Microsoft expands Get Windows 10 campaign to domain-joined Win7, Win8.1 PCs

Windows 7 Pro and 8.1 Pro users joined to an Active Directory domain are about to be pummeled by nagware, and the arcane blocking process is a long way from what we were promised

Microsoft expands 'Get Windows 10' campaign to domain-joined Win7 and 8.1 PCs

If you thought the Get Windows 10 nagware/scumware/malware battle was growing ugly, you're about to see it erupt. Admins are next under the gun.

Yesterday, Microsoft GM Matt Barlow posted a note on the Technet Windows for IT Pros blog that announced the beginning of Windows 10 hunting season on domain-joined PCs. He says:

We will begin to roll out the "Get Windows 10" app to additional devices that meet the following criteria, in the US later this month and in additional markets shortly thereafter:

  • Running and licensed for Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Configured to receive updates directly from the Windows Update service (i.e. updates are not managed by WSUS or System Center Configuration Manager on those devices)
  • Joined to an Active Directory domain

Permit me to translate. Any Win7 or Win8.1 system exposed directly to Windows Update is going to get pummeled with Get Windows 10"nagware. If you have a domain-joined Win7 or Win8.1 system that isn't running Enterprise edition, either the malware installer will come directly to you, or it'll be presented to your admin (via WSUS or SCCM). If you can bypass WSUS or SCCM -- it's amazing how many domain-joined PCs can do a side-run -- you may get the nagware installer directly.

Barlow's article goes on to explain that you can manually prevent Windows from installing the Get Windows 10 scumware. He points to KB 3080351, which has been recently modified to match the actual situation.

While it's true that you can set the two Registry keys, DisableGWX and DisableOSUpgrade, to prevent the Get Windows 10 icon from appearing in the system tray and block the Windows 10 installer -- at least, this week -- that's only part of the story. Those Registry entries won't do a thing to prevent the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app from installing, nor will they delete the 3GB to 6GB of data that Microsoft may have surreptitiously put on your hard drive, clear out the GWX crapware on your PC, or prevent the scheduled GWX tasks from running -- including automatic reset of certain Registry entries.

If you want to get rid of all of that, you need to run GWX Control Panel.

Admins I know are scurrying around, making sure their systems are under tight WSUS or SCCM control. The last thing they want is a barrage of phone calls next week from users who think they have to -- or want to or need to -- install Windows 10.

Windows chief Terry Myerson promised last October that users would be able to "specify that you no longer want to receive notifications of the Windows 10 upgrade through the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 settings pages." We still don't have that option.

For those of you on domains or running domains, you have been warned.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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