising platform
How to Get Rid of “Suggested Apps” (like Candy Crush) in Windows 10
How to Disable Ads on Your Windows 10 Lock Screen
Windows 10 Creators Update: Turn Off Suggested Apps in Share Dialog
August 2016: Microsoft's war against Chrome battery life now includes Windows 10 notifications
January 2017: Windows 10: Microsoft is spamming Chrome users with pop-up adverts Microsoft's latest Windows 10 ad annoys Chrome users with taskbar pop-ups
February 2017: Windows 10 pushes notifcaitons to remind you to watch the Superbowl and to purchase snacks
October 2017: Is nothing sacred? Advertisement for OneDrive in my face when I opened Windows Explorer (I already pay for Office 365) Microsoft is putting OneDrive ads in Windows 10’s File Explorer
November 2018: Microsoft wants to put ads in Windows email — and it’s already testing them out
I feel that the best thing I've found about Windows 10 is that after setting everything up the way that I'd like it, it functions pretty much like Windows 7, with the only differences being worse on Windows 10 than in Windows 7. But, since it takes more work to set up than Windows 7, and since it takes work to keep Windows 10 set up the way I want it to be (since Microsoft's Win 10 updates seems to cause people's Windows 10 configurations to reset arbitrarily), I can't see why I would go with the OS that takes ongoing work to be good, rather than the OS that is simply good from the start.
Areas in which I've discovered Windows 7 to be more configurable than Windows 10 include: Windows Updates, system restarting, the Group Policy editor, removing default apps, configuring what the default apps for file-types are, disabling background data-collection, account permissions, reliability, and visual customization.
Gaming and Application-wise:
There are no tangible performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10 in non DirectX 12 games and applications. While I haven't looked at benchmarks on the subject in a long time, last I saw, some games will perform better in one Windows OS compared to another, but, on average, across a large selection of games, Windows 7, 8, and 10 all perform within ~1 FPS of each other, with the two overall fastest Windows OSes being Windows 8, then Windows 7, with Windows 10 coming in last for performance in non DX12 games.
On my dual-boot system, Windows 7 is the OS that's lighter on system resources, using only 13% RAM at idle, compared with 15% RAM-usage at idle in Win 10 (Anniversary Update version).
Compatibility-wise, Windows 7 has better support for a larger amount of games and applications, having been the main gaming OS for a very long time, and continuing to be the OS with the largest market share. Because of this, Windows 7 also has a lot more community guides, fixes, and other materials to get games and applications to run on it, then does any other OS.
Windows 7 is a more stable and reliable OS in general than Windows 10, and Windows 7 doesn't interfere with online gaming by automatically updating and sharing data, such as can occur in Windows 10, for whatever MS app and service wants to do that. There are more options available to Windows 7 owners, to ensure that there won't be any automatic updates while they're playing their games, and Windows 7 doesn't cloud-share OS updates to other Windows owners, which Windows 10 does, unless a person disables it.
Windows 7 doesn't have directX 12, but it does have Vulkan, which accomplishes the same low-level hardware communication that improves application performance, and Windows 7 in Vulkan is just as good as Windows 10 in DX12. I think that Vulkan is more likely to become the industry standard than DX12, as it is available for all Windows, Linux, and more, OSes, whereas DX12 is only available in Windows 10. As Valve has expressed, there doesn't seem to be much point in making a game DX12, when making it Vulkan will make it accessible cross-platform.
Also, there doesn't currently seem to be any benefit for Nvidia cards in DX12, with Nvidia GPUs typically losing performance when running DX12 modes, compared to their performances while in DX11 mode. Because of this, and because of Vulkan's availability on previous Windows OSes, I think that Windows 10's DX12 has nothing to offer Nvidia GPU owners.
Windows 10 has a lot of problems right now, and Microsoft, with their new QA strategy (having laid off most of their testing engineers), has, so far, been unable to stay on top of them. I would avoid Windows 10 just for that reason. But there are other issues with Windows 10 that make it not the most sound OS for gaming, whatever a person is looking to do with it.
The modern Microsoft factor:
In the last 3 years, Microsoft has fired around 20,000 employees (many of whom were testing engineers), has changed management, has rearranged internal development and testing structures, has completely shifted business strategies away from software-first to monetization-first, and as a result, is no longer capable of quality product design, or of producing competent software releases. As ridiculous as things seemed to be under Ballmer, Microsoft is a not the same company today, for the worse, and Windows is not the same product anymore, also for the worse. The new Microsoft didn't design and develop the Windows IP, and has simply inherited the Windows IP, and is now just looking for how they can exploit and prostitute every cranny of it. It's just like when a pharmaceutical company buys the rights for a drug that they didn't research or develop, and then jacks the price up by 5000%. Or, it's like when a big publisher buys a developer of a popular game, and turns their game into a dumbed-down, overly-generic version of its previous form.
Currently, Windows 10 is probably the most buggy OS Microsoft has released since Windows ME, and each new major Win 10 update brings as many new bugs as it fixes. I think that Windows 10 simply is not a professional OS. It's like an indie-dev's prototype that never solidifies into anything great, but just morphs from one bloated and troubled presentation to another. Also, Win 10 is littered with "bugs" that are intentional, to keep people using MS services - things like issues with changing default apps away from MS ones. If a program starts doing that on a person's PC, it's called malware. And it's not different when Microsoft does it, through Windows. I think that it is fair to classify Windows 10 as malware, especially since it installed itself on so many PC systems without permission. And malware to be cleaned from a system.
I think that Windows 10 is not a professional OS, and many businesses agree, and see Windows 10 as a debacle to be avoided, with nothing to be gained over previous versions of Windows, but rather the liabilities of it being a perpetual beta OS, filled with a bunch of consumer crapware and half-baked phone/mobile apps that have no business on a PC. The redesign of Microsoft QA has led to the current situation where accepting Windows updates can actually be more of a liability than not updating Windows:
January 2016: Windows 10 default programs keep changing
June 2016: Microsoft June Patch Breaks Group Policy Settings for Some Orgs
August 2016: 16 Windows 10 Anniversary Update Issues & How to Fix Them
August 2016: Microsoft admits to distributing Windows printing bugs in KB 3177725 and KB 3176493
August 2016: Partition disappears in Windows 10 Anniversary Update
August 2016: Microsoft Warns Windows 10 Update Has A Serious Problem
August 2016: Kindle crashes and broken PowerShell: Something isn’t right with Windows 10 testing
August 2016: Microsoft Has Broken Millions Of Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Oct 2016: Flood of reports from people unable to install latest Windows update, resulting in an endless loop of repeated attempts
Microsoft's immense degradation of its programming and design quality has continued into 2018, with major updates causing a variety of serious issues for Windows owners, and patches meant to address serious security flaws actually making the flaws worse, and in some cases bricking a system's BIOS.
January 2018: Windows 10 will not start/boot after windows update
March 2018: Total Meltdown?
October 2018: Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update is reportedly wiping user data
October 2018: New Windows 10 1809 bug: Zip data-loss flaw is months old but Microsoft missed it
October 2018: HP users report BSOD after Tuesday patch
November 2018: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update - networked-mapped drives not working, display driver problems
November 2018: Microsoft Blocks Windows 10 Version 1809 on Some PCs Due to Bad Intel Drivers
November 2018: Microsoft confirms File Association bug in Windows 10 will be patched on Tuesday
November 2018: Re-released Windows 10 October 2018 Update breaks Apple iCloud
November 2018: Et tu, Office? After pulling Windows 10 update, Microsoft does the same for Office
November 2018: Latest Windows 10 update breaks Windows Media Player, Win32 apps in general
December 2018: Microsoft pulls Windows 10’s optional November update following BSOD reports
March 2019: Latest Windows 10 Update Kills Performance in Some Games
Here's an article looking at what some of the changes have been to Microsoft's style of testing. August 2014: Why did Microsoft lay off 'Programmatic testers'?
With Microsoft having halved the number of their OS testing engineers, there were bound to be differences between traditional Windows QA and modern Windows QA results:
July 2014: Satya Nadella Is Cutting 5,500 Microsoft Employees, Too, With Windows Hit The Hardest
July 2014: Microsoft cuts 18,000 jobs
July 2015: Microsoft cuts another 7,800 jobs, takes $7.6 billion "impairment charge"
July 2016: Microsoft to cut about 2,850 more jobs
January 2017: About 700 Microsoft employees will be laid off next week, sources say
July 2017: Microsoft plans thousands of job cuts in a sales staff overhaul to fuel cloud growth
January 2018: Microsoft makes a new round of layoffs across multiple business units
March 2017: Microsoft claims 10 million ‘fans’ help it test Windows 10, but it’s sure got a funny definition of that word
Today's Windows is not the Windows we are familiar with, and today's Microsoft is not the Microsoft we are familiar with. I think that both of those things, in their modern forms, are shit.
And, in both my opinion, and experience with using Windows 10 since its release, using Windows 10 is sort of like walking through a minefield, in that you never know when something is going to screw something up, or even everything up, but you know that there are issues lying in wait to go off, all over the place. And every so often, sometimes frequently, something happens to create frustration, and requires work, sometimes a lot of work, to get sorted out.
Windows 10 is a hyper-invasive, user-fighting, buggy, perpetual beta/demo version of Windows, that is ad-supported, and which is a constant chore and headache to keep set up, and to get it to do what a user wants it to.
On the other hand, Windows 7, at least up until June / July 2015, behaves like it is the full version of Windows, which just works, obeys the user, and doesn't collect a user's data for resale to make MS money, and doesn't try to trick the user at every turn, or even at all.
In my view, Windows 10 is a snake-oil OS, and many people are merely caught up in a sentiment they have of Windows 10 being new and the future, and they just want to ride that fluffy feeling while shutting down their minds completely.
Meanwhile, the I find reality to be that Windows 10 has less useful functionality than Windows 7, is a lot less stable and reliable than Windows 7, is less user-friendly than Windows 7, offers a PC admin less control than Windows 7, is more invasive than Windows 7, has in-OS ads which Windows 7 doesn't, has an excess of bloatware pre-installed while Windows 7 doesn't, and constantly resets customised file-associations to force people into using MS applications, which Windows 7 doesn't do.
Confessions of a former Microsoft programmer:
If you installed Windows 7 using either a DVD, or an earlier ISO image of the Windows 7 installer, you might find yourself waiting for a long time searching for updates to Windows 7, after the installation has completed, and you've run Windows Update. I don't know how typical this issue is, but there seems to be a significant number who experience Windows Update searching seemingly indefinitely without finding, or starting to install updates. Sometimes just waiting long enough is the solution, but here are a list of options a person can try, if they've had Windows Update running for a long time, and they don't want to wait any longer.
The most direct way to update Windows 7, including fixing Windows Update, without actually dealing with Windows Update, is to follow this guide:
Alternatively, it might be to follow the instructions on this web page and use the links it provides to install Servicing Stack update for Windows 7, and then the April 2015 Servicing Pack, and then the Windows 7 SP1 Convenience Rollup: http://www.howtogeek.com/255435/how-to-update-windows-7-all-at-once-with-microsofts-convenience-rollup/
If you already have Service Pack 1 installed, then you can start following the above directions after the part where it says to download and install SP1 and gives a link for it.
Alternatively, if you already have Service Pack 1 installed, and you just want to fix Window Updates, and then get your updates through Windows Update, you can try downloading and installing this update: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138612, and then running Windows Update. Hopefully Windows Update will find updates quickly after that one update is installed.
Another method to fix Windows Update, if you already have Service Pack 1 installed, is to download and extract this archive, and then install the 4 Windows 7 updates that are contained within it, in order:
Another method is to try to restart the Windows Update service, to see if it will quickly find updates on its own after that. To do this:
1) open cmd (as admin)
2) type "net stop wuauserv" (this will stop windows update )
3) Wait for a few minutes
4) type "net start "wuauserv" (this will start windows update ).
If this doesn't get Windows Update working after one try, it might work after trying a few times.
Beyond those solutions, here are others:
Download WSUS, and use it to update Windows 7: http://download.wsusoffline.net/
"Used in two parts. First it creates a local copy of updates. Then the client part applies it to machine. If you have multiple systems, stick the whole thing on a USB drive and you can move it around to do others, or network it. I find once you have caught up with updates, the Windows built in one runs relatively quickly once again and may find extra optional stuff not included."
Try the steps listed in this thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/3w1kfp/windows_update_is_broken_for_w7_x64_ent_wsp1_and/cxso3r4
Create your own custom updated Windows 7 installation ISO / DVD that has all the updates you want pre-installed: https://www.raymond.cc/blog/create-an-integrated-up-to-date-windows-7-install-disc/
A clean, 2011-updated (by Microsoft) Windows ISO of either Home, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise can be obtained from here: http://mirror.corenoc.de/digitalrivercontent.net/
Here is a straight-forward fix for the issue, but it includes installing the April 2016 rollup update for Windows 7 which likely contains the telemetry and data-collection updates that Microsoft back-added into Windows 7 in August 2015 (and for that reason is less desirable): http://www.freenode-windows.org/resources/vista-7/windows-update
Try the things mentioned in the responses to this person asking about the same issue: http://superuser.com/questions/951960/windows-7-sp1-windows-update-stuck-checking-for-updates
You can also look through the troubleshooting information information in this link from Microsoft support: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2509997
Contact Microsoft support about it ( https://support.microsoft.com/contactus ), and choose the Live Chat option. They should be able to force Windows Update to work.
Microsoft has provided convenience roll-up updates that contains all security fixes and non security updates to Windows 7 up till April 2016. You can read about them here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/05/17/simplifying-updates-for-windows-7-and-8-1/
And the direct link to download them is here. But this link only works with newer versions of Internet Explorer:
There are 3 files to download. Two are 476 MB, and one is 316 MB.
Download the update pack from this page and apply it to a Windows 7 installation media: http://forum.oszone.net/thread-257198.html
The page is only in Russian.
My personal recommendation is to find a way to install all the Win 7 updates without using the convenience roll-up updates that MS offers for download on that page, because those convenience roll-up updates include the telemetry updates that Microsoft released for Windows 7 in August - September of 2015, packaged up in a manner that makes them not easily removed from the system, and maybe not possibly removed at all (which is probably why Microsoft made the 2016 "convenience" rolled-up update for Windows 7).
If you download Windows 7 stand-alone update packages outside of Windows Update, and the update process with them doesn't seem to work properly, try this:
During summer 2015, Microsoft started heavily back-adding telemetry to Windows 7 via various updates. In this post is a link for a fully-updated June 2015 ISO of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 that pre-dates that telemetry back-adding by Microsoft, as well as resources for creating your own custom Windows 7 installer ISO that only has the updates that you wish to have. At the bottom of this post is an archive containing all security-only updates released from October 2016 - October 2017.
To install Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit using the provided June 2015-updated ISO, you'll have to have your own license key to use during the installation process. A license for Windows 7 Ultimate can be bought from eBay or reddit and other places for very cheap, less than $10 or even less than $5.
Fully updated as of June 2015 Windows 7 Ultimate 64 ISO download link
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 (updated to June 2015): -redacted-
Here is a clean ISO image of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, which is fully-updated with SP1 and all other Windows 7 updates, up to June 2015. No Windows 7 key, license, or pre-activation is provided with this download. This ISO requires that a person has their own license for Windows 7 Ultimate, and that they enter it during the installation process, as is normally done.
This ISO image is a normal Windows 7 Ultimate installer, with nothing missing or added, other than all the official updates from Microsoft since October 2009, up until June 2015, including Service Pack 1.
Microsoft back-added their telemetry and data-collection to Windows 7 in August of 2015, so this is Windows 7 Ultimate, as it was right before Microsoft made any undesirable and invasive changes to its feature-set.
This ISO allows a person with a valid Windows 7 Ultimate license to reinstall their Windows 7 Ultimate with all updates up to before Microsoft underwent a paradigm shift and started turning Windows against its users, to use people's installations of Windows 7 for invasive, non-authorized, and likely criminal purposes. If someone wants a Windows 7 installation ISO that is updated to after Microsoft added telemetry and data-collection, one is available for download directly from Microsoft.
With this ISO and their genuine Windows 7 Ultimate license key, a person can install Windows 7, and then simply turn off all automatic updates, or all updates completely, in order to never have Microsoft's unwanted updates applied to their Windows 7 OS and PC, yet while still having a fully-functional, stable, and modern Windows 7.
Note - 2 Windows updates to uninstall
It has been pointed out that this ISO contains updates related to Microsoft's "free upgrade to Windows 10" offer, which Microsoft pushed through Windows Update in April 2015, and so exist in this June 2015 ISO of Windows 7. They will have to be manually removed from the OS after it finishes installing.
Those two updates are KB3035583 and KB3150513 , and they can be uninstalled by doing the following:
Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options > View your update history > Uninstall updates.
Select the update you want to remove (KB3035583 and KB3150513), then select Uninstall.
Creating a Custom Windows 7 Home, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise ISO
If you want to create your own custom updated Windows 7 ISO for Windows 7 Home, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise, see this link for a guide:
A 2011-updated Windows ISO of either Home, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise, to be used for the above-described process, can be obtained from here: http://mirror.corenoc.de/digitalrivercontent.net/ (alternate link here)
The ISOs available for download from that page are the official Microsoft Windows 7 ISOs that used to be hosted for public download on Digital River.
If you wish to create your own updated Windows 7 ISO, you can also use these quick-access links to download torrent files for untouched official Windows 7 ISOs from Microsoft. These torrent files are the same as the ones for their same versions provided in the above link:
Windows 7 Home Premium x64 with SP1, 620851: -redacted-
Windows 7 Pro x64 with SP1, 621750: -redacted-
Windows 7 Pro x64 without SP1, 65805: -redacted-
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with SP1, 677332: -redacted-
Extra precaution with Aegis and Spybot Anti-Beacon
After installing Windows 7 with this ISO, a person can then run the separately-provided Aegis script, which will block much of Microsoft's Windows 7 telemetry updates from being searched for, and from being found by Windows Update. With the Aegis script blocking all known telemetry updates, a person can then safely continue to receive all other updates for Windows 7.
Aegis script to block various Windows 7 telemetry updates from being found by Windows Update, and from being downloaded and installed: https://mega.nz/#!dhExAbBa!fehYhbTNz5dIBh72psfXLfwv9wMk0uhMpGli-c0pBn4
The Aegis script was last updated March 18, 2016. A list of telemetry-containing updates released beyond Aegis' last updated date is here: https://pastebin.com/jWX2zHdr
Alternatively, or to be used in conjunction with other methods, a person can also check out Spybot's Anti-Beacon program, which aims to prevent Windows 7 telemetry.
Windows 7 x64 Security Updates from October 2016 - October 2017
This download is an archive of 12 monthly security-only updates for x64 editions of Windows 7 Home, Professional, and Ultimate, spanning the period of October 2016 - October 2017: https://mega.nz/#!Jgd1zAxT!-uk7-glIG98r3oE24iaQ-mi0qIIBgMZS55oH5VgjdYY
Included in this archive of 12 monthly security-only updates for Windows 7 is the update to address the WannaCry ransomware threat. "(WannaCry)" has been added to that updates label to make it easy to identify, if that's all that a person wants to install.
The WannaCry security update for Windows 7 can also be downloaded directly from Microsoft's website at this address: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4012212
Caution: Some of these security updates likely contain telemetry in them. If wanting to vet what potential security issues each update is addressing, and whether it is worth risking adding some telemetry to the system, do an internet search for the individual KB identifiers for each update. For example, the WannaCry security update is labelled KB4012212.
Also included in this archive is another folder, which is called "select 2016 quality updates". And in that folder are a couple of possibly non-intrusive non-security updates. However, I didn't include them in this package for any specific reason other than that I didn't take them out of the folder before archiving and uploading it, and if wanting to not have any telemetry installed at all, I suggest not installing the updates that are in that folder.
If you are aware of updated information regarding telemetry and data collection in Windows 7 / 8 / 10, or know improved methods to disable it, please share it.
For Windows 10
General Privacy Guide's for Windows 10 version 1803 and 1809
This guide includes instructions on how to disable or remove various invasive or unwanted aspects of Windows 10. Some of what the guide includes instructions for:
- Basic Windows 10 set-up choices
- How to remove various apps, such as Windows Store, and other native Win 10 apps
- How to disable Cortana via registry
- How to remove various telemetry services and scheduled tasks
Some of what this guide shows instructions for may already be done by programs such as O&O ShutUp10.
For 1803: https://fdossena.com/?p=w10debotnet/index_1803.frag
For 1809: https://fdossena.com/?p=w10debotnet/index_1809.frag
Using an edition of Windows 10 that lets you set the telemetry as low as possible
Windows 10 Enterprise and LTSC allow you to use the group policy editor to lower the amount of data-harvesting to Security Only. The Security Only setting may appear in Windows 10 Pro, but setting the group policy to that setting in Pro doesn't have any effect as the Telemetry Only setting is disconnected from any functionality in Pro.
Licenses for Windows 10 Enterprise and LTSC can be purchased for cheap off of eBay.
To set data-collection to Security Only in Windows 10 Enterprise and LTSC:
1. Open the group policy editor
2. Navigate to: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Data Collection and Preview Builds
3. From the list of that sections policies, double-click on the policy titled Allow Telemetry
4. Set the policy to Enabled, and then set the policy to Security Only from the drop-down box
5. Click OK to close the window
O&O ShutUp10 is an excellent free piece of software that provides many options to reduce the amount of data that is harvested by Microsoft. I strongly recommend using it and reading the description of each item that can be enabled or disabled to stop a lot of unwanted data-harvesting.
Quoted from the developer's website:
O&O ShutUp10: https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10
Setting up a custom firewall to block Microsoft telemetry servers
Download and install this custom hosts file, and this custom PeerBlock Microsoft IP list which is regularly updated from information obtained via Wireshark: https://encrypt-the-planet.com/windows-10-anti-spy-host-file/
Review this thorough guide (a website account is needed to view it): https://encrypt-the-planet.com/completely-disable-windows-10-telemetry/
Another good tool for blocking unwanted communication between a PC and Microsoft. It adds a lot of IPs to the Windows hosts file
Spybot Anti-Beacon: https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/
Debloat Windows 10
Use the free Debloat Windows 10 script to do as it says in its description:
Debloat Windows 10: https://github.com/W4RH4WK/Debloat-Windows-10/blob/master/scripts/block-telemetry.ps1
Manually block Microsoft data-collection servers in your Windows hosts file
There have been suggestions that Windows 10 ignores Microsoft servers in the hosts file, but Spybot Anti-Beacon adds a bunch of Microsoft servers to it and so maybe they know something different.
The Windows hosts file is located at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. To open it, right-click and select "Open with", then choose Notepad and press OK. Then save the file when you're done editing it and then close it.
You can try adding these Microsoft data-collection servers to your Windows hosts file:
Disconnect Microsoft telemetry server connections
From: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/privacy/configure-windows-diagnostic-data-in-your-organization (US page)
And: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/privacy/configure-windows-diagnostic-data-in-your-organization (UK page)
More details on Windows 10 endpoints and ways to disconnect them: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/privacy/manage-windows-endpoints
My Digital Life's excellent repository on Windows 10 telemetry and its removal that contains sections on:
Delete Telemetry Services
Delete Remnants of Diagtrack and Cortana
Task Scheduler Block
Hosts File Block
Packages Uninstall Lists
PEERBLOCK for Blocking Telemetry
Windows 10 IP Range Block List
Apps Online Uninstall
Link: [REPO] Windows 10 TELEMETRY REPOSITORY
Disable Windows 10 Telemetry Service
Disclaimer: This suggestion has been reported to be deprecated and so likely has no effect on the amount of telemetry Windows 10 collects
It was previously suggested that some Windows 10 telemetry and data collection could be disabled by doing the following:
Go to Services and Applications -> Services in the left pane. In the services list, disable the following service:
Connected User Experiences and Telemetry service (called "Diagnostics Tracking Service" in Windows 10 version 1151 and earlier)
Again, doing this likely has no effect on the level of telemetry that is collected.
For Windows 7 and 8
The surest way to run Windows 7 telemetry-free is to install Windows 7 from an early-to-mid 2015 ISO and then permanently disable Windows Update.
I have a June 2015 ISO of Windows 7 available for download in this post:
Block Microsoft data-collection servers in your Windows hosts file
For this, follow the same instructions mentioned in the Windows 10 section of this guide.
Windows 7 / 8(.1): Guidance on avoiding telemetry-containing updates including a list of security-only updates with download links for each (updated February 2019):
Windows 7 / 8(.1): A thorough guide to identifying telemetry updates, removing the Windows telemetry service, and blocking Microsoft's telemetry servers
Aegis script: Disables, uninstalls, and blocks a bunch of Windows 7 / 8 telemetry & data-collection updates
Since around mid-2015 (and possibly a bit earlier), Microsoft has been back-adding telemetry harvesting into Windows 7 and 8(.1) through the updates that are installed by Windows Update.
These updates are not required, and can be declined from installing and also will not be downloaded and installed if Windows Update is disabled. But, if a person has automatic updates enabled these updates will be automatically installed. If a person doesn't want these to be installed, they can be quickly uninstalled and blocked from being re-downloaded and installed by running a script that knows which updates to permanently block from being searched-for by Windows Update, and from being downloaded and installed.
Aegis Script is one such script, though it was last updated May 18, 2016.
The Aegis script will also remove and block any prompts in Windows 7 and 8 about downloading and installing Windows 10.
Original script link, and discussion: Script for Win 7/8 to block all telemetry updates and Windows 10 upgrade components
Direct-download backup link for Aegis v1.18: https://mega.nz/#!dhExAbBa!fehYhbTNz5dIBh72psfXLfwv9wMk0uhMpGli-c0pBn4
For a list of the Windows 7 and 8(.1) updates that the Aegis script addresses, and also of the post Aegis scrip Windows updates to avoid because they have telemetry in them, see the bottom of this post.
For identifying data-collection-containing updates since 2016, here is an updated list of which updates to avoid or uninstall: https://pastebin.com/jWX2zHdr
Overview of what the Aegis script does
Direct-download backup link for Aegis v1.18: https://mega.nz/#!dhExAbBa!fehYhbTNz5dIBh72psfXLfwv9wMk0uhMpGli-c0pBn4
(This information was retrieved from an archived version of the voat.co page discussing Aegis, via http://pastebin.com/1Xb2h39Z, and was last updated March 27, 2016, and so will not mention any changes to the script after that time)
Description: Blocks 201 bad hosts, change windows update to check/notify (do not download/install), disable automatic delivery of internet explorer via windows update, disable ceip/gwx/skydrive(aka onedrive)/spynet/telemetry/wifisense, disable remote registry, disable 31 scheduled tasks, disable windows 10 download directory, remove diagtrack, sync time to ntp.org, hide/uninstall 50 kb updates (see below).
Directions: Download, unzip, disable anti-virus, right click on aegis.cmd, click "run as administrator", follow on-screen instructions.
Note: If unable to uninstall some kb's this post may help.
Some updates which may contain critical security patches for ie, as well as automated delivery of ie and related updates, will be blocked. Due to the obvious security risk posed by running an unpatched browser we strongly advise to uninstall ie. If you plan to continue to use ie you should probably not run this script - or manually patch and do so at your own risk.
All code except sed and setacl is provided as open source so you can look and see for yourself what it does. It has been thoroughly tested on my own systems and scanned with VirusTotal, and to the best of my knowledge it does not contain any harmful or malicious elements. However I assume no liability for any problems so use it at your own risk.
There is no official license - you are welcome to modify and share my code and you do not have to give me credit. I do appreciate any feedback and I will give you credit if I use your ideas. This script is the product of a collaborative effort and does not belong to any one person.
This script will not block Windows Update however it will change your Windows Update settings to 'check/notify but do not download/install'. If you have problems getting Windows Update to work properly after running the script you may need to run the Windows Update Troubleshooter or the System Update Readiness Tool. If you have recently installed updates and have not yet rebooted you should reboot before running the script. If you are on a fresh install you may want to install all updates before running Aegis for the first time, otherwise it may take a long time to update.
Here is a possibly-incomplete listing of updates that Aegis removes and blocks, using the format:
kb update ID
update for windows activation technologies
update for adding itracerelogger interface support
description not available, update was pulled by microsoft
description not available, update was pulled by microsoft
update for upgrading windows 7
Ugh, screw this.
[kb2976978](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2976978) | update for windows 8.1 and windows 8
[kb2977759](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2977759) | update for windows 7 rtm
[kb2990214](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2990214) | update that enables you to upgrade from windows 7 to a later version of windows
[kb3012973](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3012973) | upgrade to windows 10
[kb3014460](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3014460) | update for windows insider preview / upgrade to windows 10
[kb3015249](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3015249) | update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7
[kb3021917](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3021917) | update for windows 7 sp1 for performance improvements
[kb3022345](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3022345) | update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
[kb3035583](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3035583) | update installs get windows 10 app in windows 8.1 and windows 7 sp1
[kb3042058](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3042058) | update for cipher suite priority order (contains winlogon spying elements)
[kb3044374](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3044374) | update that enables you to upgrade from windows 8.1 to windows 10
[kb3046480](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3046480) | update for migrating .net when upgrading to later version of windows
[kb3058168](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3058168) | activate windows 10 from windows 8 or windows 8.1, and windows server 2012 or windows server 2012 r2 kms hosts
[kb3064683](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3064683) | update for windows 8.1 oobe modifications to reserve windows 10
[kb3065987](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3065987) | update for windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2 july 2015
[kb3065988](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3065988) | update for windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2 july 2015
[kb3068708](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3068708) | update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
[kb3072318](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3072318) | update for windows 8.1 oobe modifications to reserve windows 10
[kb3074677](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3074677) | compatibility update for upgrading to windows 10
[kb3075249](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3075249) | update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in windows 8.1 and windows 7
[kb3075851](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3075851) | update for windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2 august 2015
[kb3075853](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3075853) | update for windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2 august 2015
[kb3080149](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3080149) | update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry
[kb3081437](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3081437) | august 18, 2015, compatibility update for upgrading to windows 10
[kb3081454](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3081454) | september 8, 2015, compatibility update for upgrading to windows 10
[kb3081954](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3081954) | update for work folders improvements in windows 7 sp1 (contains telemetry elements)
[kb3083324](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3083324) | update for windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2 september 2015
[kb3083325](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3083325) | update for windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2 september 2015
[kb3083710](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3083710) | update for windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2 october 2015
[kb3083711](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3083711) | update for windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2 october 2015
[kb3086255](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3086255) | september 8, 2015, security update for the graphics component in windows (breaks safedisc)
[kb3088195](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3088195) | october 13, 2015, security update for windows kernel (reported to contain a keylogger)
[kb3090045](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3090045) | windows update for reserved devices in windows 8.1 or windows 7 sp1 (windows 10 upgrade elements)
[kb3093983](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3093983) | security update for internet explorer: october 13, 2015 (ie spying elements)
[kb3102810](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102810) | windows 10 upgrade elements
[kb3102812](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102812) | windows 10 upgrade elements
[kb3112343](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3112343) | update for windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2 december 2015
[kb3112336](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3112336) | update for windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2 december 2015
[kb3123862](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3123862) | updated capabilities to upgrade windows 8.1 and windows 7
[kb3135445](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3135445) | windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2: february 2016
[kb3135449](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3135449) | windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2: february 2016
[kb3138612](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138612) | windows update client for windows 7 and windows server 2008 r2: march 2016
[kb3138615](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138615) | windows update client for windows 8.1 and windows server 2012 r2: march 2016
[kb3139929](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3139929) | security update for internet explorer: march 8, 2016
[kb3146449](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3146449) | updated internet explorer 11 capabilities to upgrade windows 8.1 and windows 7
Updates including post-Aegis that contain telemetry, updated to June 2018:
Windows 7/8/8.1 Updates to avoid as of the June 2018 "Patch Tuesday":
KB971033, Activation exploits
KB2882822, replaced by KB3068708
KB2952664, telemetry crap
KB2970228, new Russian ruble symbol, breaks fonts
KB2976978, Windows 10 update crap for Win8
KB2977759, telemetry crap
KB2982791, Causes crashes
KB2990214, telemetry crap
KB3004394, faulty update
KB3018238, only applies to Windows Server 2008
KB3021917, telemetry crap
KB3022345, telemetry crap
KB3035583, telemetry crap
KB3050265, telemetry crap
KB3065987, telemetry crap
KB3068708, telemetry crap
KB3075249, telemetry crap
KB3075851, telemetry crap
KB3080149, telemetry crap
KB3081954, telemetry crap
KB3083324, telemetry crap
KB3083710, telemetry crap
KB3097877, Casuses crashes
KB3102810, telemetry crap
KB3107998, Lenovo fix to remove blocker
KB3112336, More WIN10 crap
KB3112343, More WIN10 crap + MS monitoring of win10 upgrade
KB3121255, crash during backup of PI Data server fails
KB3123862, Windows 10 update crap
KB3125574, Apr 2016 rollup with bad ones in it
KB3133977, BitLocker can't encrypt the drive and the service crashes
KB3135445, WIN7 update client to force WIN10
KB3137061, Azure virtual machines network outage data corruption
KB3138901, No Internet multiple users log on Remote Desktop Services
KB3139923, MSI repair doesn't work after you install updates
KB3147071, Connection to Oracle database fails. Causes browser lockups?
KB3150513, telemetry crap
KB3184143 removes the Get Windows 10 app
KB3172605 July 2016 update rollup (re-released Sep 13 2016)
KB3179573 August 2016 Rollup
See the more comprehensive detailing of this subject in this newer blog post:
--------------------- original post ---------------------
Software intellectual property is licensed and not sold, but software licenses and the instances of software they represent are sold and become the property of whoever buys them.
While purchasing a software license does not give the purchaser ownership of the intellectual property of that software, a software license itself is a personal property, to which a nations' laws of property rights apply, which grants an instance of a software, which a person may operate how they wish. But that doesn't include interfering with online services which the software may work with, or distributing modified software, which is duplicating the software which a license grants an instance of.
A software license's terms are as they were at the time the license was acquired. The acceptance of that license is a legal contract, governed by bartering laws, amongst others, and the license is a personal property, and one side cannot change the terms of that contract or the identity of the property, unilaterally.
All this does not mean that software-license issuers necessarily present the situation as it is any more than a prosecutor in a court of law argues the defence's case for them - and there is a history of EULAs extending beyond reasonable and legally-defensible means, in efforts to concentrate all benefit and leverage on the side of the publisher of that license. That does not make such terms legal, and an EULA is only binding to the extent that it conforms to a nation's established laws.
An EULA is not a law, itself. And sometimes it is nothing more than a software company's wet dream. If a publisher can produce the customer behaviour they want through suggestion and over-bearing claims of authority within their EULA, then sometimes that is what a software publisher goes for, despite it holding no legal merit, and despite an end-user not being bound in any way to such terms.
An example could be: If Microsoft put forth terms claiming that a Windows license owner had no right to modify their Windows software, then that would be illegitimate, and non-binding upon Windows license owners - as property rights protect a property owner's right to make decisions regarding their own property (but not necessarily to distribute the modified instance of their property, and not to use that modified property with other services offered by the license issuer, such as online gaming).
An example of property rights protecting license-holders' manipulation of their instance of the licensed item is films: This why there are fan edits of the original Star Wars trilogy that restore the films to their pre Special Edition versions, with those modifications publicized freely online, along with the names of the people doing it, and documentation of their processes to do it. LucasFilm / Disney would probably not endorse such projects, because they often end up being shared on torrent sites - but a person is fully protected in doing whatever they wish to their own property.
A software company might take many liberties towards software-license owners, and I personally suspect that Microsoft is behaving well beyond its legal rights with the liberties it is taking towards people's Windows 7 / 8 OSes, and also regarding Windows 10's invasiveness of a person's PC. But so long as people don't decide to form a class-action lawsuit, Microsoft might feel entitled to continue abusing their position.
Forcing a change of a person's OS, such as from Windows 7 to 10, could be taken as a violation of a person's personal property, which is the licensed instance of Windows installed on their PC. A person who owns a license for Windows 7 does not experience a change in their license terms just because MS decides to give Windows 10 licenses away for free (particularly through any means where Microsoft acts by liberty of advertising and installing Windows 10 on machines). If anything, they just gain an additional license.