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GWXUX and other post update telemetry stuff?


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#1 Andrew77

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 08:07 PM

   Hello, I went for about 8 months without updating windows once... Yes I know I'm a dummy... and I noticed that my drivers needed updates desperately and I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet by downloading and installing all of the important updates at once. I created a restore point and did it. Now I have  GWXUX and GWX in my task manager. I used Task scheduler and disabled the two tasks associated with GWX. I also stopped a service from running that is called trkwrks or wrktrks or something that was telemetry related. I was just wondering if you had any advice for me in helping to secure my data from watchful eyes. Maybe a trusted tutorial that you know of that you could point me in the direction to. Thanks for your time 



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#2 sparklestar

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 08:12 PM

How did you notice that your drivers needed updates desperately? Drivers do not need to be updated at all as long as everything is working ok with the current drivers. Updating a driver can actually introduce problems, so, only update drivers to fix or improve an issue.

 

GWX Control Panel will help, and you can find lists of "bad" windows updates that you can uninstall and then hide.



#3 Andrew77

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 05:07 PM

Awesome, thank you, I'll check it out!! To answer your question, I used a program called "driverdetect" or something like that. It is a Nirsoft program that comes in a huge package of freeware that can all be accessed in the Nirsoft Launcher. It went through the list of all my drivers and explained the update status of each one. green for newest version, yellow, orange and red for "ancient" lol.. 



#4 Andrew77

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 05:22 PM

Oh wow... I finished using the program you referred me to. I am truly impressed with you guys, all of you. I've been reading this forum for ages but I have never had a personal experience with it until recently, and I am thoroughly impressed that you guys are here to help people like me with problems like this. It's as if you are a beacon of light in the dark for the uninitiated and bewildered denizens of the information age to seek refuge. I have given windows 10 and the intrusive automatic upgrades the boot!! Thanks again for your help, it feels empowering to have taken back control of my PC (well, more control then I had prior to this lol). Have a good one Sparklestar!!


Edited by Andrew77, 03 November 2015 - 05:22 PM.


#5 rp88

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Posted 04 November 2015 - 12:56 PM

Andrew77 post#1

Do you WANT windows 10? If you DO then that GWXUX thing running in the background is a part of the thing (known as GWX) which will allow you to upgrade, it might well download the installaton files for windows 10 in the background. If you DO NOT want windows 10 you will need to prevent GWXUX, GWX and several other things from running. That gwx control panel program is one way however I would suggest that taking further steps would be a good idea, firstly you should uninstall the updates KB3035583, KB3044374 and KB2976978 from your computer, do it from the "installed updates" list in "control panel". You might also wish to cosnider uninstalling KB3035583, KB3044374, KB2976978 KB3022345, KB3050265, KB3068708, KB3065987, KB3075249, KB3080149, KB3083325 and KB3083711, to get rid of telemetry* related updates and updates to the windows update client** but it is KB3044374, KB3035583 and KB2976978 which are most in need of removal if you want to prevent windows 10 reaching you.

Then with those updates gone you will need to set windows update to "check automatically but ask me whether I want to download", and every tuesday/wednesday you'll need to go to windows update in control panel, see what updates are on offer, install ALL the "Security Update for ..." updates which patch exploitable vulnerabilities (tick these ones, let them download and install, then restart the computer to finish installing, then go back to windows update to deal wth the futher steps)and THEN look at the descriptions of all the "Update for ..." updates, for these "Update for ..." ones ONLY install those which have descriptions saying that they fix a problem YOU have actually YOURSELF had. Don't install any "Update for..." updates which talk of "upgrade", "experience", "telemetry", "new windows version", "enable upgrade"... in their descriptions. I run a thread in this forum which I post in when new updates come out where I suggest which updates are worth installing and which are probably not, I use it to post about buggy (as in crash causing) updates, unwanted updates (those like GWX that do things most people wouldn't want) and good updates (those that users really ought to download as fast as possible, these are mostly the ones that patch security holes). Descriptions of updates can be seen using the "more information" link on the right hand side in the available updates list in windows update, this link takes you to a webpage with information about whichever update is currently highlighted at the time you click the link.

One other thing you'll need to do is have a careful search through your scheduled tasks, there are some gwx related ones which would need disabling. I can't remember what they are right now, someone else might know or I might be able to find the names of these tasks and post them in a few days.

Finally you'll need to check your C:\ drive for a folder called $WINDOWS.~BT you'll need to have hidden files and folders set to show. If it is there you'll need to remove it, the disk clenaup utitlity in windows (prmarily designed for clearing temp files) should be able to do this, if it can't there are other methods.

One other thing you might want to do AFTER all this is to delete the files GWX.exe, GWXUX.exe and a few particular others if they are still around after all the other steps are done, if you need to do this I can guide you through it step by step. You shoudn't tehcnically NEED*** to do this but it might give you extra peace of mind. If you want to do this I will explain how, you'll need to make a system image first.

*these are not directly related to GWX but they add extra and potentially somewhat unwelcome telemetry features which log the programs you use, these updates however do not log private information or anything like that, just program names. They don't do anything like as much monitoring as windows 10's built in telemetry does, but you might well not want them.
**these alter the operation of the windows update client, the part of windows which checks for downloads and installs updates. If you want to remove any of these I suggest making sure you have a system image first incase anything goes wrong, there's no reason to think anything would go wrong, but better to be prepared incase it does. Removal of these might be helpful because these updates are the ones which altered the windows update client's functionality to make it capable of downloading windows 10. Without these it shouldn't be possible for background download of windows 10 to happen, but you can also stop windows 10 in other ways without NEEDING to remove these updates.
***the other steps should be enough to prevent upgrade to windows 10, this step isn't required to prevent upgrade because by the other steps should be enough however not having any GWX traces left (which is how you would be after this step) can leave you feeling more comfortable.


One other tip, please make yourself a system image now, here's how http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/create-system-image-in-windows-7-8/#manual you will be glad of it someday (because system images let you roll back your system from a messed up state to the time when you made the image, hopefully the system was working well at the time the image was made. They are a good way to recover from the sort of problems which would otherwise need a full reinstall of windows.). Also you might want to create a second system image after dealing with all the gwx related stuff. If you need to do that final "for peace of mind but not strictly necessary" step then you need to make a system image first, just incase of the very unlikely event of something going wrong with the removal of the last gwx traces. I can give you further information on how this is done if you need it.


Also, two points for extra information:
1.You say this all began when you wanted to update your drivers, in future don't worry about updating drivers. If you haven't been getting errors from a driver then there is nothing wrong with it and it doesn't need updating, many pieces of software have updates which do need to be done (updates which patch security vulnerabilities which could be exploited by someone trying to infect you with a virus) but driver updates aren't for this sort of thing, they are only relevant to poeple with a driver which doesn't work well for them and is giving regular crashes. In future you can safely ignore drver updates unless you have been getting an error message to do with a particular driver, in which case ask on bleepingcomputer for advice about the specific problem you are having. It's security updates you need to do regularly, as explained above.

2.For clarity and regarding the title of this thread GWX isn't telemetry stuff in the normal sense. GWX (an acronym for "get windows X") is the thing which makes upgrades possible and has in some cases been responsible for background downloads of windows 10. Telemetry is anything to do with software sending regular reports back to microsoft. The two are different things, admittedly GWX has telemetry features in it, but the two shouldn't be confused with one another. Most telemetry isn't related to gwx and most of gwx is things other than telemetry. Both are often unwelcome and the steps for stopping them certainly contain some similarities (avoiding certain KB updates is the method used to avoid GWX and the method for avoiding having extra telemetry features added.).

Edited by rp88, 04 November 2015 - 01:12 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#6 Andrew77

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 12:59 AM

Awesome! I just received your message now. The in depth instructions you've provided are deeply appreciated. I am going to start the process of creating a system image now. Once again, I am very glad I joined this forum when I did, as I have learning more and more about my operating system and it is comforting to know that I can rely on your advice. I'll start right away!! In regards to removing the above listed updates, check, and to no longer download driver updates for drivers that are not crashing or showing problems, check. I will make sure to start regularly downloading the security updates and to consult this forum on any updates that are questionable. Again, thank you for your time, it didn't take much effort on my part to reach out to you guys, and you met me WAY more than halfway. Have a good evening :) Now, I'm going to start this monster of a task in the link you posted here!! I'm sure I will be glad I listened to you if and when I ever see a blue c=screen od death!



#7 Andrew77

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 02:18 AM

Well I can't create the backup now, as my internal recovery drive doesn't have enough space to backup all of my data. I looked on amazon and am going to purchase a portable HD ASAP and start this process. I'll definitely be bugging you for the locations of those GWX files and registry values. Have a good evening!! 



#8 rp88

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 01:55 PM

Post #7, you need to buy an external drive to put our system image on. Crucially the drive must be bigger than the size the image will have and it must be one that calls itself a "local disk" not a "removable disk". An extrnal hard-drive is good for this, how big you need depends on how much is on your computer, and whether you computer is partitioned to have system/program files on one driv(C:\) and personal files on another(D:\) or whether all files of all kinds are on C:\.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#9 Andrew77

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 06:50 PM

Like I said I'm definitely going to purchase a portable (external) HD. I found a few that are in the 40-60 dollar price range that are more than what I need. My PC has a built in recovery drive (D:) is only 23 GB's and the minimum I will need is 33 GB. I'm just going to buy a TB and call it a day. 



#10 rp88

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 12:22 PM

You could get a 64GB usb stick to hold that 33Gb system image but the problem is that windows' image making tool refuses (for no apparent reason) to write images to drives which name themselves "removable disk"s. Windows' image making tool happily writes to drives which call themselves "Local disk"s. Most external hard-drives call themselves "local disk"s but most USb drives call themselves "removable disk"s. There are exceptions, which means there could be some brands of USB where you'll be really lucky and find a USB which calls itself local, there's also a tiny chance that the external hard-drive might call itself removable (which would make it useless for image making, though still perfectly good for backing up personal files using copy and paste).
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#11 Andrew77

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Posted 12 November 2015 - 05:04 PM

That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard! Why is it that rather than be "user freindly" they choose to be "User hateful, want your information for my archives to sell to the government, think you are a cockroach worthy of death under my boot of supreme corporate power, unfreindly"?? :) Good question hhhmmmmm???



#12 rp88

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 12:44 PM

You are right, it is dumb that the system image making tool only works on "local disk"s, there are apparently ways to alter the firmware* of USB drives to make them show up as "local disk"s but these are all very dififcult to do. As for why the image making tool only works with "local disk"s I don't know the reason, I can't imagine there being any truly valid technical differences between a "local" disk and a "removable" one, especially given that some USB's exist which are of each type(but most USBs are "removable" in name), maybe there are differences though. From time to time I've heard complaint from USB buyers angry about USBs being "local" not "removable" for the few USBs that are indeed "local" in name, because some programs exst which stuggle to read fles from "local" disks jst like windows's image making tool won't write to "local" ones. Any USB manufacturer who develops a stick with a switch on the side saying "move me up to make this stick "removable" and down to make it "local"" will be on to a winner.


*I GUESS it would be the firmware that would require editing for this to be done.

Edited by rp88, 15 November 2015 - 12:45 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB




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