Windows 7, 8.1 updates KB2952664 and KB2976978 are back

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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Perhaps the most mysterious Windows updates are KB2952664 and KB2976978. To this day, we still don’t know what purpose these two updates serve, although many users agree that they are part of Microsoft’s spy tool kit.

Microsoft recently pushed KB2952664 and KB2976978 again to Windows 7 and 8.1 computers, to users’ despair. The good news is that these two updates are optional, which means they won’t automatically install on your computer.

As far as the official description on the support page is concerned, nothing has been changed. Most likely, February’s KB2952664 and KB2976978 roll out is similar to October’s batch.

This update performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. The diagnostics evaluate the compatibility status of the Windows ecosystem, and help Microsoft to ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows. There is no GWX or upgrade functionality contained in this update.

KB2952664 and KB2976978: A covert purpose?

As stated above, many users strongly believe that Microsoft uses the two updates to spy on them. The reason for this suspicion is that KB2952664 and KB2976978 run a task called DoScheduledTelemetryRun. Following the telemetry revelations from last year, many users suggest that the two updates have covert purposes.

Other users suspect that KB2952664 and KB2976978’s role is to “help” them to upgrade to Windows 10.

Both suggestions remain simple hypothesis as no clear proof has been found to support either of them. User reluctance to install these updates is also fueled by Microsoft’s silence. Users have been waiting for a clear answer about this issue for a long time, but are tired of hearing the same fancy corporate-speak side-stepping that uses a lot of words to say nothing.

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  • Perhaps it is fantasy. However the fact remains, in recent years, MS has taken to forcing things down people’s throats – sometimes crashing systems in the process.

    e.g. I purchased an SSD. Installed Win10 while it was still free, and later the anniversary update. Just in case I ever wanted to use it in the future. (I don’t. From what I’ve seen of it since then, I detest it. Windows 7 after XP is bad enough. So many common-sense features completely missing, or that take 3 or more steps to find now, keyboards shortcuts just gone…, etc.)

    Anyway, after installing Win10, and the anniversary update, I wanted I set the BIOS to boot from the internal HDD – FIRST – and the SSD – SECOND. So I could go back using Windows 7 on the internal HDD and install Win7 on the SSD. But it now automatically boots to the SSD – Windows 10 – every time – preventing me installing Win7. People tell me this is normal behaviour once you install Win10.

    Yes there are ways around it, and I have kept links on how to fix it. But I’m too busy spend hours reading, learning how to do it, backing everything up for the inevitable next MS problem someone forgot to tell me about when I asked how to override Win10. So the new SSD now sits in my desk uninstalled. I had to physically REMOVE it just to get Win7 to boot, so I could access email, address book, files, etc. And I’ve purchased a bunch of adapters (SSD-to-IDE, etc.) that I hope will allow me to hotplug the SSD in AFTER Win7 is already running, so I can wipe it.

    When Win7 support ends, I’ll be shifting to Linux. I hate steep learning curves, but Microsoft has actively made me hate MS far more.

  • Installed KB2952664 again yesterday after having it installed previously.

    After it was installed and the system rebooted…

    Diagnostic Tracking Service was still disabled (as I had set it)

    The Customer Experience Improvement Program setting was still set to No (as I had set it).

    No new tasks were added to Task Scheduler, and the tasks that are related to CEIP remained Disabled (as I had set them).

    No new processes were started.

    To sum up, no changes from before.

    So it seems the hypothesis about KB2952664 “snooping” is more science fiction than fact.