A researcher named Patrick Barker has discovered a piece of preinstalled Samsung software that silently disables Windows Update on the company's PCs, potentially rendering the computer vulnerable to security issues.
Mr. Barker was helping a user in his forum when their troubleshooting revealed that something was randomly turning off Windows Update. After some digging, the culprit was found to be an executable named "Disable_Windowsupdate.exe", which appears to be part of Samsung's driver and application update system.
After Barker contacted Samsung support via the company's live chat, a representative told him that the reason for the existence of this bizarre application was so that Windows Update wouldn't install device drivers not sourced from Samsung. Here's what the rep said:
When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware no laptop which may or may not work. For example if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent the Windows updates.
Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Without Windows Update, PCs can't get security fixes or any other updates for Windows or other Microsoft applications like Office. As with Lenovo's Superfish scandal, it's troubling to see OEMs continue to actively worsen the security of customers' PCs for no good reason.