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Just how important are these MS updates?

Posted on 2014-01-03
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Last Modified: 2014-01-04
Check out the screen shot I took.  I like to keep my computer up to date with the critical updates, but I've noticed these "optional" updates that keep piling up.  Are they that important?  Is it important to install these?  What are your opinions?
MS-Updates.jpg
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Question by:ArtG2521
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by:Will Szymkowski
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Typically you are ok to just install Security Updates which are provided by MS. The optional Updates are as show optional. Optional Updates are usually related to drivers or other MS products that you have installed on your machine which was detected by Windows Update.
The windows 7 updates that you see are usually for bug fixes and clicking on each of the updates will tell you exactly what will be corrected if installed.

You can install these if you like but they are not required. I personally would only installed the Security updates and optional updates when they apply to me.

Sometimes optional updates are what cause issues with software that may be currently installed on your machine.

Will.
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by:John Hurst
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Microsoft has left some .NET Framework updates behind as optional (and that shows in your list). Then applications that depend upon .NET Framework sometimes do not work properly.

I do all the updates (Critical and Recommended) and do the same for my clients. Experience has shown that this is a good practice.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:Will Szymkowski
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Be aware that some applications are .Net specific and require a specific version. Installing later version can break applications depending on what they require and or compatible with.

If you have done patch management in a windows environment .NET updates should not be part of the roll out for this reason.

Will.
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by:John Hurst
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@ArtG2521 - There is no single correct way to do this, and to some extent, the answer for you depends on the applications you use. In some cases updates will be in front of legacy applications and may cause issues.

However, I can say from experience that doing all updates causes far fewer problems than not doing updates.

Your list has a huge number of updates not done. Unless you have a reason for not doing them, you are going to (1) make the job of doing updates longer and (2) possibly have to endure multiple restarts to get them all done.

About the only update I hide is the newest version of Internet Explorer until I know whether it works at clients

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:Darr247
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I avoid applying the hardware-specific driver updates that microsoft recommends in the Optional section. They break things way more often than helping.  $0.02
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by:John Hurst
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I agree about hardware specific updates. I get those from the PC manufacturer instead. I do see however that vendors are starting to work with Microsoft on this issue.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:Darr247
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Yeah...  there weren't any in the OP's screen shot, but just thought I'd mention them.
Anything more and I'd be hijacking the thread, so I'll just back out quietly now.  :)
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jcimarron earned 167 total points
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ArtG2521--
"Are they that important?  Is it important to install these?  What are your opinions? "

Here are my thoughts about your original questions.
When you click on an Update in the list (as you have for the .NET Framework Optional update) you should see information about that Update (or links to get information about that Update) in the right hand panel.  You can reach your own opinion whether the Update offers advantage (or even applies) to your system.  
Clearly you do not have install all Optional updates offered.  I would expect you would have a long list of Language Pack Updates (unless you installed them--they are below the Bing line).  I doubt few if any are of use to you.
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by:ArtG2521
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Thanks everyone for all the excellent advice!
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by:John Hurst
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@ArtG2521 - Thanks and I was happy to help you with this.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:jcimarron
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ArtG2521--You are welcome.
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