OK. Generally speaking, updates are a good thing. Especially MS security updates. In a sense, many updates address just that by plugging holes in the original software, fixing exploitable script.
However, as many have seen with .NET and Flash updates (there are others which have caused problems as well), updates can break things – causing crashes and freezes. This is why many test updates in a virtual environment before allowing updates to actually install.
You can see what software is controlled in the screenie from the developers:
All sorts of updates do have switches allowing some user control over updates… but Update Freezer (http://www.updatefreezer.org/) allows you control over all kinds of ‘automatic ‘ updates on you Windows computer. It’s also nice that it is free, and has no adware/spyware or bloatware attached. I know, because I installed it on my computer. It also has a portable version which makes it good for your tool collection. It has a version which addresses Skype, as well.
Download page for both: http://www.updatefreezer.org/index.php?id=24