Microsoft Stealth Updates

Update 9/29 – see end of article.

Microsoft has been found to be sending stealth updates to Windows PCs even if you’ve used the setting to be notified of updates but not to install them.

The updates were first noticed by the folks at Windows Secrets and confirmed by ZDNet.

Microsoft confirmed that they send updates to Windows Update itself if you have it turned on. And if you say you want to be notified of updates and not have them automatically installed they ignore you and just apply the updates. To make it worse, their response fails to acknowledge this ignoring of your setting as a problem. They simply say it always worked that way and then justify their updates.

They recently proved they aren’t perfect with WGA yet violate their paying customers trust by ignoring their request to be notified of updates. I got even more annoyed when I read their response as it shows they either completely miss the point or made a conscious decision to ignore customer requests for notification to further their interests. And they intend to continue doing it since they don’t mention the lack of notification as a problem.

This presents a conundrum to Windows users. Windows PCs need to be patched and Windows Update is a good method of doing that. But Microsoft has violated any trust they may have had. With the recent WGA fiasco they’ve shown they aren’t perfect (not the first time). They continue to put their business interests above customer needs. They were more concerned the WGA incident not be called an “outage” (human errors, servers not down, just “functioning incorrectly”, so calling it an “outage” is wrong) than they were about the impact of their system on paying customers.

I run Windows just to play with it and an outage is no big deal for me (no data, no paid software, etc…)but I’d be considering turning Windows Update off and just visiting their Windows Update website when I was ready to patch. On the positive side, it reinforces my decision to leave Windows years ago.

You keeping Windows Update turned on?

Updated 9/29: Windows Secrets is reporting problems when doing an XP repair in some cases due to this update.