Well, if now, you are complaining about Windows, which is switching off before it even installs the first update, that is an entirely different issue.
I was under the impression that this forum dealt with Windows Update in that it is taking forever to download the updates.
And with respect to this aspect, what I do to ensure that Windows Update is indeed working and downloading, I regularly check the following file path: C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download and I look for new files that are being created even though Windows Update states that it is still waiting to download. And lo and behold, new files are indeed being created even though no indication is being given to that effect in the Windows Update window.
The end result? Windows Update is not hung, but rather working. The defect in Windows Update is that, under certain circumstances, it takes forever to apparently download updates and tests the patience of its user by not regulary notifying him or her to reassure him or her that it is indeed working. Such circumstances appear to be situations where are implicated a whole bunch of updates that are weighty (more than 10 megabytes) and are similar in nature, function and/or modifications to be made to the operating system, exempli gratia: language packs.
If your computer shuts down before even installing an update, then I suggest that you start a new forum and describe in detail what happens. Specifically, you should identify exactly when the computer shuts itself off.
As far as your question is concerned, if Windows Update reports that there are eighteen updates yet to be downloaded or installed, I would trust it and not consider it to be misleading, especially because, as you have reported, Windows shuts down even before it finishes installing the first update. As of now, I do not know specifically where else to look to verify whether certain updates have been installed other than the usual places:
1) Control Panel-->System and Maintenance-->Windows Update-->View Update History
2) Control Panel-->Programs-->Programs and Features-->Installed Updates.
In Windows XP, there used to be another way to check if Windows updates were installed: in the C:\ drive or maybe C:\windows\ or C:\windows\system32\ (I do not remember exactly), all the updates, identified by the following nomenclature: "KB+article number" appeared as compressed (blue-coloured) files. I do not seem to find this in Windows Vista. But, I shall keep checking.
I repeat: With your computer shutting down before it even downloads or installs (you did not explicitly specify) an update, your situation merits a different discussion forum and even a grace case with Microsoft Support Services, even though I would take with a grain of salt what the agents tell me because they are not hired for their computer saavy, but rather for their ability to read how-to internet web sites and instruction booklets and as such, have caused me considerable headaches in the past, for want of an intelligent answer, not just a text-book response.
Neal Bangia email@example.com