So after more than half a year of teaching people that the only way to say “no thanks” to Windows 10 is to exit the GWX application—and refusing to allow users to disable the pop-up in any obvious manner, so they had to press that X over and over again during those six months to the point that most people probably just click it without reading now—Microsoft just made it so that very behavior accepts the Windows 10 upgrade instead, rather than canceling it.
And if you don’t find that small link to reschedule or cancel the Windows 10 upgrade—or, say, if the pop up appears while you’re away from your computer—your system will begin the process at the scheduled time. In other words, your PC can potentially upgrade to Windows 10 without you asking it to or explicitly approving the upgrade.
That’s gross, too.
Fallout and prevention
PC users are already up in arms over it, and rightfully so. By now, every existing Windows 7 and 8 user has seen and declined the Windows 10 update numerous times. By forcing out Windows 10 as a Recommended update and changing the behavior associated with exiting the GWX pop-up, Microsoft’s actively striving to push the operating system on people who actively don’t want it.
Worse, these under-handed tactics are encouraging Windows 7 and 8 users to disable Windows Updates all together, which leaves their systems more vulnerable to attackers who exploit security flaws.
Why I completely disabled all updates on my laptop, right here. https://t.co/UbMT4ckZpw— Peter Skerritt (@PeteSkerritt) May 22, 2016
That certainly stops Microsoft’s nagging, deceptive pop-ups, but I’d recommend installing the free GWX Control Panel tool instead. It lets you remove and disable the upgrade prompts all together—though it’s a shame that you have to resort to third-party tools to keep your operating system from hijacking itself. Update: Several users have also written me to suggest Never10 by famed security researcher Steve Gibson as an easier to use GWX Control Panel alternative.
Again: I personally use and love Windows 10. It’s great! But deploying these dirty tricks only frustrates long-time Windows users who have very valid reasons to stick with operating systems they already know and love. And thanks to the deceitful new update, there’s a very high chance that my wife will be a new OS X convert by the end of the day. You may have ostensibly achieved another Windows 10 upgrade to pad your adoption stats, Microsoft, but you very well may have lost a lifelong PC user who swore she’d never switch to Apple.
Which means that I might have to learn how to troubleshoot Macs.
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