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Windows Update is a feature of Microsoft's desktop operating environments which allows the hapless user to keep their system up to date. It is a convenient and (most importantly) highly non-technical conduit for hardware drivers and software patches. However, as it is motivated by evil, there are some cons as well as pros:

PROS

  • Easy to use (relatively speaking)
  • A one-stop shop
  • At least puts clueless computer illiterates in the running to apply patches

CONS

  • Uses Internet Explorer for its UI and therefore...
  • Requires all the huge security holes to be opened to operate. (Active Scripting, ActiveX, etc.)
  • Tries to peddle loads of gratuitous crap such as IE6 and "Still sucks compared to Winamp" Windows Media Player. Optional, but still a clear and present competition stifler.
  • It's really, really, really, really slow.
  • Only lets you grab one "major" patch/service pack at a time.
  • Do you like rebooting? How about dialogues with 'Do not restart my computer' greyed out so you can't tick them?
  • Sometimes puts back all the redundant icons* you have meticulously expunged from the desktop, start menu and toolbar.
  • Of course, you have to invoke it manually on each machine.
It claims it doesn't send any data back to Microsoft.

*Internet Explorer and Outlook Express-Route-To-Propogating-Email-Worms