Microsoft is making big changes to how Windows 10 handles antivirus apps

A long-running spat between Kaspersky and Microsoft has been resolved, with the latter agreeing to make considerable changes to the way Windows 10 handles third-party antivirus apps in the upcoming Fall Creators Update.

Security firm Kaspersky’s complaints began last autumn and culminated in an anti-trust action filed in June, accusing Microsoft of favoring its own antivirus solution in Windows 10 (Windows Defender) while deactivating ‘incompatible’ third-party antivirus apps during OS upgrades.

Indeed, Microsoft admitted that it did at times ‘temporarily’ disable third-party antivirus software to avoid potential problems when upgrading Windows 10.

Now Microsoft has said it will make changes to the way it works with third-party security firms, and to the way Windows 10 handles these issues in the upcoming Fall Creators Update. As a result, Kaspersky has dropped its anti-trust complaint.

In a blog post, Microsoft explained that it was making a renewed commitment to work more closely with antivirus vendors in the run-up to a major Windows update going live, ensuring any potential compatibility issues are resolved before the upgrade is offered to those running the antivirus app.

Time to review

Antivirus firms will also be given more time to review final builds of Windows 10 before upgrades are rolled out, and a lack of time in this respect was also something Kaspersky had complained about.

Furthermore, Microsoft is allowing antivirus vendors to employ their own on-screen notifications to prompt users to renew when products are about to expire (or after they’ve expired).

And if protection has expired, instead of just providing a ‘toast’ notification (pop-up which could be ignored), Windows 10 will utilize a persistent notification that will remain on the screen until the user renews the expired product, or chooses another solution – to ensure that folks can’t just carry on happily, possibly not realizing they’re unprotected from malware.

These are all laudable changes to make it clearer to the user exactly what’s going on with their antivirus solution, and Kaspersky is certainly more than happy with the stance Microsoft has taken here.

Via: The Verge

Deep dispute

So there you have it – a Windows 10 upgrade can potentially lead to an antivirus being disabled, albeit on a ‘temporary’ basis. Which doesn’t sound unreasonable on the face of it, although Kaspersky’s arguments against Microsoft’s practices run pretty deep.

The security firm believes that a central problem is the fact that antivirus vendors aren’t given nearly enough time to ensure compatibility of their software with a fresh upgrade of Windows 10 – and of course those major updates are now coming twice per year.

And Kaspersky has further accused Microsoft of various bits of trickery to try to get people to use Windows Defender rather than another security solution, as we discussed last year.

It’s a messy issue, for sure, and it’ll be interesting to see Kaspersky’s response to Microsoft’s explanation here.