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Windows Update Shenanigans, Again

Posted by susabelle at 6:53 AM on July 2, 2009

windows updateA couple of years ago, before I got my latest Dell laptop, I complained rather vocally about Windows automatic updates occurring even though I’d turned off the option for automatic updating.  I tend to leave my laptop (or whatever I’m using as my primary machine at the time) running 24/7, connected to the ‘net.  I’ve done this for my own convenience, as I schedule midnight backups to the ‘net so that my daily work isn’t affected.  There would be times when I’d get up in the morning and head to my laptop (a Gateway Tablet) and find it had rebooted itself.  In trying to figure out what was going on, I realized pretty quickly that Windows was pushing updates that did not honor my choice to not install automatically.  This annoyed me greatly, for many reasons.  Because of the tablet operating system, certain IE updates would crash the tablet function, and I would have to laboriously remove each individual patch until I got the tablet to work again the way it was supposed to.

I have not had the same problem with the new Dell, until now.  I woke up one morning to find my laptop had been rebooted and there were a bunch of new installed updates from Microsoft.  I watched the blogosphere to see if others were having the same problem, and sure enough, I saw mention of it in several places.  Most noticed when they went to shut down a machine, that it installed updates before shutting down. Some have even reported that even though they’ve chosen NOT to install particular updates, upon shut-down, those updates are automatically installed anyway.  And some users are reporting that although they’ve chosen to be notified about updates, but not to automatically install, find out after these incidents that their choice has been changed to complete automatic updating.

Microsoft itself admits there is a problem, and blames it on a “partial download of a patch” when a user was unable to get the complete download due to throttling of traffic on a Microsoft server. This Knowledge Base article is from December, 2007, so the problem is a known issue to Microsoft.  This known issue has now seemingly gotten worse, occurring more often to more users, and needs to be addressed.  Users should not have to go back and reset their preferences on automatic updating over and over, only to have them changed again by Microsoft’s bungling of AU’s.  Further, they need to admit that there is a problem and that they are working on it, instead of referring everyone to an 18-month-old Knowledge Base article.

Anyone else experienced this updating problem with their Windows machines?  This happens to me on both my XP and Vista machines.

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