Windows Update automatically changing user settings (again)

Summary:After Patch Tuesday this week (October 9), some Windows Vista users noticed something strange: Windows Update had changed their Automatic Update settings and rebooted their machines automatically without their consent.

After Patch Tuesday this week (October 9), some Windows Vista users noticed something strange: Windows Update had changed their Automatic Update settings and rebooted their machines automatically without their consent.

Windows Update automatically changing user settings (again)

The new report comes on the heels of recent complaints regarding Windows Update performing stealth updates on users' machines who had turned off Automatic Updates. (Microsoft officials subsequently explained that glitch by saying that Windows Update requires self-updating before it is able to recognize that new updates are available. Microsoft promised to be clearer, in the future, in communicating this requirement.)

The AeroXperience Web site reported a new Windows Update problem on October 10, and was told by Microsoft that the company was aware of the issue and were digging into what happened and why.

It's hard to say how many users have been affected by this week's Windows Update problem. The patch-setting override seems to not have affected users running the beta of Vista Service Pack (SP) 1, though that is not 100 percent verified, AeroXP members said. It's also not clear whether any Windows XP users were affected and/or whether Vista users who obtain their patches via Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) were hit with the same problem.

AeroXP member Rafael Rivera explained the malfunction this way:

"Woke up this morning to a Windows log in screen? Swear you set that option 'Download updates but let me choose whether to install them'? We did too.

"In what appears to be a major glitch at Microsoft, Windows users are trickling in from across the globe reporting that their machines downloaded and installed updates they did not consent to. Rubbing salt in the wound, machines were also automatically and forcefully rebooted at the default 3am time frame."

AeroXP quotes a Microsoft spokesperson who said the company currently is investigating the issue "regarding machines that are re-starting and having automatic updating settings set back to 'Install Updates Automatically,' despite having selected to be notified before installation of updates." Users who've encountered the problem should contact Microsoft Support at http://support.microsoft.com/security, Microsoft suggested.

Any users out there who encountered this problem this week?

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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