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article imageMicrosoft: Automatically upgrading PCs to Windows 10 a 'mistake'

By James Walker     Oct 16, 2015 in Technology
Microsoft has admitted that a bug in Windows Update has led to some Windows 7 and 8.1 computers automatically starting the upgrade to Windows 10 without ever asking the user for permission. It called the error a "mistake" and said it would be fixed.
The issue was caused by an erroneously ticked checkbox in the Windows Update utility on Windows 7 and 8.1. The Windows 10 upgrade is listed as an optional update on both systems, meaning users should have to specifically choose to install it.
This has already caused controversy in the past as Microsoft automatically downloads the sizeable Windows 10 installation files without consulting the user. Recently, the OS began to be even more aggressively pushed though.
Windows 10 is offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 users but that doesn't mean everybody wants it. After receiving several reports of the installation process automatically starting even when a user says no, Ars Technica confronted Microsoft to find out what was going on.
The company said an update to Windows Update led to the optional "Upgrade to Windows 10" listing being automatically checked by the system. This led to the Windows 10 installer starting when the computer installed its usual updates, displaying screens to the user that lacked any controls to stop the installer.
Microsoft said in a statement to Ars Technica: "As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check."
Unfortunately for Microsoft, these sorts of "mistakes" seem to be occurring rather too often for the likes of Windows 7 and 8.1 users. Since the launch of the new OS, people who have decided to stick with their older systems have been confronted with forced space-guzzling downloads, the installation of the same controversial analytical and diagnostic suite that is used on Windows 10 and now even upgrades starting automatically.
This is likely to do more long-term harm than good. Users who haven't yet upgraded but are still considering it are unlikely to be too impressed by having Windows 10 forced into their face while those who have made an informed decision and stuck with 7 or 8.1 will become progressively angrier with Microsoft for not respecting that choice.
Microsoft's aggression is understandable to some extent as it does have targets to meet. It is looking for 1 billion devices to be running Windows 10 within the next two to three years but forcing the upgrade onto older machines is unlikely to dramatically add to that.
Recently, it announced during its New York devices event that it has seen 110 million installs in the 10 weeks since its launch, the majority of which will have come from owners of Windows 7 and 8.1 devices taking advantage of the free upgrade offer that can be used until July 2016.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Update, Upgrade
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