Earlier this week, Microsoft rolled out its cumulative updates as part of July 2019 Patch Tuesday. Among the updates were fixes for Windows 7. That's a fairly normal occurrence as Microsoft is still supporting the legacy Windows version until next year. However, some eagle-eyed observers have found something interesting in one of the Windows 7 patches.
As you may know, monthly cumulative releases are specifically for making fixes and rolling out security patches.
One of the surprising things about the update formally known as July “July 9, 2019—KB4507456 (Security-only update),” is that is came with a Compatibility Appraiser, KB2952664. If you're unfamiliar with this tool, it is used to find problems that could stop Windows 7 PCs from updating to Windows 10.
Microsoft wants Windows 7 users to make the upgrade to Windows 10 before the former is left unsupported. Windows 7 still has a massive install base.
While the Compatibility Appraiser sounds like a good thing to have, many Windows Update users try to avoid the tool. That's because people are worried Microsoft is using features such as this to spy on PCs to prepare for forced upgrades.
Telemetry is detailed in the files of Compatibility Appraiser, leading many to believe it is a spying software. It is worth remembering that Microsoft's “security-only” updates are meant to be just that, made as security patches. Microsoft adding Compatibility Appraiser functionality into these patches without announcement is just a sneaky move by the company.
Of course, Microsoft may want to make the Compatibility Appraiser tool a compulsory thing for Windows 7.
The platform will end support on January 14, 2020 so the functionality makes sense. Millions of users are preparing to upgrade to Windows 10 over the coming six months. Still, Microsoft's decision not to detail or explains its inclusions in a security-only update is a problem.