Last month, Microsoft silently pushed a new update KB5021751 via its Windows Update channel. In its support document that was published alongside it, Microsoft explained that this update was meant to help the company identify the number of Windows users who were running outdated or soon-to-be-outdated Office software that would no longer be supported or had reached the end of support. These include Office 2013, which will reach the end of support later this year, Office 2010, which is already passed, and Office 2007 which reached the end of support back in 2012.
As with most changelogs that Microsoft publishes for its updates, the company labeled the release notes for the update with the title "Improvements and fixes". It wrote:
Improvements and fixes
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.
However, since then, Microsoft has updated the document with more details, and hence, the "Improvements and fixes" title has been altered to "Summary" since the post now has more information regarding the update. This time Microsoft has elaborated on why this update is important citing the fact that unsupported software does not receive security updates against vulnerabilities.
This update is intended to 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.
Versions of Office that are no longer supported do not receive security updates that provide the latest protections against known vulnerabilities. Also, unsupported versions might face performance and reliability issues over time.
More interestingly perhaps, Microsoft has added details regarding the user data it is collecting, or rather, not collecting with this update. The company has assured that it is not gathering other private information like those related to non-Microsoft products. Microsoft says it is only diagnostic and performance data it is after which helps it to estimate the usage of installed Office versions.
This update gathers diagnostic and performance data to estimate the usage of installed Office versions to determine how best to support and service these systems. This data is gathered from registry entries and APIs. The update does not gather licensing details, customer content, or data about non-Microsoft products. Microsoft values, protects, and defends privacy. For more information about our privacy principles, see Privacy at Microsoft.
Although somewhat trivial perhaps, the new support page also adds more details on how to carry out this update. While the previous "How to download and install the update" section only stated "Use Microsoft Update to automatically download and install the update", the updated page now adds that users who have opted for the "Receive updates for other Microsoft products" will get the KB5021751 package.
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