The Windows Update Stealth Affair Explained

It was widely reported last week that Microsoft had automatically updated systems that had Automatic Updates set to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them". Nate Clinton, a Windows Update Program Manager at Microsoft posted a response on his blog shortly after the widespread [misconceived] reporting had gone out.

One question we have been asked is why do we update the client code for Windows Update automatically if the customer did not opt into automatically installing updates without further notice? The answer is simple: any user who chooses to use Windows Update either expected updates to be installed or to at least be notified that updates were available. Had we failed to update the service automatically, users would not have been able to successfully check for updates and, in turn, users would not have had updates installed automatically or received expected notifications. That result would not only fail to meet customer expectations but even worse, that result would lead users to believe that they were secure even though there was no installation and/or notification of upgrades.

One misconception is that people wrongly assumed that Microsoft had updated systems when the option for Automatic Updates was turned off, in this instance the machines were not updated, only those that had the Automatic Updates tool turned on. The only stealthy thing about the whole affair is that the Windows Update service was updated without consent of the user, Nate explains above why this is so. It updated a tool to check for updates which seemed to be the problem all round.

Not such a big deal if you ask me. Oh Nate also goes on to say that Windows Update, or Automatic Updates have upgraded themselves in the past in the same manner, only now it seems has it become an issue!

View: How Windows Update Keeps Itself Up-to-Date @ Microsoft Update Team Blog

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