Why You Should Turn Off Microsoft Auto Updates

by on 02/16/2010 in Security, Vulnerabilities

If you were one of the unlucky users who installed the last security update (MS10-015) you may be experiencing Windows XP crashes. You can read more about this issue from our article posted on February 12, 2010 here.

How to turn off Microsoft Auto Updates: Go to Start/Control Panel/Automatic Updates and select Turn off Automatic Updates or Notify me but don’t automatically download or install them.

What caused this issue? An interaction between security patch MS10-015 and Malware may be one cause, but the company is not ruling out other potential causes according to a post by Jerry Bryant on the Microsoft Security Response Center.

Microsoft reports that only a limited amount of users were affected which I find hard to believe. This is quoted from the Microsoft Security Response Center“I am writing to let you know that we are aware that after installing the February security updates a limited number of users are experiencing issues restarting their computers.”

The fact that Microsoft owns the market share, how is it possible that only a limited amount of users were affected by this security patch? The patch was available long enough to wreak havoc on millions of computers. I am sure the Microsoft camp will never let us know the estimated number of infected computers.

Customers who are experiencing issues after installing any of our security updates can get help resolving the issues by either going to https://consumersecuritysupport.microsoft.com or by calling 1-866-PCSafety (1-866-727-2338). International customers can find local support contact numbers here: http://support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx.

20 Responses to “Why You Should Turn Off Microsoft Auto Updates”

  1. Darren Kopp

    Feb 16th, 2010

    You can either turn on automatic updates, in which if something like this happens, you have support. Or you can turn off automatic updates, so if you get completely f***ed by an exploit, you have no support. Good advice.

    Also, ditch XP dude. Seriously.

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 16th, 2010

      Darren,

      I provided two choices, both will provide information from Microsoft on what updates are available. You just need to install them yourself and not automatically.

  2. BunnygotBlog

    Feb 16th, 2010

    My automatic update has been put to off for a while now. My hubby updates or tells me what to update and when. He never jumps on updates blah blah coz he wants to hear if it has any problems first so we sit on it for a couple of weeks before doing updating anything and I mean anything;D

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 16th, 2010

      He is smart! Let others be the guinea pigs. My rule of thumb is to wait at least a week before you update.

  3. Bill D.

    Feb 16th, 2010

    This is the worst advice i have heard in a long time. Just tell people to shut off automatic updates so they are vulnerable to exploits…. great advice…

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 17th, 2010

      Bill,

      You have an opinion, but please understand that it’s highly unlikely if you were to wait 7 days to update that you will be attacked by some exploit.

  4. Hey Frank, good advice. I had an update crash my computer about a year ago. Ended up having to wipe my hard drive clean and start over. Boy did that hurt.

    I’ve got a new one for you today.

    I just got an email from “Facebook Manager [confirmation@facebook.com]” The message said, “Because of the measures taken to provide safety to our clients, your password has been changed. You can find your new password in attached document.”

    RIGHT. There is zero chance that I’m going to open that attachment. I can only imagine what a Pandora’s box that would be.

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 17th, 2010

      Jonathan,

      Beware, it could be a phishing scam. Was your password changed?

      • I deleted it and no, my password was not changed. Couldn’t help wondering how many people got the same email and opened it without checking their fb login first.

        • Frank Jovine

          Feb 17th, 2010

          Jonathan,

          I am sure there were many that received the same phishing email. Good call!

  5. Andrew@BloggingGuide

    Feb 17th, 2010

    I was not one of the unlucky users but I will definitely follow your advice. Thanks!

  6. BJ

    Feb 17th, 2010

    While I don’t use Windows anymore (am a Linux fanboy now but I do have a Windows VM within Linux that I use for testing Windows software), I do have friends that use Windows.

    Consequently, I am often pressed to give advice on Windows updates. I subscribe to Frank’s rule of thumb that it’s prudent to wait at least a week before pulling the trigger.

    But here’s my question. When I was using Windows, there used to be several places I could go to see if a particular update was buggy and causing problems. Ask Woody and dslreports were two that I frequently looked at, but I never could find a clearing-house type site that would simply list buggy updates. Ask Woody was the closest to that . . . he would always have a “patch Tuesday” article.

    So. is there now some sort of clearing-house on these things, or do you still have to poke around looking for reports of trouble?

    (BTW, the reason I left Windows was related to this very issue . . .buggy updates, and more specifically M$ pushing out updates claiming that it was an update server malfunction)

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 17th, 2010

      Bob,

      The best place to see if there are issues with a known patch would be the media and or the MS blog.

  7. John

    Feb 17th, 2010

    Automatic updates are always either turned off or set to just notify me. There are too many things that can go wrong when it is set to auto download and auto install. Nice tips.

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 17th, 2010

      John,

      Thank you! I appreciate the comment.

  8. love2spooge

    Feb 20th, 2010

    maybe this is microsoft tactics to make people use (buy) Win 7…

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 20th, 2010

      It applies for any MS OS not only XP.

  9. Richard A

    Feb 22nd, 2010

    Based on the link I saw to this (which was basically just the title) I clicked with the intention of writing a comment attacking you for giving dangerous advice but having actually read this I have to say it’s probably a good idea, so apologies for my initial thoughts!

    • Frank Jovine

      Feb 22nd, 2010

      Richard,

      Thank you for reading it through!

  10. Always Online

    Mar 4th, 2010

    ur blog post is simply awsome. I am just going through and founding so much info. By the way this was very new to me and I never thought this could be a problem.. i always have set it for automatic. The only problem I faced sometime is “if i m doing some work and it got updated automatically, it restart my system or keep giving pop up continuously till i restart”