Microsoft’s aggressive campaign to get customers to Windows 10 is raising some eyebrows, with scattered reports that some people’s PCs are automatically upgrading from Windows 7 — without their explicit permission.
For instance, in a post titled “My PC Upgraded To Windows 10 Without Asking, Then Immediately Broke,” Kotaku’s Patrick Klepek shares the story of how, last week, his Windows 7 PC installed the Windows 10 update automatically overnight.
“Maybe I forgot to push back the upgrade schedule, maybe I accidentally scheduled it by clicking the wrong button. Whatever the case, I definitely did not intend to install Windows 10,” Klepek writes.
In the comments, on Reddit, and elsewhere on social media, other users chimed in to share their own similar stories of their familiar Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs getting suddenly upgraded to Windows 10.
“I needed to set up my department’s bronchoscopy cart quickly for someone with some sick lungs. I s— you not, when I turned on the computer it had to do a Windows update,” writes Reddit user Lolrus123.
Some users, including Kotaku’s Klepek, are also reporting that the automatic Windows 10 upgrade is breaking their computers, making certain hardware and accessories unrecognizable by the system until they reinstall Windows.
For what it’s worth, that same Reddit thread also hit on a possible solution — if your Windows Update is suggesting you install an update called “KB 3035583,” deselecting it will apparently prevent an unwanted Windows 10 install.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A history of nagging
Influential Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott writes that he’s been hearing these complaints intermittently since October 2015, and notes that it tends to happen around the same time that Microsoft steps up its nagging campaign of getting Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade.
Since Windows 10’s launch in July 2015, Microsoft has gradually stepped up its efforts to get older PCs to accept the free upgrade to Windows 10. Indeed, just last week, Microsoft started using ads placed directly in to Windows 7 and 8’s Internet Explorer browser to urge users to move up to Windows 10.
At first, it was an optional update, but Microsoft has gradually gotten more insistent. In February, Microsoft announced it would start automatically downloading Windows 10 in the background on more PCs to ease the transition when users decide they want to proceed with the upgrade.
Those downloads don’t actually install Windows 10 on a user’s PC however (aside from one short period that Microsoft says was a glitch that has been fixed). Instead the software just sits on the PC, ready to be installed when a user decides they want to upgrade.
The surprise installations may simply be the result of users too-quickly clicking through their Windows Update screens. But that’s not enough for lots of folks, given that Microsoft designed the Windows Update screens.
“There’s no way to actually say no, or even to ask the system to stop nagging you for some amount of time. You simply have to deal with the nagging until you finally give up and upgrade. That is not a good user experience,” Thurrott writes.
Whys and wherefores
From Microsoft’s perspective, it wants as many people on Windows 10 as possible, with an end-goal of one billion users on the new operating system within the next two years or so.
First and foremost, it’s an important business driver for Microsoft, which sees the new operating system as a funnel towards its lucrative subscription services, including Office 365 and Xbox Live.
But Microsoft is also quick to point out that Windows 10 comes with lots of benefits, too, including better security. That’s why big customers like the US Department of Defence are moving all of their four million PCs and tablets to Windows 10.
Still, it’s important that Microsoft gives users more choice. Windows 10 might be great (I certainly think so), but all of this nagging is ultimately burning through a lot of goodwill.
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