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This is on Snow Leopard and MS Office 2008.

Microsoft AutoUpdate is a program installed alongside Microsoft Office.

From the name "Microsoft AutoUpdate", my guess is that this program should Automatically Update the Microsoft products on my Mac in the background.

However, it appears that AutoUpdate only runs after I start a Microsoft Office program. If I don't manually update my system via Microsoft AutoUpdate, the security updates are never installed. I can't tell if this is intentional or a bug with Microsoft AutoUpdate.

If I was to open an infected MS Office document, the following would happen:

  1. Open infected document
  2. Get infected
  3. Autoupdate runs, and fixes the vulnerability which led to #2. But it's too late.

Should Microsoft AutoUpdate be Automatically Updating the Microsoft products on my system?

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From Microsoft...

Microsoft AutoUpdate for Mac, which comes with Office, can keep the whole suite of Microsoft Office software (Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word) up to date. When AutoUpdate is set to check for updates automatically on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, there's no need to search for critical updates and information; AutoUpdate delivers them directly to your computer.

  1. On the Help menu, click Check for Updates.
  2. Under How would you like to check for software updates?, click Automatically.
  3. On the Check for Updates pop-up menu, click the frequency that you want AutoUpdate to use to check for new updates.

So, according to MS, it is supposed to be running all the time, if it is set to Automatic.

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Are you a Mac user, and are these updates installing Automatically for you? Microsoft released MS12-029 and MS12-030 yesterday (CERT Alert TA12-129A). Did this install itself on your system automatically? – Stefan Lasiewski May 9 '12 at 22:59
No, but two of my clients are. I just got off the phone with one, and I was informed that their AutoUpdate is indeed set to automatic and daily... and it does update without another MS product running first. – Bon Gart May 10 '12 at 0:30

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