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Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

'We'll do that with an update for our software updater,' says Sammy

By Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2015

Samsung has promised to release a patch for its computers so that they no longer kill off automatic Windows updates from Microsoft.

On Wednesday, reverse-engineering specialist Patrick Barker blogged* about a program suspiciously called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe that is bundled on Sammy machines and shuts down automatic Windows Updates – including security updates.

Users have to remember to install updates from Microsoft manually, and if they opt for automatic installation, Samsung's software disables it. The firm's support staff told him that was to make sure Samsung's hardware drivers were not removed or overridden by Microsoft's upgrades.

While not as serious as Lenovo's Superfish debacle – where bundled code punched a hole in system security – Samsung's cockup has caused ructions. Now it has vowed that the issue will be fixed.

"Samsung has a commitment to security and we continue to value our partnership with Microsoft," a spokeswoman told El Reg.

"We will be issuing a patch through the Samsung Software Update notification process to revert back to the recommended automatic Windows Update settings within a few days. Samsung remains committed to providing a trustworthy user experience and we encourage customers with product questions or concerns to contact us directly."

Microsoft hasn't responded to a request for comment on Samsung's new position, but it's pretty clear that the Windows giant was not happy about the situation. Some South Korean executives may have been getting the rough side of Redmond's tongue.

The thought of a computer manufacturer disabling Windows Update will have had the Microsoft security team on edge. But there's also Windows 10 to consider.

When the new operating system comes out, Windows Update will feed in fixes continuously, and if you're not a business customer those updates are going to be coming over the wires constantly. Enterprise users get Windows Update for Business, which allows them to choose when to patch, presumably after the plebs have beta-tested them.

If Samsung's software is interrupting Microsoft's updates then not only are people going to be at risk, but it could affect system stability. Redmond wants the new roll out to go smoothly, and it's likely Sammy got slapped down hard over its driver shenanigans. ®

*The Register has since heard from Sysnative Forums, which told us that its staffers Richard Burgess (who has the handle of neimiro) and Brian Drab first flagged up the Samsung Windows Update snafu. Barker went on to collaborate with them on the issue.

We're happy to link to their posts here and here.

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