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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rare to see an anti-virus/malware protector not having automatic updates

It is extremely rare to find an anti-virus/malware protector not having an automatic update facility to its engine and database. Windows Defender running in Windows 8.x is one such rare species.

This happens if the user chooses the option in Windows Update not to use automatic updates, a choice giving the user better control which upgrades should be applied.

In that case, Microsoft acknowledges that it is a design decision that the user is not given the normal Windows Update notification, except in the log in screen. While I accept, only reluctantly, that there is a shred of logic in this, albeit very draconian one, why does that affect the important updates to a protection software which depends on timely update of its database/engine?

I have used a variety of AV and this has to be the first one that fails to update automatically or tell me an update pending when I choose not to use automatic Windows update option. Most of them has automatic update by default and is not under the influence of Windows Update.

This situation is a good example of Golden-Hamer anti-pattern resulting in leaving its Windows user vulnerable to attacks. So if you want more controls on your Windows' updates, don't use Windows Defender. Furthermore, another case of don't believe everything you read (on Microsoft product) and here is one taken from the Windows Defender's Update page for Win8.1:

It only updates automatically if Windows update is set to automatic. That "Did you know" message needs to be clearly qualified to avoid misunderstanding.

Windows has all sorts of detections and options, surely in the Windows update control panel applet Microsoft can add a check box there to let the user to choose if one wants to receive notification, including Windows Defender update notification. Or in Windows Defender to have a check box to remove automatic updates if the update notification is so distractive; it could and should update silently. Cutting that out altogether is just plainly a bad design decision. I suspect that is other sinister motive than what has been revealed.

I am wondering if this draconian approach will be addressed in the upcoming Windows 10?

If you persist to support Windows Defender with your choice of Windows updates option, the other option is to use a Task Scheduler to register the Defender updates periodically. It is a choice to ditch Windows Update or to use the Task Scheduler.

I will now experiment with some of the Windows Update Notification tools to address the Windows 8.x deficiency.

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