HP ‘spyware’ could be slowing down your laptop or PC

Update: HP has provided us with a statement on the matter, which you can read below: 

"HP Touchpoint Analytics is a service we have offered since 2014 as part of HP Support Assistant. It collects diagnostic information about hardware performance that is used anonymously. No data is shared with HP unless access is expressly granted. Customers can opt-out or uninstall the service at any time.

"HP Touchpoint Analytics was recently updated and there were no changes to privacy settings as part of this update. We take customer privacy very seriously and act in accordance with our Privacy Statement, available here."

Original story follows

HP has been accused of stealthily installing a piece of software on its users’ PCs which hoovers up data on that machine, effectively acting as spyware, and it seems it is slowing systems down considerably, as well.

This worrying development was reported by Computerworld, and the software in question is called the HP Touchpoint Analytics Client. According to HP’s description itself, the client “harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint’s analytical services”.

Telemetry information could potentially be anything related to the hardware, software or usage of your machine.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been a lot of anger online concerning the unsolicited installation of this client, which appears to have popped up on desktop PCs and laptops without asking or notifying the user.

Although at this point, it isn’t clear whether the software was delivered via an HP update, or an update courtesy of Microsoft. There has been plenty written about this across the net in various forums and tech sites, some of which observes that the process was put in place following the latest batch of Windows updates.

System slowdown

The other major pain point here is not only the surveillance aspect of this client, but also the fact that it appears to weigh heavily on system resources.

A poster on Reddit tells us: “So today all of a sudden, I'm experiencing a considerable slowdown in my laptop (Pavilion P3V59PA). Once I look for the problem in Task Manager, I found out that the program called HP Touchpoint Analytics Client (and its subsequent follow up) constantly jumping the memory usage.

“I don't remember ever installing this program whatsoever, and in control panel, I found that for some reason this program was silently installed today, without my consent.”

Another post on an HP support forum observes: “I noticed my mouse lagging significantly on Chrome, went to Programs & Features in Control Panel on my Windows 7 HP desktop and saw this ‘HP Touchpoint Analytics Client’ was installed on my PC without my permission on 11-17-17.”

HP Touchpoint Analytics was recently updated and there were no changes to privacy settings as part of this update. We take customer privacy very seriously and act in accordance with a strict policy, available here.

In the meantime, if you want to be rid of this particular little pest, removal is easy enough as outlined by Martin Brinkmann over at Ghacks.net.

It hasn’t been a great year for HP on the suspect software front, when you consider that back in the spring, some HP laptops were found to be hit by a keylogger (capable of monitoring and recording keystrokes) which was buried in an audio driver.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).