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Microsoft says its "quiet update" was not spying

by on03 February 2023

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Software King of the World Microsoft has reassured users that its KB5021751 update which was quietly delivered last month via its Windows Update channel was not spying on rival software.

At the time, Vole said in its support document that the update was meant to help the company identify the number of Windows users who were running outdated or soon-to-be-outdated Office software that would no longer be supported or had reached the end of support. These include Office 2013, which will reach the end of support later this year, Office 2010, which is already passed, and Office 2007 which reached the end of support back in 2012.

This led some suspicious people to wonder if Vole was snuffling its hard-drives looking for interesting things.

Microsoft has since updated the document with more details regarding the user data it is collectingwith this update. The company has assured that it is not gathering other private information like those related to non-Microsoft products. Microsoft says it is only diagnostic and performance data it is after which helps it to estimate the usage of installed Office versions.

It said:

This update gathers diagnostic and performance data to estimate the usage of installed Office versions to determine how best to support and service these systems. This data is gathered from registry entries and APIs. The update does not gather licensing details, customer content, or data about non-Microsoft products. Microsoft values, protects, and defends privacy. For more information about our privacy principles, see Privacy at Microsoft.

Although somewhat trivial perhaps, the new support page also adds more details on how to carry out this update. While the previous "How to download and install the update" section only stated "Use Microsoft Update to automatically download and install the update", the updated page now adds that users who have opted for the "Receive updates for other Microsoft products" will get the KB5021751 package.


Last modified on 03 February 2023
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