Windows 10 Install Surprising Users

John Lister's picture

Microsoft's push to get Windows 10 onto computers seems to be going a step further than anticipated. Even tech-savvy users are complaining their machines updated to the new system without their express consent.

The last big change to the Windows 10 upgrade process took place last month, but seems to be working more aggressively than expected. The change involved Windows 10 being reclassified as a "Recommended" update in the automatic update program.

That was hugely significant as the default setting for most Windows PCs is to install all recommended updates automatically. It would affect all computers except those where the user had intentionally and manually changed the setting to only install the most urgent security patches, or to have nothing downloaded automatically.

Notifications Not Clear Enough

The newly discovered problem is that the change is not working as expected. The idea was that even if Windows 10 downloaded automatically, there'd be an additional, one-off extra confirmation screen before the installation started.

Instead users are getting a somewhat unclear notification to say Windows 10 will be coming to their computer in three or four days. Closing this notification screen or clicking the large "OK" button is taken as a sign to go ahead. Only if the user clicks the word "here" in a line of text reading "Click here to change upgrade schedule or cancel scheduled upgrade" does Microsoft abandon the upgrade at this time. (Source:

The same notification will then appear a few days later but this time is only giving an hour's notice. To make things worse, if users don't respond to the notification at all, the installation goes ahead after an hour anyway. The big problem there is that many users leave their computers on but unattended so could easily never see this notification.

Even Geeks Getting Surprises

Once the installation completes, the user does have to make an active choice, which is whether to agree the End User License Agreement. If they click no at this point, the computer will roll back to the previous system (such as Windows 7), though this will tie the machine up for some time. If they click yes, they'll have the now standard 31 days to return to their previous system without losing files or settings.

A clear sign this is causing problems comes from a thread on the discussion board Reddit, which tends to be used by people who are much more likely than average to be well-informed and confident about operating systems. However, many users on the thread report Windows 10 being installed against their expectations and wishes. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is the notification and agreement process Microsoft is now using adequate? Has the company now gone too far in failing to seek positive and active confirmation before proceeding with an upgrade? Or is the onus on users to pay closer attention?

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Dennis Faas's picture

If clicking on the "x" to close a request window is a positive confirmation that the user means "yes", then I must have been misinformed how operating systems work for the last 25 years. This is pretty sneaky even for Microsoft standards. I hope everyone is making disk image backups of their systems as a precaution. If anyone needs help with that, please contact me.

tonyy@bell's picture

It's hard to prove this because after it has happened I have never been able to repeat and prove it. However I have seen this on several occasions when there is no clear No button, and while I cannot immediately think of one there are several Windows pop-ups where there are only Yes buttons (OK Yes and Postpone).

So most of the time X is Cancel but occasionally it's "Later"

OH an example. IE often puts up a Speed up by disabling add-ons and the go away and don't bother me again option is missing as is the Don't disable. X however does mean Cancel in this case.

david.e.buehler_6628's picture

Dennis, you are correct. Microsoft is absolutely too aggressive with the Windows 10 upgrade. My machine qualifies for the upgrade but I did not want to upgrade yet. I was going to wait about a year and get a new computer and deal with the new Operating System then. But my wife came to tell me the upgrade just started (she is not as computer savvy so I do not know if it was fully automatic or she thought she was closing the suggestion window or something else). But I am now the proud owner of Windows 10 and I did not want that. On top of that the new Edge browser is apparently not as compatible with my Norton security suite as IE is (according to the warning dialog box I got) and Windows 10 wants to default to Edge. So, clearly, there is some underlying benefit to Microsoft that they are getting hyper aggressive with the upgrades and forcing the upgrade on people. I think it is underhanded and gives me pause when considering whether I should trust Microsoft (to put it mildly).

tonyy@bell's picture

I hope that after the "Free" deadline expires that they will stop as I am fed up of firefighting my 2 Windows 7 PVR systems (Media Centres) where it cancelled the recordings and stated an upgrade in my absence.

At work I have XP Mode running for several programs and the compatibility checker just says that the system is ready to upgrade!!! A few other programs are also definitely NOT Windows 10 compatible (not mainsteam). The Windows 7 and Windows 8 upgrade checkers were much better and listed unrecognised programs. This time it really is beware of Microsoft.

gmthomas44_4203's picture

What is the current failure rate for letting MS update to Win10?
Thanks, GT

kitekrazy's picture

I had one install go bad by using Windows update. They other two were a Windows 10 iso.

It's now possible to do a clean install but if you have legacy devices like firewire it's a larger risk if you were using Windows 7. Windows 10 used the Windows 7 drivers that were on the system. A clean install means you are hunting for certain drivers again.

Windows 10 is a good OS but once again they find a way to create negative reactions.

SmiffTech_2365's picture

I keep a system with W81.1 around because Microsoft does not allow me to install Zune software nor to use my Canon LIDE 100 on Windows 10.

sirpaultoo's picture

The day I find Win10 on my Win7 computer, will be the day I'll 'upgrade' to Linux.
I'm starting to think that one day I'll answer the door and see some guys holding baseball bats who say 'We're from Microsoft. Are you still running an older version of Windows?'

anniew's picture

My method takes more time, but is worth the trouble, as for example this week when there were about 19 updates. If they are W 7 updates (not just security updates), I read the "more info" link to the right and the W 10 updates are usually easy to pick out. Some refer to W 10 or to a new OS. Those can then be "hidden" and unchecked from the list. Obviously to do this, one must have the option chosen to "notify me" when there are updates.

Sure appreciate all your information, Dennis! (sirpaul gave me a chuckle with that visual image!)

DaLincerGuy's picture

I have found out about "GWX Control Panel" and have installed it on all my supported computers.

Once installed it makes sure that Win 10 does NOT install without my giving express permission, and as well ensures that the Win 10 download does not occur.

I MAY install Win 10 in mid june on my laptop... later.

I have no connection to GWX control panel, other than as an installed user.

Wagashigrrl's picture

I was one of those folks that clicked X on the MS 'agreement' in order to make it go away a few months before the holidays. After clicking X, the window disappeared.
I went off to do some work and when I came back, Windows 10 was installed! It was a small matter to uninstall it and revert, but just took more time.

How COULD they do that? If you don't want to bother with the agreement or making a decision right then, and you click the 'X', how is that a binding agreement to install?

c'est ma's picture

MS has been trying to download Win 10 on my computer for days, and I've been fighting back by using the info on these pp:

So far so good, though I've uninstalled "KB3035583" at least 4 times now. After reading this post I finally disabled auto-install of recommended updates, even though I've spent the last--what? couple of decades?--thinking it was vital not to do so.

Has there ever been another example of a corporation forcing its product on customers who absolutely don't want it?! Shouldn't this be law-suit territory?

RDLee 7533's picture

Every since Microsoft began providing Automatic Updates I have used the "Notify Me Only" option.
I have successfully used the "Hide Update" feature on updates that I did not want to install and did not want to see listed again.
Granted this requires some manual effort by the user but it is the only way to control what is installed on a PC.