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Microsoft antagonizes users with intrusive new Windows 10 upgrade tactics

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 19, 2015
Says one approach was 'a mistake' even as users struggle to stop the OS from installing.

While GWX Control Panel can handle many of the moves Microsoft's made in pushing Windows 10 to existing PCs, it cannot yet solve the upgrade-now-or-delay conundrum some users reported. "I'm just using eight computers," Mayfield said of his test bed, and he must wait until one of those PCs exhibits a specific behavior before he can try to figure out a work-around. None of his systems has displayed the two most blatant attempts to force an upgrade, the first the message that only lets the user postpone an upgrade, the second the Windows Update screen that doesn't allow the user to view other ready-to-install patches.

He was confident that he would be able to modify GWX Control Panel to stymie the Get Windows 10 campaign once one of the eight PCs is put in either of those states.

Mayfield didn't object to Windows 10 on its face, but like many others, wanted the upgrade timing to be his decision, not Microsoft's. "I have legitimate reasons for wanting to stick with Windows 7 for the moment since several tools I rely on simply aren't Windows 10-compatible yet. But Microsoft is literally trying to annoy me into upgrading to a new operating system that I'm just not ready for," he said.

Nag, nag, nag

That's been the attitude of many about Microsoft's nag campaign. "I don't mind the upgrade offers -- what I object to is being forced into it," said Jim Feltner in an email to Computerworld after finding Upgrade to Windows 10 in Windows Update. Like others, Feltner had never requested a Windows 10 upgrade, but still found his PC suddenly trying to download the bits. And even though the optional item vanished from his PC yesterday -- probably when Microsoft withdrew it from Windows Update -- any later attempt to install any other update, including those for his copy of Office 2010, triggered the start of the upgrade process.

"I don't want Windows 10 [and I'm] tired of being on the bleeding edge of Microsoft's testing," added Feltner. "But it doesn't look like there is a choice any more."

GWX control panel 
Josh Mayfield's GWX Control Panel can stymie -- or roll back -- many of the Windows 10 upgrade monkey business. But some things, such as fixing the problem of a Windows Update message that won't let you do more than upgrade, are currently outside its ken. Credit: Josh Mayfield

The one consolation in all of this, said Mayfield, is that his source within Microsoft -- who he said he trusted to give him the straight dope -- has assured him that the company would "not upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer to Windows 10 without your consent [emphasis in original]."


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