Microsoft really wants to find out if your version of Office is unsupported, but won’t really say why

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Microsoft has unveiled its intention to collect data from Office users about which out-of-date products they’re still running.

The company says it is looking to gather data about the number of users running 2007, 2010, and 2013 versions of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft also said that the scheme, part of the KB5021751 update, “will run one time silently without installing anything on the user’s device”, though there are still some unanswered questions about why the tech giant wants to roll out this census-type update.

“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,” the company stated.

However The Register (opens in new tab) notes the contradicting information on the company’s support page (opens in new tab) with regards to the installation and running of the update, leading the publication to believe that the company may have done a poor ‘copy and paste’ job of the article.

It also pointed out that the maker of Office has failed to provide any information about how it will collect the data, and whether it will leave anything behind on the user’s computer.

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Besides this, there’s the concern that some users may not even want to tell Microsoft which version of the office software they’re running. While the 2007 and 2010 versions have been decommissioned, and support for the 2013 version is set to end in April, users are well within their rights to continue using the unsupported software even after security patches have been dropped.

Beyond these, and Office 2016 which is set to stop receiving extended support in 2025, Microsoft is keen to push its subscription-based Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) suite, which enables regular updates as part of an ongoing plan.

TechRadar Pro has asked Microsoft about its reason for pushing an update to collect the data; an update for which shall be posted here if received.


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