Stealth Windows updates: Microsoft explains itself

— 12:08 PM on September 14, 2007

Microsoft has spoken out in a blog post regarding the stealth Windows updates that have been a hot topic of discussion this week. As we reported yesterday, Windows Update patches itself without requesting user permission in both Windows XP and Windows Vista systems.

According to Windows Update Program Manager Nate Clinton, the procedure is a necessity. "To ensure on-going service reliability and operation, we must also update and enhance the Windows Update service itself, including its client side software." Allowing users to opt out of such updates would be counter-productive, because Windows Update might then be unable to install other system updates. Clinton explains, "Had we failed to update the service automatically, users would not have been able to successfully check for updates and, in turn, users would not have had updates installed automatically or received expected notifications."

That said, Clinton mentions that user feedback regarding Windows Update's automatic patching was "helpful and important," and he adds, "We are now looking at the best way to clarify WU’s behavior to customers so that they can more clearly understand how WU works."

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