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Silent Disabling of Windows Updates?

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

 

When you purchase brand name personal computers these days, you can pretty much expect to have the operating system come pre-installed with various utilities from the brand name company. There’ll probably be plenty of branding scattered throughout your operating system reminding you that you have purchased from this brand name. Perhaps you’ll find this on your desktop or even in the Windows splash screen (if you have a Windows 8 operating system). Key point: the brand name company you purchased your computer from can (and often do) make changes to your Windows operating system, but they are minor and do not significantly affect your usage of the computer.

Korean multinational giant Samsung have now been found to have bundled software with some of their laptops which interferes with Windows Update. Windows Update is a built-in feature found in all Windows installations which downloads and installs updates as needed from Microsoft. These updates address a variety of issues in Windows which can relate to performance, stability, security, and compatibility. For the average user who may not be overly computer savvy, it is generally convenient (and recommended) to leave Windows Update configured with the default automatic setting. This allows Windows Update to automatically check for and download updates in the background, and then install them either while you are asleep or when you shut down or restart your computer. This is all done without any user input, and is the easiest and most convenient way to keep your Windows installation up to date.

Brand PCs often come with their own “update” software which is supposed to keep your bundled software and certain devices up to date. Samsung’s version is called “Samsung Update” and is bundled with all its PCs. On at least some of its laptops, Samsung have included a component called “Disable_WindowsUpdate.exe” which changes the way Windows Update works on your computer. Despite the scary name, it doesn’t actually disable Windows Update entirely. Instead it changes the default automatic setting (described above) to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download or install them”. This means that Windows Update will not download or install updates for you automatically.

You’re probably wondering why people don’t just change the setting back to automatic. The software doesn’t stop you from doing that, however every time you reboot your computer it runs again and changes the setting right back! The only way to stop this from happening is to manually remove the Samsung software. Samsung have since stated that it will be issuing a fix to stop this from happening, but the question remains as to why they bundled such intrusive software in the first place.

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