vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

Samsung disables/delays Windows Update on its PCs

by Mark Tyson on 25 June 2015, 11:12

Tags: Samsung (005935.KS), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacsjk

Add to My Vault: x

Samsung PCs kept up to date with its own SW Update service have been, at least periodically, disabling or delaying official Windows Updates that come from Microsoft. A component of the software installed by Samsung and signed with a Samsung-generated digital certificate is called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe. This program has been found to work as described.

Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker discovered the Samsung software feature and has been trying to reconcile its use by chatting to both Samsung and Microsoft about its use. Baker published his findings on his personal blog on Tuesday and updated the post earlier today. While Samsung might have created the program with the best intentions, Microsoft strongly recommends that no one should disable, delay or modify the normal Windows Update behaviour in this way.

Samsung's reasoning

The key reasoning behind Samsung's wish to delay/disable Windows updates is because some updates might cause certain features of your Samsung PC to stop working correctly. In a chat session with a Samsung tech representative Barker 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."

Mr Barker updated his post today with some more information from Samsung, the South Korean firm claimed that it wasn't blocking OS updates but "As part of our commitment to consumer satisfaction, we are providing our users with the option to choose if and when they want to update the Windows software on their products". Barker agrees that the Disable_Windowsupdate.exe is simply a brake on automatic updates rather than a prevention. However he says that Samsung's method is not the best or safe way to provide a workaround.

Microsoft's statement

In a statement published by ComputerWorld Microsoft said it was aware of Samsung's software actions. It said that "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." The spokesperson added that Samsung was cutting an important link that allowed Microsoft software updates, including vulnerability patches, to be delivered.

Even if the Samsung program is only delaying updates until they are OKed by the end user, that delay time could be critical. Personally I have never owned a Samsung Windows PC but with my experience using two generations of Galaxy Note Android devices I decided to simply (more or less) ignore any system update with the word Samsung attached to it due to prior bad experiences of endless update loops and not even wanting the majority of Samsung's ecosystem wares. If Samsung bloatware is anything like as pervasive in Windows it would be unfortunate.



HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Wondering if they do a similar thing on their chromebooks? I have one running on the beta updates channel so it's doubtful but, this isn't the first time we've heard of Samsung messing around with various Operating Systems.. don't they also do something screwy with their android devices?

I will admit that on the whole I'm a fan of Samsung. My PC monitor is one of theirs (for some reason the rear of the screen which never gets seen has a beautiful design) and when it needs replacing I'll probably look to replace it with another Samsung.
With the mess the updates have been in for the last couple years you can't blame a PC Maker trying to avoid the problems windows update presents on a monthly basis. They are likely trying to keep up an image of reliability and save some expense on the helplines.
Samsung PCs kept up to date with its own SW Update service have been, at least periodically, disabling or delaying official Windows Updates that come from Microsoft. A component of the software installed by Samsung and signed with a Samsung-generated digital certificate is called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe. This program has been found to work as described.
Two questions:
1. Why the heck does Samsung feel that they need an update service that covers more than their “value add” software plus drivers?
2. What does Microsoft think about an OEM unilaterally deciding to stop their patching?
Personally I have never owned a Samsung Windows PC but with my experience using two generations of Galaxy Note Android devices I decided to simply (more or less) ignore any system update with the word Samsung attached to it due to prior bad experiences of endless update loops and not even wanting the majority of Samsung's ecosystem wares. If Samsung bloatware is anything like as pervasive in Windows it would be unfortunate.
Nice to know that I'm not the only one. When I went shopping for an 8“ Android tablet, Samsung were at the bottom of the list because of the bloat experiences with my Note 10.1 tablet and S3 phone. (Ended up buying a discounted Lenovo Yoga 2 and it's actually a pretty good device, apart from the odd thermal throttling message).

But Samsung aren't the only ones doing this - ask any LG G3 owner about the ”fun" with VoiceMate… :censored: Shame because otherwise the G3's a pretty good device.
I wouldn't be surprised if this has something to do with Window 10, and I hope it's just a case of Samsung wanting to test everything first before giving the thumbs up. Though it apparently also installs on Windows XP(?!) and Vista.

Anyway, there are surely better ways to go about it than this, whatever the reasons.
Samsung has an institutional history of security disasters. This is no different