Update KB5021751 notifies Microsoft if an unsupported Office version is installed on Windows

silversurfer

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The update is distributed by Windows Update and is installed automatically. Its sole purpose is to check whether an unsupported version of Microsoft Office is installed on the system and to notify Microsoft about it.

The program checks if any version of Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 or 2013 is installed on the device. Microsoft Office 2013 is technically not unsupported yet, but it reaches end of support in April 2023.

Microsoft notes on the support page: "This update is intended to help Microsoft identify the number of users running out-of-support (or soon to be out-of-support) versions of Office, including Office 2013, Office 2010, and Office 2007. This update will run one time silently without installing anything on the user's device."

Microsoft makes no mention of it explicitly, but the information about unsupported Office clients is submitted to the company.

unsupported-office-check-windows.png
 

upnorth

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Microsoft wants to know how many out-of-support copies of Office are installed on Windows PCs, and it intends to find out by pushing a patch through Microsoft Update that it swears is safe, not that you asked.

Quietly mentioned in a support post this week, update KB5021751 is targeting versions of Office "including" 2007 and 2010, both of which have been out of service for several years. Office 2013 is also being asked after as it's due to lose support this coming April.

"This update will run one time silently without installing anything on the user's device," Microsoft said, followed by instructions on how to download and install the update, which Microsoft said has been scanned to ensure it's not infected by malware. "Microsoft scanned this file for viruses by using the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help prevent any unauthorized changes to it," the Windows giant said on the update notice page. No restart is needed after installation, Microsoft said.
 

plat

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Well, this is....I dunno. lol! Some might say this is a prudent way to securely police its proprietary software. Others might call the update "spyware."

Could there have been another way to get this info in isolation, I wonder? The article leaves wide open the idea that Microsoft can collect more than what it states (which is whether an unsupported Office is installed on the system).
 

Stopspying

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The article leaves wide open the idea that Microsoft can collect more than what it states (which is whether an unsupported Office is installed on the system).
Similarly, how do we know what else Microsoft might scan for on our devices with other updates?
 
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silversurfer

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Windows systems with the "receive updates for other Microsoft products" setting enabled receive the update via the operating system's built in updating system. The initial version of the support page revealed little details on the update, other than that it would help "Microsoft identify the number of users who are running out-of-support (or soon to be out-of-support) versions of Office, including Office 2013, Office 2010, and Office 2007".

Missing KB5021751 information added​

An update of the support page provides some of the missing details. According to the updated section, KB5021751 is gathering data from "registry entries and APIs" and won't leave traces behind after it has retrieved the information.
 

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