Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
So, is it time to remove GWX Control Panel?
Hi, everyone. Leo Notenboom here. I got a question from a friend, actually, earlier this week asking me if it was time to go ahead and remove GWX Control Panel. Now you may remember that GWX Control Panel and another application called Never10 were solutions to Microsoft’s insistent downloading and automatic updating of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines to Windows 10.
Whether or not people wanted it, or at least nagging people who knew that they weren’t going to want it, both of these programs allowed you to basically disable those warnings, disable those messages, prevent the automatic download, and in many cases, prevent the automatic update. Now, the time period has passed.
The free update that GWX (Get Windows 10) was about has passed as of a couple of weeks ago. In theory, those applications are no longer necessary because in theory, Microsoft is no longer going to be pushing Windows 10 on to machines that aren’t currently running it. So, in theory, and I’m going to come back to why I keep saying, “in theory”, in theory those applications are no longer necessary, so yes, you can uninstall them.
In the case of Never10, for example, it’s not really something that runs all of the time. It’s simply an application that you run, it makes a setting change, and then you’re done with it. My recommendation for that one, run it again, determine if you want to undo that setting change. You may not have to; it’s up to you, but if you want to restore your machine to the state it was before this entire fiasco started, that’s probably what I would do.
Then all you need to do is not run it again; delete it; do whatever you like. In the case of GWX Control Panel, there were two different ways to run the program. You could simply download it and run it, or you can run the installer. In either case, you can get rid of the program. Before you do so, once again, I recommend that you run GWX Control Panel’s interface and review the settings that are there to make sure that before you get rid of the program, the settings are the way you want them.
Most notably is the control of Windows Automatic Updates. My recommendation has always been that automatic updates should be on and should be automatic especially in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 where you at least have some amount of control returning those settings to always automatically update to me is the safest most secure thing to do.
But again, revisit this setting, because it is something that you probably altered in order to prevent the Windows 10 download. Revisit that setting; set it to what you want. Review the other settings in the interface, and then turn off the notifier. If you have the notifier, the little monitor app that’s running; the little 10 icon that’s sitting in the Taskbar, turn that off, exit the interface and then if you just downloaded and ran the program, simply locate wherever you downloaded it to and delete the program.
If you actually installed it, as I did (I tend to prefer Windows Installers for these kinds of things) go to Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs, and you should find GWX Control Panel there, and you should be able to right-click on it and click on Uninstall. Follow the prompts, and it will get rid of the program for you.
In either case, be it Never10, be it GWX Control Panel, once you’ve uninstalled, you can always delete the software, the software is still out there if you need to re-download it for some other reason, but this should be, should be safe to go ahead and get rid of those programs now.
So, I keep coming back to, “in theory”. Now the reason I keep saying, “in theory” is kind of sad, honestly. The fact is Microsoft has burned a number of bridges with the entire Windows 10 update fiasco. In other words, I’m not sure that I still completely trust them. I know that many people don’t. They just flat out don’t, which I understand, I totally get that after all we’ve been through with Windows 10.
So, there is an argument that says you don’t need to do anything. You could leave the software installed. In theory, it’s completely benign to leave it there. Any monitoring that GWX Control Panel app might do is minuscule compared to overall system resource usage. So it’s not using a bunch of resources on your machine. The settings, leave them the way they are if you like. Continue to protect yourself in case Microsoft does something some day.
Again, they shouldn’t. There should be no reason but if you don’t trust them, and Microsoft certainly hasn’t done anything to really engender a lot of trust in this area, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with leaving those programs installed, with leaving those settings set the way they are.
So, I’ve done it both ways. I’ve got several different machines and I’ve got some on which I will uninstall or have already in fact, uninstalled GWX Control Panel, and on others, I’ll leave it there just to see what happens. Just to see if it raises a flag at any point in time in the future. But for now, it’s really kind of up to you. If you want to uninstall it; if you want to take the time to go ahead and do that. Be my guest but realize there’s actually no harm in leaving it in place. If it isn’t broke, and it’s not, there’s really no need to fix it.
So, what are you doing with respect to Windows 10, with GWX? If you’re still running Windows 7, if you’re still running Windows 8.1, running one of the operating systems that was offered a free update or would have been offered a free update, are you still sticking with what you have? Are you uninstalling GWX Control Panel if you used it? Are you undoing the Never10 modification if you’ve done that? Let me know in the comments.
As always, here’s the link to this video posted on askleo.com. If you’re watching it anywhere but there come visit. That’s where all the comments are read and moderated and the discussion happens.
And as always, thank you again for watching. Remember stay safe, have fun, don’t forget to back up and I’ll see you again next week. Take care.
Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.
I'll see you there!