It’s official: Microsoft is forcing most Windows 10 users to automatically download and install updates to the operating system — with no option to turn it off — according to the terms and conditions included with the final version, as reported by The Guardian.
Those updates are going to include everything from security patches to flat-out new features for Windows 10. It’s all in the name of what Microsoft calls “Windows as a service,” the company’s plan to always keep Windows 10 on the cutting edge by supporting it forever.
When you’re not using your computer, Windows 10 will automatically download those updates, install them, and restart your computer. You can also schedule that restart for a convenient time. Other than that, there’s no option to turn down an update, where previous versions of Windows let you pick and choose.
The only exemption are people using Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, the business version of the operating system. Corporate IT departments like to take a little more time to consider their Windows updates, a reality that Microsoft bows to.
It sounds a little dire. What if I’m on a l0w-bandwidth or capped Internet connection, and the unavoidable updates use up my precious data? More likely, what if an update breaks something or flat-out doesn’t work?
But don’t panic. Those concerns do exist, and they’re valid. But also remember that Microsoft has five million people in its Windows Insider program testing updates and features ahead of time and giving feedback.
The odds that there’ll be a huge, computer-breaking update are pretty slim. And even if that happens, as The Verge points out, the Windows Insiders will be the canaries in the coalmine, making sure it doesn’t get back to you.
In the meanwhile, there are some big upsides here: As hackers and other bad agents get more sophisticated in their attempts to attack your data, an automatic Windows update is a great way to make sure that the operating system is always as secure as it can be.
For power users, installing updates is a matter of habit, but for the everyday user, making it invisible is just a good way to protect them.
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