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Issue #207: July 10, 2011

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Q: I’m hoping you can help me to avoid a nuisance that has popped up recently.  I’m running MS Vista on a Toshiba Satellite laptop, and it works fairly well.  I use Internet Explorer (IE) 8 to connect to the internet.  Lately, Windows Update has been wanting me to upgrade to IE 9.  I made that mistake three weeks ago.  I upgraded to IE 9 and found that I didn’t like it (too radically different).  Fortunately, I managed to reconfigure back to IE 8.  Unfortunately, Windows Update keeps “pestering” me to upgrade back to IE 9.  By the way, Windows Update considers this an “Important” update…I consider it more of a convenience.  Other than ignoring the upgrade suggestion by unchecking the upgrade box each and every time it’s offered, is there anything I can do to get Windows Upgrade to stop suggesting that particular upgrade?  I’m hesitant to turn off all Windows Update suggestions, as it may just try to inform me of something really important.  Thanks for any help you can provide, and many thanks for your weekly column. 

– Paul L.
Niceville, Fla

A: There is indeed a way, Paul.  I’m guessing that you are talking about an update notification that keeps appearing in your computer’s notification area, as opposed to an update that you see every time you visit the Windows Update website.  Just in case that’s not what you meant, and for the benefit of those readers who prefer the website over the automated updates, I’ll cover how to hide an update under both methods.  To get Windows to stop showing a particular update in the notification area, the next time it appears, simply right-click it, and select “Hide this update”.  You can also select “Review Updates” rather than “Install” and Windows Update will display details about the update (or updates) it is about to install.  In this window, each update has a checkbox next to it.  Simply uncheck the one you don’t Windows to bug you about anymore, then when you go to the next step, you’ll have the option of whether to be reminded again.  Tell it “No”.  If for some reason you change your mind in the future and want to see this update (and any other updates you have hidden), all you need to do is right-click on “My Computer” and select “Properties”.  Click on the “Automatic Updates” tab, and at the bottom, you’ll see a link that says “Offer updates again that I’ve previously hidden”.

You can also hide updates that you see on the Windows Update website (which you can access in IE by selecting Tools>Windows Update).  Use the navigation pane on the left side of the window under “Select by Type” to view the available updates. If you want to hide one, click the little plus sign in front of the update’s title to expand it.  At the bottom of the description you’ll see a checkbox labeled “Don’t show this update again”.  As above, if you ever decide you want to see the updates you’ve previously hidden, there is an easy way to do that.  In the navigation pane, under “Options” is a link labeled “Restore Hidden Updates”.

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