Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Windows 10 behaves like malware and you need to take steps to prevent getting it if you don’t want it.
Hi everyone, Leo Notenboom here for askleo.com.
In the last week, we’ve had a lot of news and activity around Windows 10’s automatic update, in that for many Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, Windows 10 is being installed either without asking or by misleading them.
Now, I refer to it as acting like malware, and in fact, one of my assistants brought that term to my attention, and when I thought about it, it applied. Windows 10’s installation system is acting as if it were malware, or at least a Potentially Unwanted Program, a PUP.
It’s installing, and many people aren’t asking for it. It’s just installing without permission. Well, that sounds like malware.
It’s installing along with unrelated things via Windows Update by becoming a recommended update, I guess, is the change that they made. Well, that sounds like a Potentially Unwanted Program.
It’s installing, and essentially Windows Update is saying you should go ahead and install it, but you never asked for it, and in many cases there’s no “potentially” about it. You don’t want it; it’s an unwanted program.
But finally, it’s actually misleading people into installing Windows 10. And that’s the big news item this week. That’s the thing that, well, to me it’s the final straw. They’ve crossed a line. The issue is that in many cases, I’ll even say in most cases, I believe this to be true, it will now present this dialog box telling you that Windows 10 is ready to be installed, and when would you like to install it?
Now, there is … the issue is that we’ve been trained over the years, over many years, to when we see a dialog box like this, and we don’t want to act on it, or especially, if we don’t necessarily trust it, we close it. Well, if you click the little “x” in the upper right-hand corner, that does in fact close the dialog box. It closes that pop-up message that says Windows 10 is ready to be installed.
The misleading part is: it takes that as your approval to install Windows 10, and it proceeds with the installation.
In other words, closing the dialog box using the “close window” which 99.99% of all other applications on the planet means, “Don’t do this. Stop. Close. Go away. Cancel” whatever synonym you want, in this case, Microsoft has decided that it means, “Yes, please continue with the installation”.
That’s misleading. And like I said, to me, that’s a step over the line.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is completely unapologetic about this. They apparently don’t care. They apparently, whenever they’re being asked about this, are simply pointing at the wonderful literature about how wonderful Windows 10 is, and everybody should be happy to get it.
Well, I’m afraid to say that’s not the case. There are many, many valid reasons for people not to be able to run Windows 10; not to choose to run Windows 10 and in fact, be unable to run Windows 10 for a variety of reasons that to be honest, Microsoft may know nothing about and can know nothing about.
For example, I have machines that run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. I need those so that I can continue to answer questions about Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. There’s no way I want those upgraded to Windows 10. They’re capable of being upgraded, I believe. They meet all of the specifications.
If I were just using Windows for Windows’ sake, they’d be fine Windows 10 machines, but I already have a Windows 10 machine. I don’t need 8.1 or 7 replaced with Windows 10, and as a result, I’ve taken steps, which I’ll talk about in a minute to prevent Windows 10 from being installed on those machines.
The problem is that of course, many people don’t know about those steps. They are simply running along trusting that if they get a message, and they do what they think is appropriate to cancel it, it won’t happen.
Well, I got news, it’s happening and it’s happening a lot, and people are not happy about it at all.
Another misleading part about that dialog box, by the way, is that if you look very carefully in the middle of it, there’s the hidden text that says: here’s how you cancel the upgrade, but it is in no way obvious.
It’s really sad that Microsoft needed to resort this tactic to get Windows 10 installed.
It’s a really, really bad first impression, and we know how important first impressions are. Many people now have an innate distrust, not only of Microsoft, but of Windows 10, specifically, because they had it forced on them rather than it being a choice. And that’s what it should have been. Rather than forcing us to install Windows 10 or ramming our digital throats, Microsoft could have instead, simply shown us how much better an operating system it was and allowed us to make the choice ourselves to install Windows 10.
Nope. They did it for us. They felt that they know better, and they basically said you’re getting, in many cases, whether you want it or not.
Now, I hesitate to say in Microsoft’s defense but I will at least in one point, and that is that while these tactics… like I said, they’ve crossed a line. They’ve gone too far. This is inappropriate for Microsoft to be doing, but I truly believe that they believe that this is the best thing for all of us.
They truly believe that upgrading to Windows 10 is in fact the correct thing for us. Even though many of us know that it is not for a variety of reasons. I honestly believe that their intentions are good. The problem is they’re not listening to the feedback that says, “you don’t understand the whole picture.” Not everybody needs Windows 10; not everybody wants Windows 10 and not everybody can run Windows 10. So, Microsoft in my opinion is making a huge, huge mistake.
Once again, not necessarily a mistake in technology because Windows 10 is a fine operating system. I’ve got no qualms about Windows 10 itself. It’s the mechanism and the method that they’re using to get that widespread adoption that they are looking for. They’re going about it all wrong.
What’s also sad about this, and this is maybe the saddest part of all is that it probably won’t matter.
I say that because we’ve been in a situation like this before. When Windows XP was first introduced some 15 years ago now, it actually raised quite the ruckus. Many, many people were very upset at some of the new features in Windows XP and the dramatic change that implied for PCs; everything, of course, from the kind of PC that was required to run Windows XP, but more than anything else, one single feature had many, many people upset, and that single feature was activation.
Activation is something we take for granted today. Windows XP went on to be one of the most loved operating systems on the planet. It was certainly the most popular and most installed operating system on the planet. The fact is: after a few years, all the furor died down. We didn’t even care anymore about activation. Nine times out of ten; ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it just worked, didn’t get in our way. It really wasn’t as bad as we thought. My prediction is that in a couple of years, maybe five at the outset, none of this will matter anymore.
The fact that Windows 10 is being forced on us will be a distant memory. Nobody will have learned from it, and in a sense, Microsoft will be rewarded for having done it because they will have the greater installed based of Windows 10 because they rammed it down everybody’s throat today.
It’s unfortunate. It’s frustrating. It’s angering, actually, for those people that suddenly faced with Windows 10.
So, you need to take steps to prevent it. If you don’t want or can’t run Windows 10 on your machine, and you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then you need to install and run either Never10 from GRC.com or GWX Control Panel. I’m actually running one of each. That Windows 7 machine that I was talking about, I ran Never10 on it. The Windows 8.1 machine runs GWX Control Panel. I want to keep an eye on both of those utilities to make sure they’re doing the right thing.
With those installed and properly configured, the Windows 10 upgrade is blocked, but if you don’t know that, then you don’t know that you need to install those utilities. I had a friend actually call me because her machine suddenly started installing Windows 10. She had no idea that this was going to happen. Probably either tried to close that dialog box with the “x” or did something else or didn’t do anything, and Windows 10 began to install.
Fortunately, very fortunately for her, the install actually failed before any damage was done, so I was able to then immediately get on that machine and I installed GWX Control Panel and the machine has been running, it’s a Windows 7 machine, it’s been running just fine ever since.
That’s what I recommend, strongly, that everybody do right now. We don’t care that Windows 10 is free at this point. We’ll talk about that another day.
Right now, to prevent Windows 10 from installing on your machine without your permission and perhaps even without your knowledge, you need to install one of these two programs: Never10 out at GRC.com or search for GWX Control Panel. I’ve got an article on it as well.
So, normally, at this point in a video, I’ll give you the link, and here’s the link to the video where you’ll find all of the comments that are moderated and all of the comments that I read, but normally at this point I ask, well, what do you think about it all? Well, to be honest, I already know. There are a lot of angry people who are really frustrated by Microsoft’s Windows 10 distribution tactics.
What I’ll ask instead is this: “Have you experienced this? Did it happen to you? How did you recover? Could you recover? If you had a backup you could recover to because that of course, is the other way to recover from this having happened to you without your permission”
I’d like to hear about those stories. I’d like to hear what’s happened to you and whether or not this is really as big an issue for you as it seems to be for an awful lot of people so like I said, here’s the link to the article.
Leave a comment down below and I will see you again next week. Take care.
Remember: Stay safe, have fun and don’t forget to back up. You might need to restore in case Windows 10 gets installed.