Windows Update Automatic will update itself, even if you’ve turned automatic updates off. How bad a thing is that?
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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
Earlier this week the Windows Secrets newsletter broke the news that
“Microsoft updates Windows without users’ consent“. This has
a lot of people very upset as they infer the absolute worst from this
Let’s look at what’s really happening before we jump to any rash
Windows has been shown to update only one very specific part of itself, the
Windows Automatic Update component itself, regardless of whether you’ve elected
to enable automatic updates.
Yes, it’s proof that Microsoft could update anything at any
But you know what?
that’s nothing new. If you didn’t already realize that they could then you
haven’t been paying attention
they didn’t. They updated the updater, nothing more.
Now I could make a case that updating the updater itself is an extremely
important scenario and that it should happen regardless of the setting
of the automatic update selection. But I won’t, because whether this technology
should or should not be updated just isn’t the issue.
The issue isn’t even about whether you “own your own machine” as some have
made it out to be. That’s a red herring.
The issue here is transparency plain and simple.
There’s no reason that this behavior should not have been officially
documented somewhere. Anywhere. Microsoft knows that it’s under a
microscope regarding what’s perceived as stealthy, user-UNfriendly behavior.
There’s simply no excuse for not being transparent about this.
Microsoft should have seen this coming, and prevented it: not by altering
the behavior (though to do so with an obscure setting makes sense for several
reasons), but simply by documenting “hey, this is what happens, and this is why
we think it’s important that it does”.
Yes, even then the paranoid would still be crying foul, but at least then
the discussion would be about the merits of the specific behavior and not
about wondering what else Microsoft is doing without telling us.
As I’ve mentioned before, I know for a fact that Microsoft is full of
passionate people who are truly concerned for their user’s experience, and are
working hard every day to make the best possible product. Yes, sometimes
boneheaded mistakes get
made, and when you’re under the microscope that Microsoft is, they’re going to
get noticed in a big way.
But as mistakes go, and there’s no doubt it was a mistake, the furor about
this one is much ado about very little.
I’d love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11845 in the go
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answers on the site.
Till next time, I’m Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.