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  • #2236785

    Is Microsoft installing spyware?


    by jardinier ·

    Quite frequently recently when I am online, doing nothing in particular, I will get a message: “There is a problem with this application,” inviting me to send a report to Microsoft, with the option of not sending a report.

    I do not send a report and there is nothing wrong with the application I am using — usually it is just Firefox browser.

    Today it was Real Player which was not even open. So I am becoming very suspicious of these invitations to send information to Microsoft.

    Have any of you experienced this? Do you think (as I do) that Microsoft is either gathering personal information or installing spyware.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2628056

      you might have a trojan installed

      by locrian_lyric ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      sounds like a sucker trap type arrangement.

      • #2616989


        by enriquehernz ·

        In reply to you might have a trojan installed

        Could it be another piece of spyware posing as Microsoft? humm…

        • #2611666

          You’re getting these error messages as a result of Application Crashes.

          by lavinmansukhani ·

          In reply to humm…

          I do not send a report and there is nothing wrong with the application I am using — usually it is just Firefox browser.

             You are most likely experiencing these issues due to faulty third party plugins that you’re using with Firefox. All that Microsoft does is it creates a snapshot of the faulting code in memory at the time of the crash (Called a mini dump) and it gives you an option of sending the mini dump to Microsoft’s crash analysis server ( which does a postmortem on the mini dump to determine the cause of the crash. In fact, you can also open the mini dump (which it stores in \windows\minidump) by using “Windbg” and analyze the cause of the crash by using the !analyze command.

        • #2614305

          Actually it is IE 6 in which these error messages occur

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to You’re getting these error messages as a result of Application Crashes.

          I may have been mistaken about Firefox because that is my primary browser, but IE 6 gives an error report for no apparent reason and simply closes that particular page without closing down IE 6, even though it says it will close the application.

          A tip for anyone who is still using 98 (SE). Do NOT install IE 6 as it causes a lot of problems. If you already have IE 6, DO NOT install critical updates because it was after this that I got problems.

          Unfortunately IE 6 cannot be uninstalled. I feel pretty sure that if I used IE 5.5 there would be no problems.

          Hmmmm … no wonder anyone who is at all computer savvy has switched to Firefox or Netscape (or whatever browser Linux uses)

        • #2614243

          “(or whatever browser Linux uses)”

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Actually it is IE 6 in which these error messages occur

          Linux and BSD based OS offer twenty or more browsers though the big names seem to be Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Konquerer (I’m unsure what Gnome’s native browser is).

          You can also use Firefox on your windows machines. Netscape has been out of active production for a long while though I think Mozilla is still actively developed and has a Windows version also. You may also consider trying the Opera browser on win98.

          I’ve a win98se box with all critical updates including IE6 that runs without issue. I’ve not got flash and all the rest of the whiz-bang bling installed though so it may not be the best install for comparison. I did find win98 needed a clean reinstall from time to time as most Windows installs do if you muck with them regularly.

        • #2614156

          I already have Firefox and Netscape

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to “(or whatever browser Linux uses)”

          And Netscape is by no means dead as I have version 8 on one computer, and there is a version 9 available as I speak (write).

          I had all kinds of problems with IE 6 on my two 98 SE machines, in fact it failed to function at all. I would just get an error message: “Buffer overrun.”

          However I purchased a dandy piece of software “Spring Cleaning” which cleaned up the registry, making IE fully functional again.

          The only reason I am bothering with IE 6 is that it displays correctly a particular feature on a matchmaking site which does not display correctly on Firefox.

        • #2614145

          I thought Netscape only continued development as Mozilla

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to I already have Firefox and Netscape

          Good to hear that they are still supporting the original brand name though. Netscape Standalone (v4?) was a standard install for my machine when I was still building websites. It was the last of the Netscape versions that had a stand alone browser only. I really should track down another copy having lost my original in a drive crash.

          I remember win98 being a pain for creating registery mess. You might try CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) which I believe still supports win98 and every win32/64 since. It’s the first registry cleaner I’ve trusted since having my machine rotted out a number of times by older cleaners (they always seem to speed up the rate at which my win98 needed to be reinstalled clean).

          I’ve IE7 on my machines now for much the same reason as you. Most sites now display under Firefox but everyone still builds there site to support IE’s broken standards. There are a few sites I need IE to view properly and when testing a website it’s always best to view it in more than just two or three token browsers. For Apple users, this was much worse until the osX browser developed further. We’ve pretty much abandoned IE6 on my wife’s macbook with there yet being no IE7 for osX or websites that won’t display without it.

          At work I have a different issue. The standard install still uses IE6 and I’m more frequently finding websites that freeze the browser. Soon after IE7 was released, Cnet started to lock up my IE6. It got to the point where I had a 60% chance of having all browser windows crash each time I followed a link. The tech support response was “we only test the site under IE7” but I’ve since found better functioning news sites that don’t crash the browser constantly. I think my case had to do with the use of flash and there business decision to favor IE7. TR rarely crashes the browser even with the heavy use of Flash.

          Anyhow, my win98 security apps are the same as my winXP additions:

          CCleaner – cleans temp files and registry errors

          Lavasoft Ad-Aware – cleans adware infestations

          Spybot Search & Destroy – cleans spyware and finds a little more or little different selection than Ad-Aware

          Kepher Bazooka – finds what the rest missed but to be used only by the tech literate that are confortable editing the registry (for when I need a bigger hammer)

          AVG Free Antivirus – cause you gotta have AV software in Windows

          AVG Free Rootkit – cleans rootkit infestations

          Pop-up Stopper Pro – this one you’d have to pay for but it was the pop-up blocker supreme before IE finally included the function natively.

          AVG, Adaware, Search&Destroy, CCleaner and Pop-up Stopper will keep you comfy and tuned up. The other’s get used when I’m hunting something and the regular tool set didn’t find and remove it. With that little toolbox, my win98 ran/runs clean and happy.

        • #2614138

          It’s Mozilla Firefox, but Netscape is stand-alone

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to I already have Firefox and Netscape

          As you will see here:

          Whenever Firfox does an update, it takes you back to Mozilla after the update is installed.

          Re various other matters, Ad-Aware found heaps of stuff that Spybot missed.

          Firefox automatically blocks pop-ups and tells you so.

          I browse the matchmaking site:

          The latest version of Firefox actually has a spell-check facility that works WITHIN RSVP emails which is rather cool.

          Another handy tip I have just discovered:

          From here you can insert Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia buttons into any browser, but it is so easy with Firefox — you just drag the link onto the Firefox toolbar and Hey Presto !! — it is immediately and permanently functional.

    • #2628041

      It’s just Microsoft, Jules.

      by gadgetgirl ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      I’ve had a few of these when Microsoft has encountered problems – both at work and at home.

      It can’t recognise that the browser you’re using isn’t IE, so wants to send an error report if FF crashes/hiccups, even though it’s not an MS product.

      It normally happens when Windoze detects a problem with itself – which is why your Real Player wasn’t open, but Windoze wanted to send an error report. It constantly checks itself (!) so can detect things that we mortals are unaware of happening in the background.

      Despite their statement that they only collect machine and program info, and not any personal info, I still don’t send. I prefer to look at the error myself, and google it. Tend to get more sensible answers that way, anyway….. 😀

      Hope this helps


      • #2628023

        I stand corrected!

        by locrian_lyric ·

        In reply to It’s just Microsoft, Jules.

        Hi GG, this is the poster formerly known as richard_rpu. How are you?

        I didn’t know that about windoze not knowing the difference between firfox and IE Exploder.

      • #2617137

        Really now?

        by mikeholli ·

        In reply to It’s just Microsoft, Jules.

        gadgetgirl said [quote]Despite their statement that they only collect machine and program info, and not any personal info, I still don’t send. I prefer to look at the error myself, and google it. Tend to get more sensible answers that way, anyway.[\end-quote]

        You?re in error. What you?re stating is no different then screaming in a movie house “FIRE” Microsoft went to court awhile ago, remember that whole anti-trust thing? Part of Microsoft’s rehabilitation is that they MUST answer to the Government as well as share non proprietary code. [Can you see the smiles on the Linux Community’s faces?]
        Trojans/Adware/other scum bottom of the barrel rock licker crap coming onto our PCs, and Mac is from vested interests. If they CAN find a weakness in your rig(s) it becomes their ZOMBIE!!! Remember to NIGHTLY run your anti-scumware application of choice
        I, myself use Ad-Aware pro. I also use a thumbdrive(s) to store, save my documents, programs, etc. Because once you power down, everything you’ve done will be gone, including directories,folders, etc. At this moment I am running Kubuntu 7.04 from live CD and happy days, I have used Symantecs online scanner to check for adware, trojan, general scumware and I come up clean everytime. What Microsoft needs to do is make their CD/DVD bootable to run everything directly from it, these malwares cannot attach themselves to a read-only medium.I say bye bye to the drivebys infestators.

        • #2611837

          OS on a DVD??

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to Really now?

          Did you just arrive here via a time bubble or what?? OS’s used to be installed on a ROM chip. If you wanted a different OS, you bought a different computer. Microsoft changed all that. They made the OS available to the tinkerer, the tailor, the hacker, and the candlestick maker. They have incorporated a ‘back door’ in every copy of windows from 98 SE up to the present. The process is called ‘advapi32.dll’. In the year 2000, some programmers accidentally found some programmers notes that Microsoft, in their infinite insanity, forgot to delete. The notes pointed to two back doors, one leading to Microsoft, the second, straight to the NSA. So, in a way, you are right, Microsoft does indeed share their info with the government,the spying part of the government. They probably scratch each others backs alot, covering up for each other, but ya know what, in my book, a whore is a whore, and both are guilty of giving it away free, at least to each other at our expense. And, any spyware/adware program that Microsoft promotes(Adaware Pro) immediately raises my suspicions. They wouldn’t promote it if it worked good enough to uncover their unholy secrets. Or do you think Microsoft is on our side? Would you be interested in some prime wetland in southern Florida? I use A-Squared Security, they’re located in Germany, or the Ukraine, or one of those countries that really HATE Microsoft. That’s how you get good coverage, not by using Microsofts suggested programs. That’s just Ignorance of Microsoft’s marketing schemes.

        • #2611677

          Oh really….

          by n4aof1 ·

          In reply to Really now?

          “Microsoft went to court awhile ago, remember that whole anti-trust thing? Part of Microsoft’s rehabilitation is that they MUST…”

          And I’ve got a very nice bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell you for a good price.

        • #2611449


          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Really now?

          GG is in the UK. Different laws and all that.

          Oh, and she is in Security. Knows a bit.

        • #2615384

          Great idea….

          by johnbeaman ·

          In reply to Really now?

          “What Microsoft needs to do is make their CD/DVD bootable to run everything directly from it, these malwares cannot attach themselves to a read-only medium.I say bye bye to the drivebys infestators.”

          Yeah, I always wanted to run a server where all of the content was on CD. Smart move.

          Years ago when running a service we used floppies for each client, even though we had a hard drive. People asked why as though it was too archaic for “professionals”. Seems that the client bought the floppies and paid us as a service to manage the content. This way they could also take the disk and walk. No ones data getting mixed up either. It was up to the client to back up the floppie too.

          Makes too much sense. If I was to do it today, I’d just use re-writable CD’s because the stuff is so big. (>1.44mb)

          Yeah, real-time scumware checking, and full scans whilst you sleep. Kinda like wearing “protection”. lol. We really need it these days….


        • #2614489

          I’ve got an old flashdrive with a physical write/protected switch

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Great idea….

          It’s a humbl 512meg but I hold on too it dearly. I’ve never seen a flashdrive since with a physical write/write-protect switch. I put a usb bootable *nix or AV scanner on it, flip it to read only and fix whatever virus infection or such I need to without bringing the mess back home.

          I’m going to miss it when the flash chip finaly wares out an I have to switch to carrying a usb reader and secure media stick in my pocket. The sd sticks are the only other “modern” removable media I’ve seen with a physical write-protect switch.

      • #2616995

        Microsoft Collections

        by janicebrock ·

        In reply to It’s just Microsoft, Jules.

        There is built in error checking code that launches the dialog box (generic except it lists the application that is having the difficulty) that states that Windows has detected an error and wants to send a report to Microsoft.

        What happens with these reports is that they are collected in a huge database and when a particular error appears several times, it floats to the top and that is what gets the attention. So, when you send the data, it just sends the information about your machine and what the problem was to these collectors.

        You obviously don’t have to send the error report, but it doesn’t hurt anything if you do.

        • #2611914

          Janice and Mike are right of course.

          by hailet ·

          In reply to Microsoft Collections

          I use MS at home and at work. I use FireFox to collect less adware vs. IE. At home I use MS Live One Care which has never had a problem recognizing FireFox or any other non-MS product.
          Turn off all filters some time and see how many pop-ups you get impersonating Microsoft.
          I think the original poster either has adware or a Trojan. Even if a machine is scanned most likely any unwanted software is already tucked away in a restore point. I would recommend deleting all but the current restore points, scan the machine for virus and adware, get rid of anything found, create a new restore point and delete the last remaining restore point prior to the scan.

    • #2628026

      Microsoft has always installed spy ware

      by nentech ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      This is normal
      Screw them don?t send them anything
      They should test their products properly
      And not use their customers as testers

      • #2617116


        by twocrows ·

        In reply to Microsoft has always installed spy ware

        Remember the “Alexa”? We all know about that one. Every copy of WinDoze has one (not sure about Vista, haven?t installed it yet :))
        Or the “Send your processor ID” thing, along with a bunch of data (for what I blame BIOS manufacturers for “sending” data, and Micro$ for receiving it, among other things). I know, I know, it?s not exactly spyware, but isn?t a similar purpose, to send private info?.

      • #2611963

        Is it still called spyware if…….?

        by brit0n ·

        In reply to Microsoft has always installed spy ware

        Is it still called spyware….

        1. If it informs you about a problem you might want to know about while asking you nicely if it can send a report to its makers before doing so and NOT doing so if you say no?

        2. If it shows you exactly what it will send should you allow it to do so?

        3. If you can disable it using a normal operating system control panel?

        I don’t know about you, but I tend to bash Microsoft when they do something worth bashing them about. Most of the problem with Microsoft was that they were allowed to become a monopoly which couldn’t have happened in any other supposedly Western Industrialized nation….. so whose fault was that, Mr Voter? lol

        • #2611835

          Maybe Dopeware Fits More Accurately

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to Is it still called spyware if…….?

          1. Are you a dope if you really believe it will only send what it says?
          2. Are you a dope if you believe that the exact list is really the COMPLETE list?
          3. Are you a dope if you believe that if you disable it there, it’s going to disable Microsoft removing exactly whatever it deems necessary from your system, WHENEVER it deems necessary to remove it?

          It seems to me that if you believe any of the above, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work. You’d be much better off playing the ‘straight’ man in a comedy team.

        • #2615378

          Whatcha smokin? Must be expensive….

          by johnbeaman ·

          In reply to Maybe Dopeware Fits More Accurately

          Don’t you mean “read” or “copy” instead of “remove”?

          Just cause you are parinoid doesn’t mean they arn’t out to get ya….

      • #2611919

        Are you kidding?

        by jpb ·

        In reply to Microsoft has always installed spy ware

        Windows IS spyware, and Microsoft is laughing at YOU for paying for the privilege of installing their spyware on your computer.


        • #2611867

          Kidding about what?

          by nentech ·

          In reply to Are you kidding?

          Windows is spy ware or Microsoft installs spy ware?
          Or is it paying for their software?
          Or is it the privilege of paying?
          Or is it Microsoft is laughing
          Or is it the privilege of not hearing them laugh?

          Or is it the privilege of knowing this
          No matter what Microsoft tries, people will still find ways of pirating and using their software.
          All they will succeed in doing is annoying their real customers

          8*D ?

        • #2615377

          Reminds me of “Gun Laws”

          by johnbeaman ·

          In reply to Kidding about what?

          The only people these laws affect are those that don’t need them applied.

        • #2611834

          Thank You

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to Are you kidding?

          And, there’s a SMART person in here after all. Microsoft is in business to maintain and increase their stranglehold on the world’s computer resources, and nothing less. Those of you that believe Microsoft is your buddy, you better sleep on your back cuz they’ll ram it to ya sooner or later. If ya like that kinda thing, maybe Bill has room at the top for ya!!

        • #2616182

          Windows is a pain

          by bamyclouse ·

          In reply to Are you kidding?

          That should sum it up.

          A hemorrhoid of inconceivable proportions causing intractable pain to users the world over. A resource hog.

          Of course it has also been postulated that Windows is a virus…a worm (maybe the CEO fits that best)…a trojan and no not the type that protects you when you, er, um, well, I don’t think I am supposed to go any further with this thought!

        • #2615375

          Windows, the biggest bug for DOS.

          by johnbeaman ·

          In reply to Windows is a pain

          Windows = the biggest bug for DOS.
          Microsoft = The biggest spy’s on the net.

          But then again, I use it and put up with it cause it’s still great bang for the buck.

          I remember when half an XT was the size of your fridge and cost $60,000 pluss $30k more for basic accounting package.

          Now every idiot and hacker from around the world can have access to your home and children.


          Like everything else like this, just remember to wear your rubbers… LOL.

      • #2615391

        You’re all NUTs

        by jwm.mckay ·

        In reply to Microsoft has always installed spy ware

        Since when did MS write Firefox or Real Player? Maybe I missed the takeover but there’s no mistaking all you prats out there.

        It’s up to Firefox et al to write programs that run properly. Sounds more like a hookey copy of windows to me but nnnoooooo that couldn’t account for anything in a zealots mind.

        Get a life!

        • #2614160


          by nentech ·

          In reply to You’re all NUTs

          I wasn?t talking about Firefox or Real Player
          I was talking about Microsoft and spyware
          So what are you talking about?

      • #2615342

        customers as testers

        by absolutely ·

        In reply to Microsoft has always installed spy ware

        The manufacturer will produce what the
        market will bear. The nature in which
        economic “supply” and “demand” interact to
        determine one another’s levels means that
        market “demand” for a product would really
        be better described by the word “request”.
        Where one supplier holds over 90% of the
        market, that supplier can safely ignore
        our “requests” until it is convenient for
        it to provide them.

        • #2614480

          there’s a few different points I read in that statement

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to customers as testers

          The manufacturer will produce what the market will bear.

          On the up side, they’ll produce whatever product the market will buy. On the down side, they’ll produce it at the lowest possible quality that the market will buy.

          Where one supplier holds over 90% of the
          market, that supplier can safely ignore our “requests” until it is convenient for
          it to provide them.

          That point speaks for itself really. We’ve been watching that demonstraited over and over again (patch release times counted in days and months after a reported exploit).

          In a healthy economy the natural market forces would drive better quality products at competitive prices. The one we live with now simply rewards monopolies and ignores consumers beyond concidering them wallets with legs.

        • #2614159


          by nentech ·

          In reply to customers as testers

          How does that relate to Microsoft testing their products?

    • #2628010

      Sounds Fishy?

      by genera-nation ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      You say you’re online, doing nothing in particular. You must be doing something?

      Then Real Player (which was not open!!).

      Then worrying about the report messages.

      Again – Sounds Fishy.

      • #2611833

        Excellent use of Microsoft’s Famed Redirection Subroutine

        by warhippy1 ·

        In reply to Sounds Fishy?

        Let’s not discuss the issue, let’s attack the person with the original question. Let’s say it’s porn, which it probably isn’t, but does that give Microsoft any more right to spy on your system? Does their famed EULA give them monitoring rights on the world’s computers just because their OS is installed? Does their famed EULA give them the right to use your personal hardware, which they have to use, in order to access your computers OS. They maintain that the OS is never sold, it’s installed with the understanding that Microsoft can still access it to force updates if the Admin decides not to update. They do have that right, but they have to access every wire, chip, diode, and memory location between the modem and the hard drive that contains the OS, in order to force an update. Did you give them permission to use your hardware to access their OS, or are they committing a crime every time they force an update on you? You talk about wanting to keep hackers out, but you allow the biggest hacker of all, Microsoft, to hack your systems every week, by allowing them to use your hardware. That’s illegal!!

    • #2627839
      • #2627837

        Which proves?

        by tig2 ·

        In reply to Hmmm

        Richard abandoned his original nick. You swiped it because once abandoned, it could be re-used.

        Find a different sandbox, you fuckwit.

        • #2612550

          Edited by moderator

          by don ticulate ·

          In reply to Which proves?


          Message was edited by: beth.blakely@…

        • #2612532

          silly watb

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to Edited by moderator

          You took the “IT” out of *it. Where do you think you are?

        • #2612521

          New low …

          by pser ·

          In reply to Edited by moderator

          That is the most vial post I have ever seen any where!

          How pathetic of a human being do you have to be to make such a comment? You know as well as the rest of us you do nothing but provoke people on this (and probably other) forums. Ergo, you are deserving of nothing but contempt and even name calling. This is the second time (for me anyway) I have seen you ‘attack? in such a manner. It is unforgivable … and beyond reproach! I can’t even imagine what kind of person could act in such a manner! To prey and feed on the misery of others … despicable, plain and simple! GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!

          I implore the PTB here at TR to do whatever it takes to keep this … thing … off of this site! The IP address tracking/blocking is surely worth the effort now more than ever.

        • #2612503

          No argument from me

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to New low …

          …looks increasingly like a brilliant idea! My money is on hair-pulling.

        • #2612328

          You know

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Edited by moderator

          Being a “t*tless wonder” has enabled me to do some wonderful things. Like help to change lives.

          Given my life, regardless of the trials, I would not live it differently. I would be so much less if I didn’t have the sense of value that I have the ability to use as perspective.

          You sir, have little and offer less. Truly a pity. You could choose to be so much more. You don’t. I wonder why that is.

          Guess what? I am missing a couple of bits that are considered to be standard equipment on women. So? I am also considered by many to be a friend, and many more to be a positive resource.

          So who’s life would I choose? Mine. Cancer and all.

        • #2625986

          Tig …

          by pser ·

          In reply to You know

          You ARE a Wonder! 🙂

        • #2617015

          Have you tried…

          by cparris ·

          In reply to You know

          Flax oil and cottage cheese?
          I have a loved one with cancer as well and she is making inprovements with this. you can find more information at
          I hope this helps.

        • #2611452

          Thank you, Sweetie!

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Have you tried…

          What a wonderful person you are!

          I am looking forward to celebrating 4 years cancer free in October- the day after my birthday, in fact.

          I, like many, celebrate my time cancer free on the anniversary of my diagnosis.

          Your loved one will be in my prayers. I hope to see a world one day without cancer. Check out the “Pink Ribbon Brigade” thread- I like to believe that I walked 60 miles closer to a cure.

          I can’t tell you how touched I am by your post. Thank you so very much!

        • #2611830

          Yeah, What She Said…..

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to You know

          Right on Tigger, I’d rather have a titless wonder as a friend than someone who, for all intents and purposes, is nothing but one giant BOOB!!

        • #2612687

          [i]TROLL ALERT:[/i] Don Ticulate/NumberOn3/TheTechMail/TTM/Spuddy/etc.

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Edited by moderator

          Please don’t feed the troll (1)(2).

          Please don’t reason with the troll.

          Please don’t debate with the troll.

          Please don’t argue with the troll.

          Please don’t attack the troll.

          The troll feeds on the anguish he creates in others. Don’t feed him and he will go away (eventually at least).


          (1) General information about trolls and how to best deal with them

          (2) The definitive guide to Trolls

        • #2616180

          interesting use of the term

          by bamyclouse ·

          In reply to Which proves?

          I thought terms like the one used in this post were NOT allowed.

          Besides, what in the world is a (term used to describe swine breeding activite)wit anyway?

          Never mind…I don’t really want to know…probably someone who can’t think of anything better to do than use the (term to describe swine reproductive activity) in various ways.

    • #2627639

      Just a thought

      by locolobo ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      RealPlayer tries to run in the background (tray?) unless you disable it. Sometimes it has been so persistent that I have uninstalled it for a while. Maybe somewhere in your registry RealPlayer is listed as the default program for something that Windows touched and since it wasn’t open it hiccuped?

      • #2616951

        Your Explanation

        by rkuhn040172 ·

        In reply to Just a thought

        Is probably correct but this topic is just too tempting for others to not take their free jabs.

        For anyone to say that RP isn’t open but not know how it hooks into other programs running at the time only shows their true ignorance.

        It is comical to listen to people try to explain things that they themselves don’t know much about.

        Liked your response.

    • #2613514

      Microsoft Error Reporting

      by lstewart ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Why not simply disable the Error Reporting service? (Along with several others that are running by default)

      If you open Services.mmc you can very easily set the reporting service to Disabled and never be bothered with Windows spitting that garbage out at you.

      • #2613391

        You can also

        by nentech ·

        In reply to Microsoft Error Reporting

        Do it by opening System Properties from the control panel
        Choose Advanced
        Click on settings in Startup and Recovery
        Clear the tick by Send an administrative alert

    • #2613439

      Remember what this replaced?

      by jim rodgers ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Do you remember what this replaced? Probably not, since so many on this forum are so young. It once was the case that Windows would freeze-up, and in some cases go to the Blue Screen of Death. With the NT (“New Technology” or “Netware Terminator”) codebase, Windows base got better at resisting out-of-control programs. Perhaps it is fair to say that today’s Windows (XP and later), catastrophic failure events are of two types: if it is in a system component like the video driver, you may get the Blue Screen of Death. Hardware problems like bad DRAM also cause these.

      The other category is when a user program (including things like Acrobat, media players and CD burners that are always running in the background)… when one of these fails, Windows can “catch” it and write a report. These no longer crash Windows as badly as they once did with the Windows 3.X and Windows 95 code bases.

      People should let Windows go ahead and report these applications that have “had a problem,” especially those with memory errors or which have “stopped responding.” Don’t worry about your being spied on by Microsoft. You are not that important, and frankly, Scarlet, MS doesn’t give a damn — even if you have illegal software.

      The spyware that Microsoft DOES rely upon is built-in to Windows, Office, and other programs strictly for the purpose of pissing you off if you have illegally-installed Microsoft software. I’m talking, of course, about the software “Activation” thingy.

      So, in conclusion, MS uses the Product Activation feature to “spy,” if you will, on you to see if you can come up with a valid product key. That may seem gigantic, but few would argue that MS thought they were going to get paid for coming to work.

      The software failure reporting, however, is altruistic. Moreover, in some cases, after the report is submitted, a link appears to “More Information.” Unfortunately, you don’t often get this help link, and sometimes it can be bogus help. But, I have in a few instances been advised to go to the third-party vendor’s website to get the fix that has become available. I appreciate that hot tip.

      The only people who should be slightly worried are large companies who build PCs with bogus MS software on it. But even they probably won’t get caught by the program error reporting thingy.

      A real concern that can occur with “features” of Windows or other software is when it tries to go on the Internet and has a problem. Windows often blocks or hangs when it can’t find something it needs on a network, including the Internet. Here’s an example, mount a whole bunch of drives from network shares and check the “logon” box so they are permanently mounted. Then reboot with the network cable unplugged. It takes forever, and Windows asks you about each drive it can’t find after a timeout per each drive letter. I hate that!

      Any spyware could have severe consequences, of course. But the one thing it might do is cause strange little slow-downs when it tries to report back its ill-gotten data from your PC. If the spyware is on too many PCs, and the “spy” has a lame host to receive these data, then it’s like contacting a slow website.

      So look out for that. I always run a complete scan when I get the feeling something is going on — like a bunch of CPU time for an unknown process, or crazy disk activity, or slow-downs.

      Meanwhile, a virus, etc., also could encounter problems trying to hack your PC. So when Windows says a program “encountered a problem,” you should make sure it’s OK for that program even to be there!


      • #2612492

        Great post

        by finmedmgr ·

        In reply to Remember what this replaced?

        It is nice to read good information related to questions posted when browsing the forums.

        I also have appreciated the “”More Information.” Unfortunately, you don’t often get this help link, and sometimes it can be bogus help. But, I have in a few instances been advised to go to the third-party vendor’s website to get the fix that has become available. I appreciate that hot tip.”

        Also, I found I was having issues with McAfee getting along with the latest IE and it was affecting my real player. I didn’t want to go through the McAfee “work around” so I dumped McAfee totally, don’t like Norton (same company) taking over my machine from the login and forward. I went back to AVG and now all is fine. AVG has no conflicting problems and doesn’t try to take control of things I don’t want it to control (it behaves and does the job).

        Note for the person with the question, Windows XP does have a backdoor spy in it for the FBI, I would think it would have to be some major criminal activity a person was involved with, other than using your computer, that would allow them to access data in your computer.

        • #2611901

          A true criminal

          by keydesignz ·

          In reply to Great post

          Would use a linux box or a mac instead. Maybe even OS2 Warp. Definately not windows.

      • #2617097

        Great post indeed..

        by twocrows ·

        In reply to Remember what this replaced?

        While I was flaming M$ until spittle covered my monitor and keyboard, you provided quite a bunch on information on the matter. 🙂
        I?ll try to be a little more constructive next time, hehehe.

      • #2616975

        Way to ruin a perfectly good Microsoft hate-thread.

        by scott @ sbs ·

        In reply to Remember what this replaced?


        M$ Suxors Fanboi

      • #2616944

        Yes, Very Nice Post

        by rkuhn040172 ·

        In reply to Remember what this replaced?

        Too many people try to place blame where blame isn’t necessarily due when they don’t understand the problem to begin with.

        Before opening mouth and inserting foot or taking free jabs at MS, one really should try to diagnose the problem beforehand.

        It could very well be MS’s fault, but to blindly misplace blame before the source or cause of the problem is known isn’t exactly what I would call being a professional.

      • #2611825

        Slow Shutdowns-Your scans analysis of that is…

        by warhippy1 ·

        In reply to Remember what this replaced?

        Does your system ever take a minute or two longer than normal to shut down? What does your scan tell you is happening in that minute? My scan told me that a process named advapi32.dll was running when it was ordered to stop. A closer look revealed the command, “abort shutdown”. I could list the commands after that in order, but the program logic goes like this. Copy shutdown image, logon with temporary credentials, assign temporary kernal permissions to temporary logon. Stop event viewer, then hard drive locations get opened, read, a port gets opened and the info gets streamed, shut the port, close the hard drive access, delete the files that were changed, restore the shutdown image, continue shutdown. Does all this sound like an illegal access of your system? It is, and the access is from none other than Microsoft using Local System access rights, the only access stronger than Administrator rights. or maybe the NSA using Local Network rights. When I see my system in a prolonged shutdown, I reach to the back of the system and turn the power off. Some people say, “but you’ll corrupt files doing that”. How corrupted are files that refuse to take an Administrative order to shut down? All you are doing by taking that action is, first, you are refusing access to your system by an outsider, and second, you are taking a chance of corrupting a file that is already corrupt.

        • #2612177

          Not slow shutdowns, aborted shutdowns

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Slow Shutdowns-Your scans analysis of that is…

          I have two machines running 98 SE. VERY FREQUENTLY they fail to shut down and just hang. One machine, an early Compaq workstation, has a power button so that I can turn the thing off. On rebooting it will not do a scan because of “incorrect shutdown.”

          The other machine which is newer, has a restart button but does a scandisk because of improper shutdown.

          I am probably the only person in the known and unknown universes who has had a happy experience with ME. One machine ran for four years before a reformat was required for a reason not related to the OS. In all those years the ONLY thing it did wrong was to occasionally fail to shut down. I cannot recall that it ever showed a blue screen.

        • #2612023

          Try this update

          by nentech ·

          In reply to Not slow shutdowns, aborted shutdowns

          It is the Windows 98 Second Edition Shutdown Supplement

          The page also has help for shutdown problems

        • #2615188

          Many thanks

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Try this update

          I will check that out. A major problem with computers manufactured between X and Y (I can’t pick the years precisely) is that they had no shut-off switch or restart switch. So it was pull out the plug and endure Scandisk.

          I now have a brand new sooper-dooper computer which has a power switch adjacent to the power input cable.

        • #2616178

          that would explain it…

          by bamyclouse ·

          In reply to Slow Shutdowns-Your scans analysis of that is…

          Live near NSA – you know, No Such Agency. IM’d with someone from Algeria. Couldn’t do a blasted thing with the PC afterwards including shut down. I figured it was either Al Qaida or NSA at first, now I wonder if they were fighting over the rights to see the info on 2 people trying to get to know each other in cyberspace…I realize that’s not always harmless but please, at least let me operate my computer while you’re spying – privacy is an illusion.

        • #2616005

          You’re Paranoid!

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to that would explain it…


        • #2615983
          Avatar photo

          And what’s wrong with that?

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to You’re Paranoid!

          When you work Security it’s a necessary Mind Set.

          May Be you would like your bank to say [b]Well Close Enough Is Good Enough[/b] and then refuse to repay any losses from attacks. 😀


        • #2615372

          And you probably ride bareback….

          by johnbeaman ·

          In reply to You’re Paranoid!


        • #2614158

          Dont bother

          by nentech ·

          In reply to And you probably ride bareback….

          Rickk Is a troll
          He may go by other names

          Check this post of his

        • #2614475

          if you live near the NSA building, it’s probably the wrong building

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to that would explain it…

          After all, the first thing I’d do with sich a government department is put a big building in plain site and move all the offices in across the street eight blocks down.

          It was probably a local computer glitch that froze your box (you where running windows after all) but one would need much more detail to figure out the cause. After all, professionals like the NSA could easily track your internet use without effecting your local computer; probably encluding software installs. (Carnivor got cancelled? Sure it did; what’s the new version name?)

          It does amuse me to think of two spies sitting in side by side cubicles squabling like kids over who get’s jack into your rig first. That joke is going to keep me smiling for the rest of the day.

      • #2614478

        what it replaced..

        by neon samurai ·

        In reply to Remember what this replaced?

        yes, at one time Microsoft was hopped to be the savior to free us all from monopoly enslavement. An alternative OS we could all afford and write our own programs for rather than being locked into what only IBM offered in that months product catalog.

        Then Bill wrote his “what you do is steeling” letter (or “The Open Letter”) to the homebrew computer club. Microsoft has since turned into the very glutton we all cheered it on for freeing us from.

        What’s that old saying; power.. something about power currupting..

        As of monday, I’ve removed yet another shackle that kept me using Microsoft product; Windows is now only a gaming platform and novelty item to tinker with in my computing world. (I gotta keep tinkering with the products after all that’s what we get paid to support 90% of the time and I’ve already got the licenses.)

    • #2613415

      Now repeat after me:

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      I do not want to say spyware, I do not want to say spyware.

      Now explain these ip addresses that I have had to block from an external firewall:,,

      I don’t want to say spyware and error reporting is disabled.

      • #2613312
        • #2612610

          Tried and failed.

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to OK

          You failed the first step. Do a reverse DNS lookup on the addresses I gave. You will find that that the three addresses I gave belong to Microsoft. They link to and others. Now ask, what is Windows, Vista in particular, doing transmitting encrypted information to before the local machines firewall is up? Those addresses are blocked at the second firewall in the system, a Linux based box behind the hardware firewall. Now ask why the local machines firewall does not see or catch them.

          There are many other addresses that are attempted also. I just gave these ones.

        • #2612518

          Horrid on the surface, but not so bad with a moment of thought …

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to Tried and failed.

          From a programming perspective, you’ve told me that Microsoft has incorporated something the company knows about some (or all) of the IP addresses they own into their operating system, such that “known good” destination IPs are excluded from checking by the firewall program also written by the same company. That conditional exclusion should allow no more malware traffic, but would tend to result in faster completion of error reporting. Even if the difference is milliseconds or less, circumventing (relatively) time-consuming processes like checking a long list of firewall rules, by adding a “case” statement that causes the program to take the same action by compiling and/or executing fewer lines of code, is generally considered good programming. Suddenly, this seems less malevolent, and more like reason to take note at some fairly impressive inter-departmental coordination. At least, from my own experience & second-hand knowledge, my guess is that the error reporting module and the firewall module are *likely* to be programmed by different teams.

        • #2612345


          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Horrid on the surface, but not so bad with a moment of thought …

          The error reporting module is MS work. The external software firewall is the basic Linux firewall and the local firewall/virus/spyware program on the workstations varies but is either Kaspersky or Zonelabs. The local firewalls never catch the addresses I mentioned but the Linux firewall does and also records the addresses. In the case of the ones above, they are blocked. There is also an external hardware firewall that reports on incoming traffic.

          There are many more addresses that the MS OS’s try to contact that I cannot explain. From my point of view, any unsolicited, unexlained, and unrecorded network connection is malware of some form. I gave the above IP’s just because when you do a reverse DNS lookup they show a registered MS address. There may be a legitimate reason for them, but at the early boot process, this contact becomes suspect and even more so when it is encrypted rather than plain text.

        • #2611797

          Scary thought…

          by links ·

          In reply to Certainly.

          I’m glad I don’t really have any decent information stored on any PC that I use…heck I don’t even have a credit card…all they can get from me is my name, age, address, date of birth and my phone # and…

          Well, it is quite distressing to think that someone is monitoring my activities but I hope that this is very limited…Leastways, I can hope, right?

          Sony AIT1

        • #2611563

          What Happens Later?

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to Scary thought…

          The security attacks being carried out in these times are information seeking based. What happens when you DO get a credit card? All the rest of the information on you is already in a database somewhere, collected and saved during a time when you were not concerned because you had no card at that time. And, whether or not you’ve been the victim of the attack, you should share in the outrage that this continues and MS and the US spy network are the two largest perpetrators!! I’ve run System File Checker and had a message popup that told me to “Insert your Windows Whistler Professional CD now”. I have two printed screenshots of the message, along with an MSN news headline of the tsunami in the Philippines for a time reference. Don’t let Microsoft RE-DIRECT your thoughts about “Whistler” by mentioning what’s happening NOW with that Ski Resort town, that’s a Genuine custom Microsoft smokescreen, along with ALL the different versions of windows that have the name “Whistler” or one of the other ski runs at Whistler Ski Resort. It’s all a smokescreen to hide the scandal that happened when Microsoft made the Grand command to change the name of “Whistler” to “XP”, and cancel their corporate exodus to the celebration that the little town at the base of Whistler Mountain had poured their whole town’s sweat and effort and did I mention a large portion of their townspeople’s monetary efforts to make the announcement of Windows Whistler, named after their ski resort. Microsoft made quite a few enemies that day. My point is, I’m being ‘hacked’ by someone who is using or has injected one of my processes with a development version of one of Microsoft’s most potent OS’s, since it was never marketed as “Whistler”, all the backdoors, that programmers inject into an OS in order to enter the running program to fix a glitch, are still in place and working. How many of you would LOVE a copy of that OS??? I wonder if Microsoft licenses that version to special “PARTNERS”, or were they irresponsible enough to let some errant programmer to escape with a copy, or were there copies sold on the black market?? I don’t think any other answers exist, except for the zany excuses like, “The disk just flew right out the window, right before we saw the flash of the explosive and building 7 collapsed”.
          At this point, I do have to inject some humour, Microsoft couldn’t even make a spy-related OS that isn’t a piece of crap. I should have never seen the true “Whistler” window. The reason the screen opens at all is because SFC really does work and it has to be invisibly disabled with RE-DIRECTION with an injection causing it to look into a bogus location and NEVER actually seeing the disk in your cdrom. It accidentally gave me the honest error reason, Whistler did need to be inserted in order for the injected SFC process to see it’s parent CD. Microsoft, the legacy of idiocy runs rampant!!

        • #2626107

          Why don’t you ask microsoft

          by nentech ·

          In reply to Tried and failed.

          I am sure they will give you an honest answer

          Don?t get offended Norm

          Your post ?Now repeat after me:?

          Looked like a joke or was it part of a poem?
          I always enjoy humour

          By the way this is the discussion forum
          So expect the odd joke

          The question forum is for serious questions

          Now can you tell me if absolutely,s post was a joke

        • #2626104

          Post a joke?

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Why don’t you ask microsoft

          The original post I can not say if it was a joke or not. I took it as a serious post in light of the deservedly bad rap that Vista now has and the less deserved bad rap of XP (WGA).

          My response on the other hand was poking fun at MS for installing the nice little call home feature in Vista by establishing a Mantra while seriously listing addresses that Vista does call and seems to do its best to conceal.

          If you want further explanations, I will try to clarify the above for you.

        • #2626100

          Now that we are away from the password discussion

          by nentech ·

          In reply to Post a joke?

          You do need to read the discussion I posted the link to
          It talks about the legal and other issues that IT pros face when it comes to Passwords

          It will explain many of the reasons why IT professionals will flame, joke, or tease people who ask for password help

          I just want to let you know that helping someone around a password may put you in the firing line of many of the people who visit TR.

          The replies to that person have been tame so far


        • #2616937


          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Tried and failed.

 – Belongs to Error Reporting for MS Office

          The 207 number belongs to Hotmail and the other I haven’t found yet.

          You should probably research your problems better next time before you start ranting and placing blame where it isn’t due.

          I’d bet there is a perfectly good explanation.

        • #2611845
          Avatar photo

          Well in that case why are we not told?

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Really?

          If there is a perfectly good explanation why hide it?

          That is not in anyones best interests even you would have to agree with that. So instead of defending the thing why not find out what is actually happening and tell us?


        • #2611747

          I Did

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Well in that case why are we not told?

          I wouldn’t say they are hiding it when in 1 minute or less of Googling the issue I was able to identify 2 of the 3 IP addresses.

        • #2611735
          Avatar photo

          So you insist that you asked M$ why it is so

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to I Did

          What was their answer?

          I’m interested and waiting.


    • #2612630


      by wanna_woh ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?




      • #2612487


        by finmedmgr ·


        More like Microsoft is checking the error to determine if their software is causing any issues or are your hang ups being caused by other software or conflicts and if so, their “More Informaiton” trys to direct you to a solution if possible.

      • #2626098

        Microsoft has not been trustworthy in the past.

        by nentech ·


        They have been caught spying on their customers.
        And have included spyware in the software they have sold.

        So this may help you to understand the reaction of some people.
        Sometimes you cannot trust Microsoft.

        Also don?t type in capital letters someone will tell you to stop shouting.


      • #2612685

        NO! You can NEVER trust Microsoft!

        by techexec2 ·


        Nobody should buy products from Microsoft.

        Nobody should “partner” with Microsoft.

        Microsoft is a pathological company. Stay away from them.

        • #2617142

          WOW – That is a bit strong

          by genera-nation ·

          In reply to NO! You can NEVER trust Microsoft!

          Buying a product does not mean you need to ‘trust’ the company, you just want the product.

        • #2616996

          Trust is earned, so is distrust

          by hlhowell9 ·

          In reply to WOW – That is a bit strong

          Microsoft has read registries, system information and lists of installed software. They have looked at bits that they don’t tell you, and the encryption of data to their site means that one of a few possibilities exists:
          1. The information can be tracked back to you.
          In this case they encrypt it prior to transmission to protect your identity from third parties, but wait, don’t they say they don’t collect identifying information?

          2. The information is such that they don’t want you to see what they have captured.
          Why would this be?

          3. They are capturing information that they shouldn’t be, and they don’t want anyone to see what it is.

          4. It is compressed and not encrypted. In that case one might reasonably ask what information? And where is that fully explained, and how can we verify what is being sent? It is data from our systems, and that makes it our data. If I were to do this, I would be prosecuted. Individuals are expected to ask permission to transmit data about you over the internet. A company is a legal individual. Shouldn’t this apply to them as well? Especially since I (we) have not actively selected which information we choose to surrender in this case.

          But perhaps you are comfortable, as were the Germans when Hitler first came into power.

          Les H.

        • #2616935

          2 Things

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Trust is earned, so is distrust

          1) You’re paranoid and need back on your meds

          2) Nice list of 4 things. Now, can you provide proof of any of that?

          You’d make a great writer for a grocery counter tabloid.

        • #2611902

          2 more things

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to 2 Things

          1) Are you a psychiatrist in addition to
          your day job of Microsoft shill?

          2) Those are 4 “hypotheses” (a term
          meaning, approximately, suppositions) for
          the common knowledge fact (among IT
          [u]pros[/u]) that Microsoft does encrypt
          data as described. No proof is called for.

        • #2611846
          Avatar photo

          More importantly with M$ History

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to 2 Things

          Can you prove beyond Doubt that it doesn’t happen?

          M$ way around this problem with Personal Data is to insist that you agreed to this when you accepted the EULA so they are within their rights to do as they please. Which Legally they are but the problem here is what exactly does M$ do with this information and exactly what is it.

          If it was anyone else I very much doubt that anyone would find this acceptable. But what the hell so many End Users will willingly click on anything that they see that asks them to so what else can you expect?


        • #2611839

          That?s amazing

          by nentech ·

          In reply to 2 Things

          That post truly amazing
          You?re not really trying are you?

          May have to report you to the head troll

          If you?re out there don can you give this amateur some lessons
          He just looks like an idiot with his half ass attempts

        • #2611819

          Which is it?

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to 2 Things

          His 4 points make more sense than your two points. Why do you trust Microsoft, unmatured sense of distrust for people you don’t know, or do you know more about Microsoft than you are letting out in this discussion?

        • #2611817

          You do know this is a troll

          by nentech ·

          In reply to Which is it?

          Reading his past discussions can tell you a lot

          I found his picture

        • #2616945

          You’re wrong

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to WOW – That is a bit strong

          [b][i]”…Buying a product does not mean you need to ‘trust’ the company, you just want the product…”[/i][/b]

          When you buy software, you must [u]trust[/u] that the software company does not have that software spy on you, the software does not collect your personal data, the software does not put you at risk of identity theft, the software is secure, and the software does not capriciously and repeatedly de-activate your operating system because the company is intoxicated with greed and $50 BILLION per year is not enough (poor poor Microsoft).

          When you buy health care from an HMO, you must [u]trust[/u] the company will do their best to take care of you when you get sick, and not just the minimum that they compute statistically will avoid their losing money in a lawsuit.

          When you buy a toy for your 2-year old, you must [u]trust[/u] the company that made it, or the cheap Chinese company they offshored the manufacturing to, cared enough to [u]ensure[/u] it was not contaminated with lead or another toxic substance that will harm your child.

          When you buy dog food, you must [u]trust[/u] the company that made it to [u]ensure[/u] it uses only wholesome ingredients that will not make your dog sick or kill it. You must [u]trust[/u] that they don’t buy cheap, impure, and contaminated ingredients from an untrustworthy Chinese company.

          Whenever we buy products, we must trust the company that made them.

          You’re wrong.

        • #2616930

          Nice Theoretical Argument

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to You’re wrong

          Now, let me ask, who do you trust then?

          Your point is well taken but really man, do you really live on the same planet?

          First off, there are lots of other companies making $50 billion and more per year. Are they all evil?

          What insurance company doesn’t study the statistics when computing their benefits vs costs? Do you live in a socialist or communist country?

          Do you know the track record for our toy companies? The lead incident is but a small blemish in an otherwise pretty good record.

          Let me ask you, is your post just about proving to us you read the newspaper and know the headlines or is it an unfounded fear of all things (except yourself)?

        • #2616925

          The [i]TR VILLAGE IDIOT[/i] is back

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Nice Theoretical Argument

          Go back to your room, 12 year-old.

        • #2611744

          Nice Come Back

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to The [i]TR VILLAGE IDIOT[/i] is back

          This is your standard operation. Encounter someone that disagrees with you and resort to accusations of trolling, idiot, etc.

          Is that your best effort?

        • #2611506

          is it really that outlandish that MS would spy on it’s customers?

          by neon samurai ·

          In reply to Nice Theoretical Argument

          Remember that little win95/win98 incodent where MS was found to be using the Windows Update to harvest information on it’s customers.

          Some smart guy stuck a network sniffer on his machine and found Update to be taking more than just updates related information. After that, Windows Update had to specifically be written to forward a “current version list” to the end user’s computer so all data comparisons where done on the user’s machine. It would then request the valid updates based on it’s own review of the latest version list.

          I think that’s how it worked anyhow. I remember the event though the details are a little distant.

          Now, I’m not going to say that MS is installing spyware (outside of the WGA suicide pill) but I’m also not going to say absalutely that they are not. After all, they have in the past.

          Given there corporate history, I also find them far less trust worthy than other $50 billion+ companies.

          Just a thought in passing though. Neither of us work for MS directly so it’s not like we really have the basis of information for an absalute analysis.

        • #2611818

          You’re Correct

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to You’re wrong

          I’m starting to really like your replies, most of these bozos don’t have a clue, but you do, congratulations on being intelligent

        • #2611558

          You’re smart!

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to You’re Correct

          Thank you! 🙂

        • #2611930


          by cbiggs99 ·

          In reply to NO! You can NEVER trust Microsoft!

          Are so many people using windows? If nobody bought Windows or Office products, they would go bankrupt. Whether or not their business practices are legal or moral, Microsoft has made revolutionary changes in computing. Would we rather go back to the days where each computer had it’s own periphials and software and prices were totally unreasonable? Microsoft and IBM put computing power in the hands of many that was previously only available as rental time on mainframes at what would be hundreds of dollars per minute today. I have politely asked Microsoft to change or bend their policies in the past, (particularly for ‘paid’ tech support on a problem) with a full explanation, and they have alwayshelped me. I have never received a bill for the tech support time nor have I been told that I would be charged. Perhaps we should start contacting Microsoft with friendly messages asking for change. The power of volume works wonders. Look at what AOL did with their mass CD mailings when a man was wanting all of them sent to him so he could deliver a truckload back to them. They immediately eased their mailings.

        • #2611916

          My answers

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Why

          [b][i]”…Microsoft has made revolutionary changes in computing…”[/i][/b]

          That’s ancient history. What have they done [u]to[/u] me lately?

          [b][i]”…Would we rather go back to the days where each computer had it’s own periphials and software and prices were totally unreasonable?…”[/i][/b]

          Do you really think that is the only alternative to Microsoft’s abuse? It’s not. I have switched to Linux and OpenOffice and am very happy.

          [b][i]”…Perhaps we should start contacting Microsoft with friendly messages asking for change…”[/i][/b]

          What are you smokin’? (just kidding). They already know many of us are unhappy with them. They are a $50 BILLION monopoly. They don’t care. They don’t have to care. You’re dreaming (and I’m not kidding about that).

          [b][i]”…The power of volume works wonders. Look at what AOL did with their mass CD mailings when a man was wanting all of them sent to him so he could deliver a truckload back to them. They immediately eased their mailings…”[/i][/b]

          AOL is a normal company. AOL has to win business. AOL is not a monopoly. Merely asking Microsoft to do something will never work. Only hitting their bottom line will affect them. I’ve done my part. I don’t buy Microsoft products anymore.

        • #2611814

          Is that you Bill?

          by warhippy1 ·

          In reply to Why

          you lost my respect when you mentioned Microsoft’s revolutionary changes. They’ve never had an original idea in their collective existence, except maybe, re-direction(adverb)describes a curious way of doing a task which has nothing to do with the original task, but still works on the original command.
          secondary Logon (adverb) Describes the action of a second logon, either known or unknown to the primary logon, depending on the information to be changed, including info known and unknown to the primary logon.
          To answer your question, yes, I would LOVE to go back to an OS that operates and co-exists honestly with the end user. Know where I can find a dinosaur like that. Do the words Atari or Commodore ring a bell or are you too young and wet behind the ears to remember that computers were not always things to be automatically distrusted?
          When you say Microsoft answered your questions, do you mean parrot your question back to you as a means to answer you?? They’ve never given me a straight answer to anything…….

      • #2611900

        Tone it down

        by keydesignz ·


        YOU DON’T HAVE TO YELL! Turn off your all caps mate, everyone thinks your shouting. There is more than just error reporting going on with Microsoft, which is why I only run it for testing purposes.

    • #2617108

      Error reporting

      by gis bun ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      First off, if you are getting error messages as such, there is something incompatible with what’s installed on your PC [such as a crappy installer tossed out a DLL in favor of an older DLL].

      Second. Don’t like the error reporting? Turn it off.

      Third. You may not have RealPlayer running but part of it loads up in the registry every time you turn on the PC. [You can kill it, BTW. Unuseful.]

    • #2617095

      realplayer crashing

      by derek.ross ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      just because realplayer is not open does not mean that it couldn’t have caused the error reporting window to pop up for you.

      by default, real player installs an addon service that always runs to check for updates, etc. unless it is turned off on your system, this service could have been the real player that crashed, causing the error report.

      besides, everyone knows that the real spyware installed by microsoft is WGA 🙂

      • #2617004


        by bwallan ·

        In reply to realplayer crashing

        I’ve found RealPlayer crashing to be a fairly common event; either open or closed. Although reporting the crash to Microsoft hasn’t seemed to improve the product to any degree!

    • #2617005

      Geez! It’s an error reporting feature

      by laura ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      You can turn it off. You are being a bit paranoid. Microsoft just likes to add all kinds of useless stuff I guess to keep everyone busy.

      • #2615340

        In other industries, when products ship with “errors” to report ….

        by absolutely ·

        In reply to Geez! It’s an error reporting feature

        the products are “recalled”.

        Monopolies are not good for customers.

      • #2615258

        Nope. Not paranoid. Just curious.

        by jardinier ·

        In reply to Geez! It’s an error reporting feature

        So how do you turn it off please? To the best of my recollection this is quite a new feature.

        • #2614157

          One Way

          by nentech ·

          In reply to Nope. Not paranoid. Just curious.

          Do it by opening System Properties from the control panel
          Choose Advanced
          Click on settings in Startup and Recovery
          Clear the tick by Send an administrative alert

        • #2614152

          These instructions

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to One Way

          do not match anything I can find in my computer or anything listed in Help.

          I do know there is a command that can be run which shows everything that is loaded at startup.

          No doubt someone will be able to tell me what that command is.

        • #2614064

          No problem

          by nentech ·

          In reply to These instructions

          Just forgot some people like to limit their choices by using the Category View in the control panel

          From the control panel
          Click Performance and Maintenance
          Click System (System Properties)
          Choose Advanced
          In the Startup and Recovery area click Settings
          Click to remove the tick from Send an administrative alert
          Click OK

          That will do it

    • #2616999

      Spyware good question

      by ssanchot-wilson ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Not sure if they are, but I wouldnt doubt it. They would not clasify it as spyware though. As for those “sending microsoft” the reports of it not working. I’ll send it to them so they realize that things never work. The more they recieve the worse they look, right? I don’t like to contribute to their world, but I’d rather show them the mistakes.

    • #2617000

      Microsoft Error Handling

      by bwallan ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Does anyone know what Microsoft does with all the returned error reports? Do they analyze them and use the results? Do they pass the info on to 3rd party application providers, i.e.: RealPlayer group? Is there a MS web page / white paper that provides info…?

      • #2616950

        Microsoft Error Handling

        by johnnyjenny ·

        In reply to Microsoft Error Handling

        Microsoft adds to a dadabase for fixes on isues from sending the report. If they have a fix, a browser will open explaining the fix. I have obtained a fix for RAM and MS Access issues in particular. I have found this to be helpful.

      • #2616946

        I have seen the magical error room

        by netjet02 ·

        In reply to Microsoft Error Handling

        While living in Washington State I had the opportunity to go hang out at Microsoft for a week with a friend who at the time was finishing up Windows XP on RTM week. While I was walking around the labyrinth of buildings and cubby-holes with soda and Starbuck machines, I entered a room that was not all that amazing in appearance but it contained a large table with many cushioned wheeled chairs and a network of connected screens and live feeds from around the globe showing in real time errors being encountered by windows XP machines (Beta and RTM machines that had been downloaded by testers and sent out to people before it hit the market).

        Everyday a team of bug squashers were grabbing the top 2-3 bugs being encountered and then trying to reproduce and eliminate those bugs. That was still going on at RTM. A lot of these bugs are not Blue Screen of Death bugs, but back ground errors that all our machines face constantly. When show stopper ERRORS pop-up they get, of course, top priority. I am sure something like this is still going on at One Microsoft Place.

        Depending on where they are in the development of a product they may meet more than once a day for errors, possible 7 days a week. Microsoft gets a lot of bologna for a lot of things (and they deserve some of it) but the employees at the grass roots of the business are the best you can hope for. Some of the bean counters and Sharks at the top I can’t account for, but Bill has a nice pad (hehe).

        • #2611387

          Nice to know not a black hole

          by bwallan ·

          In reply to I have seen the magical error room

          Thanks for reply. It is nice to know error reporting just doesn’t go into a black hole somewhere and never get looked at… Maybe someday I’ll see answers to some of bugs I’ve encountered?

      • #2616172

        What Microsoft does with error reports?

        by bamyclouse ·

        In reply to Microsoft Error Handling

        Laugh over it at corporate meetings.
        Use them to save money on toilet paper.
        Use them as an alternative fuel source.
        Use them to build cubicles.
        Have paper airplane flying contests with them.
        Make kites with them to send back to users so they can say “go fly a kite with your problem” and the person will have a kite to fly – no, scratch that one, they’d charge for the kite and charge S&H…
        Theory6 revised:
        Send them to the US Govt to see how long it takes them to realize this is not an Al Qaida plot.
        Any more theories out there?
        Sorry – companies these days don’t care about errors – and I believe Microsoft has a name for errors – they call them “features” and charge more for them on the next release of Windows…
        Relax, laugh for a change. Don’t take life too seriously, you don’t get out of it alive anyway…

    • #2611965

      Disable Microsoft Error Reporting

      by brit0n ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Want to disable it? Right click My Computer, select Properties. (You are opening Control Panel – System Properties the easy way.) On System Properties, select the Advanced Tab. Lower right, click the Error Reporting button. Select the radion button for Disable Error Rerporting and, if you want to get a dialog box anyway without the choice to send it, check the But notify me anyway when critical errors occur.

      Most errors will self-correct when you reboot. Some are often cause when programs like Real Player or Firefox try to call home to check for updates but hit a snag in Windows method of connecting them to the internet. In any case, if you disable error reporting and still get the SAME message, you may have malware which emulates error reporting (not likely). If you get a lot of critical error message dialogs (you shouldn’t be getting even one a day), you might need to restore to a time before you started getting them, repair windows (using install disk), restore from a backup or reinstall windows.

      One warning – when I got those errors frequently, it was the first warning of an impending hard drive crash. Luckily I backed up without overwriting a previous backup.

    • #2611934

      something is up

      by steve_slayer64 ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      everyone i know keeps having these problems. i just quit using the damn thing

    • #2611904

      It is a well known fact

      by keydesignz ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Microsoft embeds secret files in the system that track your habits online and have done so for a very long time, since Windows 2000 I believe. Most people would say that is garbage, but if you read this article, I believe it is the case –
      I would imagine some of these files were moved since Windows 2000.

    • #2611890

      Stop the Irritation

      by melekali ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Just stop the service and don’t worry about this stupid error reporting “service.”

    • #2611792

      RE: MS spyware

      by dean24 ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Whether or not you call it spyware; by whatever name, it’s not there to enhance a user’s experience. It belongs to a vendor’s agenda, whether Microsoft or some other company. And it’s more pervasive every day.
      For years our W2K systems worked fine without “Windows Genuine Advantage;” then they started asking users to “register” for WGA. Unable to see any real benefit for our company, I finally had to disable the annoyance of the WGA requests with a registry edit.
      Logitech has propagated some remarkably bloated driver packages that want to “phone home” every day. I’ve found their devices work fine with the constant, unnecessary reporting disabled.

      There are too many vendors who disregard the user’s real purpose for using their system or software–getting productive work done. I used to be reluctant to disable these invasive, unnecessary bits of reporting, logging, “registration,” etc. Now I watch the behavior of installed packages more critically, & I won’t hesitate to try turning off “extended communication” features. Do you really need your mouse reporting back to Mother ?

    • #2611731

      It might be Real Player.

      by unprofitableservant27 ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      Real Player automatically starts when your computer
      starts. If you disable this setting, it resets itself anytime
      you use the player. It is an obnoxious and pointless use of
      system resources. Therefore, if you have it installed, there
      is a good chance it was open. Perhaps the Windows
      problems are legitimate. Uniblue has a program called fast
      access, however, if you do suspect you have a malicious
      program. You can use this free app to get information on
      every running process on your computer. Microsoft
      already spies on people to check whether or not they have
      legitimate Windows, so I would not put anything past

    • #2612186

      Thank you all for your very informative posts

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?

      No, I have not deliberately refrained from commenting up until now. It was just that I got no email alerts and logically assumed that no-one has posted.

      Seems like I asked a very pertinent question.

    • #2604995

      on the subject

      by alexh19740110 ·

      In reply to Is Microsoft installing spyware?


      Whilst I don’t have knowledge as to (a) exactly how we draw the line between “spyware” and “friendly software that collects some data without knowledge” (since nearly all vendors are doing the latter these days) and (b) to what extent Microsoft in particular is doing this, for the curious, there is a program called “Process Explorer” available from Sysinternals (now owned by Microsoft & renamed ‘Winternals’ I believe) & using this program, it is possible to view all the servers your application is connecting, mostly without your knowledge. This won’t tell you exactly what data these servers are collecting, but it’s certainly made me wonder about the same.:)


      • #2604949

        collecting information without knowledge is the definition of spyware

        by neon samurai ·

        In reply to on the subject

        That is the line. If a program collects information from my computer then sends it back to the vendor without my knowledge; that is spyware. Any lagitimate program must notify the user that information will be collected and sent to a third party. There is absalutely no legitimate reason for a company to harvest information from user’s personal and owned machines without there explicit approval and “if you install it, you must approve” doesn’t cut it.

        Before the internet was in nearly every home, we used to call these programs dial-home. At night when the rightful owner of the computer was asleep, spyware would activate the modem and dial home to a central phone number to deliver it’s information. Having an easier way to dial home doesn’t make spyware legitimate now.

        For what servers your seeing connections too throug process explorer; hopefully they are legitimate and approved by you at some point in the past. Your AV software is only one program that will sit in your task bar and connect home to update virus definition files from time to time. There are other legitimate programs like Java which checks with Apple for updates. Most of the time the server get’s a connection from a user’s machine which asks for the latest version number of whatever software it is. The server then sends the latest version and the program on your local machine decides if it needs to update or not.

        Microsoft got in a bit of trouble a while back when it was first found that Windows Update was doing the reveres; servers asked for a list of your software and then they told your computer what could be updated. They had to change that right quick when someone provided evidence of it. I believe now Windows Update pulls the list of new versions from the server and has your local computer decide what updates are new.

        It’s simple though, if a program activates my modem or internet connection weather to send home information or for any other reason and it’s not something I explicitly initiated or agreed on ahead of time; it’s spyware regardless of how Sony or whomever spins it.

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