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Q.  Hi. I would be grateful if you could help me out with this one.  Every time i switch on my computer it flashes a message from auto-updater (I am using Win XP Home Edition) - "Updates can be installed now! Click here to install."
I don't want these updates and I don't want these messages. And I think that these updates (to be installed) are slowing down my computer. How can I get rid of them, without installing?

A.  Click on the icon that the message is telling you to click on.  You will be given a dialog box with two options, select the Custom option and click the Next button.  You should now see a list of updates that are ready to be installed on your computer.  Go through the list and uncheck all the updates that you do not want to install (I guess in this case, you would uncheck all of them).  If there are some updates there that you want to install, after you have unchecked the ones you do not want to install, click on the Install button.  If you have unchecked all of the updates, the Install button changes to Finish.  Click on the Finish button.  You should then get a dialog box that asks you if you want to be reminded about these updates in the future, do what it tells you to do to stop receiving reminders for the updates.

If one of the updates happens to be Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, this will only buy you a few days because Microsoft believes that SP 3 is too important for people to ignore.  Overall, I think SP 3 is a good thing to install because it blocks off a lot of security vulnerabilities, although it can cause a few headaches in trying to get it initially configured.

I feel that I should also tell you that I highly doubt that these updates that aren't even installed yet are the source of performance issues on your computer.  Most of the updates that Automatic Update will tell you about are security patches and these patches will not slow your computer down.  They simply close off holes to potential attackers. The worst that could happen after applying one of these patches is that certain legitimate programs would have to be reconfigured before they are allowed to run again.  That does not happen very often, at least not that I have seen.

Let me know if you need anything else.

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