Not to enter into the controversay but I DISAGREE with Woody Leonhard and many others.
Win7 SP1 and ALL following Updates SHOULD be installed as they contain O/S Kernel Fixes.
As most know, I run a Super Clean Perfect older machine and have not had to ever re-image system since Win7 initial installation in December 2010.
This does not mean that others will not have problems if they are running out-dated versions of Office or
other non-conforming software.
I'm NOT a "Fanboy" of any O/S but I do think MS is making great efforts to over come the problems they encounted with the release of Vista and not repeat their same mistakes with Windows 7.
To fix the update process would be simple matter.
Just have an internal timer that initates an information pop up every so many days to check for updates.
When the computer visits the MS Manual Update Site, the timer would be re-set for another period whether or not any updates were downloaded or installed.
For those that Never wish to visit the MS update site at all, there would be a button on the information pop-up to change a registry setting to never see information update pop-up again.
Thus it would be up to the owner of a machine whether to update the O/S or not and the Automatic Updates Feature could be done away with completely.