Ancile is a Windows script which attempts to block Windows 7 and 8.x "spying" technologies and components, and prevent unwanted upgrades.

The developer says it carries out these actions.

 - Sync time with
 - Block unwanted hosts
 - Change windows update to check/notify (do not download/install)
 - Disable automatic delivery of Internet explorer via windows update
 - Disable ceip/gwx/skydrive(aka OneDrive)/SpyNet/telemetry/WiFiSense
 - Disable remote registry
 - Disable unwanted scheduled tasks
 - Disable Windows 10 update
 - Remove Microsoft's diagnostics tracking
 - Hide/Uninstall unwanted Windows updates

As Ancile is just a script, there's no installation required. Download, unzip and run ancile.cmd and it'll go to work.

If you're familiar with Windows scripting, it may also be interesting to browse Ancile and its component scripts. You could modify the script to suit your needs (don't want HOSTS files updates? just remove those lines), or take some of its clever ideas to use in your own scripts (how to detect you're not running as an administrator).

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Ancile is an effective tool which does a good job of tweaking and/ or disabling many Microsoft telemetry technologies. It's not really for the PC novice - changing all these system settings at once can be risky - but if you're more experienced, being able to see and tweak how the script works is a real plus.