back to article Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

Samsung has promised to release a patch for its computers so that they no longer kill off automatic Windows updates from Microsoft. On Wednesday, reverse-engineering specialist Patrick Barker blogged* about a program suspiciously called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe that is bundled on Sammy machines and shuts down automatic …

  1. John Tserkezis

    "Samsung has a commitment to security"

    Sure, that's why they disabled Windows Update in the first place.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Get them by the contract and their minds and souls will follow

      It also has contractual commitment not to interfere with key OS functionality under their OEM agreement.

      I suspect that a call from Redmond along the lines of "Mr Chrisoprase is very upset" was involved in getting this one right as promptly as they did.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get them by the contract and their minds and souls will follow

        But automatic Windows Updates isn't "key OS functionality"...

        Unless you regard the ability of MS to force the delivery of marketing spam (aka "Get Win 10") as "key OS functionality".

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I've never seen a company where is so obvious as they take the "let's throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" methodology and run with it than Samsung. Smart TVs that believe they're in another country even of you configure them with a UK postcode so all the channels are unordered in the guide until you find the country setting which is somewhere else completely, phones that duplicate all the Google apps yet offer nothing more, laptops that don't update, and awful UIs in everything.

  2. Stevie

    Bah!

    That's nice. Now, can we do sometthing about getting rid of that windows update icon that keeps trying to get me to bork my laptop with Windows 10?

    1. joed

      Re: Bah!

      And don't forget about forced telemetry helping you MS, help force you to "upgrade" to 10 (and this activity overrides your previous choices). As usual,old Windows slows down with the age due to "improvements" applied via updates (newer version of Office will do the same). The icon is just the tip of an iceberg.

      BTW, I've just tested build 10130. Not ready is name of the game. And while I had no problems setting it up without MS account, disabling all cloud "conveniences" etc, number of settings that MS took control away from the user is just unacceptable. Last but not least, start button/menu stopped working soon after I customized it to my needs. Lipstick on 8 pig.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        Uninstall then hide KB3035583 (nagging) and KB2952664 (phoning home in spite of CEIP settings).

      2. RobHib
        Flame

        @joed -- Re: Bah! (And the new era of Rented Software that MS has always dreamt of.)

        '...number of settings that MS took control away from the user is just unacceptable'

        Yeah, we know. Reckon it's the end of the road for us as far as Windows is concerned. To us, the 10 'upgrade' means: a lack of access to user controls (an increasing trend with every U/G since XP); Windows now as 'rented' software; an assumption that one's machine is always online (many of ours aren't even networked); automatic downloads essentially now forced on users with the network download costs charged to us–not Microsoft, etc. etc. Windows has moved from being an O/S to a blatant marketing environment for Microsoft.

        Well, for us, this is completely unacceptable. So it's bye-byes time Microsoft!

        Even Blind Freddy can see what MS is up to. We streetwise IT-ers immediately smelt a rat the instant Microsoft offered Windows 10 as a 'free' upgrade. Right, old-version Windows is totally incompatible with the new rented-software environment. (We shouldn't be surprised however, for years MS has been toying with the idea of rented software, now they've achieve it.)

        ___

        Translation for those who've only a room-temperature IQ: 'Software as a Service' simply MEANS 'Rented Software'.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: @joed -- Bah! (And the new era of Rented Software that MS has always dreamt of.)

          That's the smartphone 'software for luser' attitude spilling over systems often used by competent users for complex tasks. We really need an home edition (for lusers) and a professional one for people needing to tailor PC settings to their needs and who actually know how to setup a wifi connection, for example.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: @joed -- Bah! (And the new era of Rented Software that MS has always dreamt of.)

            In my experience, anyone using the word "luser" should be barred forever from touching any computer that they don't own and use for their sole personal use. It indicates a brain-damaged attitude that switches off important thought processes.

            1. RobHib

              @gnasher729 - Re: @joed -- Bah! (And the new, etc....)

              Leaving aside the etiquette/rights and wrongs of using "luser", there's a serious point here.

              Microsoft has continually moved its Windows O/S towards the LCD-user (obviously to maximize sales/market penetration). In so doing, it's produced a 4GB bloatware behemoth that many technical users simply do not need.

              Just as fundamentally important is that 4GB of bloatware code is considerably harder to maintain and keep secure (not to mention runs slower) than a basic minimalist one. Clearly, there's a real demand for a Win32/64-API compatible O/S that's techie compatible but I'm of the opinion that'll never come from MS (or anyone else).

              We've worked (and are still working) on the assumption that as MS will never provide it and that there's no alternative–ReactOS being little more than a joke after a decade and half–that we've no alternative but to reevaluate our O/S strategy from scratch.

              Damn nuisance really.

          2. RobHib

            Re: @joed -- Bah! (And the new era of Rented Software that MS has always dreamt of.)

            Right, but seems we're not getting those options. (See my additional comments).

      3. RobHib

        @joed - Re: Bah! (additional to my previous post)

        Despite what I said, we'll see what the final product is like before a final decision.

        That said, everything we've seen so far about Windows 10 is that it's a more integrated environment than ever. What we want is the exact opposite–that's to just use the parts of the O/S we need, basically that means a more modular O/S.

        Simply, that's a back-to-basics O/S. Once an O/S was just a file-loader with basic file management tools, add a UI for windows-type environment if necessary. That's all we need, and Windows 10 is definitely not that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      You can remove all the gwx schedule stuff via regedt32 to get rid of icon,that you have to first allow administrator access says it all really.

      All your computer belong to us

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Just disable the task in the Task Scheduler running and resetting it at startup. It's under microsoft/windows/setup/gwx.

      I agree using a core OS function to advertise a free upgrade was a very stupid move, and the persistent icon another. But Nadella is far less clever than most people think.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Esme

    sounds like you need to change distros!

    1. petur
      FAIL

      yes, one where an app can't disable OS updates

  4. Christian Berger

    That's why we need to split up the market into hard- and software

    One group must provide the hardware, including full documentation, and another group must provide the software.

    As long as hardware vendors are allowed to put their own software onto those devices, we will always have such problems. And the problem _will_ increase with overcomplex systems like UEFI.

    1. Craigness

      Re: That's why we need to split up the market into hard- and software

      Why not get rid of the software market and make OEMs put their own software on? It works well for Apple. Samnix, anyone?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A non story for Europeans as Samsung stopped selling them here last year.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Laptops now only have a useful life of one year?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Some don't even last that long, such is the race to the bottom.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Black Helicopters

    ...to make sure Samsung's hardware drivers were not removed or overridden by Microsoft's upgrades....

    Hmm. Now you'd have thought that updated drivers were a Good Thing, unless of course the supplied ones have something else built in that they're getting a kickback for.....

    Maybe it is Lenovo all over again, but we just haven't dug far enough to find the root (hah!) cause yet. It would make more sense.

    1. Craigness

      Tame hardware driver

      Think of it this way: you pay extra for a laptop with a fancy array of speakers and "Beats" licensed technology built in. Then Microsoft removes the software that controls the speakers and instead of "Beats deep bass 7.1 virtual surround" or whatever they call it, you have "Microsoft stereo audio".

      1. Bronek Kozicki
        Megaphone

        Re: Tame hardware driver

        In such case I'd say : Kudos to Microsoft. Fancy hardware should not require fancy drivers to work properly, or if it needs such a driver (think GPU) then it should be within framework provided by the OS - to ensure that it will continue to work when OS gets updated. If there is no such driver, and the vendor is unable to make your fancy hardware work properly with generic driver, then the vendor is being negligent and you should not have bought his hardware (and I am sorry for you, if you did).

        Of course Linux has such a framework, it is called "kernel sources, drivers directory" and any vendor is free to contribute under GPL the drivers that your fancy hardware may require. Under different licensing terms, he could also provide Microsoft with the drivers to supply with the OS, but this is not really necessary if the binary driver is certified, signed and versioned properly.

        It is hardware vendors who do not make proper drivers for their "special" hardware who are the problem. Which is good reason not to buy such hardware in the first place.

        1. lsces

          Re: Tame hardware driver

          Adding drivers to Linux costs nothing which is not the case for Windows .. which delights in making sure one HAS to provide software needed to make custom hardware work. The generic drivers only provide very basic functions and rely on at least a custom configuration file to work.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tame hardware driver

            Adding drivers to Linux costs nothing which is not the case for Windows .. which delights in making sure one HAS to provide software needed to make custom hardware work. The generic drivers only provide very basic functions and rely on at least a custom configuration file to work.

            And who's fault is that? Not the vendors…

            On Linux, the kernel ships the drivers, and at most, they might need a firmware blob to work. So long as the license agreement is reasonable and the blob is easily accessible, distributions can ship the firmware blob and things JustWork™.

            It's when the hardware vendors get uppity about sharing documentation or firmware details because they fear revealing "trade secrets" and other silly proprietary games that the end user winds up jumping through hoops, even on Windows in some cases.

            1. Bronek Kozicki

              Re: Tame hardware driver

              @Stuart Exactly my point, taken to logical conclusion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought hardware updates were only ever in the optional category for windows update.

      Personally, I've never seen a hardware update install automatically.

  7. Jim 43

    Next step

    Is to get rid of the boot sector virus on those machines.

  8. Chairo

    If Samsung's software is interrupting Microsoft's updates then not only are people going to be at risk, but it could affect system stability

    I suppose the reason Samsung disabled windows update in the first place, was exactly this - systems getting unstable after the drivers were updated automatically. One doesn't go to such lengths as disabling windows system update, without a very pressing reason.

    The question is now, if the broken drivers will still be installed once they enable windows update again.

    Not a good time to be a (private) Samsung PC customer.

  9. Luiz Abdala

    Samsung's hardware drivers were not removed or overridden by Microsoft's upgrades.

    If it is different from MS, why don't you use a different version number for it? Like "this driver is specifically designet for model X, and other (MS) drivers are incompatible by default".

    HP has done it with their printers for ages; most of them work on generic PCL drivers, but few of them run on "special cookie" drivers particular to that model to enable some "extra" features. The option would be that they won't work at all, and ask for the original drivers, which is no surprise. If the MS driver is bogus, just flag it incompatible and deny the change.

    Am I missing something?

  10. conscience

    Trusted sources

    I've had similar problems to this before so I feel Samsung's pain on this one. It appears that once any driver has been updated via MS update then all the other drivers are then automatically installed as well in the future. Whenever I encountered this problem I ended up editing the registry IIRC to stop the wrong drivers from overwriting the working drivers repeatedly.

    The much larger issue for Microsoft here IMO is that is if people don't feel they can trust ALL of the OS updates (to just be genuine security fixes and legitimate OS feature updates and not the wrong drivers, spyware, adverts, unwanted feature/option removal, a hotline to the NSA, etc.) then it's a risk taking ANY updates from MS at all.

    Personally I disabled Windows updates last year, then pretty soon relegated my Windows 7/8 partitions to offline gaming only and switched to Mint for my main OS. What I like best about the switch is I really appreciate getting updates for my OS that I can actually trust to make my PC more secure without interfering with anything else.

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