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Last night I approached Microsoft for comment on the stealth updating issue. Here is the response I received from a Microsoft spokesperson:
The files that are being updated are part of the Windows Update client itself. Windows Update automatically updates itself from time to time to ensure that it is running the most current technology, so that it can check for updates and notify customers that new updates are available. This is normal behavior, and it has worked this way since the service debuted several years ago.
This is not to suggest that we were as transparent as we could have been; to the contrary, we could have been clearer on how Windows Update behaves when it updates itself. We’ve received helpful and important feedback on this point, and we are now looking at the best way to clarify WU’s behavior to customers so that they can more clearly understand how WU works.
That said, we continue to be confident that the choice to use Automatic Updating continues to be the best decision for many of our customers. Windows Update remains a popular service with our customers because it helps them stay safe and have confidence that they are running the latest software from us.
Nate Clinton, Windows Update Program Manager also comments on this issue.
I'll comment on these responses later.