Windows 10 upgrades have been constantly pushed to users for quite some time, but I have been getting reports from a lot of people over the past few weeks that they suddenly turned on their computer and found it updating (or updated) to Windows 10. Usually, it would be attributed to someone clicking on the wrong button but now there is a sneakier reason for these unwanted upgrades.
In December, the Get Windows 10 (GWX) pop-up changed its verbiage in a way that mimicked malware: The only immediate options were to “Upgrade Now” or “Start download, upgrade later.” An offer you can’t refuse! The wording changed slightly since then, but the only way to decline the upgrade has been the same: By clicking the X button in the GWX pop-up’s right-hand corner and closing the window.
Earlier this year, however, Microsoft pushed the Windows 10 download out as a Recommended update. That means anybody using the default Windows Update setting—as you should be!—automatically received the installation bits and a prompt to install the new OS. That’s nasty enough, and spawned a wave of complaints about unprovoked auto-upgrades, but a new change goes even further.
Last week, Microsoft altered the GWX prompt. On the surface, it’s an improvement; the box clearly states when your PC will be upgraded, and even adds a (still small and easily skippable) line that allows you to reschedule or change the upgrade timing. So far so good!
But here’s the icky part: The redesigned GWX pop-up now treats exiting the window as consent for the Windows 10 upgrade.
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 six months to the point that most people probably just click it without reading now—Microsoft just made it so that very behavior accepts the Windows 10 upgrade instead.