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In SharePoint 3.0/2007 under Central Admin -> Operations -> Data Retrieval Service there is an option titled Update Support which has a single option Enable update query support.

The flavor text for the option states, unhelpfully:
Support for update queries can be controlled with this setting.
This setting applies to the following data retrieval services:


This is NOT checked by default.

My question is what does this actually do?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If this is enabled you can update the list contents from external program (like excel 2007).

To check this, export your list to Excel, you will get connected to SharePoint list.

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