I use both Vista 32-bitand 64-bit Ultimate. No I don't use automatic update, instead check them for uefulness first, but then normally install all of them, in fact haven't found one that didn't apply to either OS. Naturally, when it comes to drvers, I go to the manufacturers site, and make sure I have the latest drivers, and if not, install them from there. I use white box computers and would never consider bnuing anything from any manufacturer except Alienware, a company that never puts their own trash on a computer. That way, I know my OS install is clean and I have the disc and key. I can use system restore if necessary as mentioned above. In fact I can't imagine why anyone would buy something from a store instead of having a computer custom-built.
I know, there will be some who put the point in that Alienware is owned by Dell, but that company leaves them alone. In fact, Dell doesn't manufacturer their XPS, instead having Alienware do it.
Updates are important and need to be installed as soon as possible. I have more than 40 years in the computer business, can do everything from networking to coding and programming, as anyone with that much experience should. I have alway installed all updates and upgrades and have found them to be more than satsfactory. In fact, I would consider myself foolish not to.
One caveat though. Although I don't use automatic update and never install driver updates from Microsoft, unless it's a Microsoft product and even then I check to make sure I have the latest upgrade rather than do an install that would just overwrite my existing driver (hopefully), I install all updates and upgrades. As far as waiting until someone else has done the update or upgrade, that's just plain foolishness.