Microsoft’s tricky new Windows 10 upgrade pop-up

Personally, I think Windows 10 is easily one of the most user-friendly and stable operating systems coming out of the Microsoft stables, and I haven’t regretted the upgrade for one minute since having it installed. That said, it should be up to each user’s personal decision when or if they wish to upgrade to it, with some businesses having good reason as to why they wish to keep at least some machines running on older software.

Microsoft, on the other hand, really, REALLY wants you to upgrade to Windows 10.

Since last winter, the tech giant has pushed and prodded PC owners to upgrade their machines to its latest Windows version. While the upgrade is currently free for most consumers with Windows PCs, critics say the company’s heavy-handed nudging amounts to an ‘offer you can’t refuse’.

Initially, Microsoft offered Windows 10 as an optional upgrade – that is, one that users had to choose themselves. Then, earlier this year, the company re-classified it as a ‘recommended’ update. At this, some Windows 10 holdouts cried foul since many PCs are set up to automatically install recommended updates, which are usually important security and other essential system fixes. Suddenly, those machines would automatically install Windows 10 as well.

Some PC users complained that at one point, Microsoft began sending on-screen messages prompting them to download and install Windows 10.

Whilst that in itself can be a bother bordering on the annoying, the catch was that where most such pop-up windows have buttons marked ‘OK’ and ‘Cancel’, this message displayed two buttons which both led to an upgrade: ‘Upgrade Now’ and ‘Upgrade Tonight’.

windows-10-forced upgrade

To avoid the upgrade, die-hard resisters had to click a red ‘X’ in the upper-right corner of the window to close it. Citing customer feedback, Microsoft then revised the notifications. The new version tells PC owners they are scheduled for a ‘recommended’ upgrade to Windows 10 at a specific time in the near future, and bears a prominent ‘OK’ button. To reject or reschedule the change, users now have to find and click a less conspicuous link in the small type. However, clicking ‘X’ no longer blocks the upgrade. Some PC users reacted angrily, calling the tactic ‘deceptive’ and ‘a nasty trick’.

Microsoft says it isn’t trying to be sneaky. In blog posts and official statements, the company says it shows users at least two notifications before it activates Windows 10. It also allows any PC owner to reverse the installation and go back to their old software if they do so within 31 days.

‘We understand you care deeply about what happens with your device. This is why – regardless of your upgrade path – you can choose to upgrade or decline the offer,’ Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson wrote in a blog post.

Even so, Microsoft clearly wants to get as many PCs and other devices running Windows 10 as it possibly can. The company says it wants users to have the latest security features and other improvements. Microsoft announced earlier this month that 300 million devices are now running Windows 10 – a faster adoption rate than either of the two previous Windows versions, working as an incentive for programmers as there is a big audience for software apps that are compatible with Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets.

Most buyers of new PCs will find Windows 10 already installed.

But Microsoft says its offer of a free upgrade for old machines is ending July 29.

If you want to take advantage of this offer, we’re more than happy to assist you with the upgrade of your systems. We can verify that your hardware and software will work with the new Operating System and make sure everything runs smoothly right from the start.

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