Since its inception, Microsoft has introduced two extensions of the service: Microsoft Update and Windows Update for Business.The former expands the core service to include other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Expression Studio.Windows Update is a Microsoft service for the Windows 9x and Windows NT families of operating system, which automates downloading and installing software updates over the Internet.The service delivers software updates for Windows, as well as the various Microsoft antivirus products, including Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials.The user can choose from three notification schemes: Being notified before downloading the update, being notified before installing the update, or both.Windows XP and Windows 2000 SP3 include Background Intelligent Transfer Service, a Windows service for transferring files in the background without user interaction.
This version of the app makes an inventory of the system's hardware and Microsoft software and sends them to the service, thus offloading the processing burden to Microsoft servers.
Enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows and other programs.
If this service is disabled, users of this computer will not be able to use Windows Update or its automatic updating feature, and programs will not be able to use the Windows Update Agent (WUA) API.
Microsoft stated that this ensures that users received notification of critical updates in a timely manner. In a posting to Bug Traq, he explained that, "every single Windows 98 computer that wishes to get an update has to rely on a single host for the security.
If that one server got compromised one day, or an attacker cracks the [Microsoft] DNS server again, there could be millions of users installing trojans every hour. Unlike its predecessor, Automatic Updates can download and install updates.