Microsoft kicked up a bit of a stir recently, when it began what appeared to be a practice of updating files on individuals' computers even when they had turned off the automatic update feature in Windows XP and Vista. That first came to light courtesy of the folks at the "Windows Secrets" newsletter, which found that nine files in XP and Vista were changed on or after August 24th, with no notification of the changes in Windows whatsoever. That was later confirmed by ZDNET's Hardware 2.0 blog, which tracked down the affected files and also pinpointed the update date as August 24th. Now, Microsoft has come out and explained itself, saying that the updates weren't really updates for Windows, but rather updates for Windows Update itself, which apparently didn't merit a notification. The company does admit that it could have been more "transparent" about the matter, however, and says it's now "looking at the best way to clarify" the behavior of Windows Update.

[Thanks, Robert J]

Read - Computerworld, "Microsoft changes Windows files on user PCs without permission"
Read - ZDNet Hardware 2.0, "Confirmation of stealth Windows Update"
Read - ITWorld, "Microsoft: 'Secret' updates were for Windows Update itself"

Fly Google to the moon, win $20 million