Samsung has agreed to end its quiet campaign of blocking Microsoft's Windows Update. The company will take "a few days" to issue its own update so that it doesn't interfere with Windows Update on Samsung laptops and tablets.
Samsung has been using an executable filed named "Disable_Windowsupdate" to do just that: disable Windows Update.
The file was packaged inside Samsung's SW Update software and had gone unnoticed until last week, when Patrick Barker, coder and Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) got wind of a troubleshooting issue involving Windows Update.
The individual's Windows Update program wouldn't update Windows automatically or check for new patches to install. Instead, it kept reverting to the "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download or install them" setting.
After being called out, Samsung acknowledged the issue and reaffirmed its commitment to its partnership with Microsoft.
"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 spokesperson said. "Samsung remains committed to providing a trustworthy user experience and we encourage customers with product questions or concerns to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG."
Samsung's motive for crippling the Windows Update tool appears to boil down to a tussle over driver software. The Windows Update tool searches out hardware and software updates for all system components, but Samsung appears a bit more trusting of its own software to update its own products with new drivers.
When Microsoft learned of what Samsung had done, a company spokesperson underscored the importance of letting the Windows Update tool do its job.
"Windows Update remains a critical component of our security commitment to our customers," the Microsoft spokesman said. "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."
As for Barker, he has updated his original blog post to pat Samsung on its back for righting the wrong and owning up to it.
"I'm very glad Samsung is committed to implementing a resolution to this issue so soon," said Barker. "Ultimately, in a perfect world, I hope OEMs will learn from Superfish/SW Update, as it would be disheartening to see a similar issue occur in the future."