Windows XP is getting the shaft

There's currently some discussion on the LockerGnome forums about some changes to Windows Update. As an ex-WinXP user, i still pay attention to the direction that Microsoft's latest OS takes, simply because eventually i'll be using the iteration after it. Basically, the gist of the changes is this: As of some time in the near future, Windows Update -- as a manual service -- will cease to work for WinXP, since XP has an automatic update feature built into it, and therefore nobody could ever need the manual service.

Now, call me paranoid, but the first thing i disable on a new XP install is the automatic updates. I'm not comfortable with an outside company deciding what "upgrades" i need, even taking into account that i'm not an anti-MS zealot. How do i know that the folks over in Redmond have my best interests in mind? I prefer to handle this sort of thing myself.

I'm not without justification for this from a practical standpoint, either. Service packs -- huge, multi-patch fixes for OS's -- for MS operating systems are usually distributed by Windows Update as well, and they're legendary for causing as many new problems as they solve. XP's service pack 1 is still being debated, with the general consensus that it doesn't help much, if at all. Given that worse things may be in the pipe -- Digital Rights Management software that could cripple your ability to play music of your choice, "helper" code to gather useful information about you for use by Microsoft and its partners, or, and not as far-fetched as you might think, the possibility that some enterprising cracker might spoof Microsoft's update server and push unwanted content onto your machine.

Basically, unless this proves to be an unfounded rumour -- which looks unlikely, i'm afraid -- WinXP is about to become more of a blackbox OS than it used to be. And, in my mind, i should be able to control what is installed on my system. But, maybe i'm just old-fashioned that way...

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