Microsoft Reverses Controversial Windows 10 Nag Screen

John Lister's picture

Microsoft says it will backtrack on one of the most controversial elements of its campaign to push users towards Windows 10. It will no longer interpret clicking a close window button (the "X") as authorizing an installation of the new operating system.

Since launching the system last year, Microsoft has been slowly ramping up its efforts to get people installing Windows 10. It's moved from the original position of having user actively seek out the system through a "pre-registration" tool to eventually reaching the point when Windows 10 was considered a recommended update.

That was significant as it meant anyone who has their Windows Update settings on the default option - including everyone who has never given the settings a thought or has no idea how to change them - will have their computer attempt to install Windows 10 automatically.

Confirmation Window Broke All Normal Interface Rules

As part of the installation process, users would also see a window asking if they want to go ahead with the installation at scheduled point, or delay it until a later time. The big controversy came because Microsoft altered this window's setup such that clicking the 'X' button in the top right corner to close it was interpreted as the user giving permission to go ahead. To many users, this ploy was likened as something a malware developer would do to trick users into installing malware onto their machines.

Furthermore, it's also not only the complete opposite of how such buttons have worked in Windows for decades (with the standard interpretation being to stop the process in question), but also contradicted Microsoft's own advice to software developers.

Terry Myerson, the Microsoft executive in charge of Windows, has issued a statement announcing a change to this policy. He said "If the red-x is selected on this new dialog, it will dismiss the dialog box and we will notify the device again in a few days." That appears to mean the same window will pop up again at this point. (Source:

Delay And Deny To Get Equal Billing

Myerson also revealed that the screen will now give three clickable options, each in the same size: "Upgrade now", "Choose time" (meaning to schedule and upgrade) and "Decline free offer". The company hasn't yet confirmed if this last option will act in the same way as closing the window and mean it comes back after a few days, or if it will be taken as a permanent refusal. (Source:

This is a significant change from the previous version of the screen in which upgrading was the only clearly visible option with a button. In the previous version, users wanting to delay or reject the upgrade had to spot a one-word text link rather than a clear button.

It appears Microsoft took the opportunity to make the change as part of a redesign of the screen to include a clear warning that the offer to get a free upgrade is scheduled to end on July 29.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you welcome this change by Microsoft? Is it fair to bring the screen back in a few days if users click the 'X' button or should this be a permanent dismissal? Should Microsoft stop using the screen altogether once the deadline for the free upgrade passes?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This seems very much perfect timing considering that Microsoft was just sued for (and lost) a $10,000 award to a woman who's machine "broke" from an unwanted Windows 10 installation. Regardless of the timing, the 'X means yes' is probably the most devious thing Microsoft has ever done to force Windows 10 on people. Shame, shame!

gi7omy's picture

There's also the point that the 'free' upgrades will stop in a few weeks time (on the 29th July if memory serves), which makes the timing equally strange.

Personally I prefer 7 (I also prefer Linux but that's another matter) but in a choice between 8 and 10, I'd definitely get 10 while it's still free.

As you said, Dennis, it's probably more to do with that court case (and forestall any 'class action' suits) than anything else.

kitekrazy's picture

Legit software should not work this way. I'm liking Windows 10. I'm keeping one on W7 because of XP mode so I don't have to buy a new scanner. (wouldn't work on other VMs)

Ever since XP with their DRM movement, Vista, and now this, they seem to succeed at pissing the end user off. Meanwhile Apple could launch some overpriced hardware and the attitude is the exact opposite.

It seems like the software industry is so out of touch with end users.

guitardogg's picture

It's good they made that correction, but they need to make a walk of atonement! A few thousand more $10K payouts might do it! Resorting to scammers tricks to get people to upgrade is unacceptable on SO many levels. I had high hopes when the new CEO took over, those hopes have been dashed!!