Microsoft Says ‘Get Windows 10’ Initiative Was Confusing And Upsetting To Users

Microsoft’s intentions when it launched the so-called “Get Windows 10” initiative to encourage users to upgrade to its new operating system were good ones – after all, it was a free upgrade. But the campaign suffered through a lot of struggles, and even confused a lot of people at a certain point, leading to what many describe as a proverbial “PR nightmare” for the Redmond, Wash.-based company.

Windows 10 was released in July of 2015 as the long-awaited followup to the Windows 8 platform, which earned mixed reviews for diverting so drastically from the user experience found on Windows 7 and other previous iterations. And it was rolled out free-of-charge to anyone whose PCs ran on Windows 7 or Windows 8. But in May 2016, Microsoft ramped up its push for its latest platform, making changes to the Get Windows 10 app that made it essentially mandatory for users to upgrade to the new software.

Those changes involved changing the functionality of the red “X” in the upper-right corner of the dialog box; whereas it would have meant cancelling or declining an upgrade in the first ten months of Windows 10, clicking on “X” had become useless. That meant users had no choice but to upgrade to Windows 10, and there was no shortage of people shocked to find out that they had unwittingly installed Windows 10 even if they didn’t want to.


Speaking to Windows Weekly, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela said that the Get Windows 10 campaign was a success, all things considered. The initiative was, as he suggested, equal parts aggressive and persuasive, and it did convince a lot of users to make the upgrade to Windows 10. But in quotes from the interview published by ExtremeTech, Capossela acknowledged that there was one specific point where users didn’t know what to make of the “X” button in the dialog box.

“We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective, but finding the right balance where you’re not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right, but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn’t mean cancel.”

One of the most excruciating aspects of any software update is the waiting time it takes for the patch to be rolled out in phases. Sometimes it could take as short as a few days, sometimes as long as a couple weeks, but even a wait of two to three days can be torture for users dealing with an unpleasant bug, or worse, unable to use their devices or machines in the meantime.

That was how things turned out with the Get Windows 10 app, and the patch designed to sort out the above problem. According to Capossela, the update that would have rectified the issue of the “X” button not meaning “cancel” took two weeks to roll out to everyone, and it was a “pretty painful” process for those involved.


Stating his opinion on the matter, ExtremeTech’s Joel Hruska questioned Microsoft’s decision to change how Windows 10 functioned, fittingly 10 months from the time of its release. He referred to the Get Windows 10 campaign as a “malware-style” campaign, due to all the unwanted updates that had taken place as a result of it.

“Either Capossela is lying about Microsoft’s internal discussion of the topic or Microsoft doesn’t allow criticism of its decisions to percolate high enough in the company to inform its executive teams. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that changing how the ‘Do not install Windows 10 on my computer’ process would inevitably result in a great many unwanted upgrades. The claim that it takes weeks to test an update to Windows Update is disingenuous as well.”

PC World, on the other hand, opined that Capossela’s tell-all on Get Windows 10 may have been too little, too late. He was, after all, referring to events that took place in late May, while Microsoft was silent on the matter at that time.

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