Many users of Microsoft operating systems just tend to set their updates to ‘automatic’, or click install on anything ‘recommended’ or ‘important’ without looking what the update actually does.
Sometimes, the result of this can be downright dangerous – updates have, in the past, disabled hardware or software and, on rare occasions, made your OS completely unusable until the ‘update’ is manually removed. Sometimes, it’s hard to work out what the update actually does, until you or someone else digs a little deeper: Such is the case with KB 3035583 “Update enables additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications when new updates are available to the user. It applies to a computer that is running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1).”
The update, it appears, does indeed ‘add functionality for Windows Update’, serving no function other than turning your PC into an advertisement for Windows 10 plus, potentially, then installing it anyway whether you want it or not. This link gives a good write-up on the various ‘phases’ of deployment listed.
Now, this may not be a bad thing for many people, as all the articles around the internet regarding KB 3035583 point out, if it makes it easier to update to a newer OS with minimum hassle. But what if you’re an experienced Windows user – like many in this hobby – who knows about Windows 10 and doesn’t need it pushing on them, perhaps while they are evaluating it on another PC, dual booting or, indeed, delaying installation until the bugs that inevitably exist in any new release get mitigated against or quashed?
According to many discussions, KB 3035583 started out as “Optional”, then was updgraded to “Recommended” and is now being distributed as “Important”, meaning that a lot of Windows installations will download and install it automatically and silently, so the user just suddenly starts getting advertising in their face. At the start of this article, I used the word “cheeky”, but it’s actually downright dishonest of Microsoft in my opinion to label what is basically adware as “Important”. That classification is for security or serious bug updates, especially when part of the wording on the KB page states “Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the “Applies to” section.” Emphasis mine, because there is no problem. This is pure marketing for Windows 10.
While this update is, in itself, comparatively innocuous, just annoying, it does to go show that automatically updating to what Microsoft suggests you do through Windows update isn’t always the best idea in the world. You might want to look up the KB article before hitting install and, if you still don’t know what it does, untick the box while you do a few Google searches. At worst, you’ll avoid getting ads for Windows 10 shoved in your face. At best, you’ll avoid major problems and a series of command prompt or safe mode instructions that you need to follow, to remove something you really didn’t want, need and which broke software you actually want to use.