Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:36 PM
The only updates that matter...are the critical updates which relate to system security. All those listed optional updates...have no impact at all on system security, which should be the primary concern.
A user should not use Windows Update to install hardware drivers. The drivers for any system should be obtained from manufacturer of said system if it is an OEM (HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, etc.) system, since they are responsible for support of their products.
All laptops/netbooks, etc. are OEM systems.
For those who build their desktop systems...the component manufacturers' websites...would be the place to obtain drivers.
As for the merit of downloading but not installing...if you don't know what should be installed, the safest route is just to enable auto-download/install of all security/critical updates...and nothing else.