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Software Windows Bug Microsoft Operating Systems Security News Hardware

Windows 10 Upgrade Reportedly Starting Automatically On Windows 7 PCs (softpedia.com) 370

An anonymous reader writes: Many users have confirmed in the comment section of a popular reddit post that "Windows 7 computers are being reported as automatically starting the Windows 10 upgrade without permission." It's no secret that Microsoft wants users to upgrade to their new OS. Earlier in the year, Windows 10 was set as a 'recommended update' so when you install new security or bug patches, the new OS is selected by default as well. Terry Myerson, head of the OS group at Microsoft, warned users about the possibility of the OS automatically installing. "Depending upon your Windows Update settings, this may cause the upgrade process to automatically initiate on your device. Before the upgrade changes the OS of your device, you will be clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue," he said. Whether or not the recent outcry is caused from users forgetting to deselect the Windows 10 upgrade in the update list or Microsoft updating Windows 7 PCs without users' permission, the good news is that you have 30 days to downgrade to the previous version of the OS.
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Windows 10 Upgrade Reportedly Starting Automatically On Windows 7 PCs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:12PM (#51685641)

    Will someone please sue these fuckers!

    Please?

    • How is this even remotely legal?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:21PM (#51685683)

      Hear, hear! As a European, I have been saying for months, where the hell are the European Commission in regard to this!? They should have been all-over it months ago!

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        They take a few years to react to things like that unless they fall victim to it themselves.

      • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:36PM (#51685801) Journal
        You don't the authorities to get involved when the technical solution to stop this is so simple. It's all done through task scheduler. Erase the registry keys which mention GWX and the task scheduler won't run telemetry on your pc or call GWX at all. I can see complaining to the law if MS made it impossible to do without some insider knowledge. But when it's right there on the surface (a bunch of tasks scheduled in task scheduler), I'd say complaining about it to the law is like complaining that you don't like the bugs in javascript on some website.
    • by JSG ( 82708 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @06:27PM (#51686283) Homepage

      "Will someone please sue these fuckers!"

      In the UK there is something called the Small Claims Court which is designed for, well, small claims. It costs very little to get into and involves magistrates (IIRC). The fees are here https://www.gov.uk/make-court-... [www.gov.uk]. Lawyers are generally frowned upon as I recall because it is a form of arbitration between reasonable people.

      It might not sound very exciting but you claim for your costs for reinstating your system after it was broken. So if you do it yourself, you might price your time at say £20 per hour (reasonable) or you might hire outside help at say £30ph. It will take say five hours to find and copy all your data off to a USB disc that you had to buy at say £80 plus the two hours trip to town. Then you have to restore your system from source - let's say you still have a Windows restore partition - that will take a good two hours. Then you have to patch it - another five hours. Reinstall your apps - another five hours.

      So 5*20 + 80 + 2*20 + 2*20 + 5*20 + 5*20 = 17*20 + 80 = £420 minimum

      That's for someone who knows what they are doing and are being reasonable. For an IT duffer then the £30+ph is more likely because they will need professional help (receipts please).

      The whole point of this is that MS (if they really are pushing forced installs) will end up with some form of court judgment against them and you will get recompense. The SCC is not a get rich quick scheme. It is designed as an easy to use and cheap way of reclaiming monies. It has worked very well for me and some friends in the past. In one case the threat of SCC was enough to make a very, very large multi-national do the right thing because of the fact that the SCC is a serious court and a judgement against you can look a bit shit (especially when publicised.)

      Now, if after restoring your system it does yet another win 10 breakage then you can always do it all again. If a few 1000 people do this it could be interesting.

      I am making a big assumption here which is that you will probably have to persuade the magistrates that your system was broken by MS's automatic "update". You would have to make a formal claim to MS first requesting payment for your time. You would also have to demonstrate that they refused to comply.

      Worth a crack though

      Cheers
      Jon

      • A real problem with the Small Claims procedures here in England is that the time you can spend trying to figure out what you have to do and then going through the formal process can easily be worth more than what you would get back if you won a reasonable level of compensation for the original issue. Realistically, you might have to figure the whole thing out without the aid of a lawyer, because unlike most courts you typically can't claim costs for legal assistance even if you win. It seems that you also s

    • by Cognitive Dissident ( 206740 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @06:48PM (#51686377)

      If enough of us ask nicely, or not so nicely, the FTC might sue them.

      Send your complaints about Microsoft's unfair and unethical behavior to: antitrust@ftc.gov

      This is the official address for reporting antitrust violations. I think trying to leverage the near universal presence of old versions of Windows on PCs worldwide to force acceptance of the new version qualifies as abuse of market position. The FTC might agree with enough public comment/complaint. People who have experienced the "involuntary upgrade" problem are likely to be especially influential. If you know anyone who has experienced this, pass that address along to them.

  • Is that a rollback to Windows 7, or install (7) on top of install (10) on top of install (7)? That's still a lot of coffee. Making sure all your apps and settings are preserved, and hunting down the proper settings to prevent it from happening again... for now.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Rollback to the previous version unless something very strange is going on.

  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:15PM (#51685651) Homepage

    Showed up for work last Monday and saw one box had switched over even after telling the nag screens NO. I had to do the uninstall because we have software that does not work properly under 10. I can't recommend GWX Control Panel enough. It removes all signs of 10 and even the 4Gb of files it downloads without telling you.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      It tried to install automatically for me too. The "Upgrade to 10" was hidden under Optional Updates and checked by default. If you let Windows install optional updates automatically, or you install them without looking to see what was preselected for you, it installs 10 without you requesting it.
    • Thank you for the GWX Control Panel tip! Never heard of that program and it's fantastic. I've decided to stay with Windows 7 for a long time as I still love 7, everything works perfectly on my install, and I have absolutely no reason to upgrade to 10

  • by surfdaddy ( 930829 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:20PM (#51685675)

    I'm running the GWX control panel so hopefully that will prevent this.
    I'm running Win10 on my secondary laptop and while it's nice, it doesn't add any features I find important, and I really don't like my OS becoming an advertising program. It nags me to buy the latest version of Office (which I don't need or want). Lord knows what else MS has in store in the future.
    I'm thinking that Linux desktop or a Mac are in my future once Win7 support runs out in a few years. I'm not going to be coerced into an ad program by Microsoft.

  • Has anyone running GWX Control Panel seen this automatic WIndows 10 installation stopped/prevented?

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:22PM (#51685697)
    you be sure to upgrade your machine back to Win 7/8 within that 30 day limit. Win10 is flakey, and getting flakier. Not talking about metro, the telemetry, the midnight reboots when your laptop is closed. I'm talking just weird little things that happen randomly, like you hit the back button in your browser and the browser minimizes to the task bar, or click 'Reply' in email and the window goes full screen. Never repeatable, never consistent, took me a couple weeks to decide that no, I wasn't hitting the wrong thing by mistake.

    Seems to get a little worse with every "update" they install.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      the 30 day limit is fake. I did a clean reinstall back to Windows 7, 90 days out and the key activated just fine.

      • The thirty day limit is for the simple revert in the case where Windows 10 was installed in-place instead of being a clean install. You can always do a clean reinstall after the thirty days.

  • SubjectIsSubject (Score:5, Informative)

    by p0p0 ( 1841106 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:25PM (#51685717)
    My grandma accidentally updated to Windows 10 from 7 because of their shifty practises. My dad called me to say that everything on my grandmas computer "was different" and no one had changed everything.
    She has mild alzheimer's and forgets short-term so we can have the same conversation 3-4 times in an hour (which gives you lots of time to prepare an answer), so she forgot she had clicked okay when Windows Update had asked to upgrade. I'm glad I'd gone around when I had because there was only a week left before the change was irreversible.Thanks for the timebomb, douchebags
    I would have left it. She does nothing on the computer besides Facebook and Solitaire but the performance was awful. All these new features and crap were beyond her realm. I downgraded her and found a tool that hides/deletes all the Windows 10 update crap so it wouldn't happen again.

    She got hit by ransomware last week despite only using Facebook. I reckon it was one of those inescapable ads that warn you you're infected then proceed to catch you in a "Ok/Cancel" loop where Cancel just opens a new prompt.

    She has nothing on that computer so I just nuked the drive and stuck Linux Mint on there and with some themes and such she can't tell the difference.
    Year of the Linux Desktop amiright?
  • by Sax Russell 5449D29A ( 4449961 ) <sax.russell@outlook.com> on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:26PM (#51685721)

    I wonder what happens if you don't accept the end-user license agreement. Surely it must ask for acceptance before it does anything.

    • Re:EULA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:39PM (#51685811)

      I wonder what happens if you don't accept the end-user license agreement. Surely it must ask for acceptance before it does anything.

      I just read an article yesterday which recommended exact;y this as a way to deal with the problem. Just don't accept the EULA and Windows 10 won't be installed.

      • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

        I wonder what happens if you don't accept the end-user license agreement. Surely it must ask for acceptance before it does anything.

        I just read an article yesterday which recommended exact;y this as a way to deal with the problem. Just don't accept the EULA and Windows 10 won't be installed.

        You will be left with a bunch of wasted hard drive space if you do that. (Win 10 auto downloads before hand.)

        What's to stop them from continuing to nag about it? Not accepting it once doesn't mean they wont ask again, and again....

    • by PCeye ( 661091 )

      After declining, It confirms if you want to use the last restore point (presumably the point when Windows 10 hijacked your Windows 10 install).

    • Re:EULA (Score:5, Informative)

      by nuckfuts ( 690967 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @08:22PM (#51686779)

      My son came home a couple of days ago to a surprise installation of Windows 10 on his desktop computer. When he was prompted to accept the EULA he chose "No". This resulted in the computer being rolled back to Windows 7. However, after restarting in Windows 7 a timer was displayed on the screen showing how long before the "update" was reinstalled. There was no option to cancel the process, only an option to delay it. So apparently you can say no to Windows 10, but they'll just shove it back at you again.

      After killing gwx.exe and gwxux.exe via Task Manager, I merged the following registry keys to disable automatic OS upgrades:

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\GWX]
      "DisableGWX"=dword:00000001
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
      "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade]
      "AllowOSUpgrade"=dword:00000000
      "ReservationsAllowed"=dword:00000000

      Time will tell if this remains effective.

  • by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <.ln.tensmx. .ta. .tsiruotrekcah.> on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:27PM (#51685731)

    I've got Windows Update set to download, but notify me before installing. This has been fine for years, today the Action Center ("resolve PC issues") sees this as a "problem" that it wants to resolve by switching updates to Automatic. I don't think so, Bob.

  • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:28PM (#51685741) Journal
    do this: search your registry for GWX and GWXTriggers. and erase all entries which contain them. Done. Both telemetry and upgrades are ran by taskscheduler based on different triggered events. Task managers keeps the list of the tasks to run and the triggers which schedule them in the registry. On the plus side, you'll probably see a speed up in harddrive access, too. Because the telemetry eats quite a bit of the IO.
  • Had a client that I rolled back to 7. The next day it tried to go to 10 again. I then used GWX control panel, and it still gave her a screen that she tells me only gave the choice to put it off for up to three days. She chose the farthest away. I used this registry key.

    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
    DWORD value: DisableOSUpgrade = 1

    Hope it works.

  • Disable WGA and automatic updates on Windows 7.
  • by KaLeVR1 ( 34637 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:32PM (#51685771)

    The Thom Hartmann syndicated radio show got a rude introduction to Microsoft's new upgrade policy yesterday when their YouTube live stream server went offline and started upgrading while they were on the air. Thom Hartmann was freaking out and asking if listeners could help them switch to Ubuntu. They simulcast on terrestrial radio, Siriusxm, YouTube, and Free Speech TV. Hartmann was updating viewers on the upgrade completion percentage because viewers were complaining about losing their feed. He was livid but what can one do at that point?

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      What can you do? you switch to your backup server.

      That is what professionals do, Why they don't have a backup server really makes me question as to the quality of their techs and engineers.

      Oh and WTF are they doing running their "server" on a desktop OS? Windows server would not have done and auto upgrade like that

      • Oh and WTF are they doing running their "server" on a desktop OS? Windows server would not have done and auto upgrade like that

        You seem to be suggesting that it is OK for MS Windows to do an auto-upgrade on a desktop version of the OS. Many people use their PC at home to do stuff that is important to them: write letters, edit photos, ... all things that, if interrupted will result in lost work. But you seem to suggest that it is OK to auto-upgrade and lose work on a home PC ? Why - are home PC users not important ?

        • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday March 13, 2016 @05:02AM (#51688533)

          if interrupted will result in lost work. But you seem to suggest that it is OK to auto-upgrade and lose work on a home PC ? Why - are home PC users not important ?

          Is that all? A friend of mine had $2000 of damage to his telescope as a result of a windows upgrade. He's a home user with a home hobby. Stupidly he had windows 7 set to automatically install updates. He had his telescope software set to a sequence to take photos on the east side of the sky, flip around when the object got to the meridian and keep imaging till it was on the west side until sunrise where it would park back to the normal position. Normal operation for an equatorial mount is that it drives in one direction to compensate for earth rotation until told otherwise by software. Well at 3am his computer went down for a windows update.

          When he woke he found a telescope with a camera that had hit the ground and had broken USB socket, broken power socket, broken glass on the CCD chamber, the tube on the telescope had bent and the motor in his mount had burnt out.

          Losing work may be the normal default, but there are some cases where home users do something a bit more advanced with their OS. It was actually a good test case, he's showing now that despite the prevalence of special purpose apps on Windows if you try hard enough you can actually do astro-imaging on Linux, which is something which until he had his mishap everyone put in the too hard basket.

  • Immediately did the Windows 7 recovery which was unattended and smooth, to be fair to MS, but then I got a 1 hours countdown to Windows 10 install once I logged in, took about 4 clicks to navigate away from the "Go ahead and upgrade" buttons that were present at every step but did manage to cancel out.

    Changed the Windows Update setting so I no longer do automatic updates on this PC and hid the Windows 10 Update so hopefully it'll stay on Win 7 now.

    And while Win 10 seems perfectly usable, I let a spare lapto

  • The real solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:48PM (#51685869) Homepage Journal

    I see a bunch of advice about how to jump through multiple flaming hoops to stay with Windows 7. Each works for a while and then MS sends out a new load of malware to again corrupt your PC. So here's the question:

    WHY THE HELL ARE YOU NOT MIGRATING TO SOMETHING ELSE??!!!?

    Just leave him. The abuse will not stop!

    • WHY THE HELL ARE YOU NOT MIGRATING TO SOMETHING ELSE??!!!? ...
      The abuse will not stop!

      at this point, i'm convinced they like the abuse.

  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @04:52PM (#51685881)
    What Microsoft have done with the W7 to W10 upgrade is equivalent to taking your car into a dealership for a routine service, except that when you get it back, you find that it's been turned into a mobile advertising platform, it has the words "Taxi" painted down the side and, even better, Microsoft get the income from rides you are now required to give to advertisers... In legal terms that's an "unconscionable contract", meaning a deal that is *so* one-sided that it is unfair to one party and therefore unenforceable under the law. Microsoft are simply better that most of their users are too stupid to realise that they have become the product.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There needs to be a Cyberman Nadella pic to go along with the Bill Gates Borg.

    Cyberman: We have been upgraded.
    The Doctor: Into what?
    Cyberman: The next level of Windows. We are Windows 10. Every computer will receive a free upgrade. You will become like us.
    The Sysadmin: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for what's been done to you. But listen! This experiment ends - tonight!
    Cyberman: Upgrading is compulsory.
    The Sysadmin: And if I refuse?
    The Doctor: Don't.
    The Sysadmin: What happens if I refuse?
    The Doctor: I'm telling y

  • What's the over/under on when MS will flag GWX Control Panel as malware and have a "security update" remove it?

    My money is on 60 days.

     

  • This happened to one of my machine.

      Windows 7 automatically started Windows 10 upgrade. On boot up, the machine shows the initial Windows 10 screen and then the screen blanks and the computer never comes back.

    Thanks Microsoft.

    • by Noxal ( 816780 )

      I don't think you know what "bricked" means.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        For the purposes of most users, this is bricked. They do not get external install media to work from, Windows 10 usually trashes your partition tables and boot loader so your recovery partition is fucked, and in my case, after 10 tried installing itself on one machine, I tried to reinstall 7 from my VENDOR-PROVIDED USB stick only to get "You are missing a required CD/DVD device driver for installation." I couldn't even detect fucking hard drives to install to (UEFI sees all of them just fine) with the vendo

    • We are always being told that we must not use Linux since you ''cannot sue Linux if things go wrong''. I wonder what would happen if you were to (try to) sue MS for bricking your machine - including your wasted time and your lost income recovering from them bricking your machine ?

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @05:23PM (#51685991)
    She was working late trying to get a report finished. At 6 pm I got a frantic call saying she was working when the computer suddenly started upgrading something by itself.* In a panic she had pulled the plug. Fortunately she was back to Win 7 when she booted, and I was able to guide her through the steps to prevent Win 10 from trying to force itself on her again. (It tried to install itself again while we were doing this.)

    So Microsoft succeeded in wasting an hour of her life when she was supposed to be back home in time to make dinner for her kids. When I was helping her buy and set up the system, I did pitch Linux or Google Apps as free alternatives. But she insisted on Windows and Office for compatibility with corporate clients and government forms. I suspect she'll be a lot more responsive to alternatives the next computer she gets.

    * If it's true that it's asking users before installing, my guess is she was hit by a long time Windows bug/feature. Other OSes distinguish between an app being in the foreground (on top of other apps), and having focus. Windows doesn't - the app in the foreground always has focus, and the app with focus is always in the foreground. One of the downsides of this approach is that if a warning dialog pops up while you're typing, your keyboard input is immediately directed to the dialog (it needs to be on top so it's in the foreground, and since it's in the foreground it has focus). When you hit space or enter, the OK button (which is usually pre-selected) receives that keyboard input as confirmation. So you'll be merrily typing away, a dialog flashes on your screen for a millisecond before disappearing, and you have no idea WTF you just agreed to. In the Unix systems I've used, the dialog pops up on top, but the app you were typing in retains focus and thus keeps getting all your keystrokes. To dismiss the dialog, you have to first click it to give it focus, then it'll accept your click or space or enter on OK.
    • by Britz ( 170620 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @08:37PM (#51686843)

      MS Office 2007 now has more or less Platinum status in Wine 1.8

      MS Office 2007 supports both the old MS Office as well as the new XML Office files. And it is very cheap to buy used from Ebay.

      I recommend Kubuntu which is due in a couple of weeks.

    • by Britz ( 170620 )

      I have to correct myself. You should use playonlinux, since the wine package in the official ubuntu repo is 1.6 and I suspect Wine 1.8 to work better with Office. And Playonlinux is quite a nice interface.

  • Just saying since the only way to really fix the issue I had with no start menu (or any universal apps, yes I should count my blessings) was to either create a new account or reinstall windows. (I reinstalled it. No sfc and dism didn't fix it.)
  • Joke's on them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i ate my neighbour ( 1756816 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @06:07PM (#51686195)

    C: drive in my Win partition is full. It refused to download even when I asked it to. Too stupid to work.

  • Why aren't we instead discussing the reasons people do not want Win10 - a free "upgrade"? I understand MSs reasons to want everyone to be on the same platform so that they can move that platform to a service subscription model, but .. isn't the elefant in the room the obvious shortcomings of Win10 as "the last OS Microsoft will release" for the PC platform?

    I mean if this is really to be the last large scale release, I'm puzzled by the obvious touchscreen focused UI, the frankly backwards styling and the amo

  • All this stuff makes me want to hug my Mac and be thankful that Apple doesn't pull this shit.

    Of course, that doesn't mean they might not pull this shit someday, and they already pull different shit (a security update broke the ethernet port on some iMacs recently for example). But every time I get annoyed at Apple about something I look across the aisle at Microsoft and it just seems a hell of a lot worse over there.

    Also, Linux... My Linux server has been completely trouble free and stable as a rock.

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday March 12, 2016 @07:21PM (#51686531) Homepage

    The one thing I'm NOT reading here is "What's wrong with a W10 upgrade?". For a while there, Microsoft was batting nearly 1000 - Win95, 98 and the NT that was there by 1999 were all improvements on the previous version. Everybody upgraded happily. Then it was like Star Trek movies, with every second one sucking, like ME and 2000.
    And now, with 8, 8.1 and 10, MS seems to be on a losing streak. I heard some good things about 10 at first, but they've trailed off in a litany of complaints; the negatives clearly outweigh the few positives.
    My employer was one of the ones that hung on to XP a long time - I think we were only fully to Win 7 by two years ago. The notion of another corporate-wide upgrade for 4000 machines is so exhausting that it's not even on the timetable, there's no budget to even start preliminary testing.
    If the big corporate buyers that are their mainstay are no longer upgrading, it means new capabilities aren't going to appear. They're going to be outpaced by other options. They've lost the momentum, the initiative.

  • i did a clean install of windows 7, and it will never be allowed to connect to the internet ever again, i use it to run some SDR software because Linux still sucks in the ham radio department, look at the bright side, microsoft never gets to fiddlefuck with it, and it will never get infected with a virus because it never gets to see the internet and i even keep it shut off unless i am using my SDR
  • "The good news is that you have 30 days to downgrade to the previous version of the OS."

    Imagine the average retail user, not expecting an upgrade, not prepared for an upgrade, so perhaps no recent backups and (if it's a home user) perhaps no backups at all. No IT department scan to check application compatibility and peripheral compatibility.

    (And does this unsolicited upgrade check to make sure the computer meets Windows 10 system requirements?)

    An installation on top of an existing installation, jumping two

  • I think a lawsuit over this could get class action status. This is where M$ could get hit hard over this. One would hope anyway....

  • Will someone w/ a pirated version of Windows 7 - where one does not get automatic updates - also be forcibly upgraded to Windows 10? I know of many such installations, so would they be in luck?
  • Why hasn't someone sued MS for time/productivity lost because one of these forced upgrades broke some mission critical piece of software?

    Where I used to work we had a few servers that if they failed the productivity of the production floor would drop by about 30%, might not sound like much but in terms of labor and failed completion targets it could add up to thousands of dollars a day, And the software was pretty much locked to the OS, change the OS or update the wrong driver and it stopped working. I ke

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