Why the Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade nanny is now a security nightmare

Users are disabling Windows Update, which could spell disaster.

The best way to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 is to bug them constantly, right?

That strategy is backfiring for Microsoft, now that the deadline for the free upgrade is fast approaching. Multiple outlets are reporting that people are deciding to turn off Windows Update entirely, which means they will not receive critical security updates.

Anyone still using Windows 7 or Windows 8 has until July 29 to get the free upgrade to Windows 10. As you may already know, I’m a big fan of Windows 10 as long as you know what you are getting yourself into and prep accordingly. I hated Windows 8 and found most of the tile interface “advancements” to be way too confusing for most computer users. Windows 10 is worth the upgrade if your system meets the minimum requirements, which is basically a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

I’ve also come to the realization that Microsoft uses a nanny-minder approach to their own detriment, however. The constant reminders are annoying and are now a security issue, mostly because end-users never asked for the constant nagging.

This is not a new practice for Microsoft. Since I test so many laptops and tablets, it gets annoying when the OS starts “informing” you about the new features, reminding you that Microsoft Edge is a fast browser or pointing out some other obvious features you will find on your own anyway. When you first start using a Windows 10 computer, you might have to click a dozen notifications and reminders that are superfluous, annoying, and not even that instructive if you already know the OS.

This already adds to the frustration on most new computers -- especially those from Dell and Lenovo -- that start bugging you about upgrading to the full version of the security software they installed without ever asking if you wanted it. It’s one of the reasons I prefer testing Chromebooks. They ship out as slim as possible, boot in seconds, and work reliably. It takes a good hour or more to get a brand new Windows 10 laptop into a usable state after tweaking the interface settings, connecting to Wi-Fi, uninstalling the apps I won’t ever use, disabling some of the notifications, tweaking the color scheme and picking a desktop wallpaper.

I like how MacBooks can be configured with software and settings long before they even arrive at your doorstep, tied so closely to the serial number. That’s one benefit to the Apple ecosystem that is tightly controlled by one vendor, although you only get to pick from a few models. Because I’m a heavy Adobe Photoshop user, a Chromebook will never work until Adobe makes a full online version, and the Mac is not exactly mainstream, is not supported for the latest high-end games, doesn’t work for VR headsets, and doesn’t fit within the deployment strategy for companies that focus on Microsoft products.

That means Windows 10 is “the one” for most of us, which also explains the nagging. When you have a massive user base, you have to get their attention somehow. This time, it has created a bit of a nightmare. Microsoft, time to rethink this one?


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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