Microsoft denies forcing Windows 10 upgrades by killing the reschedule option

Stand down, everybody, at least for now.

Windows 10 upgrade dialogue
Mark Hachman

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Has Microsoft taken the final step in its Windows 10 upgrade strategy and removed all opt-out options from its Windows 10 upgrade? Apparently not.

The Register reported Thursday that once a Windows 10 upgrade is agreed to, Microsoft only allows you to confirm a time to schedule the upgrade, and not reschedule it afterward. The publication published a screenshot of the operation, with no option to click an “X” and opt out—in other words, the upgrade was locked in.

PCWorld was unable to reproduce its results with an up-to-date Windows 8.1 machine on Thursday. (The Register took its screenshot from a Windows 7 machine.)  Microsoft, for its part, denied the story was true.

“The Register report is inaccurate,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement. “The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice—designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows. People receive multiple notifications to accept the upgrade, and can reschedule or cancel the upgrade if they wish.”

Currently, the de-facto behavior for the Windows 10 upgrade goes something like this: Users click the “Get Windows 10” (GWX) icon in the taskbar and a dialog box appears, asking users to upgrade to Windows 10 and offering to schedule a time. Clicking the red close button in the upper righthand corner of the dialog box used to opt out of the upgrade, but it now confirms it—a change that’s easy to miss (and arguably deceptive) because it goes against most default UI behavior.

However, once agreed-upon, a second popup soon appears, near the taskbar. Its cheery “You’re set!” message doesn’t mean the upgrade is locked in, however; you’ll have the option to escape the Windows 10 upgrade by cancelling it. I shot a quick video from home of the process I saw:


Note that I didn’t confirm the upgrade, then try to reschedule it. If that’s the scenario that The Register reported, it’s possible the paper’s source had already clicked past the EULA and accepted the upgrade (and bypassed the opt-out option) in the first place.

From my own testing, Microsoft is still giving users the choice of opting out from the Windows 10 upgrade. If that changes, we’ll report our new results.

Why this matters: Adopting the latest upgrades and security patches is generally the best course of action to minimize malware and other vulnerabilities, and we’ve generally been in favor of Windows 10 regardless. What crosses the line is Microsoft’s contravention of established behavior: Closing a dialog box is generally considered to mean “No, I don’t want this.” If Microsoft eliminated that opt-out—and provided no other means of doing so—that would really be dirty pool. However, it simply isn’t true.

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