Microsoft’s silent update scans your Windows PC for old Office versions

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Microsoft is rolling out an update on Windows computers that silently checks for old copies of Office.

As reported by The Register(Opens in a new window), the details of the update were published on Microsoft’s support website earlier this month. Update KB5021751(Opens in a new window) is described as “intended to help Microsoft determine the number of users running versions of Office that are no longer supported (or soon to be unsupported), including Office 2013, Office 2010 and Office 2007. ” Why Microsoft decided to do this examination is not explained in detail.

The update “runs once in the background without installing anything on the user’s device” and does not require a restart after it starts. It is unlikely that the vast majority of Windows users will even notice that the update has been downloaded and applied, but the information collected is sent back to Microsoft.

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Although Microsoft has not explained why this review is being carried out, it is probably related to the fact that support for Office 2013 will end on April 11 of this year (Opens in a new window). Microsoft needs to know how many people still have these very old copies of the Office suite installed, as this can determine if and when future updates are needed to maintain security on these systems. If Microsoft decides to explain in more detail why this update is being rolled out, we’ll update our reporting accordingly.

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