How do I determine whether an optional update should be installed or not?

Original title: Install optional updates, or not?

How do I determine whether an optional update should be installed or not?

The description pane on the right is not informative in helping to know if it should be installed on my machine.

 

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Last updated October 19, 2018 Views 19,319 Applies to:

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How do I determine whether an optional update should be installed or not?

The description pane on the right is not informative in helping to know if it should be installed on my machine.

Your description of the description is even less informative....

What update is it? Optional updates are "optional" so by definition you don't need to but can install them.

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Why the shoulder chip?


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Hi,

Usually software or the driver update or the language pack will be offered in Windows Update (optional).

You may use Bing.com to learn more about the update being offered and depending on whether you need that update you can take an action.

Let us know if you have any questions with Windows and we will be glad to assist.

Ravinath P
Forum Moderator - Multiple Forums

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This is an excellent question.  I am a long time Windows guy (like 30 years) and help a lot of people.  The definitions of critical and optional have morphed.  Now, we have Important updates and Optional ones. 

I don't know if this is your issue, but mine is the fact that updates appear in the Important category but are not checked.  Example: KB2901983. That results in a kind of half optional/half important status.  If a user does not open the Important list (few do), they would never see an update there that is unchecked.

So, the big question is, is this important?  If it is, then why is it not checked.  Or, why is it in the Important list if it is Optional.  I don't know the answer to this question.

You can do a search (using any search system) on the Internet by simply typing KB......, the one identifying the particular update in question.  That will take you to the relevant answer on Microsoft's web site.  The problem then is, is there enough understandable information there for you to make an informed decision.  The answer for 99% of Windows users is NO.  In fact, lately some of the descriptions have been simply so short and even wrong (example: KB2990214) that these explanations (from Microsoft) are not very useful, or even mis-leading.

This issue is even more complicated because now Microsoft is using Windows Update Important category to promote Microsoft.  Example KB3035583.  Whether these particular updates are actually important to the operation of Windows is questionable.

Then there is the question as to whether you are receiving Windows updates or Microsoft updates.  By default, you receive only Windows Updates.  If you receive the other category of updates, you will also receive updates to drivers and other Microsoft programs.  Some of those updates are very relevant to your computer (if not critical), and some are not.

You can switch to the Microsoft Update category, by clicking on the link entitled and other Microsoft updates, in the Windows Update window.

My advice to my clients is to let Windows Update operate automatically, and let someone who is capable of making a judgment decide if particular non-critical updates are necessary.  Finding the "capable" person is a challenge.  If you are discerning, you may get good insights in this forum.

Bottom line is that I would not expect a clear answer to this question, but I for one, am glad you asked it.

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How do I determine whether an optional update should be installed or not?

Such as...?

--
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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In general, you don't need to install them. Most of the optional updates are there to make tweaks and improvements to Microsoft Apps, so are not necessary to install for the running of Windows.

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In general, you don't need to install them. Most of the optional updates are there to make tweaks and improvements to Microsoft Apps, so are not necessary to install for the running of Windows.

What are MS Apps? I'm not sure so don't know how to tell if I'm using any on the computer. (I've tried looking at the 'more information' but it can be hard to tell exactly what updates are for.)

If I wanted to uninstall optional updates, how would I do that? Are there issues in terms of computer/program functionality that would make that useful? detrimental?

thanks

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In windows Update, Optional Updates, the 'More Information' link gives a greater insite.

Personally I rarely install Optional updates or even bother checking them to see whats available.

Optional Updates can often cause issues on win7, particular driver updates. This doesn't appear to be an issue with win8.

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...Personally I rarely install Optional updates or even bother checking them to see whats available.

Optional Updates can often cause issues on win7, particular driver updates....

Thanks. How do I uninstall optional updates?

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The number of optional updates that have been appearing in the past few months is ludicrous. Before, the odd optional used to appear every month or so. Now several appear each month, which is bewildering to say the least.

My machine was bang up to date after this month's Patch Tuesday, I checked for updates today and 3 are optionals have appeared. How inexperienced users are supposed to decide which they need is beyond me and is therefore irresponsible of Microsoft. Based on the limited information provided, I'm not sure if I need them!

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