Windows machines are preemptively downloading Windows 10 -- even if the user doesn't want it

Satya NadellaANDREW HARRER / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTYSatya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.

Windows users who have Windows Update enabled have stated to notice that a large file — between 3.5 and 6 gigabytes — has mysteriously been downloaded to their PC, and is linked to the installation of Windows 10.

The Inquirer was the first to pick up on this, with users complaining of a file called “$USWindows.~BT” alongside a message that reports a failure to “Update to Windows 10” in the Windows Update settings.

Windows 10 is an optional, free download for Microsoft customers with Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 but it seems strange that Microsoft is preemptively downloading large amounts of content related to an update that a user has not explicitly accepted.

Over a fast internet connection on a high-end PC this may not be a problem, but The Inquirer notes that some people with either a slow or metered internet connection could be blindsided by a multi-gigabytes update installing on their PC. Beyond this, the unwanted files could take up valuable storage space, especially on lower-end machines.

Microsoft provided The Inquirer with the following comment: “For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they will need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

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