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Microsoft wants Automatic Update for Windows

CmdrTaco posted about 11 years ago | from the brace-yourself-for-trouble dept.

Microsoft 917

Edward Dao writes "After the embarassment of last week's blaster worm, Microsoft is weighing the possibility of automatic update. Microsoft not only wants to upload the latest patch on to users' computer but also installing it for them." This will work out really well for everyone I'm sure. Yikes! Can I at least press 'Ok' first?

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oh yeah? (5, Funny)

krisp (59093) | about 11 years ago | (#6732047)

Of course, this will be implemented in such a way that implantinga fake RR for into a local name serverallows Windows to download and run any file with a certian file name. This should make it far eaiser to fool Windows Update into installing Linux.
This will make Linux rollouts a breeze after buying all those Dells.

Imagine the possibilities!

Then again, the Microsoft Tax is cheaper then the SCO tax.

Re:oh yeah? (5, Insightful)

killthiskid (197397) | about 11 years ago | (#6732193)

Two things from the article:

...say that it is time to consider making software updates automatic for home users of the Windows operating system.


The company is "looking very seriously" at requiring future versions of Windows to accept automatic software fixes unless the user specifically refuses to receive them...

So... only for home users and users can shut it off!

So don't freak out too much... maybe this will actually help... think if this had been in effect for slammer... we keep bitching that the 'patch was available, why didn't people use it!'... well, this would fix that problem.

One other thing from the article:

Microsoft also will begin shipping new versions of Windows XP with the built-in firewall activated by default, said Steve Lipner, director of the company's security engineering strategy.

Now that makes sense!

Breaking news! UN bombed! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732052)

Breaking news!

UN bombed. Scores of casualties! The military is sealing off the site!

Re:Breaking news! UN bombed! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732120)

OMG!!! it's true!!!

MOD PARENT +5, Informative!

Re:Breaking news! UN bombed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732177)

If you want real news, read fark. If you want stupid linux shit, read slashdot.

Re:Breaking news! UN bombed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732191)

If you want stupid linux shit

Heh. That's the most insightful line on Slashdot so far today.

Article says (-1, Flamebait)

panxerox (575545) | about 11 years ago | (#6732064)

Article says "unless the user specifically refuses to receive them" big bro is a knockin don't let him in. Besides if it did Id just block micro$ofts ip.

M$ worm. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732067)

Wouldn't this clasify as a worm too? I don't want anything installed on my system without my permission too.

Nice to see that M$ is in the worm buiesness too.

Re:M$ worm. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732093)

Maybe they could just buy out Nachi...

Re:M$ worm. (0)

freaksta (524994) | about 11 years ago | (#6732195)

No... EULA would have a clause just for this. It would be totally legit if you opted in (by using there OS or otherwise stated in the EULA)

Not such a bad idea (4, Interesting)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 11 years ago | (#6732068)

If you RTFA you'd find that Microsoft is only "looking very seriously" at this idea,
that it would not apply to business users of XP (since they want careful control
of the patching of their machines), and that it would be possible to opt-out from
the automatic updates.

So if you are a business user you don't get automatic updates, if you are a home
user of XP that is technically savvy you can turn it off, and if you are a home
user who is not computer savvy then you are going to get automatic updates. This
latter group seems like the ideal set of people to get automatic protection.


Re:Not such a bad idea (5, Insightful)

John Paul Jones (151355) | about 11 years ago | (#6732107)

Automatic protection from running applications that break following a patch? At least a corporate user can call the helpdesk, while a novice home user would have no idea why something stopped working suddenly, and would chalk it up to "Computers are evil". The divide between the tech-aware and tech-unaware grows exponentially.

Re:Not such a bad idea (4, Insightful)

Randolpho (628485) | about 11 years ago | (#6732207)

Hmm.... you clearly don't get how Microsoft got to be so huge in the first place, do you? :) Home users actually want stuff like this.

Re:Not such a bad idea (5, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | about 11 years ago | (#6732208)

Okay, now what happens when they decide to enter some draconian language into the EULA that you supposedly agree to by installing these patches....are you now just agreeing to whatever they want by simply using Windows? You now have no choice in this case?

Re:Not such a bad idea (5, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#6732216)

If they don't know what a patch is, then they're in more danger of a virus attacking their computer anyway. So "the divide between the tech-aware and tech-unaware" shrinks exponentially, as viruses become far less likely. The very rare case of a WU breaking something will have little impact in comparison.

Re:Not such a bad idea (4, Insightful)

Psiren (6145) | about 11 years ago | (#6732135)

So who is held accountable when the latest patch breaks something and causes loss of data? The user, because they didn't opt out? Seems like a potential shitstorm for Microsoft there. If people are too dumb to patch their system with the existing Window Update, how in the hell are they going to diagnose problems when its being done without their knowledge?

Re:Not such a bad idea (2, Insightful)

MP3Chuck (652277) | about 11 years ago | (#6732172)

"if you are a home user of XP that is technically savvy you can turn it off, and if you are a home user who is not computer savvy then you are going to get automatic updates."

This is already the case...

Re:Not such a bad idea (2, Insightful)

MImeKillEr (445828) | about 11 years ago | (#6732200)

How is this any different then the scheme they're using now? By default, automatic update is enabled for Windows. Anyone technically savvy immediately turns it off five seconds after installation is complete.

Also, from the article:

The next version of Windows, which analysts expect to be completed in late 2004, could be the first to let the Auto Update feature download patches from Microsoft without requiring the user's explicit approval. Microsoft is also considering whether to make the Auto Update mandatory earlier, through an interim upgrade known as a service pack


Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, applauded Microsoft for considering the move.

"People are going to have to accept mandatory updates as part of the warranty process, and that's exactly what Microsoft should be doing," Miller said. "You can't just send out a recall notice and hope that people come into the shop and do their maintenance."

I didn't see anything anywhere in the article that said business users or technically savvy home users would be given the option of disabling the forced update.

Re:Not such a bad idea (5, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | about 11 years ago | (#6732204)

If you RTFA you'd find that Microsoft is only "looking very seriously" at this idea

Microsoft are MORONS. The fix for this particular worm required SP2 or greater. That is 8 hours and 10 minutes over dialup.

Windowsupdate is a god send for people with broadband but MS are going to be required to send CDs in the mail if they want to keep dial-up users up to speed.

Re:Not such a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732214)

You start off with a RTFA then you finish your post with nothing but I think's and probably's.

So your opinion should count?

Could be a bad idea... (1)

chosen_my_foot (677867) | about 11 years ago | (#6732244)

I remember at the end of the summer I used MS's little auto updater thing to install a patch that killed my network connection. MS reported a week later that it was a "minor problem", but the patch could disable networking on a "few systems". It was really fun, because had I not remembered System Restore, I would have had to wait a week or so for MS to release a fix for the patch, a double patch if you will. Can you imagine opting in when you maintain hundreds of systems, only to have your networking killed by said update?

This is better than OS X (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732071)

Many Unix geeks, particularly on Slashdot [] , have praised Apple's decision to base Mac OS X off of the enterprise-ready BSD codebase. However, it seems that most have never actually taken a closer look at this OS. If they had, a closer inspection would reveal that Apple's philosophy toward *nix and Linux [] compatibility has been one of "embrace and extend", and this is meant in the M$ sense. Wherever possible, Apple has engineered their operating system to be incompatible with industry standards. Simply put, Mac OS X is a nonstandard, bastardized Unix that bears about as much resemblance to the real thing as does, say, Windows ME.

Let's start with the windowing environment, since that is the first thing users will notice. While both KDE [] and GNOME are mature, stable, and accepted as IEEE [] standards, Apple has elected to use neither. In fact, they don't even use X at all! Their display system is a proprietary, closed-source system called Quartz Extreme. In addition to the moral issues involved with closed software, this precludes the user from running X apps. There is an untested and alpha-quality X11 emulation layer available for download, but it is emulation, so programs will be slow. Does this sound like a standards-based system to you?

Looking under the hood, it gets worse. While all other *nixes use standard ELF binaries, Darwin (Apple's name for their proprietary "Unix" kernel) does not. It uses Mach-O, an unproven format that is proprietary to Apple. The moribund FreeBSD, off which OS X is based, uses ELF, so clearly Apple went to the extra effort of "switching" (heh) simply to break compatibility. With ELF, users would be able to run most of their Lunix apps; with Mach-O this is impossible. Additionally, Apple has moved most configuration info fromhuman readable text files into a proprietary database called "NetInfo", which is much like the Windows registry we all loathe. Why? These are only a few of the ways that Apple has deliberately broken compatibility with other systems, presumably in order to lock users in to expensive Mac hardware.

When we factor in the threat to users' civil liberties that is posed by the DRM included to support the iTunes Music Store (do you really think it will end there?) it is obvious that real *nix gurus should give OS X a wide berth. Caveat emptor.

Does this mean.. (4, Funny)

DiS[EnDeR] (195812) | about 11 years ago | (#6732073)

they want to reboot my computer without informing me?

Truuuuust us... (0, Flamebait)

medscaper (238068) | about 11 years ago | (#6732075)

Microsoft not only wants to upload the latest patch on to users' computer but also installing it for them.

Well, we all know what a nice job Microsoft has done in the past of supporting individual machines.

And we kept wondering ... (5, Insightful)

OMG (669971) | about 11 years ago | (#6732078)

... how they will get people to activate the TCPA/Palladium features.

Now we know: MS will do it for you. How kind of them!

Bandwidth (4, Insightful)

jmays (450770) | about 11 years ago | (#6732079)

I know broadband usage is on the rise but really ... I use a modem. You know ... the kind that attaches to a phone line? Everytime I get online with my low bandwidth solution, I don't want my bandwidth eaten up by patches.

Granted, by the time this is incorporated into the OS, phone line users may be in the minority but until then ... no thanks.

omg... scary stuff (-1, Redundant)

LazyBoyTony (692414) | about 11 years ago | (#6732082)

i don't like the idea of m$ being able to automatically control the installation of updates on my computer. plus i'll run out of download quota if i can't monitor it. It sucks big time! The current system is good enough, it gives user control and not software control :)

Just turn the existing download updates on by def (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | about 11 years ago | (#6732085)

Since Windows ME(tm) Microsoft has provided a control panel extension to automatically download the recent patches and notify you when they're ready for installation. A mixed approach of this and the way MacOS X handles this (check daily, and pop up a window) and having this setting be default will provide for a more secure and security conscious public.

I think this is a good thing for the Internet community as a whole, it's no longer all the redhat 3.0.3 boxes being rooted, it's WinME, 2k and later in the majority that i've been watching over the past years.

imagine... (5, Interesting)

borgdows (599861) | about 11 years ago | (#6732086)

if someone breaks into MS WindowsUpdate servers, he could install ANYTHING on millions of computers!

wow... scary...

Re:imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732238)

I thought MS windowsupdate was like RedHat or autoupdate on linux. It will only install packages that are signed by the respective vendor. Just putting some package on an FTP/HTTP server will not get you anywhere since your package will not be signed and will be rejected right before installing it.

Yeah right (-1)

vladid (694901) | about 11 years ago | (#6732088)

That would be the dumbest thing imaginable.

Then again, we deal with Microsoft.

Instead of investing time and money into developing new update methods, those shmucks should perhaps think of new ways to have their customers remember to update that dirty-ol-box called PC.

No thanks (5, Informative)

GeckoFood (585211) | about 11 years ago | (#6732091)

Some of us are still on dialup, and an automagic update of Windows via 56K modem would literally take HOURS if the connection even holds at all. I don't think I should be forced into high-speed access just so I can update my Windows partition periodically.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732167)

Some of us are still on dialup, and an automagic update of Windows via 56K modem would literally take HOURS if the connection even holds at all. I don't think I should be forced into high-speed access just so I can update my Windows partition periodically.

Anonymous Coward, a university sysadmin, soundly beats GeckoFood about the head with a clue-by-four.

You can do this already (4, Informative)

dlur (518696) | about 11 years ago | (#6732094)

You can do this already with Windows XP if you set it up to do so. In the system properties go to the Automatic Updates tab and then click on the radio button next to the bottom option, "Automatically download the updates, and then install them on the schedule that I specify".

Of course you'd have to be out of your gourd to do this regarding MS's history of untested patches. Also I noticed that MS is including driver updates in the critical updates as well (nVidia driver). I've NEVER installed a driver from MS on my computer and every time a customer of ours does it, it seems to totally screw up everything.

Re:You can do this already (1)

faber0 (234887) | about 11 years ago | (#6732132)

I never saw device drivers offered on be part of "critical updates" that download automatically.

But i have seen device drivers downloaded from there screw up the system so i hope the oberservation aboe remains valid.

Excellent (1)

Cackmobile (182667) | about 11 years ago | (#6732096)

so when a bad patch comes out all the windows pcs in the world will simultaneously crash. I hope its an opt in thing. When you first start your pcs it can ask yes or no. Regular joe can press ok but others can no and do it manually.

brilliant marketing strategy (1)

ctk76 (531418) | about 11 years ago | (#6732098)

so how are we supposed to know whether it's the worm or the update constantly shutting down your computer?

Thanks to Microsoft's super security... (1)

rainstorm (237399) | about 11 years ago | (#6732102)

There's no way this new functionality could be buggy and exploited by viruses! ;)

Question (2, Funny)

HiQ (159108) | about 11 years ago | (#6732105)

How do you know Microsoft is automagically updating your system? I think the fact that it reboots ten times in a row is quite a giveaway...

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732184)

So all of these years, those blue screens were actually notices that my system was patched and better.

Damn, thanks for clearing that up. I guess M$ is good after all.

Re:Question (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | about 11 years ago | (#6732245)

Wow, so that's what it was up to last week!

Well, I for one welcome our new autoupdating overlords!

In Other News (1)

batkins (602341) | about 11 years ago | (#6732109)

In other news, Microsoft announces that after the embarassment of last week's blaster worm it will begin shipping quality OSes.

Oh, sorry. I was dreaming again.

automatic updates and ..... (0)

mbennis (160025) | about 11 years ago | (#6732110)

automatic blue screens of death

As long as there are no automatic EULA changes (4, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | about 11 years ago | (#6732112)

In the past MS has packaged EULA updates along with software updates. I really wouldn't have too much trouble with this as long as they don't try to push EULA changes along with the update.
Sure, some people might want to turn it off, but by and large I think there would be less damage with it on. I rarely meet a person who even knows what MS Update *is* let alone have used it.

I wonder how well this would work on dialup though? It seems like the world is really leaving dialup folks behind. I have cable myself but know a lot of people on dialup either because high speed is not available to them or because they really don't need a fulltime connection, and are getting by just fine on a $5/month dialup plan.

Good idea: ELUA will save us (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | about 11 years ago | (#6732237)

In the past MS has packaged EULA updates along with software updates. I really wouldn't have too much trouble with this as long as they don't try to push EULA changes along with the update.

Actually that is an excellent point, as no matter how 'automagic' they want their updater to be, at some point, knowing MS, they will want to flash an updated EULA agreement across your screen so you can actually, you know, agree.

I don't think I'll agree.

Unless they do something sneaky, like 'by clicking the Start button you agree to all EULAs sent by Microsoft'... in tiny type the same colour as your desktop, of course...

maybe i'm mistaken, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732113)

doesn't M$ already give that option in their windows updater configuration wizard.

Besides, I don't believe we have much to worry about. Home users may think this is good, but the corporate world (I hope) should be against it. Just like the Windows activation key type crap to prevent piracy. M$ eventually caved on this. With any luck this will be the same. (God willing, otherwise we'll face another surge of updates to patch vulnerabilities for that stupid feature)

So what's wrong with this? (2, Interesting)

Eric Ass Raymond (662593) | about 11 years ago | (#6732115)

I mean, come on! This article is just a giant honeypot for the unwashed open source masses to bash Microsoft.

So what is it that you really want?

Manual updates? "LOLOLOL! M$ users are so stooopid that they can't do even that!".

Automatic updates? "LOLOLOLOLOL!!! You would let Microsoft to update your systems?! You fool! Why don't you download a Gentoo instead?!"

Systems that are secure and usable out-of-box? No such thing.

boh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732117)

So what's new about it? Windows Automatic Update already does this for you, and it will install the updates for you, you only need to agree to restart the computer once they are installed.

MSBlaster (5, Insightful)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | about 11 years ago | (#6732123)

MSBlaster wasn't an embarrasment for MS, but for the lazy sysadmins who, with a month's prior notice and the patch to fix it, were still hobbled by the bug. If people who are in charge of systems and security spent more time patching and paying ATTENTION to things like Bugtraq and less time complaining about MS the world would be safer.

How is this bug more of a bummer than how gnuftp was compromised and potentially more damaging? Oh, don't hear people moaning about that on here now do you...?

The tale is telling, is it not?

Re:MSBlaster (1)

batkins (602341) | about 11 years ago | (#6732189)

For the 1200th time, the gnuftp crack was an *inside job*. It wasn't as if someone released a worm that attacked the gnuftp server (a la Blaster). They were also using wuftpd, which doesn't really make too much sense. The situation would be different if there was a way to root any Linux-based server in the world (much like the Windows RPC bug), but that's not the case. It was *one* machine, running an unusual FTP server. Just one. There's a big difference there, buddy.

You're probably just a troll, but at least get the facts right.

Re:MSBlaster (1)

inerte (452992) | about 11 years ago | (#6732196)

The tale is telling, is it not?

Nope. Home users don't have sysadmins to baby-sit their systems.

When you have a 90% market share, things differ on scale from one compromised FTP server.

NO way (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 11 years ago | (#6732129)

I for one will sever my using Windows if they don't at LEAST tell you with a yes/no prompt that a service patch needs to be installed. I don't have a problem with a pop up message telling you that there is a service patch available, would you like MS to install it, but, if it were completely behind the scenes, I'd have to say NO. I don't put all the patches/updates in, because most have to do with outlook express and IE, BOTH of which I do not use, so why would I want to choke my ISP by installing useless stuff? At least give us the option of saying no.

Great!!! (1)

jbelcher56 (694028) | about 11 years ago | (#6732136)

They sure as hell better come up with a better solution than what they do now! It would really be nice if they would release patches that don't crash your system. Last time I tried to patch one of our servers, it "upgraded" some system files and wouldn't allow me to reboot (BSoD). Thank good for Google, since the knowledge base didn't have the answer on how to fix that "added feature." JB

No no no... (1)

MP3Chuck (652277) | about 11 years ago | (#6732138)

I'll dress myself, thanks Clippy.

What About RedHat? (1)

DiS[EnDeR] (195812) | about 11 years ago | (#6732139)

Doesnt RedHat 9 have this functionality already. Im not running it myself, but Im sure my bosss just touted this feature?

ObGates-of-BorgReference (2, Funny)

DCheesi (150068) | about 11 years ago | (#6732140)

Resistence is futile, you will be patched...

EULA? (1)

saintjab (668572) | about 11 years ago | (#6732141)

And who will pay expenses when the system kills a critical server in our orginization? Who is responsible for damages when these packages explode? I'm not trolling at all, I'm very serious. I support a lot of Windows servers, and I know very well the damage that a service pack or hot fix can cause. This will be just one step closer to making people understand just how much MS wants to control everything. This is a rediculous solution to a problem they are not willing to correct. They should worry less about patching my servers (leave that to me) and worry more about producing code that is not vulnerable.

Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732142)

I have enough problems with spyware and adware on my PC, now I have deal with M$ bullshit also? KEEEERIIIST!!!

Now I can probably have some one from Lavasoft make a new program to compliment Ad-Aware--MS-Aware and keep those pesky service packs from coming.

Not so bad (1)

Raven-sama (527194) | about 11 years ago | (#6732143)

This may seem like a bad idea to most people, but I mean when you think about it, with how often patches are released from Redmond, it's almost necessary.

Obviously you would have to enable this feature yourself, and you would have to have access to a list of any major changes that had been made to your system via this automation.

Still, on the other hand, with the DDOS attack against and the possibility of it serving trojaned files, this could still be a problem. It all depends really.

The obvious solution is for Microsoft to make Windows more stable and less vulnerable... naturally we've had to come up with more viable options!

anyone remember tivo? (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | about 11 years ago | (#6732144)

the problem with the automatic updates, is that the funcitonality of software could change overnight, depending on who makes the changes. maybe Microsoft decides one evening that they don't like having a 'Start' button, and decide, for the good of the world, that it will now say 'Stop', and will be in the upper left corner, instead of lower left....

the point is -- no one could stop it, and would be stuck with the change, even if the change wasn't desired or warranted....

Bye Bye Bruce (4, Funny)

kindbud (90044) | about 11 years ago | (#6732146)

"I have always been a fierce enemy of the Microsoft update feature, because I just don't like the idea of someone else -- particularly Microsoft -- controlling my system," said Bruce Schneier, co-founder of Counterpane Internet Security Inc. "Now, I think it's great, because it gets the updates out to the non-technically savvy masses, and that's the majority of Internet users. Security is a trade-off, to be sure, but this is one trade-off that's worthwhile."

And that concludes our evaluation of Counterpane's security consulting services. Have a nice day. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Bruce.

Don't they already have that option? (1)

pented_rage (556061) | about 11 years ago | (#6732147)

I think here the main problem is Home Users, many are not aware of windows update and more rarely use it. They already have the option in the "auto update" to automatically download and install updates, perhaps this should be a "default" for home users? (ofcourse those of you who know more about your system could easily disable it) This might also make M$ think twice and actually double test their updates before they get released? (maybe? hopefully? or unlikely?) Whats the biggest threat to Computer systems? the user or the software? (I lean towards the user)

Yeah, this will work nicely! (1)

zonix (592337) | about 11 years ago | (#6732150)

Just tried the KB823980 (DCOM thingy) security patch ...

Before you install this update, we recommend that you:

- Update your system repair disk
- Back up your system
- Close all your programs

So how will they accomplish that in the middle of a user session?


A few things Microsoft needs to do... (5, Interesting)

forsetti (158019) | about 11 years ago | (#6732152)

1) WindowsUpdate needs to become MicrosoftUpdate. This would scan and offer patches for all MS software (OS, Exchange, SQL, IIS, Office, Visual Studio, ....). Also extend SUS to do the same.

2) Critical Update notification should be done the way OSX does it (with a little configging) -- instead of a tiny little innocuos icon in the system tray, put an obnoxious pop-up in the middle of the screen, with a big "Go Ahead and Install" button, with lots of skull & cross-bone icons.

3) Create patches using their own packaging structure: MSI. This allows for much simpler deployment and management, via Active Directory. No need to pay for SMS simply for patch deployment.

4) Supply MUCH MORE documentation to end users, discussing the importance of keeping one's machine patched.

5) Stop producing such buggy software! =}8v)

Just my $0.02 ...

Macs & why they may/may not be affected (1)

adzoox (615327) | about 11 years ago | (#6732153)

I'm sure this will get said time and again in this thread, but why wouldn't someone be able to able spoof the "update server" and get people to download a virus directly..... heck that's worse than an emailed virus!

I have always disliked a software update feature. Since I use Macs, while the software update control is nice and very conveiniant (also much less likely to be hacked) I think that if someone WANTED to they could spread a virus through the system of Mac Users much more widespread than Windows users because of the inherent niavity/novice of a Mac User.

"A Security Update to the Network Control Panel" for example

That said, I also think the Mac web is great and would INSTANTLY pick up on it within a few hours and post to dozens of websites, whereas Windows users have to here from some paranoid or a "too late" IT staff.

what? (1)

Datasage (214357) | about 11 years ago | (#6732154)

Windows already has the ability to download and install patches automaticly. But not many people allow windows to be set to that setting or dont know about it.

But id rather know when its about to install a patch. Thats the setting i have mine set Too

I can see their point... (2, Interesting)

thebruce (112025) | about 11 years ago | (#6732156)

The main problem is people not knowing, or not caring about patching or updating the problems. This isn't something that's directly managable by MS. With an OS so widely used, how can updates be ensured to be installed on everyone's machine to stop spreading of viruses and exploits?

Some will say the user should have the choice... ok, so half the people who couldn't care less will still allow the spreading of the problems...

Some will say automatic background updating is the only solution... ok, so the majority of people still using low speed connections will bog down their systems, let alone major networks suddenly pulling huge bandwidth when every machine receives the command to update simultaneously...

And some still complain that even if the update is pushed and you need to say yes or no, it's still infringing on your privacy your own system...

Is there any way to implement a global, trustworthy, reliable patch service that is accepted by everyone? If not, there's no way to stop the virus spreading, work generating underground from having hay-days at the world's expense...

And this goes for any OS, not just Windows...

Re:I can see their point... (1)

thebruce (112025) | about 11 years ago | (#6732229)

bah, that "virus-spreading, worm-generating underground, from having hay-days at the world's expense" :)

Bad Idea. (4, Insightful)

asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) | about 11 years ago | (#6732157)

Microsoft is also considering whether to make the Auto Update mandatory earlier, through an interim upgrade known as a service pack.

This is a huge mistake. Talk about a support nightmare. I recently spent several hours trying to find out why my machine was freezing intermittently, only to find that Update 811493 was to blame. I uninstalled it and everything worked perfectly-- if they make it mandatory, and have a similiar problem what do we do? (Switch to Mac or Linux, right?)

For the record, there's still no way to tell Microsoft I NEVER want this update. If I use "auto update" at all it downloads it and wants to install. So, now I'm stuck using manual update or my machine might freeze up again.

Just great.

HA! Yah ..that's it. (1)

loconet (415875) | about 11 years ago | (#6732160)

Would you trust this guy [] with your computer like that? HA! yah right..Look at that smile, pure evil I tell you.

Great (2, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#6732161)

Most people are in far more danger of their computer being destroyed by a virus than they are of it being damaged by an automatic update.

If you think this is a bad idea, then you don't realize just how stupid the great mass of computer users are. I'm sure Microsoft will make this in a way that will allow anyone who knows what they are doing to turn this feature off. But it will kill viruses and worms that exploit windows holes, that's for sure. I can't recall one that's come out in years where the patch hadn't already existed, but that users were too stupid to download.

Besides, I'm sure that recent power outages spooked Microsoft for at least a few moments. They thought: Could this have been a computer problem? Not even Microsoft has that kind of money were it to be found liable.

Will Microsoft then fix everything they broke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732163)

Will Microsoft then fix everything they broke when they applied the patch? If Mr/Ms Home User isn't tech savy enough to apply the patch I rather doubt they are up to cleaning up the inevitable mess that Microsoft will create.

Um...Microsoft already has this feature (1)

miroth (611718) | about 11 years ago | (#6732164)

MS already has an automatic update option for those who choose it in the Automatic Updates control panel applet.

Users can choose to be notified when updates are available, they can be notified when they've been downloaded and are ready to install, or they can just have Windows download and install the updates automatically.

This isn't really news.

Big deal (2, Informative)

flicken (182650) | about 11 years ago | (#6732166)

Debian (and other distros) have allowed* you to do this for years.
# cat /etc/cron.daily/apt-get

apt-get --yes --quiet update
apt-get --yes --quiet upgrade
Presto! Automatically download and install all system updates.

* NB: allowed, not required---it's your choice.

ok.... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | about 11 years ago | (#6732168)

Yikes! Can I at least press 'Ok' first?

That's one of the major problems. Windows has had an auto-update notifier for some years now. It checks windowsupdate regularly, and if a new critical patch is available, a dialog box asks if you want to download it. Most people have optioned to not do so.

IIRC, WinXP gives the option to make it download a critical patch without asking, but that's turned off by default.

so what happens? (1)

Grydon (663288) | about 11 years ago | (#6732170)

So what happens the auto updating feature get compromised somehow? Seems like the best way imaginable to spread a virus.

Put the blame on the ISPs where it belongs. (0, Troll)

nlinecomputers (602059) | about 11 years ago | (#6732171)

Isn't about time that we put the blame where it really belongs? On the damn ISPs! If we had decent email scanning and blocking of useless ports this shit wouldn't happen so much. Why does joe six pack need a port 135 open anyway. If you need the port you should ask to have it open otherwise most ports should be filtered by ISPs by default. Do that and hold ISP responsable when obvious virues pass through the smtp server and we wouldn't have a damn virus/worm problem.

Yay! (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 11 years ago | (#6732173)

Now, just compromise the automatic-update machines, install trojan on updates, and
"Arise, my children! SkyNet is BORN! ph33r m3!"

As long as (1)

rczyzewski (585306) | about 11 years ago | (#6732174)

...I can disable it for my corporate environment. Don't want my computers breaking from poor updates.

how would this be described ? (0)

andy666 (666062) | about 11 years ago | (#6732175)

"Bill Gates wants to put his worm in your box"

All updates? (1)

sc00by2 (160776) | about 11 years ago | (#6732176)

I'm not necessarily for Automatic Updating, but it isn't such a bad idea. Working as a Security Officer for a web hosting company, this would sure make my life easier. The question is, would ALL of M$'s patches be self-installed, or simply ones they find so critical, that they need to resort to mass emailing. A graded system would be nice, perhaps tied into DShield; whereby as the threat increases, the possibility of self-installation increases.


Perspective (5, Funny)

mukund (163654) | about 11 years ago | (#6732180)

if (company_trusts_microsoft_code())

junk code


RE: Automatic Updates? (1)

seamustheshark (603643) | about 11 years ago | (#6732181)

I particularly like the bit "What we're finding now is that through a combination of the availability of broadband...." and the lovely "...not just by downloading the patches for them but installing them as well."

What about us poor saps who can't get Broadband? In the "rural" part of England where I currently live (13 miles from the centre of the sixth largest City in the UK) I can't get Broadband, and BT tell me my telephone exchange will probably *never* be upgraded! Also, the Cable Companies are all broke, so no luck there...

So, how would this help me if I had a Win box, and required 30+MB of patches every month? My internet connectivity is a dial-up connection, with a two-hour cut-off (quite normal for UK ISP's) so no help there.

Hang on - phew! just remembered - my Red Hat boxes, although needing occasional patching, give me the option to download the patches from elsewhere via FTP (like using a leased line at work!) and then burn them on to CD to run on my RH machines at home! I'm saved!

If only MS were so willing for us dumb-old home users - who, I believe, where hardest hit by Mr. Blaster and friends. Kinda reminds me why I don't use Windows on my home machines now....

People not technoloigy (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | about 11 years ago | (#6732183)

Automatic updates aren't the answer and you can bet that enterprises will rebel against it. There is already an auto-update feature that allows uses to configure how updates are processed. Either never getting the update, downloading but not auto-install, and auto-download and auto-install. That is more than enough.

End users have to become responsible to keep thier systems upto date. Keeping upto date is not Microsoft problem.

For companies, they have to get better at updating remote computers and there is already a cottage industry evloving around patching. But companies also need to have procedures for allowing remote computers to acces the internal network.

This is indicative of proprietary problems (0)

rebeka thomas (673264) | about 11 years ago | (#6732188)

This is the same story over and over again from Microsoft.

The entire industry of proprietary software is based on control. A company or companies wish to have you pay them money, while they retain control over the entire product. You merely pay them more, continuously, for the use. And when it comes to major bugs in software updates, the "you will pay" philosophy will come to mean more than just cash.

There is no other way to have a safe and reliable system, no matter what the coding ideology behind it, than to have educated sensible users. It's simply not going to improve without that base.

The advantage to OSS of course, is that those educated users can do more with their systems. You're restricted under Windows or MacOS for example, to what those companies wish for you.

Yawn. "Keep my computer up to date" (3, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 11 years ago | (#6732190)

Circa Windows 2000, service pack 3.
By default, this already happens.

The story here is that Microsoft backed off when privacy groups thought this was a crummy idea (especially with the EULA of SP3 and XP SP1, big-brother visions abound).

Now they are saying they'd consider giving you more control over this, and to, by default, accept security-relevant patches in this manner by default.
Also, (big item), they'll ship the machines with the firewall enabled. That alone is probably the best idea they've adopted under recent community pressure.

Brilliant Move (1)

gregarican (694358) | about 11 years ago | (#6732192)

I think this is smart business. Next I want my red stapler back and my upstairs cubicle. Thanks, Milton from "Office Space"

Holy Twisted Logic, Batman! (1)

tds67 (670584) | about 11 years ago | (#6732198)

The company is "looking very seriously" at requiring future versions of Windows to accept automatic software fixes unless the user specifically refuses to receive them, said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's security business unit.

How can Windows be required to accept updates if the user can tell it not to? Somebody please enlighten me on the meaning of the word "required".

big IFF... (1)

*weasel (174362) | about 11 years ago | (#6732209)

IFF (if and only if)...
they stuck to -security- patches
and those patches didn't break common configurations (anti msblaster didn't work on 2k sp2)
and there was user consent 'no, i dont want this particular patch for whatever reason'
and an opt-out a la 'never ask me again'.

i wouldn't see it as a bad thing, being on by default. maybe not turned on, on 'Server' installations, but certainly reasonable (given the above assumptions) for home installations

face it - automatic updates is how antivirus software works by default, more often than not.

users just can't be bothered to proactively look after their own gear.
and no matter how well you test - eventually you -will- have bugs, potential security issues, etc. these patches need to be distributed, and right now that isn't happening.

full-on autoupdate of drivers, service packs, compatibility patches, extensions, etc should remain very seperate.

but of course, we all have a good idea how likely the 'If's are.

This auto install bs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732210)

is exactly why they can't seem to control a little virus. They give insecure programs the rights to do anything to your machine it wants.

Don't do windows. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732212)

I don't do windows. You shouldn't either.

Ideas for auto-up (3, Funny)

jamienk (62492) | about 11 years ago | (#6732213)

* Check for warez/serialz -- disable them and alert the vendors. Vendors can subscribe to "MS Auto Alert" program.

* Check for downloaded MP3s (from a database of known MD5s) -- disable them and alert the record distributors. RIAA can subscribe to "MS Locked Tunes" for service.

* Check for P2P programs -- disable them and alert local gov't authorities. Gov'ts can give big grants to MS for this as part of their "Anti-Terror-and-Pro-Business-Computers" bill.

* Check for web/ftp/irc servers -- disable them and alert ISP as to uploading violations. ISPs can join the "MSN One-Stream" network.

* Check for NAT -- diable and notify ISP... part of the push towards "MS-IPv6-PLUS!"

* Check for competitors' products (DRDOS, Java, Mozilla, OpenOffice, etc) -- disable them and alert user that their software was incompatable with the latest service pack. This one is free for end-users!

No confirmation! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 11 years ago | (#6732215)

Can I at least press 'Ok' first?

No, Then it wouldn't be automoatic. If microsoft owns the software and users just have permission to run it, then by the eula they could leagally do this now. Actually, I think it would be a really good idea for critical updates for microsofts software and microsoft's software only. Many times the driver updates they have on windows update for mycomputer are not the correct ones. I would be very upset if those were automatic.

Already exists (1)

jpnews (647965) | about 11 years ago | (#6732219)

Aren't there already tools for administrators to rollout patches en masse? Seems like we made use of that during the deployment of Windows2000, for that matter.

If that's all MS is "considering," well we all know what that means. That's a trial balloon floated to see what the reaction will be. But it sounds like MS wants automatic patching on every desktop. Good christ on a fucking biscuit! They get targetted one week and the next they want every system to be identically compromised!?

I thought we couldnt't trust them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6732220)

A few months back microsoft advised that you do not trust microsoft certificates. Now they want to do automatic updates without any verification by the user? That's scary!

Good for home users (2, Informative)

martingunnarsson (590268) | about 11 years ago | (#6732231)

I think this is great, most Windows-users don't know what Windows update is anyway. Of course it should only distribute critical updates.
You can already have Windows download and install the most important updates on its own. I have this feature enabled on an internal webserver at work, and it works very well. It downloads the patches as they become available, then it installs them att 3 AM when there's noone visiting the server anyway.
Corporate users probably don't want a feature like this though, if a fix breaks the most critical business application, it's better to not apply it at all. They would be better off with an internal Windows update-server that only hosts the patches that has been OK'd by the tech department. This feature is already available as well.

Resistance is futile.. (-1, Troll)

Channard (693317) | about 11 years ago | (#6732232)

Auto updating? Never has the Slashdot Billy G Borg icon seemed so appropriate. Cue any remaining dial-up users tearing the modem cable out of their PC in an effort to stop the download of the latest 50MB Windows patch.

Okay, maybe that's a bit cynical, but any software company being able to add things at will to your desktop -after all, how many new Windows users would be canny enough to turn off auto-update first? I'd rather see glaring security holes actually closed off before they're shipped, not afterwards.

Service Packs (4, Interesting)

Ratbert42 (452340) | about 11 years ago | (#6732233)

Anyone remember NT4 Service Pack 6? The first one? The one that broke tcp/ip?

All Your Box Are Belong to US (1)

rssrss (686344) | about 11 years ago | (#6732235)

Pathetic Earthlings!

All Your Box Are Belong to US []

Future vision! (tm) (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | about 11 years ago | (#6732236)

Can I at least press 'Ok' first?

The following patch will do the following to your system:

  • Fix MBR by reinstalling Windows bootloader.
  • Find and delete all non-FAT/non-NTFS filesystems to clear up HD space
  • Remove viral software which is incompatible with the Microsoft Certified Licensing Scheme (MSLS)
  • System wide deletion of any files which might or might not violate copyright. This legal safety feature has been brought to you by the RIAA and MPAA.
  • Installation of peer-to-peer network. This system will take a modest 80 (eighty) gigabyes for useage by the Microsoft Peer-to-peer Hosting Services.

Ok - Ok - I'm Bill's towel boy, spank me please and install the patch!

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