The terms and conditions of Windows 10 give Microsoft the right to install system software updates whether users like it or not. While this approach certainly has some advantages from a security standpoint, there is something fundamentally jarring about being completely left in the dark about what type of updates your system is receiving.
Speaking to The Register, Microsoft recently confirmed that the only time it will detail the type of updates it pushes down to user machines will be for significant updates.
In a statement sent by a spokesperson to us, Microsoft said: “As we have done in the past, we post KB articles relevant to most updates which we’ll deliver with Windows as a service. Depending on the significance of the update and if it is bringing new functionality to Windows customers, we may choose to do additional promotion of new features as we deploy them.”
The Register asked Microsoft for clarification on the policy after the company issued a new cumulative update for Windows 10 and refused to say what it does other than to say it offered “improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10.”
Again, this is worrying development. It’s one thing to have no control over system updates, it’s an entirely another matter when Microsoft won’t even be 100% transparent about the content of such updates. Expecting users to just blindly go along with nebulous updates seems backwards and downright bizarre in 2015.
“Updates that offer minimal information about their functions don’t inspire confidence,” The Register astutely observes. “They should inspire the opposite – suspicion – not least because of Microsoft’s historic sermonising about trust.”
Even if we put aside security considerations for a second, automatic software updates , with no detailed documentation no less, can potentially wreak havoc on third party software. Even a minor software update can inadvertently and adversely impact the performance and functionality of key applications, an especially worrisome scenario for those who happen to be working on complex and important workflows.
As a final point, its worth mentioning that only Windows 10 Home users will be subjected to automatic software updates. Windows 10 Professional users are in the clear.