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Microsoft Knows Your Every Move On Windows 7 Through Customer Experience Improvement Program

Did you realize, for e.g., that Microsoft knows how many times its users click on the Start menu? How often they use certain Aero features? How many programs get pinned to the taskbar? A Microsoft spokesman summed up these data points from last month in an e-mail:

In the last month alone, Windows 7 users have…

    opened the start menu 14,139,925,439 times
    used Aero Snap 150,957,478 times
    use Aero Shake 20,555,528 times
    pinned 12,643 unique applications to the taskbar and start menu

    These numbers come from people agreed to provide this info during the setup process in Windows 7, users are asked if they want to participate in Customer Experience Improvement Program. This effort collects info about how Windows is being used, as well as providing details when something goes wrong, such as a program or operating system crash. On the screen where you opt into the program, there’s a link to its privacy policy. This section explains what’s collected as part of CEIP.

    To opt-out from Windows 7 CEIP:

    1. Click Start In the Search box, enter Customer Experience Improvement Program.
    2. At the top of Start menu, click item that says Change Customer Experience Improvement Settings.
    3. In the box that appears, select the button next to “No, I don’t want to participate in the program,” and click Save Changes.

    You can find out how to opt out of the program in other versions of Windows at the very bottom of Microsoft FAQ.

    Apple’s OS X also collects similar information. To opt on a Mac, open the Console in the Utilities folder, click Console > Preferences in the Menu Bar, and uncheck the box next to “Automatically send anonymous usage and diagnostic reports to Apple”.


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