Latest IE Patch Might Be To Blame for Windows 10 Upgrade Ads

Many domain-connected systems woke up on Wednesday with an icon to upgrade to Windows 10, which caught many IT admins off guard.

When clicking the reappeared Windows 10 icon in Windows' lower toolbar, a window opens with an advertising message for Microsoft's newest OS appears, which reads: "Your system administrator has blocked upgrades on this PC. Check with your system administrator about upgrading this PC to Windows 10."

Many online started commenting shortly after Microsoft's monthly patch release that Windows 7 and 8.1 systems were reinstalled with the Get Windows 10 (GWX) installation subsystem, even if they were removed and blocked almost a year ago. Conflicting reports have pointed to an update in Microsoft's monthly security patch or an error as a possible sources for the problem.

While the reemergence of GWX was not advertised by Microsoft as being part of this month's security patch, it appears that it might have snuck in with bulletin MS16-023, a cumulative update for Internet Explorer that addresses multiple security issues. The patch includes a non-security update (KB 3139929) that adds a Windows 10 advertisement generator in Internet Explorer for those that have yet to upgrade to the latest OS. However, the patch notes don't provide any clear information on the reinstallation of the GWX and Microsoft has yet to comment.

If Microsoft did stealthily include the GWX with the latest patch for enterprise users, it would be in step with its latest push to expand its Windows 10 adoption numbers. In a Microsoft blog post released late January, Matt Barlow, general manager of Xbox Marketing, said that the company would be pushing the same GWX app that appeared for home users last year to organizations.

"Like consumers, small businesses and organizations will soon be able to receive notifications about the upgrade and then directly upgrade to Windows 10 through an easy-to-use interface right from the system tray on their Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro PC," wrote Barlow.

According to the blog, those enterprises that meet the following criteria would get the advertising app:

  • Those running a licensed version of Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro.
  • Systems with automatic updates enabled.
  • Those systems joined to an Active Directory domain.

Barlow also included a link for those shops that want to block the app from appearing on network-connected systems. He also promised that the GWX will not appear for large enterprises running Windows Enterprise edition or those that are using onsite system updating tools.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.


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