I'm not a Windows hater, but Microsoft has a bad habit of assuming all users want to do certain things. For example, Windows Media Player and automatic updates.
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WMP (in this example, WMP 9) gives you only three options. You can check for updates daily, weekly or monthly. In other words, "now, later or more later." What about the choice for "never check"?
The solution is to alter the way Windows is allowed to communicate with the Internet. We do this by editing the hosts
file. It's easy to do.
Hosts is an extension-less file -- not a .doc, .txt, .dll, .exe, etc -- and in all current versions of Windows (Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7), it is located at
NOTE: Depending on the security settings of your system, you may be prompted by ominous warnings that you're entering the system folders. Don't be swayed or scared by these boogeyman notices. It's not going to spontaneously catch fire, eat your MP3s/photos, or run out of the room.
Now if you get to the folder, and it looks empty -- or the just hosts file is missing -- then it's probably just hidden. Simply un-hide the files. You do this by going to Tools > Folder Options
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Temporarily change it to show hidden files. (In general, it's a bad idea to leave hidden files visible all of the time, as you can accidentally erase important files. That's the main reason they are hidden!)
While you're at it, go ahead and uncheck the "Hide Extensions For Known File Types" option. That's an idiotic setting, as it does nothing more than hide file information from users. It's hard to tell if the file is a plain text (.txt), Word (.doc), program file/virus! (.exe), or photograph (.jpg). That's how malware spreads so easy.
Alright, so now you can see the hosts file. Double-click on it.
Now it's going to give you that Windows error about not knowing what program to use to open the file. What you want to do is use Notepad. Not Wordpad, not Word, not anything else -- just Notepad.
Now add these six lines to the file:
- 127.0.0.1 windowsmedia.com
- 127.0.0.1 services1.windowsmedia.com
- 127.0.0.1 www.windowsmedia.com
- 127.0.0.1 codecs.microsoft.com
- 127.0.0.1 codecs.windowsmedia.com.akadns.net
- 127.0.0.1 origin-codecs.windowsmedia.com.akadns.net
Those are the websites Microsoft uses to "phone home" and check on updates. What you've done is told the computer (Windows) that those three URLs are located at 127.0.0.1 and to not bother looking them up from your internet provider's database (DNS server). 127.0.0.1 is "home", meaning your own computer. Your computer will essentially tell itself that those three sites are on your own computer, spend a micro-second looking for the site, not see anything, and give up.
My computer works fine, just like it is. This particular system used in the example is running Windows XP SP2 with WMP9, and I have no intention of updating anything. Sorry MS, but it ain't broke, so I ain't gonna fix it!
And now I don't have to put up with that dumb error message that randomly pops up while I'm typing -- and either screw up what I was typing, or attempt to perform the update I don't want.
Hope that helps.