Scared to death to run automatic updates

By Fukurou · 19 replies
Jun 11, 2010
  1. Read this to know why

    My thing is now, I am on my last, and only working HDD as I have yet to figure out how to fix the first one. But im tired of sitting here with a computer that does nothing.

    My computer is in the state of

    Running Windows Vista, No SP1, no SP2.

    No installed drivers from Dells website or the drivers disk it came with.

    It's just totally raw right now. I need to know how to get this thing SAFELY into Vista SP2 again like it was before all this crap started. Im really scared to trust the auto updates, but manually installing could be fatal as well.

    If anyone has recently had to do a clean wipe of the system and ended up in the state im in, and while running Windows auto update, ran into a problem with one of the updates, and chose whatever path (ie, Ignored that particular update) or just knows what I should do please tell me!!! I need to know in order to (ie. Get updates, then drivers, or vise versa)

    Please someone help.. I have a $2,300 paper weight here...
  2. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    This is the driver-installation order Dell recommends on their website, Make sure to use the lastest BIOS. Then do your Windows Upates.

    Good luck!

    Driver install order for desktops and laptops

    The following list is an overview of the correct order to install drivers on Dell desktops and portables. After reinstalling Microsoft® Windows®, follow the order listed when reinstalling drivers. It is recommended that you print this list for reference when installing drivers.

    Note: Some devices may not function properly if the drivers are installed out of order.

    1. Desktop System Software (DSS) or Notebook System Software (NSS) - A vital utility that provides critical updates and patches for the operating system. If you are reinstalling Windows or updating all drivers, it is important that this software be installed first. This is located under the System Utilities Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    2. Chipset - Helps Windows control system board components and controllers. This is located under the Chipset Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    3. Video Adapter - Enhances video performance. This is located under the Video Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    4. Network Interface Card (NIC) - Enhances the network controller for Internet or network access. This is located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    5. Laptops Only: Dell Quickset or Dell Control Point Manager (DCP) - Controls power management, ambient light sensor, wireless profiles, and security features on laptops. This is located under the Applications on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    6. Audio Adapter - Enables and enhances the audio controller. This is located under the Audio Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    7. Modem - Allows dial-up capability. This is located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    8. Wireless Network Card - Enables and enhances the wireless network controller. This is located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    9. Touchpad, Pointer, Trackstick, Mice, and Keyboards - Enhances the pointing device features. This is located under the Input Device Drivers Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    10. Other Devices

    Intel vProTM or AMTTM - Enhances system manageability. This is located under the Chipset Category on on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    Bluetooth ® Module located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    Dell Wireless Mobile Broadband Cards located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    PCMCIA/Smartcard controller located under the Security Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    Touch Screen Digitizer Enables touch screen mouse control available on select Dell laptops. This is located under the Input Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    You will do just fine. :wave:

  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    post hoc ergo propter hoc

    While nothing is impossible with computers, i find it very unlikely and hard to believe that Windows updates caused your HD to fail and go bad. (Worst case i've ever seen is MS occasionally releasing a "bad" update that will sometimes cause an occasional BSOD over the week till they release its fix)

    A wise approach is to be running backups anyway (so you're protected against MS mistakes, your own mistakes and hardware failures - which just sometime happen)

    Get a large backup drive and start running Acronis True Image or some other disk imaging backup software so if i drive ever fails again you can simply restore. (p.s it gives you single file/folder recovery as well)
  4. Fukurou

    Fukurou TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    That's not a bad idea, I'll look into it. As far as WAU crashing my HDD, it was a combination of a bad update not fulling downloading/installing and me being a little hastey to shut the system down when everything froze up. That or it just happened to die on me around the same time. It's really hard to say. I'm willing to accept it was 50/50 in the matter.

    Just wanna ask, as far as updating the bios is concerned, I've been told that unless my BIOS is acting weird I should not update the drivers for them because if something goes wrong, it would completely render the motherboard useless and I would have to buy another. What do you think the chances of this are?

    On dell's website, they reccomend I download new BIOS drivers, but they dont claim it to be "important" just... "reccomended" Any insite?

    Also, in the order that Dell list's for Driver download, what catagory does BIOS fall under? DSS?
  5. Mardell

    Mardell TS Rookie

    Reinstalling the Bios driver!
  6. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    BIOS first....

    ... even tho' the updated file is only "recommended" , then install other drivers in the order listed. To be on the extreme safe side, I suggest you re-boot after each major driver installation; ie., chipset, video, audio, NIC, etc. It's very annoying to do so but, for now, a pretty good idea.

    After all necessary drivers are installed, re-boot once more and defragment your computer: Start--> All Programs--> Accessories--> System Tools--> Disk Defragmenter. Do NOT do a "Disk Cleanup" for 3-4 days after all is running well.

    Now, you have a nice, orderly disk on which to install Windows Updates. Again to be on the safe side: First - install the important/required ones and re-boot; then, Second - rerun Windows Update and select any Optional Updates you wish.

    You should have no more surprises, if (pardon me) you are using a legitimate copy of Windows. You can safely check your copy by downloading MGADIAG.exe here: It does not send any info from your computer and you can delete it after testing.

    In any event, you may wish to decline and hide the "Genuine Advantage Notification" update.

    Keep us posted. :wave:
  7. Mardell

    Mardell TS Rookie

    Just enter your svc tag when you get to the dell drivers page, and Bios has it own category
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Updating the BIOS is strangely dangerous on some computers...
    But Dell has pretty well worked it out so that you don''t have problems if you use their BIOS update and have no trouble when downloading it...
    Dell BIOS updates will rarely run if everything is not just right.

    In this case, it is usually smarter to update the BIOS before you run updates, as they may not install correctly with an old BIOS.
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    On the one hand, i've always found Dell's BIOS updates to be pretty safe (you just always want to make you never interrupt ANY BIOS update which also means to make sure no cables are loose, you don't accidently kick out a power cord, etc.)

    1) There's no indication a BIOS update is required for your case as you don;t have any odd hardware issues
    2) It's perfectly fine for you to run Windows update without installing a new BIOS
    3) You can install a new BIOS (if you think you need to) anytime later after the updates and and even after a reinstall if you prefer

    /* edit */
    While i find Acronis True Image well worth the $50USD for all the functionality, a good freeware product (but doesn't support incremental/differential backups, only complete backups) is EASUS Todo Backup
  10. Fukurou

    Fukurou TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    Ok! That's a lot of good advise. Just to make certain, here's what I'm going to do, in order as I'm going to do it. I don't wanna screw anything else up at thois point so tell me if I'm about to do something wrong.

    1. Install the BIOS reccomended update. (reboot)

    2. Install all other reccomended driver updates in the order Dell reccomends. (rebooting after each driver update)

    3. Turn on automatic updates and allow installation of all updates (rebooting as required)

    Givin I don't hit any snags with windows updates like last time*

    4. Defragging computer.

    Sound right?

    * = had error 8000FFFF come up last time during download which I suspect lead to my hard drive crashing.
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    A few comments

    Add step 0: Create a clone backup image of the drive before you start to cover-your-*** just in case ;)

    Doesn't hurt to reboot each time but shouldn't be required to do so unless an installation tells you to reboot for changes to take affect, then do so before proceeding

    Before the defrag, you might to use a tool like CCleaner to also remove all the junk files that have collected on your computer

    IMHO use a better defrag tool then the Windows defragger. Try Auslogics
  12. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    Respectfully to All...

    Unless you see a significant omission and/or error, let's not overload Fukurou. He has been given good, starting advice for where he is NOW: He has a bootable disk with a clean-install of an OS. So, for example, to back-up and/or clone it at this time, is pointless.... there is nothing to back up!

    Please, Fukurou, proceed as I suggested, including the BIOS update... FIRST. There is nearly ZERO downside, as long as you do not interrupt the process; ie., don't unplug, touch or even breathe on the machine once the BIOS Update has begun. Once it has completed, be sure to "Save" the change. That is, follow Dell's procedure and you will be fine.

    All the other advice I've seen in the last few posts only "gild the lily"; that is, they add nothing of substance to your immediate circumstance.

    I say this with sincere humility, since Members like LookinAround :cool: , for example, are far more knowledgeable than I : I only started playing with IBM 360 mainframes in 1969.

    Keep us posted. :wave:

    --- JMJ

    DO NOT run CCleaner nor any other such utility until AFTER a day-or-so of your machine operating normally.
  13. Fukurou

    Fukurou TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    Im no computer wizz (clearly) but that's exactly what I was thinking. So long as I dont mess with anything as stated above while updating, if anything fails, it wouldn't be a thing to just wipe and start over again. I still appreaciate all adive and insite, and it will be taking into consideration for future situations, but with where I stand now, simple is good. Alright! Well, against my fear of a second crashed hard drive. I'm begining. lol, I sound like im about to do surgery or something. Thank you everyone!

    I wont be running any Ccleaner or type device like that for a good while (maybe a month or so) just to be on the safe side. After all updates are complete, i'll only defrag if windows reccomends it (unless otherwise highly reccomended by someone following this post)
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Then you should appreciate my own bit of nostalgia that i keep saved (and just pulled) from my desk: my ol' System 370 Assembler Language Reference card ;)

  15. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    I knew....

    ... that we were in the presence of A Great One, [​IMG] , LookinAround. I was only in high school making ASCII images on those 360's when you were already writing code. So, pardon my mouthing off; you know how we "youngsters" can misbehave! :eek: But, now, to our Younger Friend:

    Fukurou, go ahead and Defrag as suggested. It will only help start you off as neat and tidy as possible.

    After you are solidly up-and-running again, you can Google around and find better defrag, security, housekeeping, etc., etc., software (both free and commercial) to keep your New-Again Baby happy and safe! We'll be standing by to offer our best (sometimes unsolicited :) ) advice.


    P.S.: Don't throw away that "toast" HDD. We may be able to bring it back from the trash bin.
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    wtf?? lighten up...

    1) I only posted the reference card as it sounded as tho we could both enjoy sharing the nostalgia (you found that offensive?)

    2) And i was only responding in the first place as i skimmed the OP's post who solicited comment
    This is a forum, not a challenge.

    So are we friends? :)
  17. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    OMG :wave: I tossed the 360,370,XA asm cards ~ a decade ago -- nice to see the history again :)
  18. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    Not at all...

    Rather than being offended, I sincerely doffed my hat to your greater knowledge and experience. So, what's with the expletives? And, here I thought I was the Grumpy Ol' Man! [​IMG] Sheesh!

    So, let's split a bottle of Geritol and play nice, huh?

    Your new, bestest Friend,

  19. Fukurou

    Fukurou TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    Will do on the defrag then, and as far as the HDD goes, I DO still have it safely wrapped in bubble wrap next to me. I couldnt bring myself to throw it away until I had 100% exhausted all possible methods of revival. My hope in that is newly restored too with the new behavior of these updates BIOS. Prior to updating, I selected the optical drive as the only method of booting up, however, if no CD was present, it would still boot off the HDD anyway! After this update, I restarted my computer after taking the CD out and got a little scared for a second when it told me something along the lines of "nothing to boot from" I laughed when I rememberd what I did in the BIOS and set everything back to what it should be and it started perfictly fine. My next step is after fulling updating my computer, trying to put the old HDD back in and see if this time it will priority boot from my GOOD HDD and allow me to restore the bad one. (crosses fingers)
  20. jmjsquared

    jmjsquared TS Booster Posts: 145

    You're on your way!

    Setting the Boot Order to CD/DVD -->HDD--> , etc. sets the order of boot devices. So, if you set one device as First and it is not present at boot time, the system will look for the next available boot device. So, everything is as it should be.

    Also, please DO NOT reinsert the "faulty" HDD after getting your 'puter running again. There are better, safer ways to test/restore it; for example, LookinAround mentioned Acronis TrueImage, whose publisher also makes Acronis DiskDirector which is a great tool but pricey. There is also "Hiren's BootCD/DVD" an excellent, free tool that you can find here:

    Good Luck :grinthumb
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