Windows 10 Upgrade — a warning if you really don’t want it

UPDATE 2/2/2016: PC World yesterday noted in their article “It begins: Microsoft starts ‘recommended’ rollout of Windows 10” that:

Many users of Windows 7 and 8.1 will start seeing a more aggressive push to upgrade to Windows 10 in the coming days, as Microsoft starts to roll the new operating system out as a recommended update which will automatically download.

I’ve written about this issue before. I am more and more concerned about it for some of my clients. For those who really do not want to upgrade to Windows 10. Maybe they’ll get a new PC in a few years (which will come with Windows 10) but until then their current Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC is just fine.

Microsoft is so aggressively promoting Windows 10 that their Upgrade nags may appear to not allow avoiding it or trick you into accidentally clicking on the wrong item. And it gets worse, as pointed out in this PC World article “You will upgrade to Windows 10: Inside Microsoft’s strong-arm upgrade tactics” published on January 20, 2016.

First, as noted in the article, there’s no clear “No thanks” button in the latest nag. And it may be foisted as well later:

Microsoft plans to push through the initial Windows 10 installation as a Recommended update sometime in 2016. That means Windows 10 will automatically download itself onto any computer that has Windows Update configured to install Recommended updates by default—in other words, the overwhelming majority of consumer PCs in the wild. That’s the default setting for new Windows installs, and the one that most tech experts (ourselves included) recommend that everyday people use.

Personally I don’t want the Upgrade forced onto an almost 10 year old Windows 7 PC that I’ve kept for legacy testing and will discard in a few years anyway. It’s got 2GB of RAM (4 GB’s recommended), a slow graphics processor, a low-res screen, and a slow 5400 rpm IDE drive. But what can I do if Windows 10 gets released as an automatic recommended update?

If you’re running Windows 8.1, you can use the “metered connection” trick. For Windows 7, however, all automatic downloads need to be disabled, not a viable situation for most people — manual installation’s too complicated.

The company says you’ll be able to opt out of the upgrade even after Windows 10’s installed to your PC, but smart money’s betting the prompt will use the same weasel words as the GWX pop-up. Hey geeks: Look forward to receiving frantic late-night phone calls from your friends and family after they accidentally kick off the install process.

(There supposedly are two technical ways to remove the nag and/or block the Upgrade. One involves a 3rd party utility and the other requires editing the Windows Registry. Ugh.)