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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
Earlier this week the Windows Secrets newsletter broke the news that "Microsoft updates Windows without users' consent". This has a lot of people very upset as they infer the absolute worst from this blunder.
Let's look at what's really happening before we jump to any rash conclusions.
Windows has been shown to update only one very specific part of itself, the Windows Automatic Update component itself, regardless of whether you've elected to enable automatic updates.
Yes, it's proof that Microsoft could update anything at any time.
But you know what?
that's nothing new. If you didn't already realize that they could then you haven't been paying attention
they didn't. They updated the updater, nothing more.
Now I could make a case that updating the updater itself is an extremely important scenario and that it should happen regardless of the setting of the automatic update selection. But I won't, because whether this technology should or should not be updated just isn't the issue.
The issue isn't even about whether you "own your own machine" as some have made it out to be. That's a red herring.
The issue here is transparency plain and simple.
There's no reason that this behavior should not have been officially documented somewhere. Anywhere. Microsoft knows that it's under a microscope regarding what's perceived as stealthy, user-UNfriendly behavior. There's simply no excuse for not being transparent about this.
Microsoft should have seen this coming, and prevented it: not by altering the behavior (though to do so with an obscure setting makes sense for several reasons), but simply by documenting "hey, this is what happens, and this is why we think it's important that it does".
Yes, even then the paranoid would still be crying foul, but at least then the discussion would be about the merits of the specific behavior and not about wondering what else Microsoft is doing without telling us.
As I've mentioned before, I know for a fact that Microsoft is full of passionate people who are truly concerned for their user's experience, and are working hard every day to make the best possible product. Yes, sometimes boneheaded mistakes get made, and when you're under the microscope that Microsoft is, they're going to get noticed in a big way.
But as mistakes go, and there's no doubt it was a mistake, the furor about this one is much ado about very little.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11845 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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