Windows 10 Automatic Upgrades Getting Aggressive

Over the past month Microsoft has been getting aggressive with their Windows 10 “auto-upgrades”.  We call it an auto-upgrade because the user doesn’t seem to have a choice on the upgrade.  They will walk away from their PC and when they come back they’ve been upgraded without doing anything to start the process.

We’re sticking with your recommendation:  If you have Windows 7, stick with Windows 7 until 2020, when Windows 7 comes to end-of-life.  If you have Windows 8, go ahead and upgrade to Windows 10.  Microsoft is giving a deadline of July 29, 2016 as the date of the upgrade being free, so do it before then.

There’s been some adverse consequences for Microsoft for the auto-upgrades.  Some might say these were costly in nature for Microsoft.  Because of this, Microsoft has throttled back on their forcefulness in installing the upgrade, however, this is not been 100% true so far.

Remember, you do have 30 days to go back to the previous operating system, but the reversal doesn’t always work.

Because of this, we’re recommending the following install:  Go to www.grc.com/Never10.htm and select the green “Download Now” button.  Download the small file, and then go open it.  This will open up a window that will have to options on it.  The writing initially will be in a ref font and will read “Windows 10 Upgrade is ENABLED for this system!”.  Click on the button at the bottom of the window that reads “Disable Win10 Upgrade”.  The writing will change to “Windows 10 Upgrade is DISABLED for this system!” in green font.  By saving the file, you can always go back if you want to upgrade to Windows 10.

If you’ve been upgraded, and things aren’t working anymore, give us a call.  Some programs are NOT compatible with Windows 10, so be prepared to upgrade if you’ve been upgraded and you can’t go back.

Windows 10 – Update 3

The questions about Windows 10 upgrade have not stopped.  We get them daily.

“What do you think of Windows 10?”

“My computer keeps bugging me about upgrading.  Should I?”

“Do you think it’s time to upgrade yet?”

It’s looks very pretty.  No.  And No.

We’ve talked about the upgrades in our two previous posts (Part 1 and Part 2)

In their latest campaign to convince users to upgrade, Microsoft has taken to SMB (Small to Medium sized Businesses).  They have a Facebook post that features a video that shows the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10.  Here’s the part that bothers us about the video:

About a minute in, the “Microsoft Spokesperson” shows a business how easy it is to upgrade.  He sits in front of the PC surrounded by “employees” of the company, clicks on the Windows button in the system tray, it launches the upgrade process.  The he says “Just agree to the terms and conditions and you’re done!”.  They all go to lunch and by the time they get back they live happily ever after since the Windows 10 upgrade is complete.

OK, let’s get out of make-believe land and back to reality.

We all have done it.  Most of the time we continue to do it.  We’re used to doing it.  What?  Agreeing to the Terms and Conditions without reading them.

But in this case, is it the right thing to do?  Needless to say, we’re required to accept the terms and conditions on any software that we install, but all those pages contain information that may be good to know.  Especially in this case.

Windows 10 offers two types of install, Express and Custom.  Express means you agree to the terms and conditions, and accept all of the default settings.  For those of you who haven’t seen the default settings, many of them include a feature that sends information back to Microsoft.  Microsoft uses this information to deliver a more personal experience.  In the Express settings mode, this includes a variety of tracking software.

Microsoft has said they’ve discontinued the practice of tracking everything.  However, they just released the latest stats on Windows 10:

“Here’s the list of milestones that Microsoft just achieved:
  • People spent over 11 Billion hours on Windows 10 in December 2015.
  • More than 44.5 Billion minutes were spent in Microsoft Edge across Windows 10 devices in December alone.
  • Windows 10 users asked Cortana over 2.5 Billion questions since launch.
  • About 30 percent more Bing search queries per Windows 10 device compared to prior versions of Windows.
  • Over 82 Billion photographs were viewed in the Windows 10 Photo application.
  • Gamers spent more than 4 Billion hours playing PC games on Windows 10 OS.
  • Gamers streamed more than 6.6 Million hours of Xbox One games to Windows 10 PCs.”

How do they know this?  Hmmm….

PCMDX clients know that we’re huge advocates of Microsoft, however our main focus is privacy and security.  Yes, if “they” want it, “they” will get it, however, we don’t have to leave the door not only unlocked, but open for them.

No, at this time we’re not recommending that those of you using Windows 7 upgrade to Windows 10.  Those of you using Windows 8 or 8.1 will have to decide if privacy or usability is more important.  We’re writing this post on a Windows 10 laptop (it came with the laptop).  It’s much more user friendly than Windows 8.  But we turned off all of the data mining features that we could turn off.

Is this the best operating system that Microsoft has released?  The word “best” is subjective.  What’s best for you may be different than what’s best for us.  Is it the most feature packed?  Absolutely.  Is it powerful in today’s internet world.  Yes.  If you use a PC to check e-mail, update your Facebook status, and surf the web, then there will be little difference between Windows 10 and Windows 7.

But wait!  Microsoft just issued a warning to those who use Windows 7.

And the latest information tells us that Microsoft will start to make the Windows 10 upgrade a “Recommended Update”.  What does that mean?  Glad you asked.  It simply means that if you have your Windows Update settings set to install all updates automatically, it will install the files even if you’re not interested.  This means if you don’t want it, you’ll have to turn off the automatic update function and go to “Notify me of updates but let me decide to download and install them” in the Windows Update settings in Control Panel.  Which means that you’ll need to make sure you install the important updates at least once a month.

Stay tuned.  Microsoft wants you to have Windows 10.

Windows 10 – Update 2

It has been several months now that Windows 10 has been on the market.  Most PCs that you buy today in stores are going to no longer come with Windows 8.1 with the free upgrade, but with Windows 10 pre-installed.

PCMDX has been working with several Windows 10 computers, including laptops, tablets, and workstations.

Based on what we’ve learned, our recommendation at this time is as follows:

If you have Windows 7, stay there.  You don’t need to upgrade just yet, and some programs (now also known as “Apps” or “Applications”) may not work in Windows 10, even though they do work in Windows 7 or 8.  Many vendors who’s programs don’t work on Windows 10 simply state that they don’t support it, therefore if it doesn’t work, they can’t help you.

Windows 10 has a “revert back to previous OS” feature.  You only have 30 days from the upgrade to rollback, and   many users claim that this feature does not work when they try it.  We’ve also found it not to work on PCs that we’ve attempted a rollback on.

If you have Windows 8, read on.  In our opinion, Windows 10 is a clear upgrade to Windows 8.  It’s really a cross between all that’s good about Windows 7 and Windows 8.  The most asked for feature is back, the Start menu, but it will take some time to get used to, with some of the changes.  If you’re running programs on Windows 8, you may have a problem running them on Windows 10 if the program vendor has not released an update.

Our biggest issue with Windows 10 is the lack of controlling Windows Updates (WU) without going into some complex settings.  With previous versions of Windows, you were given several options when it came to WU.  You could turn WU off altogether (not recommended).  You could be notified of WU being available, but not download and install them until you’re ready.  You could download them and be notified when they are ready to be installed.  Or you could simply let Windows download and install WU.

Windows 10 doesn’t give you these options.  It simply updates on its own.  Because it may require a reboot, it might give you an option to delay the reboot process if you’re currently working on something.  But it will eventually reboot on its own.

We have a problem with this, and hopefully Microsoft will address it by going back to giving the user options.  The reason we have a problem with this is because every once in a while, Microsoft will release an update that will negatively affect a PC.  This has happened numerous times in the past two years.  When updates are set to Automatically Download and Install Windows Updates, if the update is bad, the user will find that their PC might not function properly.  The user then has to find a way to correct the issue.  Usually Microsoft will withdraw the update within a few hours of it’s release.

Windows Updates are release on the second Tuesday of the month (which is referred to as “Patch Tuesday”).  If there’s a critical update that needs to be installed, Microsoft will release it as needed, but that’s rare.  On Patch Tuesday, all computers set to Automatically Update, will do so, usually around 3am.  By 9am, if there’s a bad update, Microsoft will pull it, but it can take as long as the rest of the day.

We recommend setting your Windows Update settings to Notify but Don’t Download Updates. picking a day AFTER Patch Tuesday to do your updates, like the second Saturday.  Then download and install the WU.  This will give Microsoft time to remove the bad updates.

So, to summarize, we suggest waiting on Windows 10.  If you do decide to do the upgrade, do so knowing that you may not be able to go back unless you do a fresh install of the previous operating system, which wipes out all of your settings, programs and data.  Also, you may want to follow the instructions on doing a custom setup of Windows 10.

We’re still in the first year of Windows 10, so many features of the OS have still to be discovered.  Check back often for Update 3.