I'll begin by adressing anything noteworthy I can see in your list of programs, THEN I'll respond to the comment you made at the top of that post. Then I'll give advice on things you should and should not do.
7zip is useful to have
adobe flash and shockwave are useful, but for security make sure that the plugins do not run automatically in your browser, make sure they are "click to play" or "ask to activate" or disbaled entirely except whrn you use them.
auslogics disc defrag, I'm not familiar with this.
bonjour, this was bundled wasn't it? I'm not sure what it does, you can search for information about it online if you want to know more. I uninstalled it on my computer, it isn't required for the system to run. The computer will work fine without it, but it might be useful to you.
ccleaner, useful, very useful, but don't use the registry cleaning bits.
all that cyberlink stuff, this can be useful to some users but isn't essential. As far as I know it includes some basic video tweaking and correction tools plus a media player and software for playing dvd discs. It's functions can be replicated by other programs if you remove it, but up to you. The computer as a whole will work fine if you choose to remove it and replace any aspects of it which you do use, there are many video editors available, many photo editors available and you can use VLC for playing DVDs. I cannot be sure what would happen if you removed one of the cyberlink programs but left others in place, I suspect the remaining ones would work fine but cannot be sure.
disablemsdefender, this is something which stops ms defender running so you can run another antivirus instead, it shouldn't cause problems, I have seen it on my own HP computer.
energy star, this does almost nothing, if anything it adds a few extra options for power settings. It doesn't do any harm though, and it doesn't use any resources so easiest to leave it in place.
idt audio, I'm not sure what this is.
inst 5675 and inst 5676, not sure what these are either.
intel programs, leave these in place, I think they are quite important, I know they shouldn't cause any problems.
mediatek bluetooth, not familiar with this, but I guess it's just a bluetooth driver.
ms office, word powerpoint and all the othr such programs. No problems here. Leave in place.
ms visual c++ redistributable, environment reuired for other program to run, leave in place.
mozilla firefox, excellent browser, leave in place.
MPC-HC 1.7.9, not sure what this is.
pinger, no idea what this is. I noticed your comments about having installed it recently, just as a tip for the future, it's usually best to read about programs before you download them. See what others have said before installing a piece of software yourself.
ralink, looks like a driver for your wi-fi systems.
realtek, useful drivers and programs to help control various hardware, audio hardware generally.
revo uninstaller, not usually needed, but might be sometimes useful to some users in the case of a program which doesn't want to leave when trying to remove it via the normal way under control panel(which works for almost everything).
seatools, not sure what this is, might have something to do with harddrive diagnostics though.
security KISS tunnel, not sure what this is. Something to do with a VPN maybe?
swMSM, I think this is related to flash and shockwave, shouldn't cause problems.
synaptics, this is a program/driver which helps your mouse and trackpad to run, leave in place.
trend micro, your antivirus.
validity WBF DDK, not sure what this is.
HP 3d drive guard, not entirely sure what this is. It might be something to do with drive encryption, or anti-theft systems, or it could be something else entirely. It wasn't on my HP laptop when I bought it so this program is clearly model specific. Look up more information about this before deciding what to do. If it is an anti-theft program or a drive encryption program then they can cause problems if you make mistakes when uninstalling them, so if you do want to uninstall it then check how first.
HP connected music, music streaming program, not needed unless you use it.
HP coolsense, unsure what this is. Model specific again.
HP documentation, your user manuals and such, not sure why it's a program rather than a folder full of pdf files, but worth leaving in place.
HP registration service, I think this only operates once, when you first set it up, but it should be fine to leave in place. At the very least it contains useful numbers like your device serial number.
HP simplepass, unsure what this is.
The other HP things, HP support assistant is a tool containing links to several utilities, I'm not entirely sure what all the others are. If any of them do run in the background then they would likely only do so when commanded to by HP support assistant.
Other than the possiblity of HP suport assistant causing this, which you seem to have ruled out by checking and finding that it was set to "Notify only" and then ask you if you wanted to install or reject it's updates, I can't see anything there which would be likely to interfre with your update settings. I cannot rule out that some of the programs might have done, but from this list it seems unlikely.
And as for the programs I am not familiar with I don't think they look to be the sort of things which could be altering update settings. As for the programs with which I am not familiar I can't be sure what they do, but they sound like a mixture of drivers and of things you have installed yourself. Some of your programs might be un-necessary, but none stands out as being a likely cause of this problem, and none stands out as known for being a very well known unwanted program.
On to your short note at the top of your latest post:
I am not familiar with pinger at all. I have no clue what it does or is for. I don't know whether it is a good program or junk. The fact there are two instances showing isn't all that strange, some programs need to install themselves in two parts to handle all of their functions, many programs have two instances showing. Sometimes this also reflects the fact that some programs keep the current, and 1 previous, version around when they update.
Hidden stuff, a lot of programs get classed like this, it is nothing particularly concerning. It usually means they are pieces within another program which install with it and uninstall with it.
I'm surprised the computer did not come with the .NET framework already on it. The .NET framework is another environment like the C++ one which is listed, it is required by certain programs to run. I cannot be sure whether you need the .NET framework if none of your existing programs use it, it might have other things to it which are useful. Certainly it is possible that some programs you download in the future might require it.
I would suspect therefore that you must be right on your thinking that the problem with windows update was caused by the settings in "pc settings" overriding the settings within control panel. This is certainly unusual, but it makes sense as a potential cause of what has happened, unless ms is trying to be extremely sneaky and somehow turn everyone's update settings to full auto.
I suggest you make yourself a system image, incase you ever need one (here is how, on windows 8.1 you find the system image making utility within "control panel"-->"file recovery"-->"system image backup" (or "make a system image") http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/create-system-image-in-windows-7-8/#manual
), now is as good a time as any, also I suggest you make some manufacturer's recovery media (there is a function for this within HP support assistant) and make a windows recovery USB stick (there is an option for this buried on control panel somewhere). These three things are worth having around in case of future emergencies, the system image is th most useful but the others can be helpful too.
Then I suggest you continue using the computer as normal, making sure to check regularly for updates and install the security ones as soon as you can, also being careful to check what it says in the descriptions of the various updates and being careful to avoid non-security ones which sound particularly problematic to you from reading the description.
IF anything strange like this happens again with windows update then please post again on this thread when it does, or start a new thread about it, and make sure to include a link in your first post to this thread so that people seeing a new thread could also read your earlier posts about it.
Also, if you DO NOT want windows 10 then avoid installing the windows update KB3035583, if you install it then you won't get forcibly upgraded or anything, but you will get "nag prompts" in your task bar.
Also, now that you have downloaded minitoolbox, keep the exe file around. It might be useful at some point in future. Often logs from it will be asked for on these forums. You should, unless specifically asked to, NOT tick the "List devices" option as if used incorrectly this can cause problems. If however you run it with any of the other options ticked it provides a log as you got for your programs and acts as a quick and helpful way to get basic information about your computer in an easily copied and pasted form. You will not however be likely to be able to make much sense of logs made by it, some of the things can be easily understood but others require an expert eye to deduce the menaing of some of the things minitoolbox logs can say.
Also, one last thing, could you open task manager, go to the services tab, then clcik the blue text "open services". DO NOT change ANY settings here but scroll to the bottom and just see what "startup type" is listed in the startup types column for the "windows update" service (also known as wuauserv). Please say what startup type it has.
As for HP support assistant, IF you want to disable it's background running elements then I include below a description of how to. I have copied it and altered it slightly from a post I made about HP support assistant some months back. You do not need to do this if you don't want to. But it might be helpful for you to know because it means you can keep the useful bits of HPSA for on-demand use, without having to have it all constantly running in the background.
Image shows HP support assistant interface, your version might be black or grey instead of white, but buttons should be the same, image is from HP's site.http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf-JAVA/Doc/images/449/c03540524.jpg
First things first go into HP support assistant, if you have the big "blue circle with a white question mark in it" button on the far right end of your task bar click this to access the program (you might need to click yes to a few UAC prompts in the process). If you don't have that button the it should exist as an "app" to get into it if you have windows 8.1 (, this should be listed on the "start screen" which can be accessed from the "start button". If you can't see that app either then you will need to hunt for the program, perhaps by searching through your C drive for things which have the right sort of name. Once you have the program open*, go into each section of it in turn and disable anything automatic, also make sure to set all it's update settings to manual checking or being fully off. Go through the various parts "My Computer" button, "Updates and Tune-ups" button,... switching off automatic settings and disabling updating. And also go to the white "settings" link on the top right of the interface, under that make sure to disable any automatic options you find and to turn on the option to show a button in the task bar but turn off the option to show pop-ups. Whilst HP support assistant is open you should also pin it to your task bar. With this done you can close it. Restart your computer at this point, just to make sure all the settings you changed stay as you like them.
The startup tasks you must disable through CCleaner (or you might be able to use the startup's tab of task manager but I find CCleaner better for this)are:
In the "Windows" tab, Program="HPMessageService" File="C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\HP System Event\HPMSGSVC.exe"
In the "Scheduled Tasks" tab, Program="HPGenoobereminder" File="C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\HP Registration Service\HP GenOOBE\HPGenOOBE.exe"
The services you must disable in the services window (accessed via "Open Services" in the services tab of task manager) are:
Name= "HP Software Framework Service" Description=(none shown) This is the one responsible for hpqwmiex.exe
Name="HP Support Assistant Service" Description="HP Support Assistant Service" This is the one responsible for hpsa_service.exe
In this services window DO NOT alter any other services, doing so could cause problems. Disabling those two services I have listed is safe to do (though they should NOT be deleted incase you ever want to re-enable them some day) but fiddling with others can cause problems.
You will also notice a service called HPWMISVC, which is responsible for a process called HPWMISVC.exe. I do not know what would happen if this were disabled, I left it enabled on mine. If you disable it I cannot predict what the results may be. I think it might have something to do with "hot keys" but it might be something else entirely.
With all this done no part of HP support assistant should run in the background any more, but it is still installed incase you ever want to use it. Other than HPWMISVC there should be no HP processes or services running automatically after this point either.
Remember that if at any time you do open HP support assistant to use it then after you have finished whatever you were doing with it you will have to go into the services window, and into CCleaner's startup manager to re-disable some of the services and tasks, just as explained above. Because the act of opening HP support assistant seems to reset some of it's startups to start as soon as you log on.
* If you haven't already then before starting to disable various functions of HPSA you should use it's facility to make recovery media, it will only let you make one copy of these. The type of media it makes are absolute last resort ones (full factory refresh, wipes your files, programs, system settings, everything) and system images should be used instead where possible, but these media are worth making.
You already appear to have CCleaner.
EDIT: IMPORTANT FINAL NOTE: once this is done make sure to go to windows update settings within control panel, put them on the setting you like (for you this seems to be "automatic check, manual download and install") but HP support assistant might change them when you are turning off all it's automatic features. Once You have finished disabling Hp support assistant, go into control panel-->windows update and make sure that updates are set back to the setting you like. HP support assistant tries to manage window updates as well as HP updates. Once HP support assistant is disabled you need to make sure windows updates (which you will henceforth control through control panel-->windows updates) are as you want them. Windows updates and HP updates are very different things, if you're happy with your current windows update settings you do not need to change them from what they currently are but after disabling HP support assistant you might need to put windows updates back to their current settings. Given the complication you have experienced with windows update settngs both in "control panel" and in "pc settings" you should check pc settings also once you have finished disabling HP support assistant, and make sure that the windows update setting under there is the same as the one you chose within control panel.
Edited by rp88, 22 June 2015 - 12:32 PM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB