SOURCE: Windows Secrets

October 25, 2007 03:15 ET

PC Reboots Due to Microsoft OneCare, Says Windows Secrets

Antivirus Package Silently Changes Automatic Update Settings

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - October 25, 2007) - In this week's edition of the Windows Secrets Newsletter, associate editor Scott Dunn asserts that Windows Live OneCare is the culprit in at least some of the recently publicized reports of unauthorized Windows updates and unwanted rebooting of computers. Windows Live OneCare, an optional Microsoft antivirus package, changes the settings of Automatic Updates regardless of the configuration settings chosen by the user.

"We repeatedly installed OneCare on computers running Windows Vista and Windows XP," said Dunn. "Without exception, OneCare changed each machine's settings to fully automatic even if Automatic Updates had been completely disabled. Even worse, OneCare silently enables Windows services that had been carefully disabled using Microsoft's own configuration utilities."

Windows Secrets initially reported instances of Windows Update installing files without user authorization in the newsletter's Sept.13 issue. It followed up with a report on Sept. 27 that the stealthy updates mistakenly prevent the installation of security patches on some copies of Windows XP.

Initially cited by several sources as a problem with Windows Update, the editors of Windows Secrets discovered this is not the case. Several bloggers earlier this month blamed Windows Update for somehow changing its own settings, installing patches without user authorization, and rebooting PCs. The editors of Windows Secrets report that Windows Update is not causing problems of this kind. Instead, Microsoft's OneCare security package -- in its full version and its free-trial version -- is making the changes, the publication says. The complete story can be found at http://WindowsSecrets.com/2007/10/25/ts.

"Windows Update is not responsible for the unauthorized configuration changes, installing Live OneCare is the culprit," stated Brian Livingston, editorial director of WindowsSecrets.com. "No notice is shown to the user that the settings are being changed, and we've found no way to even prevent the installation of OneCare from doing it. OneCare simply changes the AU option to 'update my PC automatically' regardless of previous settings."

In the Windows Secrets Newsletter available today, Dunn provides readers who wish to use OneCare step by step instructions for returning Windows Automatic Updates to their preferred settings.

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WindowsSecrets.com is a Web site that publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter with more than 275,000 subscribers. Published since 2003, the newsletter sends its subscribers tips and tricks to get the most out of Microsoft Windows. For more information, visit www.WindowsSecrets.com.

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