• Why I still use the GWX Control Panel application

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    On my Win 7 PC (Group B, never check for updates) I recently installed Avast free anti-virus. Long story short, I had to uninstall it after a few days. At that point I decided to use Microsoft Security Essentials instead, at least for now until I choose a different AV or resolve the issue I believe Avast caused (or at least was directly related).

    After installing MSE, my GWX Control Panel tray icon immediately notified me of changes to my WU settings. MSE had set updates to install automatically, so within just a few seconds of this changed I opened WU settings and reverted to never checking for updates. If I didn’t still use GWX CP I would likely have not realized or thought to check the WU settings. Then, I might have run into a messy situation with various unwanted updates installing to my surprise/ignorance/forgetfulness.

    So, that’s why I still use GWX CP. Not because I’m paranoid about another GWX campaign, but because GWX CP immediately tells me if any WU settings have changed. Maybe there are other apps to use for this purpose but GWX is pretty lightweight and quite responsive. I’m glad I’ve kept it around as a WU watchdog. 🙂


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    • #173293

      I too keep GWX control panel monitoring all the time unless I’m shut down 😉

      Group B HP Pavilion-dv6 Win7x64 Home Premium-Intel Core i5-3210M CPU

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    • #173317

      In recent history Microsoft has taken to re-enabling Disabled services and scheduled tasks. It’s impossible to keep Windows Update disabled on a Windows 10 system, for example, so I’m not terribly surprised to hear it’s being re-enabled on older systems that have had the latest patches and security software installed.

      By saying it’s “As A Service”, their taking over people’s settings and changing what they want seems almost legitimate. I for one don’t buy it, and will be retaining control of my systems.

      Regarding monitoring for unwanted system changes, this might interest some folks:



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    • #173443

      A couple of months ago I worked on my niece’s Windows 8 laptop. She hadn’t used it in a couple of months, and when I fired it up, it immediately tried to update itself to Windows 10! I was able to shut that process down. I immediately installed GWX Control Panel and used it to delete all of the Windows 10 junk off of her computer.

      You’re right, amraybt, sometimes Windows will change your update settings without your permission; GWX Control Panel is excellent at alerting you to those things.

      As far as unhiding updates that you have hidden: I have hidden Silverlight many times, and it keeps reappearing as an Optional update.

      My thought – it doesn’t hurt anything to have GWX Control Panel up and running on your computer; and it is just possible that it will protect you from Microsoft doing something to your computer that you aren’t in agreement with.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
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    • #173511

      I think MSE uses Windows Updates to perform its updates so you may need to get another AV very soon.

      cheers, Paul

      • #173773

        I had thought that I had MSE updates offered — and tracked in history — because in Windows Update settings I have selected to receive updates on other Microsoft products under the heading of Microsoft Update. So mentally for myself, I see two separate update channels formerly independent of each other that I have tied together with that check mark.

        Am I using a bad symbolic arrangement here?

    • #173783

      I was warned when I switched to MSE that installing it would change my WU settings to ‘Automatic’. You just have to remember to change them back to your setting of choice – in my case, ‘Never check for Updates’ until we get to Defcon 3 or higher. MSE will happily continue to update despite WU being turned off.

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      • #173811

        SPensioner, I’m reading into your statement that after reverting the settings that changed on installation, you have had continued use without those same settings ever being changed without permission again, yes? Darn double negative. In the time you have used MSE since after installation repair, all your settings have remained as you set them, same yes?

        • #184977

          So sorry, have only just come accross your enquiry! I didn’t know you’d asked the question previously. The answer is, Yes, since installing MSE my WU settings have remained as I left them. I have, however, a wonderful little icon on my taskbar – a little flag with a red cross in it, labelled, “Solve PC issues: 1 important message” – which reassures me day by day that my WU is turned off until I choose to turn it on. If MSE did that for me, the red cross would disappear and I should be warned to go in and turn them off again. See if you can adjust your notifications to provide you with the same reassurance.

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          • #184987

            It is called Action Center.
            Untick some or all the boxes which can be unticked and you will get rid of the warning messages.

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            • #185045

              But we don’t want to do that!

            • #185142

              My replies are often too long. But I fear the brevity between you, @the-surfing-pensioner , and @ch100 has caused a misunderstanding. ch100 meant that you could launch Action Center, from that icon in the system tray, and toggle switches within that interface to match your configuration. Then the flag will revert to white, and remain available in the system tray. Constant error notifications tend to be ignored. And that habit causes us to miss new notifications that should be addressed. That same interface is responsible for reporting on many issues. And the red X with the simple message does not say which monitored item is causing complaint. It may not be MSE related at all.

              In your short reply, I thought you may have been referring to our usual subject of deselecting formerly ticked boxes in Windows Update. My confusion if wrong.

              My original question was to learn if MSE continued to revert settings in day to day use. Thanks for clarifying.

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            • #185152

              Hi Cascadian. The red X in my system tray has nothing whatsoever to do with MSE, which updates happily without turning my WU back on. The red X reassures me that my WU is still turned off – that is the “1 important message” to which the notification refers – and I both wish this situation to continue until I alter it myself and wish to be advised day-by-day that no software program (such as MSE) has turned WU back on without my authorisation. So neither I, nor HiFlyer (who messaged me), wish the flag to revert to white. We both find the red X extremely helpful, and in my reply to you I thought you might as well. Were I to need to be advised of any other error notification, there would be more than “1 important message” in the list of PC issues shown. I have absolutely no idea how you managed to jump from the Action Center to tickboxes in WU – a subject not touched on in this topic – but possibly you are overly preoccupied with that issue.

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            • #185159

              No, not preoccupied. Not beyond the purpose of this blog at least, which centers on updating. And which GWX [Control Panel] was designed to address, which is the current topic at hand. Sorry for the mental leap. I was not privy to the DM, and so did not understand that a nuisance error message was not a nuisance after all.

              I have had concerns in the past that the Microsoft (not Windows) Update used by MSE was a pipe to push unwanted material onto a local machine. To stage for future activity by the WindowsOS. My small efforts have neither proved nor eliminated the possibility. But it has not been evident, while I follow my own restricted protocol.

              It was my mistake to believe that your comment #post-184977
              described the Win7 feature discussed by ch100, and not a GWX feature. I doubled the mistake when I believed you had a complaint that may need repair. My interpretation was wrong, my advice not desired. Thank you, for letting me know.

              edited to add [Control Panel] above to avoid the same mistake another commenter had made.

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            • #185205

              No problem. To date, MSE is probably the one bit of MS software that never gives me any trouble. It may not be wildly effective, but it’s never been a problem and – on occasions, as when promptly providing the qualitycompat reg key – an asset.

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    • #184965

      Hi! I recently had to get a new hard drive and had to reinstall Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. Of course now I need a lot of updates. Without going through researching each and every little update is there something out there that will help me have an easier time figuring out what I DON’T want installed?

      I DON’T want anything related to a Windows 10 update! No telemetry! No updates related to “compatibility” … as I said I want NOTHING related to Windows 10. I have GWX Control panel installed on another Windows 7 computer, however I still get these “compatibility/upgrade” updates that I see try to sneak in and I always check them to be “HIDDEN” in Windows Update. Would GWX still pick up on these? Is it not detecting anything because I always manually catch them before install? The situation with a new hard drive and many updates is I don’t feel like having to manually go through checking each and every one. I read that one doesn’t even want KB971033 installed because it’s related to Windows 10 update.

      Help with this is appreciated!

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