What is Windows CEIP, How to Enable it on Windows Server 2012?

When, Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) is refered most people say they 'Never heard of it', and those that have heard of it sometimes don't enable it because they 'don't want to share their data'. Karen Albrecht, a Program Manager on the Windows Server Telemetry team, in a blog post explains what CEIP is […]

When, Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) is refered most people say they 'Never heard of it', and those that have heard of it sometimes don't enable it because they 'don't want to share their data'.

Karen Albrecht, a Program Manager on the Windows Server Telemetry team, in a blog post explains what CEIP is and what benefits you may receive by enabling it on your deployed Servers. Albrecht also discuss several new features in Windows Server 2012 that make it easier to enable CEIP.

For those who have never seen CEIP before, using Windows Server 2012 Beta you can get there through Server Manager -> Local Server -> select the Customer Experience Improvement Program link.

 Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)

'What is CEIP?' "CEIP is the program by which we learn how you use Windows Server 2012, in order to improve the product based on your feedback. You can join the Windows Server 2012 CEIP program in several ways. First, for pre-release beta software, such as the Windows Server 2012 Beta, CEIP is enabled by default to help us improve the software before its' final release. Alternatively, in released products such as Windows Server 2008 R2 we provide notice through the CEIP user interface (shown above) so you can elect to opt-in to the program," wrote Albrecht.

"CEIP report collection and transfer process are light weight in order to meet this need. Windows records CEIP usage information using a high-speed tracing component, Event Tracing for Windows (ETW). ETW enables Windows Server 2012 to write out CEIP usage data no noticeable impact to server performance. CEIP usage information is transferred to Microsoft in a two part process using the Consolidator and Uploader scheduled tasks. The consolidator exports CEIP data into a compressed binary format that is ready for transfer. The binary is typically less than 1 MB in size so that the transfer has minimal impact to network bandwidth. The uploader scheduled task runs every once every 24 hours and transfers the CEIP binary data to the Microsoft frontend servers using the Windows Telemetry Protocol," explaind Albrecht.

He says, CEIP data consists of basic information about how your server is configured and used; roles installed, features installed, settings used, and information about hardware. "CEIP doesn't intentionally collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII). So, CEIP reports do not contain your contact information, such as your name, address, or phone number," he said.

To make it easy to send CEIP data, Windows Server 2012 Beta ships several new features that allow you to get past the blocking issues so you can 'set and forget' CEIP. To participate in the CEIP program, the simplest way to deliver CEIP data to us is to use a new feature called "Windows Feedback Forwarder (WFF)," which's a service that proxies CEIP data from machines in a domain to Microsoft. "WFF will proxy CEIP data Windows products including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 or higher. WFF will also proxy data for any Microsoft product that is enabled to 'send customer feedback'," explained Albrecht.

Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)

Here is how to install Windows Feedback Forwarder?

  1. Using the User Interface (UI)
    1. On any Windows Server 2012 machine, launch Server Manager and then launch the Add Roles and Features wizard.
    2. In the Add Roles and Features Wizard, navigate to the Features page, select Windows Feedback Forwarder.
    3. Specify an incoming port number (default port number is 53533). If the domain has an internet proxy, specify the proxy information. Finish the install.
    4. In Server Manager, select 'All Servers' in the left hand navigation pane. In the 'Servers' tile, right click the server that you installed Windows Feedback Forwarder on and select 'Windows Feedback Forwarder Configuration'. Keep the dialog open for the next step.
  2. OR Using PowerShell
    1. Launch PowerShell and run 'Add-WindowsFeature WFF'
    2. In Server Manager, select 'All Servers' in the left hand navigation pane. In the 'Servers' tile, right click the server that you installed Windows Feedback Forwarder on and select 'Windows Feedback Forwarder Configuration'.
    3. Select the 'Forwarding Settings' tab and specify an incoming port number (default port number is 53533). If the domain has an internet proxy, specify the proxy information. Click 'Apply'.
    4. Keep the dialog open for the next step.

Deploy the Windows Feedback Forwarder group policy

  1. You can either use the Windows Feedback Forwarder configuration dialog or you use the Group Policy Management Console to create and link the group policy object.
    1. Use Windows Feedback Forwarder configuration dialog
      1. In the Windows Feedback Forwarder configuration dialog select the group policy tab.
      2. Enter the domain name that you want to deploy the group policy object to and click 'Find'. Note: you may have to enter credentials at this step depending on the settings of the current user context.
      3. After the list of organizational units is populated, select one or more organizational units.
      4. Click the 'Apply' button
    2. Manually create a group policy object
      1. In the Windows Feedback Forwarder configuration dialog, select the 'Forwarding Settings' tab. Copy the Windows Feedback Forwarding URL and store it temporarily.
      2. In GPMC create a new group policy object and set:

    An alternative method to enable CEIP is the WAF dialog, is a new multi-machine opt-in experience that ships in Server Manager. It enables you to configure multiple individual machines to send CEIP data within just 3 clicks:

    1. Launch Server Manager and select 'All Servers' in the left hand navigation.
    2. In the 'Servers' tile select ctrl+a to select all servers -> right click and select 'Configure Windows Automatic Feedback'
    3. Clicking Enable both Customer Experience Improvement Program and Windows Error Reporting will enable both on all servers connected to that Server Manager console