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Dutchess_III's avatar

Is it OK to delete all of this stuff?

Asked by Dutchess_III (37545points) July 9th, 2010

When ever I’m looking through my Add or Remove Program in the control panel I see all this crap, going back to 2004. I know it’s kind of hard to read, but I’m sure you all recognize it. It’s periodic Windows updates. Do the most recent ones replace the previous? Can I delete all but the most recent one?

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9 Answers

wgallios's avatar

Yes; when in doubt, just uninstall it. You wont remove anything thats “critical” to the system, and even if its a windows updates, you can simply run windows update again to re-download.

Sometimes people like to get tricky and make it look like it is legitimate windows software when it is not.

As far as those patches replacing old ones, I’m not exactly sure what happens to the deprecated update, but Microsoft is notorious for “bloat ware” so it wouldn’t surprise me if half of that you didn’t really need.

Overall if you believe it to be legit then its probably OK to keep it else just uninstall it.

jaytkay's avatar

Don’t uninstall security updates. They are there for a reason. They aren’t “bloatware”. They aren’t hurting anything. If you need more hard drive space, hard drives are cheap.

Do the most recent ones replace the previous? Can I delete all but the most recent one?

No, definitely not.

Service packs, however, are cumulative. And essentially a Service Pack is all those individual updates rolled into one package.

I would make sure you have XP Service Pack 3 installed.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322389

dynamicduo's avatar

“When in doubt, uninstall” is a motto only appropriate to causing havoc and problems with your computer.

As far as I know, the XP updates address one or two or a few issues each and are not a cumulative update thing. You can look up each of them by Googling their KB###, such as KB901214 which is an update regarding a vulnerability in a Microsoft tool. By uninstalling these, you open yourself back up to the problems their existence tries to fix.

Every few years Microsoft makes a big bundle of these updates. These are their Service Packs. They are currently at Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. The purpose of these is so that if you have XP Service Pack 2 discs, when you reinstall Windows you can simply download Service Pack 3 and apply it before having their Automatic Updates program scan to see what other ones you need to download and install. So it saves time and hassle. It’s a good idea to stay current with their Service Packs, though I do admit to still only running with Service Pack 2.

In reality, the length of your Installed Programs list is inconsequential. That said, I’m the type of person who tries to keep it neat and tidy. In lieu of uninstalling them, just do what I do – bypass the M section :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you so very much! @dynamicduo I guess that was one of my concerns. My computer is running SO SLOW and gets so HUNG UP so OFTEN that I just want to de clutter. But if those updates are taking up any resources then…...how do I bypass the M section? What you talkin’ ‘bout Willis?

jaytkay's avatar

how do I bypass the M section?

It took me a while but I just got that.

Avert your eyes as you pass the “Microsoft Security Update…” part of the list :-)

Buttonstc's avatar

If your computer is running slowly it’s far more likely to be some type of adware or spyware which hogs system resources to a remarkable degree. It could also be a virus of some type.

What type of protection against these do you have ?

www.malwarebytes.org

jaytkay's avatar

A full hard drive or too little RAM can also bog things down.

dynamicduo's avatar

I simply mean scrolling past it and not worrying too much :)

As for your other computer issues, here is what I recommend to spruce up an old computer.
First off, the best thing you can do but the most tricky thing is to completely wipe your hard drive and reinstall your operating system and programs. After years and years of using the same setup, you accumulate all sorts of crufty files and unused bits and pieces that, even though they only slow things down by 0.1%, that times fifty, 100, 1000 is where the problem lies. My man-mate runs one of the best and tightest systems I’ve ever seen (stripped down to necessity, without the needless components) and even he reinstalls every 5 years or so. It’s like giving the computer a good thorough bath. However you need to back up all your files onto external media (twice, in case the one attempt fails somehow) and reinstall all your drivers, programs, etc. It takes a good few days, but then you have a system that is like new.

Without reinstalling your operating system, there are a few things you can do. Even though your data should be safe, please back up first, there is no need to risk your data at all. First off, always run an adware-detecting program like Ad-aware (the free version) or Spybot Search and Destroy (again free), these will find and kill any hidden programs that might be slowing things down. You can uninstall un-needed programs from your Control Panel, this will not have a large effect but it can help. What has more of an effect is disabling or uninstalling programs that start up and run in the background – these guys are what hog your memory and slow the computer down, things like constant and automatic Norton AntiVirus scans (versus once a day, such as at night when you aren’t on your computer), etc. You can also defragment your disc drive, this is an advanced computer thing which I would say is analogous to shaking a box of cereal to make it all settle to the bottom, which leaves the top of it free and clear (and in the case of the computer, makes it easier to access larger chunks of the hard drive). I’ll try to think up other things I do to spruce up slow systems, and I’d be more than willing to guide you through doing any of these tasks yourself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dynamicduo Ah, now you’re gettin all technical with the M word! :)

I have malwarebytes….I just think I need a beeger Memory.

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