Is Windows 10 automatically installing itself on people’s PCs whether they want it or not? Microsoft says this hasn’t happened, yet various users and a number of tech sites have insisted that the automatic installation is real.
On many systems, Windows 10 is already downloaded. It takes up hard drive space without installing (particularly annoying if your main drive is an SSD with more limited space). It will ask you sometimes multiple times a day if you’d like to upgrade, provoking flashbacks to that time you were on MoveOn’s e-mail list and got 20 urgent “Emergency: I have a hangnail” messages per day.
The reason Windows 10 is automatically downloading is because Microsoft made it a recommended update within the Windows Update program. PCs running Windows 7 and 8 (remember, there is no Windows 9) automatically download any recommended update, but they’re not supposed to automatically install them without asking the user.
Typically, this means the user needs to confirm an update for it to install. In the case of Windows 10, it often means the user needs to decline the update in order to keep it from installing.
The Windows 10 update informs you of this in a pop-up window that you can easily miss if you’re out of the room or running a full-screen program that doesn’t minimize. Sites are debating if the pop-up window has a 15-minute timer or a 60-minute one. Either way, if you miss that window of time, the Windows 10 update starts installing automatically. Lovely, right?
This allows Microsoft to claim the option was given for users to decline installation, while skirting around users who might be otherwise occupied or not notice the pop-up.
As an operating system, Windows 10 has been praised and condemned. It has a number of changes that help assign resources better (helpful, but not crucial, for gaming), as well as a solid synching system, but it’s also got corporate spyware galore that can be a chore to turn off.
Whether chosen or automatic, the updating process from a previous version of Windows can itself go very smoothly, or be a hair-pulling ordeal. Some have issues, others have none, and there hasn’t been a lot of analysis to make the reason for those differences seem anything but arbitrary. The upgrade has been known to play havoc with a number of drivers. A Windows 10 update could take an hour and work perfectly, or it could turn your machine into an over-sized paperweight. Users have had both experiences. You’d probably want to have some control over that, wouldn’t you?
Why would Microsoft be doing this? Speculatively, the more users they can claim have downloaded or installed Windows 10, the more successful the product looks to shareholders. As Rock Paper Shotgun writes, “their phone business is in disarray, PlayStation 4 has put Xbox One in the doldrums and Apple increasingly controls the portable computing conversation.”
Having Windows 10 installed on more PCs allows Microsoft to claim a victory and get some headlines that instill confidence in the company. And they’ll get those headlines, even if they have to force Windows 10 onto some PCs whose users don’t want the operating system—which is giving them far worse headlines, like “Is Windows 10 Automatically Installing Whether You Like It or Not?”
Has Windows 10 automatically installed on your PC? If you use it, how do you like it?