Update Services Privacy Statement
Last updated March, 2012

Microsoft is committed to protecting your privacy. This privacy statement explains the data collection and use practices of the Windows Update and Microsoft Update services (the "Update Services"). This statement does not apply to other online or offline Microsoft sites, products, or services.

What this feature does

Update Services for Windows include Windows Update and Microsoft Update:

In versions of Windows prior to Windows 8, Update Services might periodically show you detailed notifications about new Microsoft software and specific updates that you can install manually. Some updates available through the Update Services can only be obtained by users that have validated they are running genuine Microsoft software. Genuine Microsoft software validation is covered by a separate privacy statement that you can read online here.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

The Update Services collect information from your computer that allows us to operate and improve the services, such as:

You can use these Update Services by going to Windows Update in Control Panel and checking for updates or changing your settings to allow Windows to automatically install updates as they become available (recommended). Within the Windows Update feature you can choose whether to opt in to Microsoft Update.

If you choose to get important software updates for your PC, the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRC) may be included with these updates. MSRT checks computers for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software (“Malware”) and helps remove any infections found. If the software runs, it will remove the Malware listed here. During a Malware check, a report will be sent to Microsoft with specific information about Malware detected, errors, and other information about your computer. For more information, read the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool privacy statement here.

Use of information

The data sent to Microsoft is used to operate and maintain the Update Services. It is also used to generate aggregate statistics that help us analyze trends and improve our products and services, including the Update Services.

To generate aggregate statistics, the Update Services use the GUID collected by the Update Services to track and record the number of individual computers that use the Update Services and whether the download and installation of specific updates succeeds or fails. The Update Services record the GUID of the computer that attempted the download and installation, the ID of the item that was requested, whether updates were available, and standard computer information.

The MSRT information described above is used to help improve our anti-malware and other security products and services. No information in the MSRT reports will be used to identify or contact you.

Required Updates

If you turn on the Update Services, in order for them to properly function some software components on your system that make up or are directly related to the Update Services will need to be updated from time to time. These updates must be performed before the service can check for, download, or install other updates. These required updates fix errors, provide ongoing improvements, and maintain compatibility with the Microsoft servers that support the service. If the Update Services are turned off, you will not receive these updates.


A token is similar to a cookie. It stores information in a small file that is placed on your hard disk by the Update Services server, and is used when your computer connects to the Update Services server to maintain a valid connection. It is stored on your computer only, not on the server. This cookie/token contains information (such as last scan time) in order to find the most recently available updates. It contains information to manage what content should be downloaded to your computer, when that should happen, as well as a GUID to identify your computer to the server.

Information contained in the contents of the cookie/token is encrypted by the server (with the exception of the cookie/token expiration time). This cookie/token is not a browser cookie so it cannot be controlled with your browser settings. The cookie/token cannot be removed; however, if you do not use the Update Services, the cookie/token will not be used.

About surveys

Occasionally you might be invited to participate in a survey about the way you use the Windows Update or Microsoft Update Services. Each survey includes a privacy statement that details the way Microsoft will use the information submitted with that survey.

Choice and control

Update Services are turned on if you choose one of the following settings: (a) install updates automatically; (b) download updates but let me choose whether to install them; or (c) check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them. The Windows Update service is turned on and set to "Install updates automatically" when you choose the express settings during Windows setup.

If you turn on the Update Services, regardless of which setting you have chosen, required updates to some components of the service will be downloaded and installed automatically without further notice to you. If you would prefer not to receive required updates, turn off the Update Services.

You can also choose whether to check for or automatically install Important and Recommended updates for your computer or Important updates only. Optional updates are never installed automatically. To change your Update Services settings after Windows setup:

If you're using Windows 8:

If you're using Windows Vista or Windows 7:

If you're using Windows XP:

If you have chosen to check for and install important updates, and recieve MSRT as part of these updates for your computer, you may disable the software's reporting functionality by following the instructions found here