New data from Microsoft MVP and researcher Patrick Barker shows that Samsung has been disabling Windows Update on at least some of its laptops distributed with Windows 8 and 8.1, and the company’s responses thus far have been astonishingly tone-deaf. Not only does Samsung disable the Windows Update capability, it installs a utility that prevents the user from re-enabling the feature at all.
Barker has written an extensive blog post detailing his examination of the software. Samsung distributes its own update software with its PCs, dubbed “Samsung Update.” One of the components of the software package is an executable called “Disable_WindowsUpdate.exe.” The Samsung Update software creates and schedules a job that runs this program each and every time the system is rebooted. While it doesn’t completely disable Windows Update, it does change the setting to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download or install them” This behavior persists even if the Samsung software is uninstalled; the application must be manually removed.
Barker then spoke to a Samsung representative, who implied that the executable is distributed to prevent Microsoft from distributing USB 3 drivers that might not be compatible with the laptop, saying: “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.” Samsung corporate then followed this up by claiming “”It is not true that we are blocking a Windows 8.1 operating system update on our computers. As part of our commitment to consumer satisfaction, we are providing our users with the option to choose if and when they want to update the Windows software on their products.”
The problem with this statement is that Samsung isn’t accused of blocking the installation of Windows 8.1 or any specific update. Instead, it’s preventing Windows Update from operating either in its default state or after the end-user has manually changed the setting.