Samsung allegedly disabling Windows Update for its own updater

According to Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker, Samsung laptops are being sold to users with a custom software updater that disables Windows Updates -- without any user interaction.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Samsung computer users running a Windows operating system are reportedly having their machines automatically updated by the hardware manufacturer to disable Microsoft's native software updates.

The action was discovered by Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker, who said that he stumbled across the issue whilst helping a user with their Samsung machine. Barker, who specialises in "debugging and reverse engineering", published his findings on his personal blog yesterday.

According to Barker, he found that the Samsung SW Update software -- a brand-specific updater and software installer -- is in fact disabling Windows Update, reportedly via the application Disable_Windows.exe.

Reportedly, the tool is configured to load automatically so that users are unaware they are preventing any further Microsoft updates.

Barker states that he found the exe hiding in the C:\ProgramData\Samsung folder, and showing hidden files in Explorer reveals two folders.

The zip file in question can be downloaded independently from Samsung's website, with the file that allegedly disables Windows updates in plain view once extracted.

(Image: Screenshot by Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet)

Barker said he contacted Samsung support asking why its updater switched off Windows updates. He said that his allocated "chat buddy", Peterson, firstly told him that the Samsung SW Updater tool has no effect on the registry of a laptop; then, after Barker contested the statement, the Samsung employee reportedly told him a different story.

"When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware no laptop which may or may not work.

"For example, if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent the Windows updates."

The reasons behind this action are unknown. Samsung has been contacted for comment, but no response had been received by the time of publication.

Editorial standards