VISTA updates(3 posts)
You can turn them off as Scott mentioned with Start>Control Panel>Windows Update>Change Settings ... Then select "Never check for updates".
Do you want to check for updates manually? Or ... just the annoyance of trying to update? Because you should choose "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" then they will download and you can have control over what is installed or not.
You mentioned "whenever I connect to the Internet" I am curious ... are you on dial up?