Even with Telemetry disabled, Windows 10 sends a lot of info back to Microsoft

Another round of privacy related hysteria has started around Windows 10 recently. Many users use various tricks to turn off telemetry and data collection which is sent back to Microsoft servers. Once these tweaks are applied, such users feel themselves relatively safe. However, it has come to be known that even if you disable telemetry, Windows 10 continues to connect to Microsoft's servers and sends some data there. This happens also in editions like Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) where it can be officially disabled.
A user by the name of CheesusCrust installed Windows 10 Enterprise and disabled all of the telemetry and reporting options. To check how effective that was, he used his DD-WRT router which has very flexible logging options. DD-WRT is actually a powerful Linux router firmware with a wide range of features. The router was able to provide logs of connections created by Windows 10 Enterprise.

The results were completely unexpected:

Here is the roughly 8-hour network traffic analysis of 5508 connection attempts of an unused, base install of Windows 10 Enterprise

His DD-WRT software detected around 4,000 connection attempts to 93 different IP addresses during an 8 hour period from Windows 10. Almost all of them were related to Microsoft services and servers! If the enterprise edition of Windows 10 collects and sends so much data despite turning off the telemetry and data collection features, then the situation for non-enterprise editions can be much worse.

Here is a little snippet from the huge list collected by "CheesusCrust":

ip_address port protocol attempts 3544 UDP 1619 443 TCP 764 53 UDP 630 137 UDP 602 443 TCP 271 443 TCP 242 443 TCP 189 443 TCP 158 80 TCP 107 80 TCP 96 443 TCP 83 443 TCP 63 80 TCP 45 80 TCP 45 443 TCP 29 443 TCP 27 80 TCP 21 80 TCP 21 443 TCP 19

Most people who are not happy with this Windows 10 feature are avoiding its upgrade offer by using various tricks like this Registry tweak. Others completely disable Windows Update in Windows 8 and Windows 7 to make sure that some update will not force Windows 10 on them.

There is a category of users who actually like Windows 10 but they are not happy with its tracking features. These users use third party apps, Registry tweaks or Windows Firewall to guard their privacy. If you do this, you might be interested in inspecting the list provided by CheesusCrust and making your own telemetry block list.

In the comments, share with us what steps you took to defeat telemetry in Windows 10. Also tell us what made you install Windows 10 and what benefits you get from this OS. I am also interested in listening to users from the opposite camp and see what their reasons are for sticking with a previous version of Windows.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

9 thoughts on “Even with Telemetry disabled, Windows 10 sends a lot of info back to Microsoft”

  1. Hey, Sergey. Thanks for interesting information. What do you think about Destroy Windows Spying? http://dws.wzor.net/ Unfortunately its source code is closed.

  2. I personally don’t care about any data collected. I think Microsoft is just an easy target for internet hype and people love to jump on board. Also, many of the bigger player originators of such stories are often just trying to get noticed. Internet news after all is a job for the main players. Like any fear or paranoia – it’s a choice, (sometimes justified, yes) and some choose to fear Google data collection, too or more so.

    I enjoy using Windows 10. To be honest though, the only thing I did do, especially since Cortana is another `listening’ medium which I do like to use (just like OK Google), I bought a Switchable USB hub which can manually enable or disable my webcam and microphone/headphone interface independently. So, if they are not lit up on my desk – they are not activated or funtional. (I use Skype in my work.)

    I do like Cortana, and other voice activated features on other platforms, but after watching Jason Bourne movies, I like the idea of having some physical switches.

    Let us not forget the amount of microphones and sensors built into our phones which are sitting on our desks right now. Let us also not forget what the very word Android means..

    And headphones can also function as microphones. (If we are going to get paranoid, we might as well go all in.)

  3. Here’s what i did:

    Step 1. Enable telemetry features.
    Step 2. Be happy.

    Yep. I’m totally fine with it. Deal with it.

  4. For Micro$oft to not allow the OPTION to turn off all telemetry/tracking data is rather disgusting.

    People should BOYCOTT WINDOWS 10 until Microsoft at least gives the user the ability to not be tracked.

    It is extremely hypocritical of Microsoft to advertise how Google tracks users with Gmail while claiming that Microsoft doesn’t track. It’s unfortunate Microsoft had to go in this direction but it is very predictable.

    Why should anyone trust these giant corporations? Corporations and government are working together closely to track and store everything we do. This is facism and communism all rolled into one. Don’t be ignorant. Please do more research to understand what this means: Privacy vs Security!

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