How do I block Microsoft from downloading into my computer?

If you really think that, and don’t want to update all your other programs to work more effectively and safely, your best option is to not use that system to go on the internet.

As for your other issues, if you could improve the safety and fuel efficiency of your car by simply switching it off for a few minutes - at a time of your choice, assuming you do it within a few weeks of being notified that it will happen, or have your food upgraded to being both healthier and tastier at no cost to yourself, it would be perverse not to. That’s the equivalent of what you’re trying to turn down.

I suppose it could be problematic if you don’t actually know how to use your car, or to cook. So, you should probably learn to use your computer properly, rather than lust learning by rote a few simple things.

Is this an American ‘thing’? I have W10 on both computers and while updates get downloaded at random times, I usually install them when I close down for the night.

I never thought of it that way. I guess when I was buying my laptop and I asked the dealer to install Windows on it, I should have considered the consequences…oh no, wait…that never happened. I didn’t ask to have Windows installed on my laptop. I didn’t make any agreement with Microsoft. Windows was already pre-loaded on every laptop in the store.

If that was the case, then you’d be right. But as I’ve pointed out, it isn’t what happens in reality.

If you were being told by the company that manufactured your car’s engine that you needed to allow them to run an automated service check and found that whenever they did so other parts of your car like the brakes and the headlights didn’t work afterwards, would you continue to think these automated service checks were a good idea? If you do, that’s fine, let them run those checks and accept the other difficulties.

But I don’t. Right now all the parts of my car - the engine, the brakes, and the headlights - are running fine. So I don’t want these service checks causing me problems. And that means the engine company should not be running those checks.

But I don’t wanna suddenly find out I can’t make a ham and cheese sandwich because the fridge is full of kale and kimchi. :frowning:

And if I want to unwittingly allow my PC to be used as part of a botnet to throw the election, I should not have to break any contracts in order to be able to accomplish that for the Russians.

It’s a free country after all, right?

@Nemo, strictly from the standpoint of downloading updates, I suspect you might find Linux an even more frustrating experience, depending on your attitude towards it. They come in smaller chunks, but typically, much more frequently. Depending on how you approach it, unscrewing things can be an exercise in futility for seasoned veterans. YMMV. Wear a damn mask!

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that everything that all y’all’s been saying is true. That microsoft is this gloriously altruistic company. That all they want is for their users to have the safest most hassle free experience possible.
My question is still unanswered.
Why did they change how updates are delivered?
Why did they go from a user controlled format, to a provider controlled one?
What changed?

WTF are you talking about? M$ are the OG cyber criminals.

Moderator Instructions

This is getting way out of GQ territory. Let’s drop any diatribes about how evil Microsoft is, and just respond to the factual aspects of the question.

I have not read the thread in it’s entirety, so this does not imply that other posts might not be out of line.

General Questions Moderator

There is an End User Licence Agreement that, typically, you will be prompted to accept when you first set up your account on your computer. If the person who set up the computer for you dismissed this and did not make you aware, then I suppose they were negligent. Nevertheless, the EULA exists, and applies whether or not you noticed it.

As I explained above:
Malware ≈ diseases
Updates ≈ vaccines

Windows is the global primary target for malware and cybercrime, and Microsoft has been subject to sharp criticism for not doing enough to stop it, but the ultimate control of the spread of malware rested partially in the hands of end users - that is, users applying security patches.

Unpatched machines can and do create risks that apply to more than just the unpatched machines themselves - they are a risk in general (for example a Denial-of-Service attack could be launched from compromised machines, targeting a website or service).

Furthermore, patching the OS changes (and hopefully, fixes) things inside of the OS in sometimes quite fundamental ways; if updates are not applied, the number of different variants of the OS is essentially growing constantly, making support a much more complex undertaking. It’s much more straightforward to support ten of the same thing than ten different things.

Therefore it is in Microsoft’s interest (remember you set the scenario where they are the good guys) to try to ensure that security patches are applied promptly across all deployed installations.

Leaving this in the control of end users simply doesn’t work.

Ok, I could buy this as a partial reason. If microsoft could see itself potentially on the wrong end of a liability chain, it might be motivated to take the matters out if the customer’s hands. I’m not completely satisfied that it’s enough of a reason, but I have no counterpoint, so I’ll accept it for now.

But, and this is a big but, they push more than just security patches. They also update programs. Many of which I don’t even use and would love to, but can’t, uninstall from my comp.
But we may be vering into GD territory.

This analogy is so far off course as to be laughable.

And yet it worked for over 20 years and continues to work for most of the other OS companies.

Nope. It’s actually very apt. It is not an accident that the IT world chose terms like ‘virus’ and ‘infection’ to describe what happens.

Yep, and like I said, they are doing that (at least in part) to try to simplify the support situation. Supporting 10 different things is less straightforward than supporting 10 of the same thing.

Now, it could just be argued that some of these updates are simply unnecessary, but then we must consider that Microsoft is operating in a competitive space - it cannot allow its flagship product to stagnate.

I actually find it astonishing that you don’t see any similarity; Malware (at least two or three categories of it) comprises self-replicating entities that spread from one computer to another via contact (connection) or sometimes via an unwitting human vector. Literally spreading infectiously.

Anti-malware updates and security patches are preventive measures that either prepare your computer to recognise and defeat specific strains of malware, or to be impervious to them. Quite closely analogous to both adaptive and innate immunity in biology. Immunity to above infection.

No, it didn’t. It not only didn’t work, but it progressively worked less well over time, in part due to the shift of emphasis from malware created largely to be a famous nuisance, to malware created to serve and facilitate organised crime. The 20 years you speak of comprised a slowly escalating battle in which Microsoft has tried to make a decisive manoeuvre by (trying to) enforce updates.

Most Linux users (at least the ones I have known) were pretty good on keeping their systems patched - it comes naturally to people who gravitate toward the more technical arena of running Linux. Also, *nix OSes (including OSX, which is based on BSD, which is related to Unix) are somewhat more resilient by design.

Yes, Windows is, and was always, a far less secure OS than the others - in part, because it strove to be very user friendly (usability is always a tradeoff against security). So comparing them is not really useful.