Beware: Windows 10 May Update Windows 7-8 While You Are AFK - Update

| 16 Mar 2016 10:00
windows 10 update 4

If you are running an older OS on your PC than Windows 10, you are probably getting regular pop-ups on your screen to upgrade. However, some reports are coming in that some PCs are updating automatically causing some major headaches.

Update: A spokesman from Microsoft got back to us in response to the reddit thread: "That is not accurate. 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 have updated the upgrade experience today for some of our customers, who had previously reserved their upgrade, to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place. Users are fully in control of their devices."

So that is the official response, and they acknowledged that they upgraded the experience. Perhaps another "accident" happened that they haven't found yet? Who knows.

Original Story: Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users know that the push is on by Microsoft to get them to upgrade their OS to the new Windows 10. And while the new OS seems to be solid, some users prefer the familiar to the change. Be on the lookout, however, as reports are coming in that the OS is updating systems without user consent.

A thread on Reddit has revealed that many people are having the OS automatically install on their machines and threaten to shutdown their machines in 30 minutes to reboot. Even some tech bloggers reported the occurrence. Some were lucky enough to come back from being AFK in time to cancel it, while others report not being so fortunate. In an October update on the Windows 10 blog, Microsoft promised:

"Depending upon your Windows Update settings, this may cause the upgrade process to automatically initiate on your device. Before the upgrade changes the OS of your device, you will be clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue."

However, the latest Windows 10 push appears to have neglected the part of "choose whether or not to continue." Granted we have no way of knowing for sure what check boxes users clicked or did not click when it comes to updating their PCs. We already knew that it was quite likely that Windows 10 had already downloaded to PCs. And in the October blog update, MS made it clear that Windows Update would start making Windows 10 an "Optional Upgrade." In February, Optional became a "Recommended Upgrade."

But when even some IT folks are surprised by this, then it is something to watch for. And it would not be the first time it happened, as MS had an accident that did something similar back in October.

We have reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update if we get a response.

As a Windows 7 user myself, I am constantly getting the pop-up (see the gallery above) to upgrade to Windows 10, and I just click the X to close the box and ignore it. But I'm going to pay a lot closer attention now to make sure this doesn't happen on my machine, as I am quite fond of my existing setup.

Source: Reddit, via InfoWorld

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Yes, I should upgrade to the new operating system that's designed to serve me ads, sell my personal information, remove my control over my computer, Reset my search engine to Bing, set my default browser to edge, and where even the GODDAMN SOLITAIRE GAME HAS ADS IN IT.

I'm willing to bet that as soon as Windows 7/8.1 are off the market Microsoft is probably going to start pulling some shady shit with their newfound control over the operating system. Maybe it'll be bitcoin mining, maybe they'll stop giving you an option to not torrent all of their updates, maybe they'll forcibly stop Steam/Origin/Uplay from working on their operating system.

So, the computer I did most of my work on for the last 10 years or so (including writing all of the recent run of Garwulf's Corner) began showing its age, and I needed to buy a new desktop last week. Took a lot of hunting, but I actually managed to find one that met my hardware wish list with Windows 8.1 pre-installed (as opposed to Windows 10).

Here's how I'm protecting myself from Windows 10:

1. Updates are set to automatically download critical updates only, but to let me decide what to install (this is done because the update process is really very slow - and I'm talking about hours to find the updates, much less download them - on Windows 7). It was originally both the Windows 7 laptop and the Windows 8.1 desktop, but after this news, I've changed the settings on Windows 8.1 to check for new updates, but let me decide whether to download them.

2. GWX control panel (mentioned earlier in this thread) is installed, and has disabled Windows' ability to upgrade the OS.

And, if the Windows 10 ever gets upgraded to a critical update, I'll probably turn updates off.

Plus, there's this: I use a desktop rather than a laptop for a reason - my business and writing practice are both run from that computer. It needs to work, run the applications I need to run (which, unfortunately, are not on Linux) and be solid for the duration. Once I have it working as I need it to, it can't be allowed to brick itself.

Windows 10 forces updates that have frequently caused instability (sorry, can't have that on a mission-critical system), and, we still haven't seen what this update scheme is going to look like when the equivalent of Windows 11 is rolled out (will it be free, will everybody find themselves suddenly locked into a subscription service without their consent, will it be good, like Windows XP, 7, or 8.1, or bad, like Windows ME, Vista, or 8?).

Aside from which, I also feel the need to point out that there is a vast difference between having faith in a product (such as Windows 7, or 8.1), and faith in a company (such as Microsoft). By making Windows 10 a service, they're asking us all to have faith in the company rather than the product. And with all of this nonsense, I wouldn't trust Microsoft further than I could throw them.

Microsoft it seems is preparing to drop the biggest bomb with Windows 10.

Step 1: Make it free for everyone
Step 2: Force the rest to upgrade
Step 3: Press the 'fuck everyone over' button
Step 4: ?????????????
Step 5: Profit

I'll mention this because it just happened to me lately. Windows 10 home updates automatically and you have absolutely no control over it. Also the updates may not necessarily play nice with your existing software. One played havoc with one of my drivers and basically turned my laptop into an expensive brick until a repair place reset my computer and rolled rolled me back to Windows 8.1. I was not bloody happy about it.

Now, see, the thing they're doing here, is trying to redefine "consent" and frankly, they might as well be upfront about it and threaten everybody directly, instead of trying to drag this out.

Win10 might be perfectly fine for some folks, but that's because it was agreed upon. People must be given a choice if they are told that it is a choice. I would have even accepted them sending a hitman.

I would like for yall to reflect on this the next time you try to nag somebody into agreeing with you.

Olas:
It's so funny to read threads like this. I COULDN'T WAIT to upgrade to windows 10 and here are people panicking like it's the end of the world that they might accidentally be upgraded to a slightly better OS.

Anyway, this only happens if you previously reserved an upgrade. Microsoft isn't trying to force you to upgrade against your will, and they also don't eat live kittens.

It still would've been nice to get a reminder:
"You reserved a copy of Windows 10 on such-and-such a date and now it's here. Would you like to download and install it? Yes/Later/When I'm good and ready"

Good software design involves making it's operation and intent as transparent as possible to the user. Even mediocre software design recognizes that doing a whole bunch of irreversible stuff without asking is a bad idea.

DISABLE ALL UPDATES FOR WINDOWS.
Not just "tell me but don't install.", the last option. None at all.
Then, remove each of these updates one at a time (restart each time):

KB3068708, KB3075249, KB3080149, kb3075249, kb3080149, kb3068708, kb2976978, kb3021917, kb3035583, kb2952664, kb3068708, KB2505438, KB2670838 (- Windows 7 Only. Corrupts AERO and blurry fonts on some websites), KB2952664, KB2976978 (- Windows 8 only), KB3021917, KB3035583, KB3075249

That's quite a lot, but it gets rid of all the extra telemetry stuff that might be telling MS you haven't upgraded. Ditch them and they won't know you exist. Like I said, delete each one in turn and restart your system, doing them all at once only removes one of them, and you can't be sure which one it is (this might just be a fault on my system).

Now you have to hide the update. This means you look at the updates you ''could'' install, and tell your PC not to install them (i.e. hide them). Again, look online for guides.

But at a minimum, remove these:
kb3035583, kb2952664, kb3021917 (For win 7)
kb3035583, kb2976978 (for win 8)
These are the ones that trigger the Win 10 adverts and "open your OS" to be updated

After this you will need to check your installed updates weekly. Yes weekly. To make sure M$ hasn't reinstalled it without your permission- even with updates off. It's happened once or twice (http://news.softpedia.com/news/microsoft-re-issues-windows-7-updates-forcing-windows-10-upgrade-enabling-data-collection-494236.shtml). In fact, each time you uninstall one of these updates, check to see if it's still in your system. Don't be shocked if it is.

Now this all goes without saying but,
DON'T JUST DELETE THESE BECAUSE ONE PERSON YOU DON'T KNOW TOLD YOU TO.
Look into other websites and see what they say. Never take any one person as gospel online, or in real life.

IMO, learn to pirate Windows 7/8, learn how to control your updates, and don't even look at Win10. If you can't get 7 or 8, go to Linux. Preferably Linux Mint, works as close to Windows. Then look into Wine, Virtual Machines, and Dual Boot OS if you want to run programs/games only compatible with Windows on Linux. Yes, missing out on the latest AAA game might be the cost you have to pay for getting an OS that respects you. Or, keep supporting Windows while they treat you like crap. The more support alternatives get, the more MS has to do to keep their consumers. A competitive marketplace always benefits the consumer.

Some more reading for you.
Why Win 10 sucks:
https://archive.is/H3YyH
https://archive.is/c4Cy6#selection-399.0-399.218
(Other tech-savvy users report Win 10 sending a screenshot of your PC to MS 3 to 4 times a day, or that turning on the privacy options does nothing.)

What you can do to stop Win 10 and make 7/8 better:
http://pastebin.com/wqqb7gxc
http://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php
https://archive.is/RSJg7
https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/
https://github.com/th3power/aegis-voat/tree/v1.10
http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/
http://www.danswiki.com/microsoft/windows-10/how-to-disable-data-collection
https://imgur.com/a/Dy79J?gallery (https://archive.is/fzvgH)
http://news.softpedia.com/news/microsoft-re-issues-windows-7-updates-forcing-windows-10-upgrade-enabling-data-collection-494236.shtml
https://github.com/Nummer/Destroy-Windows-10-Spying/releases/
https://voat.co/v/technology/comments/459263
http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/11/gwx-control-panel-new-features-in.html

Some of this repeats what I said earlier. Again, don't just do it because it has a pretty website. Do some research. Ask around.

WeepingAngels:
Why the hell aren't people suing Microsoft for this shit?

The richest company in America, I wonder why?

Seriosly, a major class action lawsuit would be needed. Like EVERY CITIZEN. And that's assuming M$ wouldn't be tempted to use all that cash to bribe anyone. Hell I'd say talk to the US equivalent of Businesses & Standards, but even I wonder what they'll do if Gates plays hard ball. Might need to rely on some grass-roots bad PR.

No means No, Microsoft. Seriously, if I had been able to buy Windows 7 on a best buy prebuilt, I would have. As it is, 8.1 is confusing enough. I sure as heck don't want Windows 10.

Anyone know when they're going to start charging for Windows 10 and this Free Update crap will supposedly go away?

Olas:
It's so funny to read threads like this. I COULDN'T WAIT to upgrade to windows 10 and here are people panicking like it's the end of the world that they might accidentally be upgraded to a slightly better OS.

Anyway, this only happens if you previously reserved an upgrade. Microsoft isn't trying to force you to upgrade against your will, and they also don't eat live kittens.

We panic because we've had very negative experiences with Microsoft's auto updates. I shouldn't worry that updating my OS or hell any Windows update won't break my computer for a week and cost me a hundred USD to fix becuase Windows would rather crash within five seconds of opening than telling me what the issue is. My worries are justified.

I use windows 10, but I made the choice to. This is forced BS and shouldn't be a thing they can do. It's going to cost them.

It's so funny to read threads like this. I COULDN'T WAIT to upgrade to windows 10 and here are people panicking like it's the end of the world that they might accidentally be upgraded to a slightly better OS.

Anyway, this only happens if you previously reserved an upgrade. Microsoft isn't trying to force you to upgrade against your will, and they also don't eat live kittens.

If you are so worried then go to your installed updates and remove the following. KB2976978, KB2990214, KB3035583, and KB3044374. In the optional updates uncheck and select hide update for an update that states free update to Windows 10. Boom, done.

Be aware people MS does not give two shits about your settings, with every auto-update they might change to whatever they want the default to be. Ergo you might have a regular update that changes your settings to "OMG WANT WIN 10 SO BAD, PLZ!", and next time it comes around to check your system will do the dirty with MS.

This is why I always told people to disable auto-updates, and why Win 10 doesn't even give you an option.

I just saw the article's thumbnail on the main page...

Qizx:

I love you. I'll download that first thing when I'm back from work today. So you've been running it with no issue?

There was an update today, maybe 135MB, which required a restart. I think it's the second major update since I used the GWX Control Panel, and thankfully there's no issues so far with either Windows Update or the control panel.

Thank you for posting the article and raising awareness : )

So far from what I have found it is automatic updates and the check box "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" are the usual culprits. Microsoft has moved Windows 10 from optional to recommended so it will slip in the update unless it is blocked. This will work for now but I wonder what will be the next step in their nefarious plans.

At work I have our WSUS server and group policies set to block Win 10 prep and install KB's.

There have been plenty of articles about how aggressive Microsoft has gotten with pushing Windows 10 on the user base. It is really shocking how brazen they have gotten over the last few years.

My Kodi media center I have already turned off windows updates as it has a bad habit of using over 50% processing time while I am trying to watch a movie.

The other computers in the house I have scripts set to strip out all that funky town Win 10 prep and preinstall.

I may have to move my surfing and general office stuff at home over to my Linux computers if this becomes any more of a hassle and then just have one computer dedicated for Windows only games.

I believe the statement by Microsoft is accurate, I think it's highly likely that the users who had their OS "forcefully" upgraded, actually reserved their free upgrade a year ago, and have since forgotten about it because Microsoft was super slow with those reservations.
It's highly unlikely that Microsoft would just upgrade people's OS for three, especially since the free upgrade time has stopped January the 1. So the only logical explanation is that these people reserved their free update, and forgot about it.

Frezzato:
Oh. Oops, I assumed that everyone either already knew/didn't care about this or was using Windows 10.

I heard about this dick move over a month ago and sought out a solution, which can be found here. Read up on the matter and then use the GWX Control Panel. I can't say with absolute certainty, but it seems safe, plus it works.

I avoided updating my Windows 7 machine for several months because every time I did it tried to download Windows 10, no matter what I tried. Then I installed the GWX tool, eliminated all remnants of Win 10 (and the reminders) and, finally, updated Win 7.

*EDIT*

I love you. I'll download that first thing when I'm back from work today. So you've been running it with no issue?

wait, "Cortana" and "Microsoft Edge" really exist. I mean, come on, that's totally someone trolling the average internet person. Guess not

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