Microsoft MVP and Windows expert Patrick Barker has discovered that Samsung explicitly tries to disable Windows Update on at least some of the computers it sells. He came across this discovery when he was trying to help a user troubleshoot issues with his Samsung machine.
How Does It Work?
Samsung’s software update tool reportedly manages and downloads a file named “Disable_Windowsupdate.exe” and tries to disable Windows Update randomly.
Here is what Samsung says about it’s update tool:
“You can install the relevant software for your computer easier and faster using SW Update. The SW Update program helps you install and update your software and driver easily.”
This update tool is a typical original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tool and not uncommon. No matter who your OEM is, such a tool is integrated in your computer to keep the manufacturer’s drivers and software updated along with any other third-party software (bloatware).
However, the major difference between Samsung’s SW Update and other OEM’s tools is that Samsung’s tool disables Windows Update, as Barker pointed out.
The surprising part is that even if you re-enable Windows Update, SW Update will still disable it whenever you reboot your computer. Even more shocking is that Barker also discovered that the executable file is downloaded by the SW Update as part of a zip file directly from Samsung’s website and the digital certificate is even signed by Samsung!
The Adverse Effect
Windows Update is more than just a way to update drivers and software and plays a significant role when it comes to security. So, disabling it can make a PC vulnerable to serious threats and Samsung should address all the affected computers immediately.
There have been complaints about this issue since last April, but Samsung doesn’t seem to be really interested in taking this as a serious concern and addressing the issue.
It is still unclear on how many Samsung PCs SW Update has downloaded and run the executable file, but the report of complaints undoubtedly puts a stamp indicating that where there is smoke, there must be fire.
Microsoft has already expressed its displeasure and is in talks with Samsung.
“Windows Update remains a critical component of our security commitment to our customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We do not recommend disabling or modifying Windows Update in any way as this could expose a customer to increased security risks. We are in contact with Samsung to address this issue.”
When Barker contacted the Samsung’s support team to get an answer, here is what he was told:
“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.”
This shows that Samsung is already aware that Windows Update was overwriting drivers on some of its PCs and, as a fix, deliberately disabled Windows Update.
Needless to say, this is a wrong step to take and to fix such a problem, Samsung should’ve worked together with Microsoft and not against it.
The latest update is that Samsung has also confirmed that they are looking into this matter.
“We are aware of Mr. Barker’s claim regarding Windows 8.1 updates on our computers,” a Samsung spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We take security concerns very seriously and we are working with Microsoft to address this matter.”
Now let’s wait and see how soon it will be resolved.