Here's the latest rehash of how to stop Windows 10 popups in Windows 7, in light of the latest warning that MSFT is trying to foist privacy-robbing snooping on earlier Windows versions:
Most important thing you can do, is turn Windows 7 updates OFF: ..
1. Type 'Windows Update' in search box of Start Menu.
2. Pick the 'Windows Update' at top left which is higlighted in blue, as a result.
3. The resulting window has at left, 'Change settings'. Click on that.
4. The resulting window then has in the middle, a dropdown list, one of which says 'Never check for updates'. Click on that, then click OKay at the right bottom.
5. There's now a red shield which is supposed to scare you. As if you didn't know anything. But as a result, after clicking the OK, the screen changes and you'll see a button in middle right which says 'Check for Updates'.
6. So now it's a MANUAL process, which YOU control.
7. So when YOU are ready to check for updates, you again repeat steps #1-2, and you'll immediately see the result in #5.
8. So BEFORE you click on 'Check for updates' again, you CLONE or backup your entire hard drive (clone is better, it's a live bootable replica of your machine, and you can get for cloning).
9. So after doing step #8, when you click on 'Check for updates' you'll have a delay.
10. After the delay, you'll have a list of updates which at right give you a link of the 'KB' you can click on, to see what it is.
11. If you don't understand what the update says, or it says 'telemetry' or 'experience', AVOID IT; instead of getting it, right-click and HIDE the update, so it won't come again.
12. If instead it says 'security' update, and you read the KB article, and you see keywords like 'kernal' or 'fault' or 'elevated privileges', then yeah it's a security update, and you're safe to accept it. Else, ignore it or hide it. Point is, not to accept what you don't understand.
13. Some of the optional updates relate to your hardware, extra software, or to the Intel stuff on your machine. Read the KB articles and if you understand them, accept those updates, too. Don't accept what you do not understand.
. Now, these might change. Or, even after you hide them, later versions of the same ones might come down as updates.
14. As for the CEIP stuff, it depends on what MSFT software you have. The generic setting can be accessed by typing 'Customer Experience' in the Start Menu search Box. At upper left you will then see 'Customer Experience.. Settings'. Which, technically you click on and then turn off. But that only turns off the reporting for Windows crashes or problems.
Per Microsoft programs, there are addtional CEIP defaults to turn off. Usually in Help there is some option about how to configure the help, whether to get help online 'web'. THERE is where they stash the CEIP option (i.e., in Microsoft Word 2003, I don't do later Word, so you'll have to hunt for the new location). That's an estimate of where it will be. Each program you have will have its own CEIP.
But the point of the Forbes article is that it won't matter what you select. Nor will it matter if you do a registry hack or state 'hosts' file to avoid the phoning home. MSFT will just ignore your preferences, and slurp the data anyway.
How true is that article? Not sure, really. But since you can't tell what data of yours is being sent back to MSFT, the smartest thing is to avoid the 'updates' which alter what is sent home, in the first place. If the KB numbers mentioned above are already installed, then you have to go through Uninstall updates (type that in the Start Menu search box) and uninstall the highest number first, backwards. You might not be able to uninstall.
Does this help? Yell at me if not.