Microsoft 'accidentally' upgrades Win7 and 8.1 PCs to Windows 10

Microsoft forced the Windows 10 upgrade on unsuspecting users for a week before correcting the 'mistake'

Microsoft 'accidentally' upgrades Win7 and 8.1 PCs to Windows 10
Shutterstock/Gunnar Pippel

Yesterday Peter Bright at Ars Technica posted a jaw-dropping statement from Microsoft about its latest attempts to force Windows 10 down Windows 7 users' throats. Bright asked his Microsoft contacts why the "Upgrade to Windows 10" item appears in Windows Update's Optional list with a check mark.

For Windows 7 and 8.1 users who have Automatic Update turned on, the check mark indicates that Windows should blithely start the Windows 10 upgrade. While there are at least two dialog boxes to prevent full automatic installation, Bright notes:

If you're not paying attention, though, you may find yourself upgrading sooner than you expected.

Moreover, initiating the Windows 10 upgrade process,then stopping it leaves your PC in limbo. We've had zero information from Microsoft about the various stages of Windows 10 installation -- how can you stop it, when are you destined to reenact bug on windshield? -- and this forced upgrade leaves all sorts of unanswered questions.

Microsoft's official response, in case you haven't read it yet, is:

As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check.

Golly -- imagine that.

Here's the point that stuck in my craw. Microsoft says the change to a checked off "Upgrade to Windows 10" occurred "in the recent Windows update." I take issue with that.

In the course of researching the ongoing Windows 10 upgrade debacle for, I've accumulated a lot of information about odd Win10 upgrade behavior on a cornucopia of PCs. In my Oct. 14 post, "Disable Windows 10 upgrade nagware on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 computers," I talk about the necessity of unchecking that "Upgrade to Windows 10" box. Searching through my source material for that post, I discovered a screenshot sent in by reader JB that clearly shows the box checked on Oct 9.

That means Microsoft checked the box on Oct. 9 or earlier -- long before "the recent Windows update." This month's Patch Tuesday, which contained more than a hundred patches, was on Oct 13.

In other words, somebody in a position of authority started running this forced upgrade on or before Oct. 9, and Microsoft didn't fix it until Bright brought it to Microsoft's attention on Oct. 15. Wonder how many Windows 10 installs there are now?

As I've said many times, I have no problem with Windows 10, but I have a great deal of trouble with Microsoft forcing it on an unsuspecting user base.


Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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