Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as a free upgrade for computers running Windows 7 or later. If you don’t want to install Windows 10 you don’t have to, but if you choose to upgrade by July 29th, 2016, you don’t have to pay an extra penny.

But Microsoft would really like you to upgrade… and the company’s making it easy for you… by sending Windows 10 files to computers even if users haven’t explicitly registered for the free upgrade. You know, just in case they change their minds.

win10 update_01

The Register got a note from a reader, pointing out that he had not registered for the Windows 10 update, but that he found a huge file in a hidden folder on his computer that suggested his PC had downloaded the Windows 10 installation files.

So The Register reached out to Microsoft, and a representative confirmed that “we help upgradeable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.”

In other words, if you’ve got automatic updates turned on (which you should, since this is how Microsoft pushes important security updates to your computer), Microsoft may send up to 6GB of data to your computer.

That’s kind of a huge waste of bandwidth and storage if you have no intention of upgrading to Windows 10. On the other hand, if you do plan to upgrade, it should speed up the process since you should already have many of the files you need on your computer.

Want to delete the folder to free up space? Microsoft will just download it again. But you can (at least temporarily) stop your computer from trying to download Windows 10 files by uninstalling the KB3035583 update.

via Ars Technica

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33 replies on “Your PC might download Windows 10 even if you don’t plan to upgrade”

  1. When I read news like this, I always thank myself that I took the plunge years ago and went full-time Linux. Now, I don’t have to worry about shit like this.

    Seeing the things Microsoft does to its users nowadays, I cannot stop wondering how they can tolerate the continuous abuse in form of privacy violation, forced updates and alike.

  2. people really like to complain about Windows, Microsoft and now that Win8 bashing is out 10 is next, do they? 😉
    Not saying this downloading is a good thing, should not happen on metered connection. Else, why not, MS wants and people actually should update, if not for anything else for security (but also features like FLAC, multiple desktops, performance etc).
    XP users claiming it still works will be first to complain about it too as soon as first virus hits them because the OS is not in support anymore.

    1. XP is magical… Long live XP!
      If only they made win10 a free update to XP… then i might bother reinstalling an OS on my XP box.

      1. typical Windows problem, no free update to 12 year old OS 😉
        Better OS is certainly Android! Oh wait no updates at all…but iOS! Oh wait, no upgrade for 4 year old iPad 1…, but OSX! Oh wait, no upgrade for Laptops from before 2007 or so…
        so, yes, sorry, seems you have to pay for a new OS which might even work better then XP 😉

  3. People on metered and capped connections are going to LOVE that!

    Personally, I only have Windoze alert me to updates, but I decide when I can be bothered with the download, i.e. when I’m on an appropriate network to even do so.

    But people who have it on automatic and are on a capped/metered connection should just send a bill to microsoft to pay for their expenses incurred. I’d go so far as to sue MS, if they sent this stuff to me over a mobile connection – if they refused to reimburse my expenses for this clear abuse of trust.

    I bet they’d try to settle out of court.

    Or maybe not, since they are completely out of their minds…

  4. And this is why I won’t let Windows7 connect to the internet at all anymore. I only use it for Adobe Creative Suite software. Any other time I use Linux Mint. When I can no longer get Windows to work without an internet connection I will stop using it altogether.

  5. I still run XP – this gonna happen to me? M$oft makes me hate M$oft…

    1. No, they don’t trespass into the realm of the dead ?

      Only Windows 7-8 qualify for the upgrade… For 8 users there are ways to avoid this but 7 users need to be more wary…

      1. You joke about it, but I see it as ironic. Despite Microsoft’s efforts to get people off XP and on 10, making poor decisions like this might actually be pushing some people back towards XP.
        I still have a laptop running XP, and have had 0 problems with software support or security issues. As long as you have an up-to-date antivirus installed, and don’t go poking around shady websites, XP is still fine for daily use; plus you don’t have to worry about Microsoft pushing unwanted junk to your computer.

        1. No, only the insane would go back to XP… It’s a dead OS with no future, it’s far more sluggish than when it first came out, and will only give headache of non-support, malware, BSOD, and inability to run the latest apps and features…

          While people seem to have short memories or outright don’t remember things like they actually happened… Like the little fact Windows has always required users to be proactive and either work to get it to work the way they want it to or go with the flow and simply accept it as is, or don’t bother and use some other alternative…

          This is why there has always been a viable market for 3rd party utilities that provided fixes, missing features, etc.

          While most other alternatives are working towards similar changes, in fact most of what MS is doing is based on what Apple and Google have already done…

          So at worse, it’s far more likely people would go for a Chromebook… Apple’s OSX is a possibility but many of the things people are complaining about now Apple has long been doing with OSX… while most dismiss most Linux distros out of hand despite the vast improvement most have gone under the last few years but the long standing issues that have prevent mainstream adoption still remain…

          I always found it funny that some would say they would switch to OSX because of W8’s Start Screen… Because OSX has long used a full screen menu itself… among other reasons to not take people complaining too seriously because they don’t really know what they’re talking about most of the time…

          Even when the complaints are legitimate it’s often blown out of proportions and somehow ignores how it’s been the norm for so many other alternatives but it’s somehow worse because MS is doing it…

          Besides, like it or not this actually benefits the majority of people because it has been a long standing problem that people don’t update when they should and unless it’s automatic most people never bother, leaving issues ranging from leaving zero day vulnerabilities remaining unpatched to being unable to advance a platform because the user base is all over the place and no consistent support can be provided…

          But sure, only look at the few who get inconvenienced and pretend they’re the only ones that matter and this is such a terrible thing MS is doing by trying to fix a long broken system.

          I’m all for compromise and giving options to those who would use them but let’s be real here, the majority of what’s happening is because the majority of users haven’t been taking advantage of those choices and they’ve been holding things back… and ultimately MS has to work around the majority… because they’re not in the business of providing custom solutions for every single niche…

          1. “No, only the insane would go back to XP… It’s a dead OS with no future”
            I think it would be a poor choice to go out and buy a copy of XP, but I don’t see anything wrong with using a copy that you already own.

            “it’s far more sluggish than when it first came out”
            Yes, but it’s not any slower than Vista, 7, 8 or 10 on similar hardware.

            “will only give headache of non-support, malware, BSOD, and inability to run
            the latest apps and features…”
            Eventually, but as of right now, all those things are not issues. I don’t live in a fantasy world. I don’t expect XP to last forever. Right now, and probably for the next year or two, it’s fine. There are certain advantages to using a “dead OS”. One of those advantages is not having to worry about updates messing up stuff.

            “Like the little fact Windows has always required users to be proactive
            and either work to get it to work the way they want it to or go with the
            flow”
            Maybe, but I’ve never seen them this aggressive with trying to force an upgrade on people who don’t want it.

            “most of what MS is doing is based on what Apple and Google have already done”
            Data mining, yes. Forcing updates on users, mostly no (iOS, OS X, Android = No; ChromeOS = yes)

            “Even when the complaints are legitimate it’s often blown out of
            proportions and somehow ignores how it’s been the norm for so many other
            alternatives but it’s somehow worse because MS is doing it…”
            Maybe people have higher expectations of Microsoft. I know I did. Frankly, I think it’s fair to have higher expectations of Microsoft. There is so much important software that is only available for Windows. If you want or need to run that software, you don’t have the luxury of ditching Windows. Microsoft worked to obtain a monopoly, there is added expectation and responsibility with being in that position.

            “Besides, like it or not this actually benefits the majority of people
            because it has been a long standing problem that people don’t update”
            The people who don’t update are the same people who never change settings. If updates were turned on by default, and there was a setting buried to turn updates off, then we’d have virtually the same result as forced updates except the people who want to turn them off could. I’m not against forced updates. I’m just against Microsoft doing them. Microsoft has a history of not always using good judgement when it comes to updates. There have been several examples (just in the past 2 months) of updates that were marked as “important” that were nothing of the sort. The updates were nothing more than spyware or nagware, trying to push an OS update that some people don’t want.

          2. Yes, but it’s not any slower than Vista, 7, 8 or 10 on similar hardware.

            No, it is a lot slower and can’t do half the things you can with the newer OS… XP has been getting slower for years, partly because it outlived its original intended self life and over a decade of updates has bloated it up and made it sluggish.

            While MS has steadily been reducing the bloat since Vista… Windows 10 is nearly as light as XP, despite all the advances and newer stuff it supports, and can run on similar low end hardware.

            Besides, nothing will change the fact XP is a obsolete OS and has been for several years now… It makes far better sense to switch to one of the alternatives for at least the better support as well as many of them are now far superior to XP…

            Eventually, but as of right now, all those things are not issues. I
            don’t live in a fantasy world. I don’t expect XP to last forever.

            It’s already over, XP support ended over a year ago already and it has had to deal with malware and BSOD since it first came out…

            Just because you can still use an obsolete OS doesn’t mean it’s viable and makes sense for people to use it when there are a ton of better alternatives out there.

            The guy who writes Games of Thrones still uses DOS for example… Doesn’t make it practical for everyone to go back to DOS either…

            Maybe, but I’ve never seen them this aggressive with trying to force an upgrade on people who don’t want it.

            No, this is just the first time they’ve done it with a whole OS update, but one of the first examples was in 2003 when dealing with issues like needing to fix the security hole that led to the MSBlaster worm vulnerability MS considered Force Updating users to fix the problem and much of that led to Vista and then Windows 7 auto updating system… Mind, even this problem is due to the auto updating system but wouldn’t happen if you manually managed the updates…

            While Google was one of the first to perform silent browser updates, which MS copied later as well…

            Frankly, I think it’s fair to have higher expectations of Microsoft.

            Expectations should be reasonable no matter who they’re about… MS caters to the masses and the majority are the ones that cause these decisions either by what they don’t do, like keep their systems secure and updated on their own, or by what they have done…

            The problem is when catering to the majority you always leave out some minorities and those left out just aren’t always the same group with each thing they change…

            People have actually been complaining about Windows forever… Each version of Windows had its issues and 3rd party utilities were developed to deal with those issues for each release…

            Threatening to go back to a older version of Windows is nothing new, along with threats to switch to an alternative. Yet Windows still dominates the market… Why? Because despite all the nonsense and compromises it still does what it needs to for the majority…

            There will always be complaints, there’s no OS that goes without someone complaining about it… but perfection is a illusion and you can never please everyone.

            Even with Linux, you only end up with hundreds of different distros because no one can really agree on everything and thus end up with hundreds of different ways to do it… but that’s never been something MS would go through and thus we’re left with whatever the majority shapes it to be…

            But similarly, there are always ways to fix it… XP didn’t have enough themes, so people created their own… Windows 7 had virtually no support for multiple desktops so utilities were created that provided that support, etc.

            Windows 8 got custom start menus… While Windows 10 is still young but it’s going to get its own utilities too…

            While power users can always just reconfigure the system to their liking and even with Windows 10 there’s a lot more you can do than meets the eye, regardless of what MS sets up the defaults to be, there’s usually always a way around just about anything…

            Like there’s no default way, unless you’re running W8 Enterprise or later, to run Windows from a USB Flash drive or similar but it can be done if you know what you’re doing… among many other examples…

          3. “No, it is a lot slower and can’t do half the things you can with the
            newer OS… XP has been getting slower for years, partly because it
            outlived its original intended self life and over a decade of updates
            has bloated it up and made it sluggish.”
            The only thing XP is slower at compared to Windows 8 is boot and shut down. I used Windows XP and 7 a lot, and occasionally 8.1. I don’t notice any appreciable speed difference except boot/shutdown times. Name some USEFUL features that Windows XP is missing that newer systems have. I’m not talking about fluffy gimmicky stuff like snap and faster graphics engines. I mean what are the features you couldn’t live without for productivity. I can’t think of any relevant features of 7 or 8.1 that are must haves.

            “The guy who writes Games of Thrones still uses DOS for example…
            Doesn’t make it practical for everyone to go back to DOS either…”
            Can you get an up-to-date browser for DOS? Current Anti-Virus? Current Office Suite? No, you can’t, but you can still get all those things for XP.

            “No, this is just the first time they’ve done it with a whole OS update”
            OK, we’re talking about different things here. If there is a critical security hole, then my all means, force an update. I’m not complaining about “security” updates. I’m complaining about stuff they’re labeling as important updates, that are not, and I’m complaining about trying to force an OS update on people who don’t want it.

            Really, the core of my complaint with Windows 10 is that I don’t want it, and I feel like Microsoft is trying to force it on users. The fact that Microsoft can look at any file on a computer running Win10 whenever they want to, and that updates can’t be turned off are deal breakers for me. I can accept the other compromises. I don’t like the data mining, but I can live with it. I understand that for certain features (like Cortana) some (not all of it) is necessary. Microsoft has been so aggressive trying to force this update, that it’s starting to sour me on the whole company. I like XP, I like Vista (now), I love 7, 8.1 is tolerable with 3rd party software. I will not touch Windows 10 until there is trusted 3rd party software to block Microsoft from forcing updates and going through private folders. I wish Microsoft would accept that some users don’t want to use Win10, and stop bugging us about it. NO means NO.

          4. The only thing XP is slower at compared to Windows 8 is boot and shut down.

            No, it’s slower in just about everything… Don’t confuse a older and simpler UI with it being a quick OS and there have been a ton of improvements to Windows since XP came out… Better memory management, less prone to BSOD type situations, some crashes can even be recovered without needing to reboot, among many other things they fixed over the years.

            And yes, XP is a lot slower now than when it was first released… First, they made it more bloated with the SP1, SP2, and finally SP3 updates… Then all the other updates since then has slowly but steadily been increasing the bloat over the years… You’d notice it if you do a fresh install and then compare performance versus after all the updates are done and compare, it’s a big difference!

            There’s also a reason why they invented nliting… even XP isn’t very light weight compared to the average Linux distro…

            While XP is the reason why people got used to their PC’s crashing routinely… it’s not something we should go back to, especially now that it’s no longer supported and is even more vulnerable to malware.

            The only reason you should even consider XP anymore is if you got some old software that won’t run on a newer OS but even then you should only run it in VM to avoid opening yourself to all the issues it has…

            Also, unlike modern Windows most of the old apps you’d need XP to run have better alternatives. So, unless you’re stuck with some proprietary files then there are plenty of reasons to not use XP anymore…

            Really, if you run Windows 3.11 it’ll run even faster than XP but similarly there’s no real reason to use it compared to all the better alternatives you can use now and many of those alternatives are free!

            At least with Windows 7 you have a more up to date OS that’ll still be supported until 2020 if you want to stick to Windows and with XP Mode there’s no reason you’d need to run XP by itself just for backwards compatibility…

            W8 and later just replace the usual VM with Hyper-V but you can set up similar solutions to get backwards compatibility without needing to expose yourself unnecessarily to a older, buggy, unsecure, and frankly obsolete OS…

            Really, the core of my complaint with Windows 10 is that I don’t want it, and I feel like Microsoft is trying to force it on users.

            Technically MS could always have looked at any file on your system… How do you think they got the data on users to tell them how people were using the Start Menu, etc. when they decided not enough people were using the Start Menu any more and used that to justify pushing the Start Screen replacement?

            Though, how much data they get is being exaggerated… Many are just hyper paranoid about any form of spying these days thanks to the NSA and other scandals…

            But lot’s of companies get data on their users as part of everything from marketing to tech support… companies like Google are even being sued by the EU because of how deeply they dive into user data and refusing things like the forget me right in Europe…

            While, A) You can do what users have always done with Windows when they didn’t agree with how it was set up and over ride it… There are ways to force features that now you’d normally have to get the Pro or Enterprise edition to have access to… or B) Wait for MS to figure out a better compromise, they’ve already conceded on auto updates for the App Store and drivers for Home users and it’s likely they’ll eventually cede and allow everyone to delay updates and just compromise with the normal defaults being set to auto… Or C) Drop Windows and choose one of the alternatives or stick to Windows 7 until 2020…

            As for not bugging users, you’re kidding right? No business is going to give up on getting you to keep getting their products. That’s like asking them to give up their business… The best you can really expect is that they do it in a respectful manner and don’t cross the line into stalker territory…

            That said, MS is playing with fire by using their update system to push the OS update… I don’t think they have much to worry about legally, because others have done similar and never been prosecuted, but public pressure will likely force them to undo it and maybe even force them to make an apology…

            Public pressure has already made them make a few concessions already… Like Windows 10 Home edition now allows users to choose to disable auto updates for Windows Store Apps and drivers, leaving just the OS auto updates…

          5. i am running a lot of XP systems and they are not slow at all.
            so either i a living on far out strange planet or one of us here is stating funny facts. think it over. you might be right in one sense. software developed for specially for win 7 and later might not run well under xp. but this is already the reason given why. software compatible for xp runs still well as it always did.m

          6. Don’t try fan boy logic on me, it’s a fact that XP got slower over the years. Just because you refuse to tell the difference doesn’t change that fact…

            Besides, I could run windows 3.11 and it’ll run circles around XP… But that doesn’t mean it’s a useful OS anymore.

            While, aside from nostalgia there isn’t a reason to cling to really old apps and hardware.

            XP is dead, it died 4 years late but it’s still dead and aside from nostalgia there’s nothing but bullheaded stubbornness to still consider it a viable option for the normal average consumer…

          7. if one has a stable xp system running and no need for “modern” bloated software updates – like the stuff most so called commercial bigshot companies are pouring out these days – there is still a lot of good software around running nicely and smoothly on xp. as a so called expert you should know that xp can be made running as a self healing kiosk system kicking out bad stuff every time it is booted. and btw most actual antivirus and malware producers still support XP, as well as do firewalls.
            you might be right in the case of freaky first commer’s all the time who must have THE NEW, because its new and not because it really helps their productivity. and btw that the software/internet market has turned into a customer exploiting criminal bunch is a fact. one also should mention to be honest that in the us the government and its chambers actually are working on a new law basis to legalize all this by legally immunizing these it companies and their doing as well as their close co-working with state agencies.

          8. Stable and XP is a oxymoron… To this day Windows has yet to live down the BSOD and XP is one of the OS releases that made BSOD a household term!

            Really, why cling to something when both Windows and pretty much all of the alternatives provide a better user experience now?

            Unless you’re a company trying to save on upgrade costs then there is no good reason… Pure and simple!

  6. Spyware, keyloggers, unapproved remote execution… good thing we have SecureBoot to protect us from this kind of illegal malware.

  7. Doesn’t stop there, after you upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft still sends you messages in the notifications box asking “If you like Windows 10, tell a friend, etc.”

  8. This happened to me on my two computers. It is for real and a huge pain in the ass to uninstall and remove. We used to call this FORCED download malware!

    Not only that, my folks who live in a rural location and use metered (and expensive) wireless Internet service, have gone over their monthly cap because of this stupid download on two of their machines and now have to pay close to $100 for the overage for these stealth downloads of Windows 10 WHICH THEY DO NOT WANT! Now I have to drive an hour and a half out of the city to go and fix their machines and remove all the stupid KB updates so this doesn’t happen again (or until Microsoft pushes out some other fake important update to undo everything I uninstalled).

    Couple this with the backporting of the spyware telemetry to Windows 7 and 8.1 and I’m seriously pissed about this! In Canada, there are steps being taken to see if this crap violates privacy laws. I sure hope someone with some clout files a class action because I want on board. Microsoft will offer a voucher for Windows 10 probably in settlement so we’re all fucked two ways from Sunday…

      1. We’re all on Windows 7 (by choice) and it’s not built into the OS like Win 8 and 10 so unless there is a third party program I don’t know about yet, then I have to say this isn’t applicable.

        1. You could set up another computer, or router with custom firmware, to provide metered connection… Or just disable auto updates and set up a remote connection so you can choose the updates remotely for your parents…

        2. Another option, depending on your skill level, is you can turn your computer into a remote WSUS for your parents PC’s and manage their updates yourself like a Admin at a company, giving you full control over what updates they get and setting priorities of when they get them to better manage their limited bandwidth…

          There’s also tools like WuInstall that works similar to apt-get update in Linux that let you set up scripts you can remotely activate, etc…

          While, for your parents there are bandwidth metering apps that can at least show them how much they are using and thus warn them when they are about to go over their limit…

    1. Oh shut up, all of ya. I’m tired of all this pointless complaining. Everybody has known what Microsoft was for twenty years now and kept right on buying their stuff. They aren’t going to change and you aren’t going to change so just accept that and you will have a lot less stress in your life and stop annoying those of us who figured this out long ago and ditched the Microsoft Virus.

      If customer outrage and even outright hostility, or even the Dept of Justice for that matter, had any power to influence Microsoft behavior in the slightest we would have seen evidence of it by now. Like the scorpion in Aesop’s story, they are what they are.

      1. Well, yes and no.

        Microsoft have always been bastards, but at earlier stages, they did work on gaining customers by following customer needs to a fair degree, while the raping was mainly aimed at other companies. Only since Windows 8 Microsoft has decided that user’s Productivity either doesn’t matter or should actively be curbed in every way possible.

        1. admittedly they have been bastards but that was like until 5-10 years ago. Win10 was actually developed with lots of feedback from users included (incl. the for me dreadful startmenu discussion which was pointless but seems there are different opinions on this ;).
          comment above is simple trolling which is just too easy it seems

        1. Good point but yes I know Google is evil. I kept my Palm OS product as long as I could and now I only buy Android devices that are unlockable, have AOSP based loads available and avoid the Google tieins to the maximum extent possible, preferring F-Droid sourced packages over the Play Store for example. Haven’t quite went as far as Replicant though so I’m not 100% RMS Pure.

    2. Hell, I say bill them for it. It’s clearly on them. If they get hit with enough small claims court filings, the combination of payouts and bad PR should be enough to make this go away. In the land of data caps and terrible connection speeds, it’s painfully obvious that this would happen.

  9. Well, that doesn’t seem insanely wasteful and intrusive on the part of Microsoft at all.

  10. My PC told me it was ready to install the upgrade but it still downloaded 3 gb of data first.

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