Windows 10 to Download Automatically for Most Users

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has reclassified Windows 10 as a "recommended update" for Windows 7 and 8.1. That means it will automatically download and attempt to install for many, and likely even most, users. It will be possible to stop the installation or to undo it without any major hassles (with some restrictions). That said, the download could be a problem for people on restrictive broadband plans.

Late last year Microsoft classified Windows 10 as an optional update. That meant users could manually choose to download and install it through the Windows Update system that's normally used for new features and bug fixes. It was an unusual move, as Microsoft was effectively treating Windows 10 as an "update", rather than a completely different operating system.

Users Will Have To Confirm Installation

Microsoft has now gone ahead with plans to reclassify Windows 10 as a recommended update. That's a very significant change, as the default setting for Windows 7 and 8.1 is to download and install any updates in this category. (Source:

Unlike most updates, PCs won't go ahead and install Windows 10 automatically. Instead, it will begin the process by asking the user to click a confirmation screen. Of course, many users may click this without giving it a second thought and won't realize the consequence until the computer's operating system has been completely overhauled.

According to Microsoft, if a user confirms the Windows 10 update, they will have 30 days to roll it back to Windows 7 or 8.1 which should put things back to the way they were before with all files and settings intact.

Windows 10 Download Could Be up to 6 GB

As well as the problem of unwanted upgrades, classifying Windows 10 as an upgrade will mean a much larger download than is normal for Windows Update. Depending on the computer, it could be as large as six gigabytes. That could lead to problems with people whose broadband subscription has a monthly usage cap. (Source:

One way to prevent the automatic download and attempted installation is to change the settings for Windows Update. The easiest way to do this is to press the Windows key (or click on the Windows logo in the bottom left of the screen); type "windows update" into the search bar and then select "Windows Update" from the list of results; select "Change settings"; and un-check mark the box by "recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" and then click on "OK".

This should still allow you to get updates classified as "important," including security patches.

Need Help Updating or Blocking Windows 10?

If you plan on upgrading to Windows 10, it is highly recommend that you backup your current operating system (Windows 7 or 8) using a disk image backup prior to the upgrade. The reason is two-fold: one is that there is a chance something could go wrong with the upgrade, leaving you with an unbootable system. In this case, a disk image backup can revert the changes and put your old system back online.

Secondly, if you want to roll back to Windows 7 or 8 beyond the 30 day time limit Microsoft has imposed, you can do that as well with a disk image backup. If you need help with making a disk image backup, you can contact Dennis for help and he will connect to your system and set it up for you (and also explain how to do it for future reference).  

Finally: if you would like to permanently block Windows 10 from your system, Dennis can help with that as well. He can even back up your system in its current state using a disk image (as a fail safe) - just in case you change your mind and want to install Windows 10 later on. Simply send an email with your request and Dennis will get back to you as soon as he can.

What's Your Opinion?

Will this latest move from Microsoft be enough to get you to bite the bullet and upgrade to Windows 10? Do you fear friends and relatives who are less confident about computing getting confused and accidentally upgrading? Is Microsoft right to use Windows Update to distribute a completely separate operating system as if it were a simple bug fix?

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ehowland's picture

I support many users. On my professionally managed PCs I have "Blocked" Win10 from auto-downloading since last summer. Since they have changed tactics 3 times up till this I have had to manually ripple through many machines and re-block the download from happening and remove the wasted space. This wasted 4-6GB of wasted space has caused hassles and infuriates me. On users with SSD's it fills up free space, and since all my pro managed users back up nightly it puts much more wear and tear on all systems (drives, time, CPU useage, and electricity) to back up something that is not wanted. Since we backup each night and can go back a month it means there are 30 darn images of this wasted 4-6GB so there is MUCH more bandwidth used than 4-6GB!

Once I have blocked it again, and removed hidden $BT folder it stops wasting the space and backups go back to the size they were. This has happened now 3 times since July, it infuriates me.

I am using Win10 and it seems fine on a few of my own PCs (including the one I am typing from) but for OLDER folks and or folks who are not savvy change is NOT GOOD. On all the PCs I support for family and friends they are not paying "pro" customers and as I have updates set to automatic, and I can't filter them like my managed machines, I have to once again (4th time) go through about 25 PCs remotely (that are on and idle) and block it yet again.

The good news is if someone is savvy and the PCs hardware (and peripherals) are all updated with Win10 support there is little issue. I have found many Machines go fine (including this 8 year old Latitude D630). But I did upgrade and had to roll back a few machines that would NOT work right. AMD chipsets seem to be a problem in some cases. Video drivers are (were) also a problem. Last Fall I could NOT get the 4 year old motherboard's HD4000 video chipset to display properly, and on another laptop (ThinkPad X120e, AMD chipset) I could not get sound to work. I had to roll back both.

So again for the hardened savvy user it will be fine, but for occasional (non intuitive) users it is a nightmare as nothing is where they expect! One tiny caviot, I did find "Classic Shell" does a nice job to overlay the new start menu and make it more like Win7...

Stuart Berg's picture

I find that the easiest way to manage the Windows 10 upgrade is to download and install the free GWX Control Panel software ( With the push of a button you can prevent the upgrade and, when you are ready, push the button again to allow the upgrade. If you take a look at this software you'll see that it does a very complete job of managing when you want to do the upgrade.

There's a VERY complete description of the Windows 10 upgrade here:
which includes describing the GWX Control Panel.

ehowland's picture

Stuart I have used (and think) the GWX control panel is good, the problem is Microsoft keeps moving and or changing the update numbers and or priority level so while it may work at the moment, GWX Control panel might get bypassed in the future when they change it a 5th, 6th and 7th time. This's what is ridiculous IMO...

Another great tool for simply MODIFYING security settings (privacy) for those who do update to Win 10 (default privacy settings are not good) is from Ashampoo...

It's a free tool "AntiSpy for Windows 10".

Very simple interface and links/toggles for all the security settings buried in Win10

Very easy to download and run (tiny and fast). Default "recommended" settings are good and most everything is turned off using Ashampoo's default.

Give it a look, for those who do take the plunge to Win10 I recommend it...