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Microsoft makes final, aggressive Windows 10 upgrade push

Gregg Keizer | May 17, 2016
Wraps up 'phased approach' as it switches upgrade to Recommended; interprets closing the notification as upgrade approval.

Microsoft has launched the final push in its nine-and-a-half-month upgrade offensive against consumers and businesses running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Last week, Microsoft switched the automatically-offered Windows 10 upgrade to a "Recommended" download that in turn scheduled the upgrade process unless the user interfered.

"As we shared in October, Windows 10 will be offered as a 'Recommended' update for Windows 7 and 8.1 customers whose Windows Update settings are configured to accept 'Recommended' updates," a Microsoft spokesman said Friday in an email reply to questions.

Those questions were spurred by reports from Computerworld readers, who said that they'd again been offered an upgrade after months of either ignoring the campaign or dodging the transmutation of their PCs from Windows 7 or 8.1 to 10.

In February, Microsoft kicked off the "Recommended" phase of its long-stated strategy to convince, coax and pester users into upgrading to Windows 10. At the time, the Redmond, Wash. company confirmed that it had begun pre-selecting the upgrade as a Recommended update delivered through the Windows Update service. But it also said that the shift to Recommended would "roll out in a phased approach," signaling that the migration would take weeks or months.

In Windows Update, a Recommended update is one that is automatically downloaded and installed -- no user assistance required -- on PCs whose owners have not changed the default behavior of the service.

Microsoft originally announced in October 2015 that it planned to use Windows Update, the operating system's default security maintenance service, to automatically send the upgrade to PCs.

Also last week, Microsoft expanded a long-existing support document that details what users see when the Get Windows 10 (GSX) app -- which Microsoft planted on millions of PCs last spring and has refreshed and reinstalled many times since on those systems -- schedules the upgrade and how people can cancel the process before it starts.

That scheduling is not new -- a search provider cache of that page still available on Friday showed it had been part of the push since at least March -- but the revised document was more detailed as well as more forthcoming about how the upgrade is triggered.

According to both the latest and the previous versions of the support document, the upgrade and its scheduled implementation is approved when the user either clicks the "OK" button or the "X" in the upper right corner of the notification.

"If you click on OK or on the red 'X', you're all set for the upgrade and there is nothing further to do," the document stated. The "X" Microsoft mentioned is one way to close a window in Windows.


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