Editor’s Note: Within the last week, four news editors on WND’s small editorial staff have had their computers forcibly taken over by Microsoft and left unusable for up to 90 minutes while the software giant upgraded the computer’s operating system, without user permission, to Windows 10.
Microsoft has turned “nasty” in its campaign to coerce hundreds of millions of customers to upgrade to its Windows 10 operating system, a program critics condemn as privacy-invading, data-swiping and “brimming with freemium services and ads.”
Microsoft has been trying to lure computer users into its new operating system for months, bombarding them with unending pop-up screens. But many users are comfortable with the systems they have, have no interest in learning new operations and have simply clicked the “X” to get rid of the unwanted solicitation.
You can’t do that anymore.
Microsoft changed the coding on the “X” so that clicking it now instructs MS to “upgrade” your computer to Windows 10. Yes, really.
In fact, the two options on the page, “OK” and “Upgrade Now,” do the same thing as the “X.”
To avoid the forced “upgrade,” a user has to go into the fine print.
Inside a logo box in the ad is a scheduled date for a mandatory upgrade. The user must look in the tiny type just below that line and find where it says “here” and click on that to avoid the upgrade.
Tech world reaction has been strongly negative to what one analyst called a “deceptive” action.
But is Microsoft concerned? Not really.
Multiple requests from WND for answers to pertinent questions were met with links to company promotions for Windows 10.
Then there was Microsoft’s offer several times to go “on background” to answer questions, an offer WND declined. It apparently would have been information a reporter is supposed to hear about Windows 10, but not the general public.
PC World addressed the issue under the headline, “How Microsoft’s tricky new Windows 10 pop-up deceives you into upgrading.”
Senior editor Brad Chacos explained what ticked him off.
“This morning, the unthinkable happened: My wife, an avowed PC user who long ago swore to never touch an Apple device, started shopping around for a Mac Mini. And it’s all thanks to Windows 10. Or rather, the nasty new way that Microsoft’s tricking Windows 7 and 8 users into automatically updating to Windows 10.”
He said he already was no fan of Microsoft’s “strongarm” tactics, writing several months ago when Microsoft said buyers of Intel’s Skylake processors “have to upgrade to Windows 10 in the next 18 months, or forgo all but the most critical security patches – and those will be available to Windows 7 and 8.1 users only if said patches don’t ‘risk the reliability or compatibility’ on non-Skylake systems.”
Chacos called the news a “bombshell.”
“Making sure new hardware works with old operating systems no doubt consumes valuable time and resources, and hardware and software are intertwined now more than ever before, but aggressively forcing users (including businesses) to upgrade to Windows 10 before the end of the operating system’s initial stated support cycle ends is unprecedented in the Windows world,” he said.
“That nasty trick resulted in my wife’s beloved Windows 7 PC being sneakily upgraded to Windows 10 this morning. Sure, she has 30 days to roll it back to Windows 7, but she feels so betrayed – like Microsoft forcibly removed her control over her own PC – that she’s strongly considering embracing the Dark Side and buying a Mac, instead.”
Find the button that lets you decline the upgrade in this image from Microsoft:
BBC technology reporter Zoe Kleinman explained how Microsoft’s decision to force users to upgrade has “caused confusion.”
Microsoft, he says, essentially changed the “X” from “close window and begone” to “I agree to your company taking over my computer for an indefinite period and installing whatever you want and then I further agree to be subjected to a bombardment of ads as well as pilfering of my private files.”
At InfoWorld, Woody Leonhard wrote: “Microsoft has ratcheted up its Win10 upgrade efforts, going from an irritating advertising campaign to ‘reserve’ an upgrade (reserving free bits – what a marketing concept) to ‘accidentally’ forced upgrades to increasingly dicey signup notices (‘Upgrade Now/Upgrade Tonight’) to hidden folders with 3GB to 6GB of unwanted downloaded data to GWX processes that automatically restart themselves. Those are the more noticeable dirty tricks.”
He posted an explanation on how users can roll back if they’ve already been upgraded, but he warned, “the rollback can take many minutes or even hours.”
“Note that rolling back may not keep new files you’ve created, depending on where they’re stored.”
While he said he uses and likes Windows 10, “this forced updating is, in my opinion, the most customer-antagonistic act Microsoft has ever undertaken.”
Chacos left no doubt about his thoughts: “So after more than half a year of teaching people that the only way to say ‘no thanks’ to Windows 10 is to exit the GWX application – and refusing to allow users to disable the pop-up in any obvious manner, so they had to press that X over and over again during those months to the point that most people proably just click it without reading now – Microsoft just made it so that very behavior accepts the Windows 10 upgrade instead, rather than canceling it.
He went back to his wife’s issue.
“Thanks to the deceitful new update, there’s a very high chance that my wife will be a new OS X convert by the end of the day. You may have ostensibly achieved another Windows 10 upgrade to pad your adoption stats, Microsoft, but you very well may have lost a lifelong PC user who swore she’d never switch to Apple. Which means that I may have to learn how to troubleshoot Macs.
Microsoft did send WND some comments it thought would be “helpful.”
“As we shared in October, Microsoft has been helping customers who received the Windows 10 upgrade as an ‘Optional’ (and now ‘Recommended’) update, to schedule their upgrade. Once a customer’s upgrade is scheduled, they will receive a notification that states the time their upgrade is scheduled for, with options to reschedule or cancel if they wish. If the customer wishes to continue with their upgrade at the designated time, they can click ‘OK’ or close (‘X’ out of the notification) with no further action needed.”
That’s from the ubiquitous “Microsoft spokesperson.”
Wayne Williams wrote at BetaNews, “Even if you like Windows 10, you should be angry at Microsoft.”
The “relentless pushing” from the software company is “scummy behavior, totally unbefitting of a company of Microsoft’s size and reputation.”
“The latest trick … should have people brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches and marching on Redmond, but it doesn’t. Why?Because Microsoft’s s—– g tricks are now what we expect from the company which doesn’t care in the slightest about its customers.
“Microsoft wants to get Windows 10 on a billion devices, and it’s going to hit that target even if Satya Nadella has to smash his way into your home and install it on your PC while you sleep. Sure, your computer might not work afterwards, but who cares, right? Certainly not Microsoft.”
He wrote: “Type ‘Windows 10 is’ into Google and the autocomplete suggests, among other things, the operating system is ‘bad’, ‘slow, ‘spyware’, and a ‘virus’. Bing pulls even fewer punches, saying Windows 10 is ‘rubbish’, ‘crap’, ‘awful’, ‘horrible’, and ‘slow’. Neither search engine suggests anything positive about Windows 10.
“Microsoft says once the free period expires on July 29, the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app will be removed from Windows 7 and 8.1 machines which have survived the bombardment, but will that be the end of Microsoft’s dirty campaign tricks? Somehow I doubt it.”
Microsoft makes it nearly impossible to email the corporate office with user feedback, so hundreds of angry customers have flooded its Facebook page in the last 24 hours with complaints about the forced Windows 10 “upgrade,” including the following:
- Hey Microsoft nerds. Back in high school, when a girl said no to your advances, she meant no. Same goes here when users tell you no they do not want Windows 10. I know high school was tough on you, but learn from it. No means no. – Abraham Yang
- I am writing my congressional officials. This practice has got to stop. For Microsoft to take over people’s computers is an outrage! – Judy DeTuccio
- Major class-action lawsuit incoming regarding forced Window 10 upgrades. Will be in the billions. – Jake Rappoport
- SLAMMED BY MICROSOFT! I have patiently declined the offer to “upgrade” to Windows 10 each day for several months. This morning Microsoft slammed all of the machines in my office with out my permission. The process took more than 2 hours out of our work day to reverse, which equates to several thousand dollars of lost productivity. This is an unacceptable business practice by a company I had come to trust and respect. When telephone companies employed similar practices, they were sued and criminally prosecuted! Restitution should be made to me and other impacted businesses who have suffered from this insane action on the part of Microsoft! Shame on you, Microsoft!!!! – Rick Biers
- NO, NO, NO Microsoft!!! We don’t want automatic upgrades to Windows 10, and you have NO RIGHT to alter software we have paid for, on machines we own!!!! – Al Freeman
- This whole Windows 10 update thing is really shady. Shame on you, Microsoft. My next OS will be Linux. – Derek Davis
- Could you please let me know where to send my repair bill to fix my computer after Microsoft 10 was downloaded without my permission? I paid $99 to fix everything, and that’s not counting being down for an entire day of work due to not having a computer. I specifically chose the option to decline the upgrade after it kept popping up on my screen every single day, but you downloaded it anyway while I was sleeping. Please respond. I’d be happy to provide the actual repair bill. Thank so much. – Suzette Salcido
- WTH, Microsoft, with the auto upgrade to Windows 10. I had to wipe my computer and reinstall W7 once already. Don’t force your spyware on me! – Renee Kowal
- Thanks for forcing something on my business that I did not want, thereby forcing me to spend more money to either fix or conform. You’ll be getting my bill, and I’ll expect payment within 15 days of receipt. – Brian Oswald Dc
- How dare you sneak attack my computer in the middle of the night! If I had wanted Windows 10, I would have downloaded it myself! My computer is MINE, not yours. Hands off! – Brenda Riely
- You idiots just made me go to Apple! Stop messing with my PC, Microsoft! I DON’T want windows 10 so [stop] hijacking my PC to install it behind my back! – Alice In-Flames