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Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?


I recently called Dell Tech Support and worked with them to resolve a USB issue I was having with my XPS. We were able to get the issue resolved and everything was working fine. Then, again after everything was fixed, he said something like "I have a note here that says we are supposed to get all of our Vista users to disable Windows Update". I went back and forth with him for a while on this one trying to figure out why anyone would ever give this sort of advice. Just to appease the guy, I said I would do it and he responded "You will be much safer now!”


What I am asking is what could possibly be Dell's reasoning behind telling people to disable the only 'easy' way for Windows Vista to get security and other updates? I mean, if there truly is a very good reason I could see maybe turning off the automatic installation of updates but the tech support guy walked me through completely turning off updates to the point where Windows doesn't even attempt to check. In pretty much ALL cases, this is a bad thing. For example, the critical vulnerability found in Internet Explorer that was recently published, how is the normal user supposed to get this update if not through Windows Update? I highly doubt the normal user is going to be following ever new Microsoft Knowledge Base article and download the update directly through Microsoft Download.


Even if this is supposed to be a temporary fix for something, what are you supposed to do after the issue has past and all the normal users out there still have Windows Update disabled? I am really kind of hoping this was some kind of misunderstanding.



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4 Ruthenium

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

Welcome to the forums emoticon.Yes.title



I don't know where they've got such a stupid idea as that from emoticon.Surprise.title  It certainly wasn't sanctioned/advised by Microsoft!

Nobody should disable Windows Update! 

I know many, many people... particularly on a number of other forums, who are very tech savvy - with both hardware and software.

Yet I've never known any of them disable Windows Update!?


Are you sure they actually said/meant "Windows Update" though, and not User Account Control (UAC)?

I know plenty of folks who disable UAC (I turn it off myself).


But far from being "much safer"...  turning off Windows Update could actually increase the risk of something 'untoward' happening to/with your system, because there are regular 'security risk' updates released through it!

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5 Iridium

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

Also could they have ment turning off autoupdateing any using manual?

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4 Ruthenium

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

Hi rdlenk, That would be a silly idea.


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1 Copper

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

If I had to guess I would say that they are afraid of auto-update installing a graphics drivers that may conflict with their operating system somehow.

Just my 2 cents..........

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1 Nickel

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

Hello All Again,



Thank you for the welcome!

I completely agree with your statements about how no one should ever fully disable Windows Update. As for what they actually meant, I can only vouch for the tech support guy that was helping me and he walked me through completely disabling Windows Update and never made any mention of UAC. It is possible that the he misunderstood what he was supposed to tell me but I will probably never get to know that.



It is possible Dell wants their users to turn off Automatic Installation but the tech support guy walked me through completely disabling all automatic checks for updates and that part should probably never be turned off as there is no harm in checking for updates. No matter what state Automatic Updates are in users can manually check for updates but how many 'normal' users do you know that active check for Windows Updates?



I'm sorry but it is not my idea...

I was told to shut off Windows Update by Dell Tech Support and I am here on the forums talking about it because I think that it is wrong for Dell to tell its customers that.



That is my guess too, is that Dell either submitted a faulty driver to Microsoft for publishing on Windows Update or there was an existing driver update causing major compatibility issues and so Dell's easy fix is to just disable Windows Update.


Hopefully, someone at Dell will try and clear up the situation. There may actually be a good reason, but I would really love to hear it.



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6 Indium

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

I usually recommend getting all the Windows Updates. I even have the custom ones but...


Do NOT let Microsoft update your drivers. If you have a problem with a device on your computer, go to the manufacturer's website and get the latest drivers from there(Dell usually helps, too.) I've seen people get driver updates from Microsoft and then they have problems with the device working.


Windows Updates for Microsoft Windows only.


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5 Tungsten

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

I for one have had Windows Automatic Updates disabled for years, using XP. Never regretted it yet.

I can recall instances when MS tried to install dodgy software (WGA Notification springs to mind) that conferred no security benefit to the user, and that one could not subsequently uninstall.

Instead, I install critical and security updates manually from the MS Update website/Custom option, usually a day or two after they are released monthly on "Patch Tuesday". (If the patches can wait a month, they can wait an extra day or two). This allows me to check whether others have had problems with any patch. The MSU site also allows me to check whether any given patch can be uninstalled or not before downloading it: I am very leery of  installing any patch that cannot be uninstalled.

Would I recommend this approach for the average user? NO. I think for most users, who haven't the time to keep abreast of updates, automatic updates should be enabled. The benefits out-weigh the risks. But those that choose to use automatic updates should be aware that historically MS has (albeit rarely) installed problematic patches.


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1 Nickel

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

I am going to have to disagree with you RickyVDB. Although I myself do not use fully automatic updates and instead just take the time to check myself I would never recommend this to someone that doesn't know what they are doing, ever. You say that the average user should just use Firefox and good protection? First off, just not using Internet Explorer does not remove it from the system nor does it prevent many other components of the Operating System from using it as Internet Explorer is so deeply engrained into Windows and other products. Therefore, Internet Explorer should always be kept up to date, whether it is your primary browser or not. Also, how would you define good protection? Doesn't good protection start with having all the latest security updates? All the anti-virus/firewall protection in the world cannot help you if there is a 'way into' the machine that bypasses all of it.


I also would have to disagree with not installing the latest versions of the optional software, again for reasons of security. It is the same situation as with IE; Windows Media Player and the .NET Framework may not be directly used by the user but there are parts of the operating system and other applications that will use them so keeping them up to date is important because the latest version will have all the latest security updates and will also be the version supported by Microsoft.


What works for you is just fine, but the real topic of this thread is that Dell Tech Support is telling ALL users that Windows Update needs to be disabled completely. Ideally, it would be nice if everyone put in the time and effort to look into each and every update and make sure it is something that needs/should be installed, but can anyone really believe that the average user is going to do this? The answer should be no because the average user tends to just not care enough or doesn't really know what they are doing with regards to updating the Operating System and that is why Dell telling customers to disable Windows Update is a bad thing.



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4 Ruthenium

Re: Dell Tech Support telling users to completely disable Windows Update in Vista?

I agree.  Those of us who do this for a living know full well the risks of Windows Automatic Updates, so we can choose to install updates manually.  The average user has to "trust" Microsoft that an Automatic Update will not adversely effect system operation.  I seriously doubt that Dell Tech Support is telling ALL users to turn off Automatic Updates.

I just repaired an XP Pro system Friday for the local office of a national insurance company.  IT support was checking security and recommended that the XP SP3 update be installed.   Upon completion of the update, the workstation could not access the Internet.   An unsigned; i.e., "unknown" browser extension, was the culprit.  The browser extension's properties revealed no manufacturer, version number, etc., so I suspect that either IE7 or McAfee (nee Symantec) was detecting its presence and preventing Internet access.  However, McAfee did not "flag" it as a potential risk when I scanned it manually.


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