Microsoft Admits Forcing Windows 10 Upgrade Was ‘A Mistake’, Faces New Petition To Change Policies

As reported by the Inquisitr, rumors about a number of Windows 7 and 8.1 users being forcibly upgraded to Windows 10 have been spreading through social media, YouTube, and popular news sites this week.

Previously, users of earlier versions of Microsoft’s flagship operating system could opt out of the upgrade to Windows 10 fairly easily, although would receive regular “nags” reminding them that Windows 10 was available for upgrade.

For a short time, users were facing a different message. It was widely reported that instead of being asked to upgrade to Windows 10, they were simply notified that Windows 10 was ready to install and advised to restart their PC to complete the Windows 10 installation process. With Windows 10 adoption reported by Business Insider to be the fastest Microsoft has achieved for “at least a decade,” it seemed like an overly-aggressive move. Many users are always satisfied with previous versions of operating systems, and may wish to upgrade to Windows 10 at a time that suits them, or even not at all.

VentureBeat reached out to Microsoft to clarify their intentions regarding this forced Windows 10 upgrade process, and they are reported to have replied that the issue was caused by an optional update erroneously set to install by default.

“As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing Windows 10 from Windows Update for users that have not reserved a copy of Windows 10.”

While it is clearly good news that Microsoft quickly responded to alarm over the forced upgrades to Windows 10, both VentureBeat and Forbes are critical of the company for the aggressive and possibly “underhanded” way in which users are being coerced into upgrading. Windows 10, remember, has been downloaded automatically onto devices so that it’s ready for installation, even where users have not expressed an explicit interest in upgrading. As noted previously, this was problematic for users with smaller hard drives, such as on popular budget tablets running 8.1 and with limited bandwidth.

Once users have upgraded to Windows 10, they are automatically provided updates, which in many cases cannot be delayed or declined as part of Microsoft’s move to make Windows 10 more secure by avoiding unpatched machines. However, less information is provided about the patches than in previous versions, and some users have been hit by problems with specific updates.

In a petition, started by Susan Bradley, and rapidly approaching 2,000 supporters in its first 24 hours, users are asking Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, to consider changing the way these Windows 10 updates are rolled out. Windows 10 Petition

“Microsoft must give Windows 10 users more control over when updates are installed. We need the ability to delay or hide damaging updates that impact the computing experience, have undesirable side effects such as blue screens of death, or reduce the functionality to attached devices. Under the current system of mandated updates, we have been adversely impacted by forced driver and firmware updates plus other patches.”

Computer World notes that the petitioners are a “drop in the vast bucket” of Windows 10 users, and it’s unlikely that the petition will have any impact on Microsoft, noting that a much larger petition failed to save Google’s defunct “Reader” product.

Windows 10 Once Installed
However, it’s not clear that this Windows 10 policy has to be an “all or nothing” approach. Microsoft could tweak it to include a short delay to afford consumers some time to schedule Windows 10 upgrades when it’s convenient for them. Microsoft could also provide more information about the upgrades to Windows 10 that they intend to roll out. Neither of those adjustments would conflict with their goal of providing rolling updates and avoiding unpatched Windows 10 machines.

[Image Source: Windows 10 Press Center]