Those who set Windows 7 to automatic update may have experienced an unpleasant surprise yesterday. According to multiple reports, the update would cause the system-wide error, with Windows Explorer and other programs frequently crashing, corrupting even system restore, rendering the system useless. While many suspected that Windows Update had been compromised by malicious actors, the source was more mundane.
According to Microsoft, a test update was inadvertently released through the Windows Update service. Despite normal practice dictating that test updates be signed by a test certificate, this update was signed by a real one, leading to Windows 7 trusting and installing it. Luckily, the update was discovered relatively quickly and taken down. Due to the large number of Windows 7 installs, the number was users impacted could still be pretty significant.
With a gaffe such as this, it’s no wonder that Windows 10 forcing updates is so widely panned. Luckily for Microsoft, this update was only pushed out to Windows 7, where the number of systems set to automatic updates is lower. If this error had happened for Windows 10, many more users would have borked systems, as the aggressive update system would have meant many users would have been forced to install this buggy update. Given that Windows 10 updates also are a black box, troubleshooting the issue would also be problematic. With some Windows 10 updates already causing issues, maybe it’s time for Microsoft rethink their update strategy.
Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information