The Windows Desktop Search (WDS) program, included with Windows Vista, has been installed on some enterprise computers without administrator approval through the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) program, a free update administration platform for corporate PC networks. The program allows administrators to approve and block updates that will then be installed on the computers on the network if approved, and not installed if blocked — that is, until the WDS update.
Microsoft admitted blame in the unauthorized installations of Desktop Search, which caused massive slowdowns due to the intense initial indexing process. Supposedly, the cases where the program was installed were situations in which administrators had approved the search tool for a few select machines before, and it installed itself on all machines when the upgrade was pushed out. A mere reinterpretation of the rules, says Microsoft, but some sysadmins swear they didn’t approve WDS at all, even for one machine, and that means Microsoft is, once again, doing what it wants with your PC.
Whether or not they approved a few computers, WDS shouldn’t have been installed at all on machines that had not had it approved. The fact that Microsoft is still doing this reminds one of the old days, when downloading one tool would bring along six more, without telling you. These days, such behavior is reserved for malware, and apparently Microsoft programs. Windows Live offerings have also had similar issues.