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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Windows Update: Mother of All Bug Fixers

The biggest software bug fixer you have at your disposal is Windows Update, the built-in utility that downloads Windows updates.

By default, Vista checks for updates once a day. You can find out about how it is set up for your computer as follows:

  1. Click the Windows button and then type windows update.
  2. Click Windows Update when it appears in the Start menu.
  3. In the Windows Update window, click Change Settings on the left margin.
  4. The schedule that Vista follows for updates can be customized here.

Although most of Microsoft's fixes that come through Windows Update are useful, and sometimes even necessary, occasionally a fix causes more problems than it solves.

Some geeks opt to turn off the automatic download and update feature in Windows Update and set it to Check for Updates But Let Me Choose Whether to Download and Install Them (see Figure 9.24). If you're not a bona fide, beanie-wearing geek and know exactly what you're doing, I recommend that you leave the automatic download and update feature enabled in case you miss a really critical update. It could mean the difference between owning a protected system resilient to the latest digital nasty or coming home to Internet roadkill.

Figure 9.24

Figure 9.24 You can set Windows Update to check for updates but let you choose whether to download and install them.

Undo Windows Update Hot Fixes

If Windows Update has slurped down a fix that has given your system an ice headache, you can remove it.

Here's how:

  1. Click the Windows button, type Programs and Features in the Search box, and click it when it appears in the Start menu.
  2. On the left margin, click Installed Updates.
  3. Click once on the update you want to remove.
  4. An Uninstall button appears; click it, and you are prompted to confirm (see Figure 9.25).
    Figure 9.25

    Figure 9.25 If a Windows update causes problems on your system, you can uninstall it.

  5. Click Yes, and a UAC screen appears if you are logged on as the administrator. If not, you are prompted for an administrator password to continue.
  6. Restart your computer.

At this point, I have to flap my arms around a bit to get your attention, because you still have one more chore to do. If you don't do this next step, the next time Windows Update runs, it will install the fix you just removed.

The update will reinstall itself if you have Automatic Updates enabled and turned on for Windows Update. So, here's how to stop the update from coming back:

  1. Go back to Windows Update and click the Check for Updates button on the left margin. Vista calls home to Microsoft to get a list of updates.
  2. Now click on the View Available Updates and look for the update you just removed in the list.
  3. Right-click on it and choose Hide Update. You'll see a UAC screen, so confirm the action, and you're done.
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