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 Should Automatic Updates be turned ON or OFF??
James (Jim) Hill...
Jul 20 2009, 04:27 AM
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There has been fair bit of debate over this issue, in my humble opinion Automatic Updates should be switched OFF. In my Vista Home Premium I have updates set to, “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them”. I also have notifications for ‘recommended’ updates enabled. These settings give me the freedom to pick and choose exactly which updates I download and install.

Now, admittedly, I still download and install almost all ‘important’ and ‘recommended’ updates anyway but, and it is a big but (if you’ll pardon the expression (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) )….there are definitely exceptions!!

Quite recently, Microsoft released an update called “Office Genuine Advantage Notifications”, which they saw fit to label as ‘Important’. I can assure you this update is nowhere near as ‘important’ to the user as it is to Microsoft….in fact, for many users who downloaded and installed this via automatic updates, it has proved to be a nightmare.

Office Genuine Advantage Notifications is designed for one purpose only; that is to identify any illegal installations of Office on the machine. So, if you are like me and have only genuine versions of Office installed, you should be okay, right? Definitely NOT!! There have been many reported instances of perfectly legal installations being wrongly identified, by this tool, as non-genuine. This means that they, along with anyone using non-genuine Office will; receive a pop-up dialog box alerting them their Microsoft Office software is not genuine. They will receive this dialog box the first time they open an Office application every day, and again 2 hours later for the next month. After receiving these notifications for 30 days, Office applications will be permanently marked with a visual reminder that the copy of Office is NOT GENUINE. Both the dialog box and/or the visual reminder will disappear once the customer gets genuine Office and/or uninstalls the non-genuine Office products.
This is where the ‘nightmare’ comes in…trying to convince Microsoft that the incorrectly identified versions of Office are in fact genuine. Have you ever dealt with MS support......nuff said!!

A more recent, albeit less severe, example has been the release of Internet Explorer 8, which Microsoft decided to deliver via Windows Updates. There are known, as yet unresolved, issues with IE8 and installation should never have been automatic. I declined the update for several days until finally, curiosity got the better of me and I agreed to install. Immediately I could no longer open any email attachments directly from within my email client (Windows Mail). Fortunately, uninstall and roll back to IE7 was an easy fix. I’m still left with Windows Updates constantly nagging to install IE8 though…a right pain in the you know what!!

I am definitely an advocate for keeping all software up to date as an integral element of overall security. However, this can still be achieved after reviewing updates and, occasionally, installing selectively…..not all updates delivered by MS are necessarily good!

Cheers all…..JIM
 
marko
Jul 20 2009, 06:49 AM
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Agree 100% with you Jim and I'm the same, opting to review the updates manually before installing anything due to the same problems you describe, although there is often a problem for the less capable amongst us where some people wouldn't have any idea of what they should and shouldn't install. Generally, I advise people to have automatic updates but this isn't because I think they need every single update available, but moreso because if automatic updates wasn't turned on their computers would never be updated.

I've seen some computers with updates missing from 8-10 months ago, simply because they don't realise they should be checking, so for me it's often easier and safer for them just to enable it and have them install the updates when they see the shield appear in their taskbar. Luckily, I've not seen many issues with updates turned on but I can definately appreciate your take on the genuine advantage garbage which is a bit cheeky of Microsoft. It's sometimes a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't with automatic updates!
Marko
 
James (Jim) Hill...
Jul 21 2009, 02:01 AM
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Hey Marko - You are right again mate...it is best for some (less experienced) to go with automatic updates. I should have made that distinction for XP which doesn't allow for as many options in the settings.

In Vista however, with the settings I described above, the user is still notified of all available updates. They can't be missed because the update icon resides permanently in the notification area, complete with regular balloon messages and all, until the updates are applied.....hence my overwhelming joy with the constant reminders for IE8. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
 
Guest_Guest_*
Oct 5 2009, 04:05 PM
Post #4





Guests






This stuff you said helped me understand what's going on.
I want to add that windows XP also can be set to "notify & ask before installing" or something lke that.
I did it and it showed me two new updates: one about IE8 (which i dont' use) and one about a security matter , so I only accepted the security matter update.
so i like to know what's going on and what's being installed on my computer.
 
James (Jim) Hill...
Oct 5 2009, 08:15 PM
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Hi Guest - Glad to hear you learned something from the article and yes, you are quite right.....it's better to know what is and isn't being installed.

Why don't you join us here and become a member? It's easy to do and completely free!!!

Thanks for your comments,
JIM
 


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