Even if you have Windows Updates turned off, people are discovering that their operating system is still contacting Microsoft and downloading and installing software on the system behind your back. And nobody really knows what's going on...
Steven Nichols at eWeek writes, "Listen carefully. They're my computers. They're not your computers. I choose to put Windows on some of them. I choose what applications go on them. I choose when, and how, to upgrade them. Is that clear? Well, none of that is clear to Microsoft. We now know— we don't suspect— we know that Microsoft automatically updates Windows XP SP 2 systems without your knowledge or permission.
Thanks to Windows Secrets, we also know that Microsoft is playing the same trick on Vista systems. We've also found that even if you have Windows Update turned off, Microsoft will sneak these stealth "updates" onto your PC.
Mind you this is not updating your system with a Patch Tuesday patch that Microsoft believes to be so vitally necessary; this is Microsoft putting God knows what on your systems.
Since Microsoft isn't telling us that they're sneaking software onto our machines, I guess they also felt they didn't need to tell what these updates are doing."
The stealth updates do not appear to affect PCs using WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) the same way as those using Microsoft Update/Windows Update. Typically, Windows would give some notification before installing updates and, presumably, install nothing if Windows Update is disabled. But, in testing, Dunn found that Microsoft was updating Windows XP and Vista systems even when automatic updating is disabled.
Related: Microsoft OneCare Silently Changes Automatic Updates
Microsoft Corp.'s consumer security software changes the Automatic Updates (AU) settings in Windows XP and Vista without telling users or getting their approval, a researcher said Thursday -- behavior that may explain recent reports of patches being installed and systems rebooting without permission.
When Microsoft responded to new charges of silent changes last week, however, it denied that AU settings were ever altered without user approval, and it didn't mention OneCare as a possible culprit.
Edited by Major Payne, 26 October 2007 - 02:18 PM.