Windows 10 Push: Microsoft Likened to Malware Scammers

John Lister's picture

Microsoft's latest change to the way it pushes users to upgrade to Windows 10 has been described as a "confusing new low." It's now using an on-screen message that appears to trick users into believing they must install the new operating system.

The change is to the 'Get Windows 10' notification. That's the small white Windows logo that has appeared in the bottom right of the screen for most users of Windows 7 and 8.1 since a system update earlier in the year. Clicking on the logo brings up some promotional material for Windows 10 and a link to download the new operating system.

Until now, it's been easy to ignore the logo, although some people have gone as far as trying to permanently remove it.

No Clear Option To Dismiss Windows 10 Update

Now some users are reportedly seeing a large pop-up message when they start Windows, which turns out to be a window created by the Get Windows 10 notification tool. The message begins by saying "Upgrade to Windows 10 for free" and "Windows 10 just got a major update based on feedback from millions of users".

It then offers just two clickable options. In one version they read "Upgrade now" and "Start download, upgrade later". In another version they read "Upgrade now" and "Upgrade tonight". In both cases it appears the files download automatically and the only difference is whether the installation of Windows 10 happens immediately or is delayed for an automated update in the middle of the night.

What's missing is any selectable option for people who don't want to install Windows 10 at all. It turns out the only way to stop installation happening is to click on the close button on the top-right corner of the pop-up message.

Tactic Likened To Malware Scams

Making it seem like downloading Windows 10 is the only "option" has earned Microsoft harsh criticism in the tech community. Brad Chacos of PC World said the tactic "feels inherently icky - like Microsoft's trying to trick less-savvy computer users into downloading the operating system with tactics often used by spammers and malicious websites." (Source:

Woody Leonhard of InfoWorld noted that at best, the timing of this move just before the Christmas holiday period "may have been a colossal mistake. Or it may have been a calculated maneuver to hit paying customers when they're least likely to have tech help at hand." (Source:

What's Your Opinion

Have you come across such a message yet? Is this a fair tactic or foul by Microsoft? Do you think it's an exaggeration to liken it to the actions of spammers and malicious websites?

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Average: 4.7 (7 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

If Windows 10 actually worked the way it was intended and without all the spy-tactics, I'd be telling people "you'd be crazy not to upgrade" - but that's just not the case.

In all, it's a decent system but there are some fairly major issues that are still present - video card support being one of them. There are times I come to use my PC and the screen is completely blank and the only way to get the video back is if I use remote desktop from another PC, delete my video card driver via Device Manager, then re-detect it. This 'bug' usually happens after a Windows update, but also happens without fail when I'm changing input signals on my HDMI matrix to another source. Overall, it's incredibly annoying and I'm sure that many users would just as easily reset their systems to correct the issue, thereby risking data loss. Not a good idea!

As for Microsoft's tactics - this surely won't be the last big push and is likely to get more intense as we approach the July 29 deadline.

wgcatterall_6010's picture

I am only problem is that I have been told by the Update checker that my present video card is not capable or operating windows 10. If Microsoft tries I will go to the apple company and change my system to theirs. I do not have enough money to go out and buy a new system or a new video card, I have seen Windows 10 on my sisters system. Its ok. But she does not like it and she stopped using her computer regularly and purchased a notebook instead.

MONSTERTEK's picture

Let me try and understand this. You don't have enough money to update your ancient video card, but you're ready to replace your entire system with an overly expensive Mac? One of the benefits of owning a PC is that you CAN update individual components instead of being forced to replace the entire system (like an obsolete iMac).

doliceco's picture

It's pretty obvious that MS is getting pressure from a "higher power" to force users to upgrade to Win 10. Once nstalled, that "entity" will enable to access absolutely everything that a computer user has on his/her computer; absolutely anything he or she does with it; all sites they visit; all emails they receive or send; all software they install; all of their files; and any and all concievable endless other things (like breaking encryption they have on any of their files or messages)and an infinite other "etceteras"; with that "power" to be able to do it without having to resort to any legal permissions, etc, etc, etc. but only with single click of a mouse after adding the computer's URL or other designation.

I've already started shopping around for other operating systems. Any suggestions?

JeffRL's picture

How about Paranoia 1.0? :-)

Dennis Faas's picture

There are lots of ways to disable the spying in Windows 10, and after that it's just Windows. I've disabled the spying and nothing (except Bing) is broken. I'm not using Bing, so I'm not missing out on anything. If anyone needs help with disabling the Windows 10 spying or preventing Windows 10 from installing altogether, you can contact me and I can fix it over remote desktop.

gmthomas44_4203's picture

Dennis, Won't all this become moot when MS decides to totally divorce (ie, not support) itself from all prior versions? What is the time frame being talked about when 7,8 & 8.1 are going to be 'Not supported'?

Dennis Faas's picture

Windows lifecycle is as follows: Visa ends in 2017, Windows 7 in 2020, and Windows 8 in 2023. You can get that information from Microsoft's website via the Windows lifecycle fact sheet.

beach.boui's picture

I could be mistaken. But, I believe Windows 7 will be supported for at least another 5 years. Howeven, given the recent examples of how low Microsoft will stoop to push it's massive weight around, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see MS change their mind and end support sooner, just to further force some users to Win10.

JeffRL's picture

Once I figured out which "update" was really just the "you must get Win10 now" annoyance, I uninstalled it and then when it reappeared in the list of available updates, I set it as hidden and I no longer have to put up with it. They have used two different "updates" this way so far and I fully expect there to be more.

I probably will install Win10 at some point (I'm still using Win7), but I'm in no hurry whatsoever and I won't be harassed into getting it, no matter how hard Microsoft tries. I'm perfectly willing to let others find the bugs and problems and to wait for them to be fixed before I get it.

My concern is that MS will combine the annoying push with a genuine update so we'll either have to take it or skip that update, but I'll deal with that when it happens.

JeffRL's picture

Just as I expected, they had a new "update" this week that was really just another attempt to get me to download and install Windows 10. When I uninstalled it, the system got hung up when it was in the "configuring Windows, don't shut down your computer" stage. I waited 10 minutes, then pressed the rest button and everything is fine. I then checked for updates and marked that one as hidden, so until MS tries the scam again, I'm fine.

mpwinsma's picture

It is not just the "less savvy" that they are scamming. The aged or poorly sighted comes under their targeting. I am hardly less savvy as I've used computers since 1959 and PCs since DOS 1.1 back in 1982 or so. However, as I just passed my 80th birthday, my sight is suffering and seeing the grey on black or pink on red or other difficult to read warnings or merely announcements makes me prone to bad decisions due to inaccurate or inarticulate instructions or even unseen instructions.

Oh, by the way, I have yet to mention that I am a Microsoft stockholder and yet, I too, know that profit-seeking is becoming too aggressive for my tastes.

Scamming your prospective customers is poor ethics, poor salesmanship, and eventually forcing a customer to do things he or she does not want to do, is poor business.

guitardogg's picture

Your last sentence says it all! I was hoping the new CEO would change some of this behavior, but apparently not!

JeffRL's picture

My father is 91 and I've had to step him through the process three times now to uninstall the notices about Win10. It's even more fun because he's deaf as a post and refuses to consider a hearing aid. We live in different cities, otherwise I'd do it myself on his computer.

I know about remote desktop, but he's worried that if he enables it, hackers could access his system, too, so it's not an option.

dickmorris_3365's picture

It happened to me this past Tuesday. Among the patches, updates, etc., was the all-too-familiar KB3035583--and I'd already hidden the bloody thing once! Like most others, I intend to upgrade, but on my schedule and not until June or July. So until then, Microsoft, leave me--and everyone else--be!

For mpwinsma: I have something that may help. I'm blind myself with some residual sight, so I know about those website designs that are just plain unseeable. Go to and drag the "zap" bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar or list. No need to install anything. Then when the site is unreadable click the bookmarklet. Voila! A readable site.

nospam_5346's picture

I had to replace an old laptop recently and while I never thought I would ever buy an Apple product I decided to get an iPad to replace it. Windows 10 is just bad news.

I think part of the problem is that Windows 10 is still aimed at the phone/tablet market. In the phone market, people seem to accept the tracking and spying without question. So, they figured it wouldn't be a big deal. However, PC users, even those with the tracking devices they call cell phones these days, have a different attitude toward tracking and spying.

I hid the last update offered and at least Microsoft was upfront with the detailed description this time saying that it was Windows 10 related and what it "offered" me. Nothing that I wanted.

I have also uninstalled every update I can find online that is Windows 10 related and blocked any telemetry with WinPrivacy if Windows Update reinstalls a previously hidden update.

kitekrazy's picture

MS is consistent at pissing off the end user while Apple creates sheeple. I've now gained an appreciation for Windows 8.