Microsoft will continue to release ‘mysterious’ updates



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Microsoft will remain mysterious about some Windows 10 updates. In an email to The Register the company writes it will only add descriptions to updates when the software giant considers the update ‘significant’.

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I haven’t let Windows do Automatic Updates since I had it mess up Windows 98.
Always one of the first items I disable.
MS deciding I don’t need to know the information about some updates is the final “nail in the coffin” for me with Windows 10. The only way I will install Windows 10 is if all other software starts to fail with W7.
At that point I might have to reconsider going to Linux. Maybe by then with the current & developing MS attitude more software & a friendlier GUI will have been developed for Linux.


[quote=cholla;2758849]I haven’t let Windows do Automatic Updates since I had it mess up Windows 98.
Always one of the first items I disable.
MS deciding I don’t need to know the information about some updates is the final “nail in the coffin” for me with Windows 10. The only way I will install Windows 10 is if all other software starts to fail with W7.
At that point I might have to reconsider going to Linux. Maybe by then with the current & developing MS attitude more software & a friendlier GUI will have been developed for Linux.[/quote]I think it is safe for me to predict that several users will say what Cholla is saying.


Add me to that list. The update explanations found in the KB articles for Windows 7 have been pretty cryptic in many cases. I have quit reading them and like Cholla, auto-update is turned off on all my machines.


When microsoft fails to inform adequately about what an update does, I get suspicious and for good reasons.
For every Windows version released from and including XP, the number of times the OS phones home every day has increased. It peaked with Windows 8.1, but so far, I have not detected any noticeable increase for Windows 10. It must be emphasized that I have not gotten around to do comparison tests to back up my hunch. Microsoft is phoned by several processes with bits of information from your computer even if you have opted out of all participation offered… and it is all done without the users knowledge.
In my book that reads hacking, even if done by the software company and being legal or in the grey according to local laws to do so, does not change that fact.

Two of the more disturbing processes to phone home are “explorer.exe” and the more recent “compattelrunner.exe”. The first is responsible for your desktop and windows, running programs or in other words, participates in just about everything you do on your computer. Just how much of the user behavioural information it sends back to microsoft is unknown, but that is hardly of any importance.
The latter is harvesting a complete list of all the installations you have on your machine and ships it to microsoft, all done to ease the upgrade to windows 10 according to Microsoft.
These two alone gives microsoft a pretty complete picture of how users use their PCs and as I see it, way too much inside information when it comes to which companies to buy and which partners to chose, let alone the edge it gives their marketing department.
That is what it is all about - to stay on top of the game, not to help you as a user, that is just the excuse.

The most important step to make, not only to tame Windows, but in taking IT security seriously is to take control over which processes are allowed access to LAN/WAN, LAN only, WAN only and Blocked. The all overshadowing benefit from this approach is that it will take care of unknown future vulnerabilities in a proactive way as there is no way to exploit a process that can not answer the call.
My attitude towards this challenge has always been to allow only the ones I use and block the rest, trouble is that such an approach works for techies, but not for ordinary users as a firm knowledge of Windows processes and IP/ports/protocol is needed.

Now, Microsoft is no easy quitter in the game of harvesting bits of information silently and a new approach introduced in Windows 8. is to reset firewall rules I explicitly changed from allow to block earlier, seemingly in an attempt to put me in the passenger seat on my own PC. Another newbie are firewall rules you are not allowed to delete because of their “importance” for stable operation. No matter the reason, I would like to be the judge - on my own PC?

I could go on making an extensive list, but yes, in my experience Microsoft better explain… failing to do so means they do have something to hide!


Thanks for the information Xercus .
I may need to do some firewall work.


Only too glad to help cholla, hopefully Imanaged to emphasize on proactivity in a way that makes users stop and think.
In an environment where the IT security landscape rapidly changes and the map never matches the terrain anymore, proactivity is a must.
Failing to see that means you accept to be vulnerable and always behind schedule because when the patch is released, the score has already been made by the hackers.

I am sad to bring prophecy of doom so to speak, but the future dawning in the horizon is anything but bright.

Today, a new breed of hackers are on a quick rise, these are far more resourceful and so even more dangerous than the old as they have convinced governments and made their hacking legal. I am talking about two distinct actors here.

  1. Companies in general and not only Microsoft and what is worse, you are actually going to pay them up front to let them in! *
  2. Governments **

Needless to say, we are not going to get patches for these, from a personal perspective, security holes and it is time we start fighting back to regain control of what is undeniably our own PC.
The rigid, but sturdy last line in a Cisco access list, ‘Deny Any Any’ serves as a good starting point for regaining your right to be judge and jury on your own PC. It will require some additional learning, but considering what we are up against, we better…

This battle is one we simply can not win if we fight only on this front and so it must, for now, be considered a temporary workaround while we fight the larger, main battle verbally against politicians in our countries.
This part of the battle is essential though as it will continue even after our voice is heard by the politicians for the same reason. Whoever gains control of it, effectively controls the world and greed will make sure someone will always be trying

  • I am in shock, no less, to see that England now has a law which in reality are denying citizens the right to back up their own PCÂ because there can be copyrighted material and you must have the copyright holders accept to lawfully do so. It will most probably be changed to grant individuals the right, but it does not matter as it goes to show just how far governments are willing to go to let large corporations “protect their investments”.
    To spit it out in clear words, the rights as an individual to personal security was thrown overboard in the name of greed. Congratulations England, you made a ‘home run’ to the hall of shame, how impressive! :frowning:

** The Edward Snowden case showcased in all clarity that it is perfectly ok for a government to spy on the entire population. Caught with their pants down, but no apology, no way! Snowden is charged solely as a traitor when in reality, the only treachery in sight is that of the U.S. government towards its own population.
911 caused an entire population to wave goodbye to individual rights and while each and every European government today seem to be looking at the U.S. achievement in envy, the rest of us only saw the lights go out and the ‘home run’ for the terrorists victory the way they handled it really was. Howdeeply saddening :frowning:


… unfortunately I have evidence that turning it off does not prevent Win7 from auto updating.

A week ago I saw a “installing updates… 30%” message while rebooting even I have auto updating OFF since a long time. Even “funnier” after the reboot there was nothing mentioned in the update history.

Meh, gentlemen!


I have my Windows 7 set like this & I haven’t had a “30%” message when I haven’t allowed a Windows Update. Or any other boot message that would indicate an update had been done.
I do completely shut down my computer when I’m finished with it for the day.
That includes turning off the " power strip/surge protector" .
So when I boot in the morning it is from a completely “cold boot”.

This is the setting to use:
In “Services” [B]disable[/B] Windows Update . When you want to allow Windows Updates set it to “manual” & “Start” the service. When finished return the setting to disabled & Stop the service.

In the Windows Update “Change settings” available from the Control Panel .
Set to “Never check for updates” .
Then do the check manually . It will work this way . At least it works for me.


Hey Cholla,
Thanks for the tips but I don’t disable win updates as such - I decide what/when to download. I’ve seen this problem occurring once so far but it did happen and I am sure MS can do it again.

I am not that neurotic yet :wink:


No problem Millennium12 .
I had read that MS could update if they wanted to even with Services set on manual.
I want control of when & if MS updates.
That is why I have it set the way I do.
I’m still able to get any update I want.

I’ve noticed less & less information about updates. As others have.


[QUOTE=Millennium12;2759134]Hey Cholla,
Thanks for the tips but I don’t disable win updates as such - I decide what/when to download. I’ve seen this problem occurring once so far but it did happen and I am sure MS can do it again.

I am not that neurotic yet ;)[/QUOTE]

This is the option I choose when doing Windows Update let it tell me the update and I will decide what to Offline download and install.


Hmmm, I think I know … You probably got an update for Windows update.
I seem to recall reading that such updates are needed to check for updates and so gets installed no matter your settings - unless you disable the service like cholla suggest.
If cholla checks for updates after an extended period of time, that is the first update he gets and will be asked to reboot.
What troubles me a little is that there were no update to Windows Update last week, so unless your update cache was having issues that got fixed during a maintenance schedule, it has to be something else.
Check this out - the possibility of not getting surprised next time?. It is not so much a question of being neurotic, but aware and try to maintain control of what enters and exits your box :wink:


I usually check once a month unless I read about a critical update.
I get a list of updates to choose from. I can select any from the list.
If I just select one then that one is downloaded & installed.

I don’t remember ever needing to install a certain one first.
I do usually use the numerical order & that may be why.
The Windows Update update may be the first in the numerical order.
If a KB article said a certain update is necessary for Windows Update to work I would install it.


I have searched my archive for info to back up my claim, but will have to continue tomorrow expanding to net-sources, so far I have come up with nothing. then again, maybe I’m getting neurotic :bigsmile: and have started making up things :iagree:


After hours of searching, I have not found anything.
About a year ago, I had a happening similar to millennium12, apart from the result as I lost my entire Windows update log.
After first failing recovery of the log, I then sorted the drive by date but was unable to pinpoint any particular change of interest. Comparing the registry snapshot from the night before did not produce any conclusive proof either as the machine had been used most of the day. I then searched the net and spent several hours hunting mostly technet and msdn, but also other sites trying to find information of what was going on. Then I found the page and the information of Microsoft doing silent updates was a reason easy to accept.
I stand corrected though, as I am unable to find any reference to even vaguely back up my claim. :o


Xercus you sure went to a lot of effort to try & find this.
I didn’t need proof as I believed this happened to you & Millennium12 .
This is one of the reasons I take the extra precaution of disabling Windows Update in Services except for when I’m actively using it.
I read about people seeing this & someone posted somewhere I was looking for information that doing the disable in Services stopped this. I believe it has for me.
No insistence by Windows Update that I do any of them first so far.
As above I first use the date of the update & then the numerical number to determine which to install first.
I’m old school & install the updates one at a time & usually over about a week .
So I can spot any problems (if there are any) with fewer updates installed.As well as having fewer to check to see which one is causing the problem


You are correct, I do not update one by one. I let others be crash-test-dummies and am constantly at least 14 days behind, but there is a little twist to it… depending on how many updates there are, I either I manually unpack the files and compare old and new or if many, they get installed in VMWare where, since two identical clones run off the same master, there really is no place to hide from comparison. The interest rate for trust is too low as I see it. :cop:

I try as far as possible to be able to reference the source for information if asked. You may just be in need for a lead to more information to be asking and I did not think in those terms, but I simply could not understand howcome I failed in offlining the information, just a snap and a filename away as it is.
I document most of the odd bits of information I find on the net with reference to the originating URL to be able to find back to information as websites change contents, go offline, whatever… It also serves as a reminder to revisit. I know that I read my first thread in this forum in May 2002 on the subject of the red book standard from of a “temporary” snap done solely to remind me to revisit and after 13 odd years of revisiting and lurking, I registered :iagree:


I could see not telling people by default what each update entails, but hiding them from everyone is a bad idea and could lead to mistrust of MS as a secure OS… and that WILL NOT be good for Intel, which thrives on desktop MB & Processor sales… even today with the shift towards tablets… desktop CPUs still bring home the bacon…

Not that android OS is any more secure… but it could lead to further development of Linux as a mainstream OS that when needed will emulate a Windows OS… in a secure SANDBOX…