Microsoft Windows Update Strikes Again

Dennis Faas's picture

The Microsoft Windows Updates fiasco now includes several IT administrators after Microsoft reportedly began installing (without user permission) a resource-hogging search application company-wide, despite administrators having systems configured not to use the program.  It all resulted in slowing several systems to a crawl.

Originally, Microsoft tried to refute reports from frustrated bloggers that Enterprise customers were being forced to install the Windows XP desktop search tool whether they wanted it or not. Later that same day Microsoft finally admitted they had screwed up.

Bobbie Harder, a Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) program manager posted an entry in the WSUS Product Team Blog saying the update for Windows Desktop Search (WDS) had, in fact, been installed on some machines without administrator approval, offering an apology. Harder wrote in the post that on Tuesday Microsoft revised and released a WDS update package that was supposed to be optional, aimed at machines running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 that did not have the desktop search tool installed.

Blogs and forums were abuzz with frustrated IT administrators. At Sadjad's space blog one admin in charge of 3,000 PCs wrote that he was "slightly pissed of [sic] at M$ right now. All the clients have slowed to a crawl, and the file servers are having problems with the load."

Several forum visitors responding to Harder's blog posting and a Computerworld story claimed they had never authorized WDS installs on any systems in their care which should have prevented any updates.

Harder originally defended the measure, only admitting that "it may have appeared as if this update was deployed without approval." The WDS update has since been removed from the WSUS channel. Harder promised her team would not make the mistake a second time. "We are also working on improving our internal publishing processes to ensure this does not happen again in the future," she wrote.

Some users are very angry at Microsoft, noting they now had to figure out how to disable things they never wanted to begin with while others note that the trust level of the WSUS had taken a serious beating.

Harder also mentioned that users could uninstall the WDS update by using the Windows Add Or Remove Programs control panel applet, by running System Restore on Windows XP or by using an uninstall provided in the posting.

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