|It's as JPW has outlined.|
Control Panel - Classic View - Automatic Updates
I would choose - Notify me but don't automatically download them and install them.
That way there is no background downloading of them going on slowing down Windows until you choose to have it do that.
Also, when you click once on the yellow shield icon in your taskbar, you can highlight each update listed, then click on the blue link in the displayed info to go to the Microsoft site for more info.
If you're paranoid about there possibly being bugs in updates - that doesn't happen often - look at their dates (the date is shown when you click on the blue link for more info) and don't select them (click on the checkmark to de-select it and remove the checkmark) until they are few days old - by then if there are any bugs they will have been eliminated or a replacement update would have been made.