We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Pic: Sad fate of a Mac user who tried going the Windows extra mile
Before I get to the gist of the article, I thought I'd list out a few Windows 7 annoyances that you might like to take care of. All of these are on my Windows 7 setup page (most will also work for Vista):
— Getting rid of the "-Shortcut" tag on shortcut icons
— Changing the path to Internet Explorer's 'Favorites' so you won't lose them in case your system melts down
— Changing IE's tool bar icons back to 'Large'
— Activating 'Link to Email' in IE
— Disabling those incredibly annoying Task Bar pop-outs
— Cleaning up the 'New' menu
— Cleaning up the mouse's (right-button) Context menu
— Getting rid of icons on the Control Panel
Nothing earthshaking. What we call 'housework' in the geek biz.
As for Windows Update, if you have Microsoft Office Suite on your system, you definitely want to do this for security purposes. If not, do it anyway, just cuz. You never can tell what it'll find.
Normally, Windows Update just scans for actual Windows files, not programs. To do so requires a few clicks. Details are below the fold.
First, so you'll be able to tell what's related to this update, go to Control Panel, Windows Update, do a manual update. If it has you reboot your computer afterward, run it again after boot-up.
Once you get the 'up to date' message, click 'Find out more' at the bottom. It'll open a browser and go to the Microsoft site.
— Check the box, continue. It'll install a small plugin for the usual update software.
— If another box pops up, select 'Use recommended settings', 'Install'
— Update will start running. If it doesn't start automatically, click on 'Check for updates'.
When it's finished with the scan, click on the blue 'important' link if it pops up and look things over (don't bother with any 'optional' link). Assuming you have Microsoft Office Suite installed, it'll want to install a bunch of updates for programs you might not have installed, like Access or Outlook. Uncheck those, start the update.
After it's through, on the Update panel select 'Change settings', uncheck 'Microsoft Update'. If you leave it checked and your updates are set to run automatically, it'll go ahead and download all the unnecessary junk the next time it does its thing.
If you normally do Windows Update manually, uncheck the option and set the top box back to "Never check...'
If you don't have the Office Suite on your system but Windows Update still found something interesting to update, let me know in the comments. Just cuz.
I've a question on updates that has just this instant come to mind.
Between the 28/11/12 and 25/04/11 Windows 7 has installed 159 updates.
Surely some of these are by now redundant.
Do I need to keep all of them on my computer?
Well, they're not "on" your computer, like a program is. Most of them have updated or replaced existing Windows files and are done with. The original downloads might be around somewhere, but just taking up a fraction of disk space. Good question, tho'.
Thanks for that Doc. So, if I understand correctly then there is, on the computer so to speak, only a record of what updates have been done. The entries I see in the control panel, which give neither size nor location are "placeholders" as it were? A readout of changes noted in the registry?
Right, any 'History' you see is just that; a log of past updates, but nothing that can (or should) be undone. Entries listed in 'Programs and Features' are different; those are items that can be removed.
In case you have missed it Doc. I had never seen it before.
The Vajont reservoir disaster is a classic example of the consequences of the failure of engineers and geologists to understand the nature of the problem that they were trying to deal with. During the filling of the reservoir a block of approximately 270 million cubic metres detached from one wall and slid into the lake at velocities of up to 30 m/sec (approx. 110 km/h). As a result a wave over topped the dam by 250 m and swept onto the valley below, with the loss of about 2500 lives. Remarkably the dam remained unbroken by the flood.