Hi All My Zone Alarm firewall recently started asking on occassions whether I would let windows advantage notification access internet. I've had this pc for over a year and I noticed that my Norton security automatically lets this program have web access. I am a little concerned that I (and my Zone Alarm) haven't picked this up before - what exactly does this program do?
It phones home and reports to Uncle Bill every day, although apparently Microsoft intends to change it so that it only phones home every two weeks:
You can block it with your firewall, and you can disable or uninstall it, although not with "Add and Remove Programs." But Windows Update will try to install it again and again, unless you hide it. And if you hide it, WU will tell you that your computer may be at risk. You can read all the bitching, here:
Microsoft spyware, plain and simple:
Information collected during validation Q: What information is collected from my computer? A: The genuine validation process will collect information about your system to determine if your Microsoft software is genuine. This process does not collect or send any information that can be used to identify you or contact you. The only information collected in the validation process is:
Windows product key * PC manufacturer * Operating System version * PID/SID * BIOS information (make, version, date) * BIOS MD5 Checksum * User locale (language setting for displaying Windows) * System locale (language version of the operating system) * Office product key (if validating Office) * Hard drive serial number Q: How does Microsoft use this information? A: The information serves three purposes:
It provides Web page flow, tailoring the pages you see based on your responses. * It conveys demographics, which help Microsoft to understand regional differences in Windows or Office usage. * It confirms user input. User input is often compared