Microsoft issues XP and Vista updates without user consent

Windows Update Windows XP and Vista each have a Windows Update utility that can automatically download and install critical system updates. Most of the time, this is a good thing. But if you want to install updates on your own schedule, or if you're a privacy freak advocate and just don't want Microsoft accessing your PC without your consent, you can turn off automatic updates. Or so we thought.

It turns out that Microsoft pushed out a series of updates last month that went out to internet-connected computers (you know, most of them) even if automatic updates were turned off. It doesn't look like the company did anything really scary like install keylogging software on your PC. But it's a bit surprising nonetheless. Why give customers an option to disable automatic updates if you plan occasionally send them out anyway?

According to Windows Update Program Manager Nate Clinton, what's going on is that the Windows Update application itself needs updating at times. And there's no way to update without installing and downloading an update, so that next time you want to download and install some other update, it will go smoothly. Got that?

Still, it would have been nice if Microsoft had made a public announcement before pushing any unwanted new software to our computers.

[via CNet]

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