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Windows 10 Upgrade Could Install 'Automatically' if You Aren't Careful - nairrk - 10-17-2015

We know Microsoft is going through great lengths to get users to switch to Windows 10. Last month it was reported that the company was downloading the installation files of Windows 10 on several Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems even when their respective owners hadn't asked for it, and now we're learning that the company is quietly opting-in for Windows 10 update on some devices, leading to the installation of the operating system. Separately, Microsoft has started pushing advertisements in the form of suggested apps for users via the Start menu.

Released on July 29, Windows 10 is the latest desktop operating system from Microsoft. The update is available for free for all users of genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for the first year of its availability. The update, however, is an optional choice and wasn't supposed to get pushed to everyone's computer. And yet, that seems to be the case.

The company announced earlier this year a program in which it allowed users to reserve a copy of Windows 10 when it becomes available. Those who didn't opt in for the program - many of whom seemingly did not want Windows 10 on their system, for whatever reason - reported that irrespective of their choice, the company was downloading Windows 10 update files to their system anyway. And as Ars Technica now reports, the optional update has been chosen by default in Windows Update, leading to the installation of Windows 10 if users are not paying attention when they approve the installation of pending updates.

This is surprising on many levels. First as we previously noted, the large-sized Windows 10 eats up around 4GB of your Internet data and takes that much storage space on your hard drive. Many users understandably aren't expecting this sort of action from Microsoft and are unlikely to be prepared for it. Secondly, manipulating with the optional update choice to make users to install the new operating system is rather shady for a company in such position. What it wants people to ignore is that most people out there don't pay a lot of attention to things like Windows Update. They trust their hardware company and Microsoft to play fair.

The company told the publication that it accidentally enabled the optional feature by default in a recent update, and also stated that it will fix it. "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 the check," Microsoft said in a statement to Ars Technica.

Separately, the latest Windows 10 build dubbed 10565, which was recently released, enables a new feature that allows Start menu to show suggested apps. Make no mistake, this is an ad. The company has been previously criticised for showing ads on the new Solitaire game app, and assigning every Windows 10 system with a unique advertising ID, and it seems that it's now gradually rolling out ads in places.

Windows 10 is a substantial upgrade over Windows 8.1. It comes with a range of features that are genuinely handy and users are likely to find it useful. However, Microsoft's stance on forcefully getting users to the new desktop operating system seems shady and unnecessary.