Note that the snooping routines already on your machine will stay there, even if you choose Group B, unless you manually uninstall the routine. I won’t mention KB 2952664 by name.
Step 2. If you’re in Group A, set up Windows Update.
If you’re working on a machine that won’t ever get manually updated -- good ol’ Aunt Martha’s PC or one for the boss -- it would be wise to turn on Automatic Update. Contrariwise, if you’re working on a machine that gets lots of TLC, and you’re reasonably well tuned in to Windows news, I recommend you turn off Automatic Update. With it off, you’ll be able to watch automatic updaters install the latest updates, then decide for yourself when it’s time to get patches.
Turning off Automatic Update in Group A is a trust-in-Microsoft-but-cut-the-cards move.
In Windows 8.1’s desktop mode, hold down the Windows key and press X, then choose Control Panel. In Windows 7, using an administrator-level account, click Start, Control Panel. In both cases, click System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the Turn automatic updating on or off link. (Note: If you have Control Panel set to View by icons, click Windows Update, then on the left choose Change Settings.)
If you’re working on Aunt Martha’s PC, in the drop-down box choose “Automatic (recommended) Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them.”
If you want to cut the cards, select “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them” or “Never check for updates (not recommended).” The two choices behave similarly, but the first one will (at least in theory) show a notice in the system tray, down near the clock, when new updates are available.
In either case, check the box marked “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates” and click OK.
Step 3. If you’re in Group B, turn off Windows Update
In Group B, you don’t need -- or want -- Windows Update. There are many ways to turn it off, but the simplest and least invasive option involves using the normal Control Panel setting.
The method’s identical to Group A: In Windows 8.1’s desktop mode, hold down the Windows key and press X, then choose Control Panel. In Windows 7, using an administrator-level account, click Start, Control Panel. In both cases, click System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the Turn automatic updating on or off link. In the drop-down box select “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.
Now the monkey’s on your back to check for updates from time to time.
While we don’t have a comprehensive list of KB patches that you should uninstall, in order to minimize Microsoft snooping, there’s a raging debate going on at AskWoody.com. You’re most welcome to join in, but realize it’s not all that simple: A snooping patch to you may be a massive cleanup patch to me. Further, with the dearth of information emanating from Redmond and the absence of a definitive explanation from on high, we’re all guessing.
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