2012 was a year of changes for AMD's graphics driver service, the biggest of which was the decision to stop updating them every month, back in June. The company has now taken the next step.
By next step we mean to say that Advanced Micro Devices has made the choice to pull the auto-update feature from its drivers altogether.
That means that, upon installation, the Catalyst driver suite will not activate a background process tasked with constantly checking for newer drivers on the Internet.
Owners of an AMD Radeon graphics adapter will just have to check in with the official website from time to time.
The change will go in effect in early 2013. AMD did not say exactly when, but we suspect as early as January.
“AMD will be removing the auto-update notification functionality from versions of AMD Catalyst Control Center running under Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, beginning in early 2013,” the company said in its auto-update notification.
Apparently, the reason behind the change is a “minor security vulnerability” whose nature is not explained. Nor are the actual risks of leaving it open.
At any rate, AMD suggests that users should uncheck the “Automatically check for updates” option under the AMD Catalyst Control Center > Information > Software Update section. Choosing “Skip” will make sure no notifications and recommendations get through.
We can't say for sure how much grumbling this development will cause. We do know that many people don't actually use the auto-update feature though, so there won't be too much heartbreak involved in the transition from reactive to proactive updating.
On that note, the last stable Catalyst driver released happened back in early October 2012, when AMD also announced the Never Settle game bundles. The AMD Catalyst 12.11 Beta 11 is more recent, but it is just a modder-crafted, unstable package, so it doesn't count.