Microsoft’s newest tactic for force-feeding Windows 10

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With an announcement this past week, Microsoft made sure that millions of unsuspecting Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be surprised to find their computer “upgraded” to Windows 10. You can stop it, though.

Is Windows 10 a virus?

 

What Microsoft announced is that they are now going to re-categorize the Windows 10 “upgrade” as a Recommended update. (sorry, but I always have to put that term in quotation marks in reference to Windows 10 because “upgrade” usually implies that what you’re getting is an improvement).

Here’s what this means.

Microsoft sends out Windows Updates monthly. It’s on the second Tuesday of each month and has become known as Patch Tuesday. This month, it’s February 9.

When those updates are sent out, they are classified as either “Important” or “Optional”. An Important update would be something like a security hole that’s discovered in Windows that needs to be patched so that hackers cannot exploit it and cause problems. An Optional update would perhaps be a driver update for your mouse – might be good to have, but not critical.

Windows updates

 

But in addition, Microsoft designates some Windows Updates as “recommended”. These are the ones that THEY think you should get. And in your computer, in the Windows Update settings, there’s an option related to how your computer handles the “Recommended” updates. You have the option to either get the recommended updates the same way you get your Important updates (which for most people is automatically installed at 3 am the day after they come in), or you can choose NOT to get them automatically. Here’s what the option looks like. It’s just a simple check box:

Windows 10 updates

 

Here’s the key point in this discussion: When you get your computer, that box is already checked by default. Therefore, unless you have unchecked that box, you are going to get whatever updates Microsoft categorizes as “Recommended”. And they just classified the Windows 10 “upgrade”as “Recommended” with this recent announcement.

So, lots of people – probably millions – will be getting Windows 10 this week, even though they really don’t want it.

Here are three things you can do to prevent Windows 10 from getting into your computer:

  1. In Control Panel, open Windows Update. On the left side, click on Change Settings. UNcheck the box that says “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates” and click OK. (If you’re on my Managed Service Plan, ignore this step.)
  2. Get GWX Control Panel installed (it’s free) and make sure “Monitor Mode” is enabled. I did a full post about GWX Control Panel, which you can read here.
  3. I would also recommend getting on my Managed Service Plan (description and pricing here). This is the best security protection you can have for your computer, and it handles the Windows Updates for you, so you won’t get any unexpected ones. But even with that, I would still want GWX Control Panel installed.

The more I hear about Windows 10, the more it really sounds like a computer virus.

What are the characteristics of a virus?

  • Sneaks on to your computer against your will
  • Code written poorly, so it often doesn’t run properly
  • Spies on the user
  • Created to exploit the user for financial gain
  • Frustrates its victims
  • Difficult to remove once it gets in

Those things all describe any common computer virus, but they also describe Windows 10. Not something I would want on my computer.

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Ken C
February 8th, 2016

Hi again Scott,

I left a comment last month when you talked about Microsoft ‘deceit’.

Leo Laporte talked about Microsoft’s aggressiveness 9 and 1/2 minutes into the latest episode of the New Screen Savers.
https://twit.tv/shows/new-screen-savers/episodes/39

He doesn’t seem happy. He put Linux Mint on a computer. But I bet he is stuck like all the other boiling frogs. At some point Windows users are going to have to admit that the PC in fact does not belong to them.

He also talks about Windows still phoning home when it shouldn’t. You might want to test that yourself and warn your listeners and customers.

You will also want to look into this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_10#Update_system_changes
“Windows 10 Home is permanently set to download all updates automatically, including cumulative updates, security patches, and drivers, and users cannot individually select updates to install or not.”

I stopped last year supporting Windows unless a migration off the platform is planned. I find it unethical. There is responsibility.

By moving to Linux I had to take several steps back in order to take a few in the right direction, but it has been worth it. Podcasts for Windows users spend way too much energy on dealing with malware issues and now fighting MS aggression.

This is going to get worse. The sooner people move off this platform in large numbers the better off we all will be.

Patrick
February 10th, 2016

Thanks Scott for the timely alert!!!

I check with friends and family and none of them were aware of the Windows 10 automatic update.

Thanks to you, they all still have Windows 7.

Keep up the great work.

Pat

Sharon
February 10th, 2016

I haven’t had my computer on the past few days, just my tablet. Will I still be able to make these changes when I boot up before it installs or am Igoing to hate life? LOL

Scott Johnson
February 10th, 2016

You should be okay. Life will be good.

Mike
February 25th, 2016

My wife’s computer has fallen victim to the Sneaky 10 upgrade, but it was not totally a success, so along the way I was able to convince the computer to “rebuild” to the older version…it has taken two days to get the computer to show me her desk top as it was on 7. When that screen finally came up, the update screen came on to with the window stating that 10 has completed the download and is ready to load. To load restart the computer…it is like the finger on the trigger, the bullet is chambered and if you move the gun will go off…my question is how do I get the bullet out of the chamber so that I can shut the computer down without it loading? Thank You Mike

Scott Johnson
February 25th, 2016

You need to immediately get GWX Control Panel and disable all Windows 10 entry points, and make sure you have enabled Monitor Mode, to block it from sneaking in again. You can get it here:
http://ComputerTutorFlorida.com/gwx