OK everyone – take a seat and re-read the posting that Joe Williams, the Genuine Windows Manager at Microsoft, posted at The Windows Blog.

For a quick summary – the posting is about an update that will be made available next week to combat nearly 70 Windows Activation Exploits or hacks that are out there for Windows 7.  With this your PC will be able to validate whether it is genuine or not.

However, from just reading the tweets flying across my screen about this you would think Microsoft was being sneaky about getting this info without your knowledge.

First, Joe does a very good job of telling you in that post exactly what the update does and the information it provides Microsoft to see if you have been impacted by one of these exploits.  He also takes steps to reassure everyone about your privacy and the fact that the info does not contain any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or anything for them to contact you with.

However, it seems everyone is missing this part of the post – which Joe in fact bolded to help everyone see it:

I’d like to stress that the Update is voluntary, which means that you can choose not to install it when you see it appear on Windows Update.

I don’t think he could have been any clearer with that. So if you want to help Microsoft combat these exploits install the update. If you would prefer to keep the status of your system private or just not release any info at all to Microsoft then do not install it. It is really that simple.

Deep breath – exhale through your nose and smile!  :-)