Opinion by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Microsoft uses the force: You WILL upgrade to Windows 10

windows 10 new start menu

Like it or lump it, Microsoft is making damn sure you’re going to be running Windows 10 in the next 12 months

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I like Windows 10, but I prefer Windows 7. Is that a sin?

Microsoft thinks so.

Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela recently said that if you choose to keep using Windows 7, you do so “at your own risk, at your own peril.”

Why? Because “We worry, when people are running an operating system that’s 10 years old, that the next printer they buy isn’t going to work well, or they buy a new game, they buy Fallout 4, a very popular game, and it doesn’t work on a bunch of older machines,” Capossela stated. “And so, as we are pushing our ISV [independent software vendor] and hardware partners to build great new stuff that takes advantage of Windows 10 that obviously makes the old stuff really bad and not to mention viruses and security problems.”

Really? All that? And here I thought Microsoft was going to support even the consumer version of Windows 7 until 2020.

Is Windows 7 going to rot out underneath us? I don’t think so.

Besides, if security is really a concern, what the heck are you doing running Windows of any generation? Windows security isn’t as crappy as it used to be, but it’s still junk. If you want security, use my favorite desktop, Linux Mint or even Apple’s OS X El Capitan. Windows? Forget about it.

It’s not just Microsoft’s marketing trying to scare you off Windows 7 and onto Windows 10. Microsoft has been shoving Windows 10’s bits down our throats for months now. As far as I’m concerned, Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 (GWX) app — which is on every patched Windows 7 and 8.1 PC around — ranks somewhere between adware and malware for annoyance value.

Listen, Microsoft, when I do work on a PC, I want to be working. Not saying, “No, I don’t want to waste my day on installing and tuning Windows 10.” Is that too much to ask?

Worse still, Microsoft is quietly admitting that it’s pushing Windows 10 on eligible Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs through Windows Update as a “Recommended” update instead of “Optional.” That means, if you’ve set your PC to automatically install Recommended patches, Windows Update will automatically download and install Windows 10.

Microsoft is being coy about exactly how this will work, but it’s on its way. Lucky us.

I can hear people screaming now as they wake up their PCs one morning and find their operating system has been replaced by a brand-new, and very unwelcome, operating system.

Microsoft’s heavy hand can be felt in other ways. Let’s say I want Windows 7 on a brand-new, state-of-the-art PC with an Intel Skylake processor? Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong.

Microsoft recently said you can’t get support for running Windows 7 or 8.1 on Skylake CPUs. Now, don’t ask me why anyone would want to run Windows 8.1, but really, Microsoft? Really?

Whoops! Microsoft immediately backpedaled from that claim. Now, Microsoft says some Skylake-powered PC will get Windows 7 and 8.1 support. Sort of. Kind of.

You see, even those “supported” PCs will get support only until July 17, 2017. After that date, only the “most critical” patches will be provided, and then only when they don’t “risk the reliability or compatibility” of the older editions.

In other words, Microsoft isn’t promising any real support for Windows 7 or 8.1 on Skylake after midsummer 2017. What enterprise in its right mind is going to buy PCs without a guarantee they’ll be supported?

What’s Microsoft going to do next to make sure we’re all running Windows 10 by, oh, let’s say, July 2017? Here’s my guess: Microsoft will flip GWX from pushing Windows 10 to automatically “upgrading” our Windows 7 and 8.1 systems to Windows 10.

Think I’m crazy? Tell me that again later this year.

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