Look out: Microsoft shifts Windows 10 to ‘Recommended’ update, automatic download – ExtremeTech
Microsoft has been increasingly aggressive in its attempts to push consumers to download Windows 10. Starting today, the company is upping the ante once again. As of now, Windows 10 is now classified as a “Recommended” update, which means many Windows 7 and 8.1 users will download and begin the installation automatically.
By default, Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 shipped with updates enabled and a second box — “Give me Recommended updates the same way I receive important updates” checked as well. Plenty of users have changed these settings, but you can bet millions of people haven’t. We’ve written before about the power of defaults, and in this case, leaving automatic updates on has been a good idea for many users.
“As we shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. We updated the upgrade experience today to help our customers, who previously reserved their upgrade, schedule a time for their upgrade to take place,” a company spokesperson told ZDNet.
There are several issues to be aware of here. First, users on metered connections must either turn off recommended updates or disable automatic updates altogether if you don’t want the 6GB download to count against your monthly limit. Simply deleting the file isn’t sufficient, your OS will download it again. Microsoft doesn’t recommend disabling automatic update, but the company has no solution for users who can’t spare the bandwidth to download the OS, but don’t want the update.
Microsoft has stressed that end users who begin the upgrade process will still have the option to say “No” before the upgrade begins, but I’m dubious of this for several reasons. First, we’ve already seen what Microsoft’s version of “No” looks like — it looks like this:
Microsoft made this change to the Windows 10 GWX application, in a patently obvious attempt to shove more users towards upgrading. The company’s opt-out for Windows 10 installation is unlikely to be much better. Even if it is, however, there’s still a larger issue — specifically, the people this upgrade is going to hit are those who are the least likely to know it’s coming.
There’s no way this doesn’t create headaches for at least some Windows users, as well as Microsoft. Some drivers won’t update properly. Some people will misinterpret the installation as malware, since Microsoft hasn’t historically updated its operating systems in this fashion. Some will click on “Get Windows 10″ without realizing that it’s an entirely new operating system that makes significant changes to how basic system functions work. Resetting system defaults to MS programs is going to leave some people thinking their previous browser settings or customizations are gone.
All of these issues are issues with any OS upgrade, but OS updates are typically something the user initiates. Microsoft clearly wants its entire user base on Windows 10. But think about it: This move targets use who don’t know enough to disable Recommended updates, but have also rejected Microsoft’s previous offers. This could create a nasty snarl of blowback if the upgrade push starts making life difficult for large numbers of people.
Microsoft has published a KB article detailing how end-users can control the upgrade prompts and disable them in the future, available here.