Microsoft faces new Windows Update row

Microsoft has been forced to defend Windows Update against charges that it upgraded machines without users' permission for the second time in a month.

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Microsoft has been forced to defend Windows Update against charges that it upgraded machines without users' permission for the second time in a month.

In a post published to a Microsoft blog, Nate Clinton, program manager for Microsoft Update, denied that Windows' update mechanism was to blame for reports of settings being changed without user interaction, updates downloading and installing, and systems rebooting.

"We have received some logs from customers, and have so far been able to determine that their AU [Automatic Update] settings were not changed by any changes to the AU client itself and also not changed by any updates installed by AU," Clinton said.

Claims started to trickle in shortly after the rollout last Tuesday of multiple security patches that machines running Windows Vista had updated on their own, even though users had set Automatic Update to require their approval before downloading and/or installing patches. Some users also reported that machines had rebooted, which caused data loss in applications that had been left open.

The Windows enthusiast site AeroXperience was the first to notice the wildcat updates, and collected accounts from users. "I had mine set to 'Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them', it's now on 'Install Automatically'," said Jon Abbott on an AeroXperience forum last Wednesday.

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