Windows Update crosses the line to the sleazy.
This morning, as part of my regular updates, I went to Microsoft Windows Update to get any operating system updates that had been released (usually on Tuesdays). After clicking on the ‘Custom’ button, indicating that the Microsoft Update ActiveX control had already loaded, I was greeted with the following:
To use this latest version of Windows Update, you will need to upgrade some of its components. This version provides you with the following enhancements to our service:
- Express and custom installation: Choose only the most recent critical updates or pick and choose from all available updates.
- Smarter downloads: If downloading is interrupted, the process will start up where it left off the next time you download that update.
- Smaller downloads: Only the files your computer needs are downloaded, saving download time and connection-speed costs.
- One version: Only the most recent updates are offered to you.
- Less clutter: You can now hide updates you don’t want to see.
- Update news: A News from Microsoft section on the Windows Update home page displays tips and the latest information.
That all sounded good, except that it looks like several of those features were already present in the previous version. Curious, I clicked on the ‘Details’ arrow to find out exactly what was being updated. To my surprise and dismay, I read the following:
Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130)
1.1 MB , less than 1 minute
The Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool enables you to verify that your copy of Microsoft Windows is genuine. The tool validates your Windows installation by checking Windows Product Identification and Product Activation status.
Excuse me? This Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool is not what is being hyped above, and it is essentially the same piece of undesirable crap I ranted about in my post HNT: Respect Your Customers almost exactly one year ago. Apparently, Microsoft is desperate enough to get this piece of spyware on customers’ systems that they are willing to lie about it.