Microsoft to Force Windows 10 Download by Default

John Lister's picture

If you've deliberately avoided upgrading to Windows 10 up until now, you may need to re-check your Windows Update settings. Two forthcoming changes to Windows Update means Windows 10 could install by default without users realizing.

Unlike with previous systems, Microsoft is treating Windows 10 as literally being an update to Windows 7 and 8 in the same way as ordinary bug fixes and feature additions. That's how it was previously possible to "pre-register" for the free upgrade and have it installed automatically on launch date without having to specifically search out a download.

Until now, Windows 10 was treated as a special case among the other Windows Update downloads. This treatment meant it would only install where a user had specifically asked for it, rather than being part of any automatic updates. (A few users have found it installing unexpectedly, but this appears to have been a bug.)

Windows 10 To Be 'Recommended' Update

Recently, Microsoft classified Windows 10 as an "Optional update". This means that any users who have Windows set to automatically install any and all updates from Microsoft will get Windows 10 in the near future. The only ways to stop this are to switch to different download settings in Windows Update, or to manually go into Windows Update, find Windows 10 in the list and deselect it.

Even more dramatically, Microsoft says that early next year it will switch the classification to "Recommended." This puts it in the same category as those updates which bring major new features or particularly important security updates. (Source:

What makes this so significant is that the default setting in Windows Update is to install all "Recommended updates." That means millions of users who have never even thought of changing the update settings - including those with little interest or knowledge of technical issues - may find they get Windows 10 unexpectedly. (Source:

Users Have 31 Days To Undo Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft says that in this situation, the new system will start installing automatically, but users will get a clear on-screen prompt asking them if they want to continue with the upgrade or cancel it. However, it appears that even if users say no, this process could repeat every month as Windows goes through a new batch of recommended updates.

Again, the only real solution for users with no immediate interest in Windows 10 is to change their Windows Update settings to install only those updates the user has manually and specifically selected. That could make it more likely people miss out on genuinely important updates to their existing Windows system.

Those users who do upgrade to Windows 10, whether intentionally or without realizing what is happening, will have 30 days to return to Windows 7 or 8 without losing any documents, programs or settings - unless of course, a disk image backup is made of the current operating system; in that case, users can revert at any time past 31 day deadline.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Microsoft right to push out Windows 10 in this way? Has it done enough to ensure people don't get the upgrade unless they genuinely want it? Do these changes undermine the security benefits of having people receive important updates automatically?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I already receive a ton of emails from users asking me how to cancel the Windows 10 reservation. This new change will surely infuriate even more users, if not alienate them. Moreover, forcing users to switch to manually selecting their Windows Updates (in order to avoid the Windows 10 update) is a very poor security policy.

Derek's picture

I declined the update to Windows 10 and ever since Windows update has been broken. I've got security updates piling up and the only thing I can think of is doing a clean install of Windows 7 to straighten things out. Really annoying.

guitardogg's picture

I'm assuming they still aren't messing with "professional" users, those operating in a Windows domain environment. For the consumer however, this is another epic fail by Microsoft. They have their little icon in the system tray, so we can "Get Windows 10" (or not) anytime we desire til next July. Why piss off millions of users? How does that help their brand? As a PC support professional, this will probably make me some extra money helping people avoid the update, but I'd rather they just quit with their dumbass "strategies"!!! You'd think by now they would have figured out that pissing off your customer base is NOT a good business practice!

doliceco's picture

Users should know that Windows 10 continually monitors and records ALL activity on computers funning ALL of its Win 10 versions with only the exception of its "Enterprise" editions, (available only to large corporations).

Win 7 & Win 8 Users should be informed that there are methods that can be employed to prevent this automatic forced installation of Windows 10.

To see how to do this visit

Dennis Faas's picture

That link has nothing to do with Windows 7 or 8 users, nor does it prevent Windows 10 from installing onto Windows 7 or 8 machines. The article only details how Windows 10's update mechanism can be hacked to prevent updates. PS: Forbes website shoves ads down your throat every time you scroll the mouse, so I would avoid hitting that site altogether.

kitekrazy's picture

All you have to do is uncheck the W10 update when using Windows Update. BTW using Windows update is a sure fire way to have a bad install.

Dennis Faas's picture

It's not as easy as unchecking Windows 10 from Windows Update. It will keep coming back unless you completely and totally rip it out of the system manually, which Microsoft doesn't make easy to do.

Also, Windows 10 takes control over the entire Windows Update system and makes it appear to be impossible to install any updates UNLESS you update to Windows 10, first. You can bypass it if you click on "show all available updates", however, the reminder will still be there.

csxdgplyler_5715's picture

I updated to Windows 10 on the first day. I like it, however, I will be reinstalling Windows 7 because "Forced Feeding" is against freedom of choice of OS. Bad move on Microsoft. I am not the only one, many of my friends feel the same way, and reverting will spread like a tidal wave. Linux is looking better every day.

wkrasley's picture

I upgraded the computer we use at church for the presentation software to Windows 10 and the presentation program would not show the videos properly. It was a video driver issue and did not have the time to find the update for it. (NVIDIA drivers have a big problem with Win 10) I rolled back to Windows 7 three days after the upgrade and then I got the message "This version of Windows may have been pirated". Windows 7 came preinstalled by HP and I had no key, so I had to do a reinstall from the restore disk and lost everything. I spent several hours on the phone with Microsoft and they told me to contact HP. So the roll back to 7 did not work for me. I even tried to reinstall the Windows 10 update and I could go no further than the screen that asks for a key. I thought the motherboard was registered with Microsoft so no key was needed to do a fresh install.

carrod66_5732's picture

I have avoided updating to Win 10 because from my observations the upgrade from Win 7 is not seamless and easy and in many cases causes problems, also Win 10 is very intrusive and geared toward keeping you within the desired Microsoft environment.

Having said that my version of Win 7 is genuine and authenticated so if I choose not to install an update (as you say Microsoft are calling this), within a 12 month timeframe what right have they got to withhold this or any other update from me after that period, I entered a contract with them when I bought my operating system, which they agreed to maintain.

I found the best way to get rid of the update icon was to uninstall the updates as per your article on 28 August 2015, then check for updates and hide them, also hide the large Win 10 update, to do this you must turn off auto updates first otherwise they reinstall as quickly as you take them off, after you have hidden them you can then set your updates to whatever you want.

kurteb's picture

Once you allow installation of KB3035583, you go down the GWX rabbit hole. It's the update to avoid to begin with in order to avoid that Windows 10 nag screen to begin with.

mwb's picture

Search the registry for gwx - youll find a key where you can flip from 1 (true) to 0 (false) and get rid of the annoying Windows 10 prompts. You'll still need to watch your windows updates - they'll still try to sneak in the Windows 10 upgrade. Its a bad idea but then again, Bill Gates is all about de-population, vaccines and spying on people. That's the only reason they are giving out cell phones in 3rd world countries. He's a sold out piece of crap. So is Windows 10. Good bye Microsoft - hello Linux.