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Microsoft’s Automatic Windows Updates Irritates Users

Microsoft has irked some of its clients by transferring an automatic update to those who had earlier disabled it.

As per the Windows Secret Website, one update to the Windows Updater application was imposed on the users to modify a batch of nine files. Microsoft fixed these files stealthily even when the users had disabled auto-updating on their computers.

According to news published on 14 September 2007 by The Register, Windows Secrets post found it shocking that these files could be modified silently without notifying users. The Automatic Updates option in the Control Panel can be adjusted to stop updates from being fixed furtively. But Microsoft's recent surreptitious action shows that automatic updates to the WU executable files were fixed despite the settings without the consent of the users.

It is not for the first time that Microsoft has forced updates onto clients wanting to check and fix their updates manually. ITPRO on its news on 17 September 2007 reported Scott Dunn of Windows Secrets saying that recently, another Windows constituent, svchost.exe, was causing trouble with the Windows Update.

Though Microsoft has apologized for the matter, some security specialists are cautioning that updating Windows without client's approval could prove catastrophic. Microsoft's Windows Update program manager, Nate Clinton, has acknowledged in the company's blog that the accounts were correct and clarified the reasons behind these surreptitious updates, reported TechNet Blogs on 13 September 2007.

Nate Clinton further said that to guarantee constant service dependability and functioning, it is essential that we update and improve the Windows Update service ourselves, along with its user side program. These upgrades are imperative to uphold the service quality also.

As per Microsoft's Clinton, Windows Update doesn't update automatically when automatic updates are disabled. But Windows Secrets discovered that the updates were transferred and fixed despite it being disabled. Also, Microsoft's own analysis seems to be contradictory: Nick White also posted on his blog that continuous updating is performed irrespective of whether the person has permitted automatic inspection, transfer and/or setting up of updates.

The problem only impacts PCs utilizing Windows Update and only users and a few small firms use Windows Update, majority of big companies don't. Thus, firms using Windows Server Update Services or a component in Systems Management Server require updating.

Related article: Microsoft Patches Live OneCare to Tackle Quarantined E-Mails

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