Fury as XP automatically installs Desktop Search

Disgruntled Windows XP users have found Windows Desktop Search has been installed on their machines without their permission

Matthew Sparkes
25 Oct 2007

Microsoft has come under fire from Windows XP users who have found an unwanted update installed on their machines. Windows Desktop Search has reportedly been installed automatically, even on computers set up to update only existing programs.

IT departments have found that the update has been installed company-wide, which could have large implications for performance. The application uses an index to speed up search results, which many claim is slowing down their PCs.

Those who have tried to uninstall the program have not only been forced to restart, but have found that Windows again attempts to install the program unless specifically told not to.

Last month, Microsoft was accused of installing "stealth updates", even on machines configured not to automatically update, prompting Microsoft to be more transparent about the update process in future.

"This is helpful and important feedback, and we are now looking at the best way to clarify WU's [Windows Update's] behaviour to customers so that they can more clearly understand how WU works," said Nate Clinton, product manager for Windows Update, after the incident.

Microsoft has also been forced to give Vista users a choice over their desktop search software, after Windows Live search was set as the default in the OS.

We have contacted Microsoft, and have been reassured that a comment will be released later today.

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