Microsoft pushes out ‘secret’ updates

A curious story emerged in the blogosphere this week: ZDnet blogger Adrian Kingsley-Hughes discovered that Microsoft has been pushing out “stealth updates” to users of Windows XP and Vista. That is to say, the company has been changing system files via Windows Update without notifying the user with a notification or permission dialog box. What’s more, it was discovered that these updates take place even if Windows Update is set to “manual” or “off”.

As you might imagine, this revelation sparked an Internet-wide flame war, with Microsoft haters far and wide decrying the company for what has been seen as a secretive and malicious attempt to tamper with users’ systems. But is it really all that bad? Ars Technica got in touch with Microsoft for a little clarification and here’s what they said: “The files that are being updated are part of the Windows Update client itself. Windows Update automatically updates itself from time to time to ensure that it is running the most current technology, so that it can check for updates and notify customers that new updates are available. This is normal behavior, and it has worked this way since the service debuted several years ago.” So there you have it, folks. The “stealth” updates are merely updates to Windows Update itself, nothing worth crying foul about.

For more on the near fiasco:
– see the ZDnet post that started the fire
– and the Ars Technica story that put it out

More stories about Windows Vista   Windows XP   Microsoft Windows   Microsoft  


I can’t see the point of a clandestine update to the Windows Update…My system has notified me before downloading the Windows Update before, so why not every time? Also, what possible reason would the actual Update software need to be updated? Isn’t it just accessing and referencing a database?

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