Windows 10 Now Set for Automatic Installation
On February 2, 2016, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 has been reclassified as a “recommended update” for all Windows 7, and 8.1 computers. That will cause most of those computers to automatically download and install Windows 10 without any acknowledgement or consent required from the owner. The 6 GB of installation files will already be downloaded on most computers (in a hidden folder $windows.~BT).
There are over 200 Million Windows 10 devices worldwide. Microsoft has claimed that there will be 1 Billion Windows 10 users within three years of the launch. They now taking steps to ensure that happens. They are no longer encouraging customers to install Windows 10, they are installing it automatically for you unless steps are taken to prevent it. This departure from traditional business practices has made news headlines worldwide.
Windows 10 will now be delivered as a “recommended update” for all Windows 7, and 8.1 computers. Windows 8 requires the free 8.1 update to be eligible for Windows 10. It is expected to download automatically and begin to install on all eligible devices using default update settings — without being requested.
There are some privacy concerns with Windows 10 sending a lot more personal information to Microsoft who stores it on their cloud servers and uses it to provide personalized advertisements based on your interests. The Cortana digital assistant records your searches, location and preferences to learn your interests and provide more relevant search results. There is an entire section the allows you to control your online privacy, but by default, everything is sent to Microsoft for processing and storage.
Microsoft has experimented with different options to get Windows 10 onto more computers faster. It appeared briefly in Windows Updates as a pre-selected optional update in October 2015, without notice, but was quickly withdrawn after a few days. Microsoft has now decided to try Windows Update again to actively install. They will no longer wait for customers to request it using the “Get Windows 10” or GWX app (small white Windows Logo in Task bar Notification area). GWX has already downloaded 6GB of install files to most computers, so the installations will take less than an hour with a few restarts, and will preserve all user data and installed software.
Microsoft has provided information for Network Administrators to manage and prevent the automatic upgrade to Windows 10 (support article KB3080351). The process requires adding registry entries or making changes to group policy on all affected computers. If you would like to delay the installation, to provide more time for compatibility testing and planned deployment, then we can implement policy changes on a per device basis to prevent automatic installation. Another recommended option is to uncheck the Recommended Updates box in the Windows Update Settings. To do that, go to Control Panel, Windows Update, Change Settings, and uncheck the box beside “Give me recommended updates the same way I received important updates”. There is no guarantee that this measure will work as expected because Microsoft can change the rules at any time.
Windows 10 is a free upgrade for all Windows 7 and 8.1 customers until July 29, 2016. However, experience teaches us that nothing is ever totally free. Technical services to resolve functional issues or reload your former Windows version could easily cost more that buying a copy of Windows 10. There are still some lingering issues with uncommon device drivers and software compatibility. We have seen numerous issues with older laptops (less than 5 years old) having no manufacturer support or incomplete set of software drivers and updates for Windows 10. Be sure to check the software and driver downloads section of your manufacturer website, and make sure that you have created recovery DVD media for your system before you install Windows 10.
Windows 10 can now install at the next scheduled time for recommended updates (with no prompting) if you have the default Windows Update settings in the control panel. If you do not want the upgrade to proceed, you must change your Windows Update settings now to omit recommended updates. This is a departure from common recommended practice.
Until now, the GWX tool would only prompt you repeatedly with pop-up messages to request the Windows 10 upgrade. Now you must take measures to prevent an automatic install if you are not ready. You can go into the Control Panel, open Windows Update, click on Change Settings and then uncheck the box beside the option to install recommended updates. See the yellow oval below (Windows 7 Update Settings shown, Windows 8.1 is nearly the same).
Microsoft has gone from aggressively encouraging everyone to migrate to Windows 10 to automatically installing it on your computer unless you take steps to prevent it. Our position on Windows 10 adoption is that it may not be time for everyone to proceed. Everyone should evaluate their unique situation and make an informed decision as to whether or not to proceed with the Windows 10 upgrade.
Microsoft maintains that end users who begin the upgrade process will still have the option to say “No” before the upgrade begins, but this claim is questionable for a number of reasons. Microsoft’s version of “No” really means “Later”. Check this screen shot and decide for yourself…
Operating System upgrades are complicated, and many things can go wrong. Yet Microsoft is positioning a complete replacement of your Windows environment as a minor update. What could possibly go wrong? We have had dozens of home and business clients call with all sorts of issues. They expected Windows 10 to be a minor cosmetic update without fully understanding the gravity of what they were about to undertake.
Some people have cancelled the update half way through, not understanding what was happening. Others have turned off their computer before it was finished because that they were not aware it was happening. Still others had their computer freeze or fail to restart during the upgrade. After successful upgrades, many required their antivirus to be reloaded, printers reinstalled, Internet connection repaired, or non-functioning devices, such as Touch Screen, BlueTooth, and others.