I'm a 'Power User', which I guess means that I've been using computers since 1968. Of course I do Alpha and Beta work for several companies. I have no problems with software updates from Microsoft, or even on my iMac for that matter. I do check the updates on both to make sure they won't interfere with the work I'm doing at the present time. But I can always install them at a later date by simply going to the Microsoft Update Site or the Apple site. Both are easy to check. I never do hardware updates from either, rather going to the manufacturers site as mentioned before. Inasmuch as I run Vista 32-bit and 64-bit on my desktop and 32-bit Vista on my laptop, with ability to use Office 2007, Exchange Server and so on on my desktop, all on a seperate hard drive from my primary hard drive, and am running Office 2004 on my Apple, I get updates quite often. You should make sure that Hardware updates will help your computer. Sometimes they won't but the manufacturer recommends them. If you download them, it's easy to take them off. Simply go to the Update section and look at installed updates. Take the ones off that are intefering by right-clicking on your mouse and hitting the delete section, generally located near the bottom of the information. As for the Windows Genuine Advantage, it is simply a method of determining if your copy of Windows is authentic. Those who don't like it and take it off their computers are doing themselves a great diservice. If the software is a fake, then they or you won't get the proper updates. Apple has this software but it's hidden, although easily found in the registry. But I will caution you about one thing: Never, and I mean Never, go into the registry unless you know what you are doing. I do, and I still am prone to slight mistakes (right clicking on the wrong value, deleting it for instance, then having to reinstall my software. No I'm not an idiot, just sometimes trying to do something so fast that I make a mistake. And when I do, it takes several hours to make up for that mistake. So don't do it unless you know how, and computer newbies generally don't know how to do that. Not to mention most, if not all, of your friends. and remember one thing, don't download software if you're not sure of it and never open anything that you don't know where it's coming from, even people you know. Viruses, Trojans and other types of malware are generally spread this way. That'ssomethng you, nor anyone else, don't want.
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