Optional Windows Updates

dee_can1September 12, 2012

Hi, with regard to Windows Optional Updates (for Vista), I'm never really sure which ones I should update - and, I've actually never downloaded optional updates, ever. For instance, there are a few Ricoh optional updates pending, but I don't think I use Ricoh programs or software on my PC, so I haven't updated those, and I'm pretty sure that's a good decision.

But there are a couple that I'm not sure if I should update like, Intel driver update for Intel(R) WiFi Link 5100 AGN

Download size: 1.7 MB

You may need to restart your computer for this update to take effect.

Update type: Optional

This driver was provided by Intel for support of Intel(R) WiFi Link 5100 AGN;

****

or,

Microsoft Silverlight (KB2636927)

Download size: 6.6 MB

Update type: Optional

Microsoft Silverlight is a Web browser plug-in for Windows and Mac OS X that delivers high quality video/audio, animation, and richer Website experiences in popular Web browsers.

****

or, Windows Live Essentials 2011 (KB2434419)

Download size: 2.5 MB

You may need to restart your computer for this update to take effect.

Update type: Optional

Do more with Windows on your PC with free programs from Microsoft for photos, movies, instant messaging, email, social networking, and more. Get it all in one simple download.

Windows Live Essentials includes Messenger, Photo Gallery, Mail, Movie Maker, Writer, Family Safety, and Windows Live Mesh, plus Bing Bar, Messenger Companion, Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector, Microsoft Outlook Social Connector Provider for Windows Live Messenger, and Microsoft Silverlight.

Installing this update will replace your Windows Live Toolbar with Bing Bar.

****

I'm pretty sure I don't want Windows Live Essentials, the Bing Bar doesn't thrill me. ; ) How do you decide which ones to update - which ones might enhance my computer performance (or not)? Thanks for any advice. : )

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owbist

I always assume "optional" means it is not really necessary unless you feel the need to improve the part the update is intended to be used for. So I do not bother with the optional updates myself.

I rarely update drivers either unless I am unhappy with the performance of a particular aspect of my computer, then I will search for a fix.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:46AM
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mike_kaiser_gw

The Intel driver is for the wireless network card in your computer. There's probably no need to update it if you aren't having connectivity or performance issues.

Microsoft Silverlight is a lot like Adobe's Flash. If you're not having any issues browsing sites that use Silverlight, then there's no need to update it.

If you're not using Live, then there's no need for the update. I can't imagine the Bing bar adding anything, most browsers allow you to search via a search box or directly from the address box.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 11:18AM
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SnidelyWhiplash

Some software updates are really essential, others aren't. An individual user will never know which is which.

I think you're all over-thinking this. By updating you're getting all the security and functionality the developer can provide. Not getting updates is kinda like not getting vaccinations or other preventive treatment or preventive service- you can talk yourself into believing that the action (be it an update, or whatever) isn't necessary, but that doesn't make it so. The people who know better think you need it.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 11:46AM
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dee_can1

Thanks everyone. Seeing as I've never done an optional update, and my computer seems to be fine, I might stick with just important and recommended updates then.

But having said that, I have always had problems with my laptop staying connected to my wireless network, and I have to keep reconnecting. Some days are worse that others. But, having said that, of course I can't be sure whether it's because of the Intel driver.

Just thought I'd mention that just as I was going to post my response, I lost my wireless connection. It was a good opportunity to check the 'diagnose this problem' message, it says, "The wireless authentication settings on this computer do not match the requirements of this network". Which, obviously isn't true since I can connect just fine at other times. Might be a whole different problem than 'optional updates', though. I have learned to 'select all' and 'copy' before posting anything... Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 12:10PM
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owbist

Snidely wrote The people who know better think you need it.

Not necessarily so otherwise it would be labelled differently.

Optionals are optional because those who design it think it might be worthwhile for many users but if one is not having problems with that particular item why would one opt to update? Always a personal decision of course.

Critical updates I allowed all the time because they are labelled critical and those who know realise a flaw needs fixing.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 2:48PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I do critical updates but rarely ever do the optional ones unless I have read supporting evidence to do so on one of the security sites I frequent or from Susan Bradley in the windows secrets newsletter.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 5:48PM
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DA_Mccoy

Unless a user is really into Silverlight and WLE I would recommend to make note and "hide" them. They are not all that important.

As far as the Intel update, since you report a connection concern I would recommend investigating the update further; Google and the MS database. Perhaps it is a solution to your concern. If not, make a note of it and hide it.

Well enough alone is always a good path to consider.

DA

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 6:10PM
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dee_can1

Thanks raven and DA. DA, I appreciate the tip on hiding them since I hadn't noticed I could do that. I will investigate the Intel update, although I'll probably just leave everything alone since I'm kind of used to being disconnected at inconvenient times. lol

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 6:20PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

Silverlight doesn't have widespread use, to my knowledge, but it does have a few high profile users. Netflix streaming content comes to mind.

Software/hardware companies don't produce updates and revisions because they have nothing else to do. I can assure you that not infrequently the last thing such companies would do is fully discuss the reasons for and contents of such revisions in broad daylight or with journalists. But if you want to rely on people who by definition don't have the whole story, go ahead.

Imagine hearing someone say "I never check my oil or get it changed. It doesn't seem necessary, My car is only two years old and it's been fine". That's what some of the preceding comments sound like to me.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:54AM
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DA_Mccoy

For the life of me I cannot fathom why anyone would even consider upgrading anything they don't use. It would be a waste of time, and only bad could happen. In fact, I would recommend removing the unwanted target application(s).

Preventive maintenance and product advancement are two entirely different concepts.

DA

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:12AM
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mikie_gw

I resisted SilverLight for a long time thinking when something wants it.. the page will tell me.

The only page I've ever had that wanted it, was a page somewhere at Microsoft.com containing needed information that I had searched. :)

I'd install a wifi driver update, especially if I was having disconnects. If it messes up something somehow.. its very easy to roll back that driver in Device Manager. And it might possibly fix that disconnect problem.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:55AM
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dee_can1

mikie, if I do install the wifi driver update and something goes wrong, I'll post back here and get help 'rolling back that driver in Device Manager'. I'm kind of... askeered, but I'll try it.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:13PM
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grandms

To me, "Optional" means exactly what the word says. I always look at the optional updates, and then I decide whether one is relevant to my situation.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:36PM
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dee_can1

Good advice grandms. I was a little unsure if some of the optional updates pertained to me, but I had a pretty good idea which ones didn't, for sure.

Speaking of not being sure if the update was relevant to me, I just installed the wifi driver update. So far I'm staying connected. I'll let you all know if I continue having connections problems even after doing the update, though.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:04PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

good for you dee can! lets hope that driver fixes all your problems!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:22PM
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DA_Mccoy

DC,

See a some additional information, some reassurance, and a little bit of the lion's courage may have solved your concern. As RC said, Good For You.

DA

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 6:28PM
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dee_can1

Thanks. :) I only lost my connection once so far since yesterday, so hopefully it isn't going to be a continual problem like before. If it is, I'll post and see if you guys can help me get to the root of it.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 6:59AM
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genes

You might also want to consider re-booting your wireless modem if the driver update doesnt sort it out..also, it could be a faulty modem if supplied by you internet provider they could check that out

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 5:49AM
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dee_can1

I've had the router almost 4 years and have re-booted it quite a few times in the past. Plus, I reapplied the settings a few times, too. I will have the option of getting wireless through my cable company later this fall when they start offering that, but I'm not sure if I'll do that.

The connection has been very good since updating the driver. I only lost connection once while actually using the computer, and then I've lost it a couple of times while my computer has been idle for a few hours at a time (I don't know whether the latter incidents are normal behavior for most wireless networks, though).

Thanks for your suggestions, much appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:34PM
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corrine_mvp

When it comes to "optional" updates, I review them and decide if they apply. For example, KB2709981 is an update for Windows 7 64-bit systems. It fixes an issue where Windows Media Player displays scrambled content when playing from a DVD. If I were having that problem, of course, I would install it.

--I never install optional updates at the same time as security updates.
--If there is more than one optional update offered, I'll install them separately.
--If it is for a driver (i.e., dee_can's Intel driver), I recommend going to the vendor website to get the most recent release. I also agree that I wouldn't update it if I wasn't having any problems.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:29PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

For an average user, one who has little understanding of PCs in general and has perhaps no information about a given update in particular, what are you suggesting be done with software updates that are pushed out? Microsoft may identify the nature of its OS updates (some of which I consider dubious), other companies don't.

I've found that people with only light PC experience have trouble finding drivers on hardware companys' websites and if they do find them, have trouble installing them. Is your experience different?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 1:37AM
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owbist

Snidely wrote:- I've found that people with only light PC experience have trouble finding drivers on hardware companys' websites and if they do find them, have trouble installing them. Is your experience different?

I think those of us who help sometimes lose sight of that and find even simple tasks a challenge for many users. These users are not stupid people, they simply get overwhelmed or afraid the thing will collapse if they hit a wrong key.

Recently I had a phone call where a man who has owned a computer for possibly 4 years could not copy and paste. Even trying to walk him through over the phone did not work. Assuming his issue was bigger than just a lack of ability I went there, sure enough he could not grasp the simple concept of copy and paste. A few seconds and we had the task done.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:40AM
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dee_can1

Thanks for the advice Corrine. : ) *waves*

I went to the Intel website and tested my drivers. If there is a newer driver available would you download it even if you weren't having problems with the old one (or if you thought the update to the older one may have fixed the problem)? I'll post the results:

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:02AM
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dee_can1

Heh, I had to chop off the results, but here's the rest:

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:03AM
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nearandwest

"If there is a newer driver available would you download it even if you weren't having problems with the old one (or if you thought the update to the older one may have fixed the problem)?"

Yes, I would.

I prefer to have the most current drivers that are available to be installed in my computer. I check for driver updates for my machine in Device Manager.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:52AM
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corrine_mvp

Opinions vary widely on updating drivers. There are many like nearandwest who always want the latest drivers installed and others who feel that if it isn't broken, leave well enough alone.

Because you mentioned problems with WiFi and your current driver is version 12 with the newer driver version 14, I would consider installing the newer driver. Being overly cautious, you could create a fresh restore point, even though drivers can be rolled back if the update makes things worse.

Microsoft provides instructions on how to roll back a driver here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Restore-a-driver-to-its-previous-version

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:54AM
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emma

I agree that most beginners are afraid of damaging their computers and that can be very handicapping. They are helpless and call someone to set it up and "fix" it when there is a problem and they never learn how to do it themselves. I bought my first PC in 1996, I was 59 at the time and was scared that I would ruin my PC with one click. It is a normal fear for beginners. For some reason I wanted more than doing email maybe boredom and the need to be independent. I lucked out by getting a Compaq tech was very understanding and patient. He told me I could not hurt this PC. He said if I changed something I could not correct and couldn't live with I could use the reformatting disks that came with the PC. After that I jumped in with both feet. The Compac techs taught me how to use the PC and some of the software even though they weren't suppose to. Then I discovered this site, found help and learned a lot. I am at the point where I can find most of my answers by Googling, thanks again for the people in here who suggested it. I do appreciate of the help I have found here and what I learned just by reading.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:41AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Unless I have seen some problems which updating the driver may fix I leave well enough alone, if as you are seeing a problem that the driver update could repair then yes I would update the driver, and as Corrine mentioned, from the manufacturers website directly or from the manufacturer of your pc site for your model.
I too am a firm believer of making restore points prior to any type of changes.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 1:09PM
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dee_can1

I'm happy with how my computer is working now, especially after that update to the driver.

I truly appreciate everyone's opinion on whether to do it or not - but I think I'll stick with what I have for now. If a problem with outdated drivers does arise in the future, I'll download the new versions.

I realize I can probably google the answers to some of my questions, but I find it very helpful to hear all viewpoints and then make a decision on my own.

Thanks for all your advice.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:59PM
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mikie_gw

Sometimes I need to spend time and maybe decide if the most current driver direct from the makers website is best..

The Windows Update driver I find often times, is the most currect WHQL approved driver version - yet the maker maybe has newer versions showing on their website, that havent gone through WHQL approval/testing. For some, you can guess, they will never be submitted.

Those that havent seen WHQL .. show up in error logs too often for my likes.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:14PM
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dee_can1

I'm back with more connection problems. It isn't as bad as it was before I updated the wifi driver, but it seems to be getting worse again.

I did some searching which led me to open my Device Manager (in Vista). Under Network Adapters, it showed a yellow exclamation symbol beside Microsoft ISATAP Adapter #2. I eventually ran Microsoft 'Fix It' (which has yet to fix anything for me - ha), and got the following message:

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:03AM
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dee_can1

Part 2 (I can't figure out how to post two photos using the upload feature):

Then, in Device Manager, I right-clicked on the driver, and clicked 'update driver software', but it went on endlessly searching for an update, and I ended up cancelling it.

I searched the internet for a solution which ran anywhere from uninstalling/re-installing it, to just ignoring it since some say it doesn't cause problems...

Could this be the reason for my connection problems, possibly?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:10AM
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owbist

I think at this time I might consider buying an external wifi card for this laptop that plugs into a USB port and be done with the frustration. I am not one to give in easily but you have made a serious effort to fix the issue with little success.

I have never seen the laptop make and model listed either? The thread got carried away with the optional updates opinions.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 12:05PM
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dee_can1

Thanks owbist. It's a Toshiba Satellite notebook, Intel Core2Duo 2GHZ, 4 GB ram, 64-bit.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 1:00PM
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mikie_gw

MS has a support article on it ... about 1 yr old. Gardenweb link at bottom.

but it also says
The ISATAP adapter encapsulates IPv6 packets by using an IPv4 header. This functionality enables the client to transport IPv6 traffic over an IPv4 infrastructure.
.......
I'd probably try rebuilding the Tcp/Ip stack...
A standard fix for problematic network connection problems anyways.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299357 (MS Fixit)

Here is a link that might be useful: MS Support 'ISATAP adapter code 31'

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 8:12PM
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dee_can1

Thanks for the link. I don't know what rebuilding the Tcp/Ip stack means, but I'll check into it. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:29AM
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dee_can1

I decided to post at Sysnative to see what their opinion is. I'll post the link if anyone is interested. Of course, I'm interested in what anyone here has to say, too. I realize I probably should have started a separate thread from 'Optional Updates', though. :P

Here is a link that might be useful: Sysnative

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:06AM
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corrine_mvp

Excellent move posting at Sysnative, dee_can. Those "guys" are brilliant solving that type of problem. jcgriff2 will be away from his computer for most of today but someone else may get back to you in his absence.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:48AM
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corrine_mvp

I got my dates mixed up. It is tomorrow that jcgriff2 will be tied up. He's replied already. Be sure to ask if you have any questions about his instructions, dee_cann.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 1:06PM
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dee_can1

Thanks Corrine. Hopefully my drivers will be nice and reinstall. ; )

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 1:44PM
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