Redmond View

Disheartened by Stealth Windows 10 Upgrades

Some found that, despite not wanting to upgrade to Microsoft's latest OS, they got it anyway.

Many Windows PC users were fuming last month when they discovered their systems went through an OS upgrade they neither requested nor wanted. Since the release of Windows 10 nearly a year ago, Microsoft has made users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 aware that they were entitled to a free upgrade.

Millions took advantage of the freebie and love it, but others -- for various reasons -- opted to stick with the version already on their systems. Often those reasons are valid; perhaps they're running software or, in some cases, hardware that isn't ready for Windows 10. People with multiple PCs might have chosen the Windows 10 upgrade (or, perhaps, purchased new computers), while keeping the older OS on at least one existing system.

Gentle reminders that the free upgrade was available incrementally became more forceful. As widely reported, Microsoft reversed the process of opting out of an upgrade when clicking the "X" to actually initiating an upgrade. Microsoft's response: Users can still choose whether or not to take advantage of the free upgrade. Technically, that's true, but tricking unsuspecting customers into upgrading by effectively changing the meaning of "no" to "yes" is deceptive. Critics argued Microsoft stooped to tactics used among purveyors of ransomware.

As Microsoft gets set to release the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, customers will have to accept these updates. That's the rule with Windows 10. As continuous upgrades become a way of life in the Software as a Service world, users are becoming accustomed to them. Whether it's new features added to Facebook, Office 365 or Apple iOS, people will complain, often with good cause (such as impact on performance), while others will rant about feature changes they don't like. But at least they won't feel like they were tricked into those upgrades.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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