I ask this question because I was intrigued to read about the Vista BSOD on here (and in the newsletter), a phenomenon that
seems in some cases to be somehow related to a Windows Update. Or Update Patch. Or Patch for a Patch for an Update.
I’ve been lucky enough not to have that BSOD problem. But then, I no longer have Windows Updates anyway.
Microsoft and I parted company in early September last year. The PC involved is a Dell Studio Slim 540S running Vista Home
Premium SP2 build 6002 x32. It was purchased new from Dell on December 19th 2009. And everything worked fine until September
9th 2010 when, suddenly, Windows Update ceased to work: “Windows could not search for new updates. An error occurred while
checking for new updates for your computer”. Code 80070426 "Windows Update encountered an unknown error”.
research showed that the error is not “unknown”, as Microsoft so haplessly describes it. Error Code 80070426. “The service
has not been started”. And a little warning on the updates screen: “This copy of Windows is not activated. Click here to
activate Windows now.”
Well of course Windows was activated. And Windows Update had worked without a hitch for a
full nine months. The Error Code baffled me. And so began three weeks of a fruitless quest to solve the problem, beginning
with a Diagnostics Report stating: ‘Invalid License’ and 'Software Licensing Service not running.' And this: ‘TTS Error: M:
2009122373556932’, showing that the computer went awry just four days after I ran it myself for the first time. Also, in
those initial stages, every attempt to re-start the software licensing service was met with: “System 3 error has occurred.
The system cannot find the path specified”.
I won’t bore everyone to tears with the hours of effort that followed
or all the remedies attempted based on guidance from Microsoft itself and various Microsoft user support forums. What emerged
was a consensus that, early in the computer’s life, I had – according to my Windows Event log -- installed numerous Windows
Updates to bring the PC up-to-date, there being an inevitable time gap between its build date and its arrival in my home.
Consensus was that “something”, though no-one knew what, had occurred during a raft of updates on December 23 2009. And that
“something else” had then occurred as a result of further Windows Updates, on or shortly before September 9th 2010,
sufficient to compound the TTS error that unbeknownst to me, had arisen nine months earlier.
everything possible (the list was so long, I won’t reprise it here) I was back in the same position as at the start.
Microsoft’s solution? Use the Vista DVD which came with your computer to repair the computer. Or: reinstall Vista.
Well of course, as any fool knows – though it so often seems to escape the attention of folks on support forums, as well as
Microsoft itself – the vast majority of PC users don’t get a Vista DVD with their purchase. Certainly, Dell doesn’t supply
one. And as for re-installing Vista. . . No. I didn’t want to.
So I decided to forget it. To hell with Windows
Updates. To hell with yet more hours expended on an error that seemed almost certainly to have arisen because of Microsoft
itself yet to which Microsoft had no answer.
I’ve had no Windows Updates ever since. As to the computer, well:
I don’t use Internet Explorer for the same reason I don’t use Adobe Reader (they're both much too big a security
risk, though in Adobe’s case it’s also the fact that bloatware gets no dafter.) I have a wireless router with its own
firewall and an Online Armor firewall on the PC itself. My AV is Avast and my "in-house monitor" is WinPatrol Pro.
I don’t know enough to endlessly tinker around with my PC – I’m an ordinary home user, not a tecchie -- and am happy
enough to let little CleanMem do its management job in the background and ProcessLassoo do its thing when I’m running heavy
CCleaner is used at the end of each day (or immediately after any and every online purchasing or
banking-related transaction) and Malwarebytes is regularly updated for a twice-a-month scan. Auslogics’ defragmenter is used
once a month. Over 100 apps are installed and I often try out new software which, if it doesn’t suit, gets uninstalled with
Revo. I run jvPowerTools Pro to check the Registry after any flurry of installs / uninstalls but otherwise, go nowhere near
the Registry, leaving the seeming passion for cleaning / compacting / defragmenting it to the paranoid.
Windows update is required to run a particular app – say, a .NET update – then I install it. Finally, I don’t allow Vista to
rule my life so disabled that horrendous UAC the day I got the computer and dumped all the other bureaucratic stuff about
privileges and administrators that I certainly don't need on a home PC.
Today my PC is stable, dependable, and
virus and malware free. My wife and I both use it as and when. It works as well now as it did the day it arrived,
factory-fresh. And, as noted, it hasn’t had a Windows Update since September 9th, 2010.
So. Back to my question,
raised in light of what seems to have been yet another example of Microsoft’s Vista being in some way damaged by Microsoft
itself: just how essential are Windows Updates???