I have to say - as an old hack from the IBM 24 bit world - even I knew what I was getting involved in when I bought a new machine with XP on... It was just too much hassle to switch it back to 2000 or NT and (I confess) I was curious.
If this sort of thing really bothers you what the *** were you doing on '98? Leave Mr Gates out of the equation and move over to Linux or Seuss or somesuch... But that's another thread - I said my piece
that's not quite correct.
the story is that windowsxp sp1 license agreement contains some controversial point that users must accept to install the service pack with contains some advanced feautures such as autoupdate.
Microsoft needs to scan system components and configuration to supply security and critical updates in rder to deliver the correct updates, this happened also before the autoupdate feature, what changes now is that you must accept that all the system updates are now transparent... means that every once in a while windowsxp automatically checks available updates and eventually patches the system without you even know about what's going on in the background.
Moreover SP1 contains a revised version of WPA (Windows Product Activation). Before installation SP1 checks the product serial number and proceeds only in case is a valid one or if the system is not cracked. If a system is not legally eligible for an update the service pack quits installation and prevents the user to access WindowsUpdate internet feature. In some days/weeks also WindowsUpdate will check serial and system integrity via the internet before you can actually download updates.
Another recent news is Windows Media Player will do the same autochecks for media components of the system along with a restrictive fix to DRM. Most people complain about DRM (Digital Rights Management) which prevent WMA (Windows Media Audio) files to play after a certain time/date (digital licenses expire) or on other machines where they are created.
All these things make people say Microsoft breaks into people's privacy... sort of *big brother* controversy.
Microsoft say anyway that no personal info is gathered in any of the above automatic checks. People don't know to believe it or not.
The thing is:
people complain about frequent critical updates and the total cost of keeping windows up to date and about non experienced users who are not concerned in securit issues and don't know actually what to do or whether update their system. Autoupdate comes after this kind of requests.
What I say is you can't have it all.
If one wants a system up to date but don't want to bother about this then have to accepts autochecks of the system via the internet every now and then without his knowledge.
As for the serial number... I think it's Microsoft's right to provide updates and support only to legal users of their products, many softwares out there do this from years now but no one ever complained. If you have a regular license of the software there is no need to worry, differently you'll get busted. You can't complain with a software house because you have a pirate copy of their software and they want to know about it through the services they are delivering.
If you don't want this then do the thing manually yourself as you did till yesterday, autoupdate is only a feature that can be useful and it's not forceful. Also disable DRM in Windows Media Player or use another player if you don't want this ****.
It's all about choice, and say what you like you do have a choice for all these new toys, you can use them or not.
If you suspect MS is doing something wrong with your pc then just switch to Mac (and spend a lot more if you ever did) or some distro of Linux (and enjoy months of frustrations)... you'll find autoupdates there also which will do the same scans of WindowsXP. Decide who you can trust.
microsfot is doing this so they dont look like the fools when a critical update or security floor is discovered they just apply it in the background your systems sweet and thats it. you dont know about it only microsoft. i think this is more to do with there reputation on security rather than user convenience
I deal with servers.
CodeRed worm and Nimda virus spread all over internet about a year ago. The infection lasted for months. Still I can see sporadic CodeRed requests on my managed servers...
Note that if only network admins had installed service pack 2 for Windows2000 in time all Microsoft 2k servers would have simply ignored both these plagues.
The facts are:
1. Network Admins cost some money.
2. Corporates often think machines needs to be set up once and for all and run eternally by themselves.
3. Network Admins often are unprepared fake-pros (you don't need certifications to browse a log)
Autoupdate (which is also included in Windows2000 Service Pack3 and will be included in Windows .NET2003) can help preventing situations like the above.
Lately there are lots of people running broadband connection without the least knowledge of what that means except they can download music and software much faster than before, most of them haven't ever heard the word *patch*.
Imagine worms extending to client computers at the light of speed (Nimda covered Asia, US and Europe in less than 12 hours).
Are you still thinking features like Autoupdate would only protect Microsoft interests?
Autoupdating client systems with critical patches will not prevent the world from discovering and/or publicly addressing security hazards or bugs, it's full of developers out there... but if you are a dumb user and don't want to know or care about then you can choose autoupdate.
Finally (again) if you don't like it (and I don't like it) you can easily disable it (as I did).
Give the people at Microsoft a break. They work, and hard work makes money. If you have the right idea on how to do things, then its usually best if you just accept their idea and throw your simple minded views about Windows security and Windows XP in the trash! Because, if it werent for Microsoft, some people on this forum and around the world wouldnt even have a job dammit! Now, Im not saying that Microsoft is the solution to everything, but at least end users could give them some credit on trying to keep them happy.