Use This Free Spybot Utility to Block Microsoft Monitoring in Windows

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Microsoft’s new and more aggressive monitoring of Windows systems has caused considerable discussion. Whether you believe all the telemetry is a privacy concern or not, you might be interested in an easy way to block the extensive information gathering. The developers at the well-known anti-spyware company Spybot have now provided a free utility called Spybot Anti-Beacon that makes configuring many privacy settings very convenient.

The utility can be used in Windows 7, 8.x, and 10 and comes as either an installer version or a version designated as portable. The portable application actually comes as an EXE installer that places a number of files in a folder. Also the portable is labeled version 1.4 while the installed is version 1.5. I tried both and there seem to be a few added configurations in version 1.5. Normally, I go for portable apps but in this case I would choose the installer version. The download and descriptive pages for each can be reached from this link. The downloads are 1.6 MB for the portable version and 2.6 MB for the installer version. Space actually used when installed is larger at around 4-8 MB.

Added later: There is, in fact, a stand-alone version available from this page.

Because of its nature, the program has to be run with administrative rights and will trigger a UAC challenge. The interface is easy to use. Examples of the interface for Windows 7 and for Windows 10 are shown in the first two graphics below. If changing the settings causes any problems, they are easily undone with the click of a button. Unfortunately, users of Home versions of Windows will not have the group policy settings. There is a Spybot forum thread about the utility at this link.

Windows 7 Spybot Anti-Beacon

 

Windows 10 Spybot Anti-Beacon

There is also an optional tab that provides additional settings. The graphic below shows some of them for Windows 10.

Options in Spybot Anti-Beacon

All in all, this free program looks like a good choice for those who wish to put some controls on how much information Microsoft finds out about their computer activities.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

never had problems with spybot's software but scanning the standalone https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/9d875df1e621f3ce773383275701af0ad3520047ceae35f2987e3cff040b54d3/analysis/1446794842/

and then the installer (3 reported bad - 2 reported good)
https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/6fd2790363b576a19858b2e67483bb4a578c6b00bda8a9c5ea6e93e789cd71e4/analysis/1446794915/

Zillya has a far from perfect past being associated with scareware and in any case one of the worst detection rates in the industry. You can research this yourself via Google but I won't be posting the links here because most are in Ukrainian. Rising too is hardly worthy of note and only something I would recommend to people I don't like. :D Considering none of the respected names are finding anything wrong, you can safely ignore these two. MC - Site Manager.

I find it amusing that an entire new industry has developed which has the purpose of providing computer users with fixes for Microsoft's intrusiveness and other assorted foolish forays. Kudos to Spybot and all the other developers out there for recognizing that most computer users are fed up with Microsoft's arrogance.

Besides the installer and the PortableApps version, there is also a stand-alone executable which is version 1.5

The home page for the program says, "Spybot Anti-Beacon comes in two flavours; as a standard installation or as a Portable Edition compatible with PortableApps." Can you give us a link to the stand-alone version 1.5?

Added later: OK, someone has pointed out the section on the home page called "Safer-Networking Download Section", which I overlooked.

Vic, maybe you should mention the stand-alone version in the body of your article?

Yes, it's done.

Below the 2 links you mentioned, there is a link: "Safer-Networking Download Section" that takes you here:

https://forums.spybot.info/downloads.php

Thanks, Vic, for this excellent find. Those of us with more than a little grey hair actually remember a time when personal privacy was both valued and respected, so any reliable program or tip which helps us to maintain what few shreds are left of that privacy is hugely appreciated.

I am glad a well-known company like Spybot has decided to step in. I never really felt comfortable enough to use any of the many similar tools that were release in recent times but I feel I could take a chance with Spybot. I prefer to use portable apps too so I'll wait until they update the portable version. These days I am on Linux 99% of the time, so what's a little wait?

[Edit]
Oh, I see now. The portable version is literally a Portable Apps version. Oh well, John T. Haller is always a little tardy when it comes to keeping the Portable Apps version of programs up to date.