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Microsoft Stealth Windows Update confirmed

There have been rumors in the tech world about the sudden update of some windows machines without permission from their respective owners. It has been said that even with automatic updates turned off, on some versions of XP (your version depends on how much you patch), the “stealth” update still occurs. Microsoft claims, although it is unpublicized, that these is a “normal behavior” for XP and Vista machines.

A Microsoft spokesperson said, “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.”

“The point of this explanation is not to suggest that we were as transparent as we could have been; to the contrary, people have told us that we should have been clearer on how Windows Update behaves when it updates itself,” said Nate Clinton, Program Manager Windows Update, in a blog today.

Clinton said in parting, “WU does not automatically update itself when Automatic Updates is turned off, this only happens when the customer is using WU to automatically install upgrades or to be notified of updates.”

For the curious, the updated files on Vista are:

  • uapi.dll
  • wuapp.exe
  • wuauclt.exe
  • wuaueng.dll
  • wucltux.dll
  • wudriver.dll
  • wups.dll
  • wups2.dll
  • wuwebv.dll

And on XP SP2:

  • cdm.dll
  • wuapi.dll
  • wuauclt.exe
  • wuaucpl.cpl
  • wuaueng.dll
  • wucltui.dll
  • wups.dll
  • wups2.dll
  • wuweb.dll

All nine files are system files related to the XP and Vista versions of Windows Update (WU) itself.

Why should you care? For one we don’t completely understand the [WU] technology, but apparently this (incident) doesn’t go through the Auto Update settings. Although it’s clear that there’s no sign of any malicious intent on the part of Microsoft, if they make such behind your back updates mandatory, people should have a lot of concerns.

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Comments ( 3 )

Have Something To Say ?

  1. Drei September 17, 2007 Reply

    Thanks for adding my blog to your links. Anyways, it seems that this is an additional way for them to track down those individuals who uses pirated version of Windows.

  2. sylv3rblade September 17, 2007 Reply

    NP on the linking.
    On the MS side, I think people started ranting about it because they don’t want Redmond tinkering with stuff without prior notice. It’s a privacy thing.

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