Samsung inexplicably disables Windows Update on their laptops through silent tool

By Scorpus ยท 27 replies
Jun 24, 2015
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  1. samsung windows update tool app silent install samsung laptop terrible

    Manufacturers sometimes do some pretty inexplicable things to their products in the name of helping end users. For example, it has recently been discovered that Samsung is quietly and automatically installing an application on their laptops, through the company's software updater tool, that disables Windows Update.

    The app in question is reportedly called "Disable_Windowsupdate.exe", and does exactly that: it disables Windows Update, and will continuously do so on each reboot even after a user re-enables it. The tool is digitally signed by Samsung Electronics, and is installed silently through their SW Update software without the user's knowledge.

    This suspicious activity was discovered by Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker while attempting to troubleshoot a Windows Update issue on a Samsung laptop. It's unknown which laptops are affected, though the first reports highlighting this behavior appeared as early as April 2015, as The Next Web notes.

    According to a Samsung support representative speaking to Barker, the app is installed to prevent Windows Update from installing incompatible driver updates. The rep said, via online chat:

    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.

    While the support rep gives us some idea of the motive behind silently installing this app, both Samsung and Microsoft are yet to make an official statement on the matter.

    Disabling Windows Updates in this fashion is bad for a number of reasons, even if Samsung wants to prevent it from installing incompatible drivers. Firstly, disabling Windows Update prevents users from receiving critical security patches, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Preventing a user from receiving security patches is not something a company should be doing, ever.

    Secondly, the way in which Samsung's SW Update tool installs this app (allegedly over a non-secure protocol) is vulnerable to attack. If someone with malicious intent compromises Samsung's server, intercepts the update delivery mechanism, or compromises Samsung's certificate, all sorts of malware could be installed on Samsung's laptops without a user knowing about it.

    And finally, it's unlikely that a driver update installed through Windows Update will completely break a device. Microsoft does a pretty good job of installing correct, working drivers through automatic updates, so there's no real need for an OEM to disable their installation by disabling Windows Update entirely.

    Hopefully Samsung will see the error of their ways, and release an update through their SW Update tool that automatically removes this unnecessary behavior.

    Permalink to story.

  2. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Addict Posts: 303   +97

    The first thing I do after installing windows in my computers is also disabling windows update.
  3. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

  4. I keep telling people when it comes to computers (smart tv's, desktops, laptops, phones) stay away from that Korean peninsula. These guys (Lg, Samsung) are habitual offenders.
  5. This is why I stick with custom-built laptops.
  6. I still dont understand why people use OEM preinstalled windows. Its... just... wrong.

    There should be an iniciative to prevent such behaviour. Sorta like signature edition M$ is already doing.
  7. I also have auto update disabled, if there is a critical(really critical) update available I would do it manually.

    My windows 7 machine has been using the same OS installation for 5 years or so and I have never had any trouble with it.
    DaveBG likes this.
  8. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 356   +203

    I'm not surprise that people disable updates, although I always set 'Let me choose wether to download and install' and install safety and compatibility patches, skip and hide on those SSD hogging IE updates, new drivers that cause conflicts (and there were few of those), etc. For that reason Windows 10 won't land in my primary machine until someone come up with a tool to disable M$ Update and selectively choose safety patches.
  9. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    I find it interesting so many people disable windows updates. I can't imagine doing this for pretty much the same reasons that are stated in the article. I definitely wouldn't want the manufacture to make this decision for me either. Maybe I'm weird for wanting my software to be up to date and secure.
    fimbles, Auth3ntic0 and treeski like this.
  10. Nothing wrong with disabling windows update. You still can manually update. People that disable windows update likely know what they are doing, meaning there probably not novice users and check for updates regularly on their own. There is nothing wrong with that. Your average user has no clue that windows update is even on when you first turn on a computer and set it up.
    DaveBG and noel24 like this.
  11. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 990   +233

    The problem is, despite how absolutely irritating the OEM software is, normal users who do not use it will never get firmware/driver updates.
  12. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 356   +203

    Yes, common sense would suggest it but now it's a threat to M$, that they would probably want to deliver marketing content in their new OS through forced updates.
  13. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 168   +45

    I set mine to manually download and install. I don't like the automatic updates because there are sometimes updates that I don't want. I check for updates every week, so it's not like I'm ignorant to wanting updates, I just like being able to choose.
  14. jalmos

    jalmos TS Rookie

    "I disable updates because I know what I'm doing." Sorry, but no.

    Seriously, have you ever even read the KB descriptions for the OS updates? Try it right now and then say how much you *don't* want those things to be patched. I just checked my last three and it was two security holes and fixing lang packs slowing boot time. If only they would patch more things and do it faster.

    Plus, if you do know what you're doing, you can easily roll back any errors and have a backup on the off chance there's a serious one.
    Teko03 likes this.
  15. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,347   +1,990

    While I turn off the auto-updates, I still want to maintain control and update those items I think are necessary. Sounds like Samsung really screwed the pouch on this one!
  16. OneSpeed

    OneSpeed TS Addict Posts: 286   +92

    I have updates notify me and it let me choose the ones I want. Some updates make s my machine do funny things, so I have to revert.
  17. urbanman2004

    urbanman2004 TS Rookie

    Sht like this is why I sold all of my Samsung products I bought
  18. Well said. People who deliberately don't enable automatic system patching are the reason we have so many successful, high impact virus and malware outbreaks. If they don't mind their personal information being stolen, go right ahead. I however put faith in my operating system's authors being on top of keeping my machine as secure as a machine not unplugged and 6 foot under in a titanium vault can be.
  19. jonny702

    jonny702 TS Enthusiast Posts: 36   +11

    You should also disable any antivirus and put it in your Network's DMZ. Make it REALLY secure.
  20. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 168   +45

    I always install recommended updates and security patches, but it's those optional updates that I want control over and therefore disable automatic updates. I don't Microsoft installing Bing or other junk on my computer.
  21. Chris Just

    Chris Just TS Enthusiast Posts: 32

    I never use any company software updater tools and it is the first thing I get rid of on any new clients PCs. I can list on one hand the number of clients that have had problems do to windows updates over the years since I have owned a repair shop. No one should disable Windows updater and any one with a Samsung windows PC or tablet should call Samsung and demand them to remove the program because it leaves you open to security concerns that are much larger then if a devise on your PC stops working!
  22. Jon Murano

    Jon Murano TS Rookie

    This sounds great, because that USB 3.0 updates from M$ gave me such a HEADACHE just a while back...
  23. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Nothing like a Windows update to the .net framework that screws over something work related... And some of them are difficult or nigh on impossible to remove.
  24. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    While I agree that a Windows Update will rarely break things it does infinitely more good than bad in the big picture. Broni would have more than a thousand Bronis could handle in the Malware forum if not for Windows Updates.
  25. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Addict Posts: 303   +97

    I actually do not have any antivirus installed (including MS essentials), and my PC is OUTSIDE the DMZ. :)
    wiyosaya likes this.

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