Reports of unwanted Windows 10 upgrades have been circulating for the past few days on Reddit and Twitter, after the last Patch Tuesday. These users say they never approved or initiated the upgrade, and were dragged away from their Windows 7 (or perhaps Windows 8) installs anyway.
This is all part of Microsoft’s plan, of course. Last October, the company announced that it would reclassify Windows 10 as a “Recommended” update from older versions starting in early 2016, at which point many more users would get the upgrade without explicit permission. That reclassification began on February 1, and auto-upgrades have been rolling out ever since. If complaints are reaching a higher volume now, perhaps it’s because the rollout is getting more aggressive.
Here’s what the Recommended update looks like, according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley: First, users will receive a notification saying their PCs are scheduled to receive Windows 10 in the next three or four days. Users can click a small link to cancel or postpone the update, but simply closing the window will cause the notification to appear again one hour before the scheduled update time. If users don’t cancel or postpone within that timeframe, the update will begin automatically.
At that point, the only way to back out of the Windows 10 update is to “Decline” the End User License Agreement that appears during the installation. This will cause the system to roll back to the previous Windows version (though this is a somewhat time-consuming process).
For users who haven’t upgraded yet, it’s possible to avoid installing Windows 10 by heading to Windows Update in the Control Panel, and unchecking the box under Recommended updates, which reads “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates.” A registry tweak can help prevent Microsoft from sending upgrade reminders in the future.
The impact on you at home: Unless you’re a regular reader of PC-centric news sites, you may not have realized that Microsoft would upgrade PCs to Windows 10 automatically. Although Microsoft claims that users are fully in control of the process, the sudden confusion from users indicates that the company either failed or didn’t care to give users enough of a heads up. There’s a lot to like in Windows 10, but the way Microsoft is delivering it leaves much to be desired.