Windows Update error forces some users to upgrade to Windows 10

Extreme Tech – by Joel Hruska

Ever since Microsoft launched Windows 10, the company has come under fire for its aggressive update policies. In the weeks following launch, Windows 7 users were greeted with a giant “Reserve your upgrade today!” banner, every time they launched IE11 (if set to the default home page). At least one of our own writers had a system surprise-install the operating system, despite not being told to do so. And now, in an apparent repeat of what we thought was an odd corner case, Microsoft made an error in Windows Update that’s forcing people to upgrade to Windows 10, whether they wish to do so or not.  

The problem, according to Microsoft, is that the Windows 10 Update was switched from “Optional” to “Mandatory” and automatically distributed to users who had “Download and install updates automatically” enabled. PCWorld reports that in at least some cases, users are now locked into an update cycle that they can’t cancel, as shown below. Images courtesy of GWX Control Panel developer Josh Mayfield.

Upgrade to Windows 10 Is ReadyWindows Update Reschedule Start

If you see either of the two screens above, it means Microsoft has already downloaded the update and decided to apply it. It’s not yet clear if this can be reversed, or simply delayed. Ars Technica reports that the installer requires manual intervention to proceed, but in at least some cases that evidently defaults to a timer and a reboot counter, as shown above. In a statement, Microsoft said, “In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check.”

This is just the latest ridiculous outcome from Microsoft’s upgrade push. Last month, we found out the company was stealth-downloading the Windows 10 installer, and before that, there were the aforementioned banner ads and obnoxious system tray advertisements.

This is why people don’t trust Microsoft

As a Windows 7 user who has never allowed Microsoft to perform automatic updates, this kind of problem is precisely why I don’t trust the company to do non-security patches by default. It’s not a question of malicious intent but simple human error. Someone hit the wrong button somewhere, and now people who trust Microsoft have a new headache to deal with. Microsoft’s attempts to create a universal update system for Windows 10, in which all updates are shoved out automatically, is a profound mistake. How long before another switch gets hit by accident and a patch or driver pushes out to systems that shouldn’t actually be running it?

It’s going to happen. The only question is how many people get burned when it does. If you’re on Windows 7 or 8.1, the problems have already started.

10 thoughts on “Windows Update error forces some users to upgrade to Windows 10

  1. I avoid Microsoft software like the plague except at work, where I’m forced to use it. (At work the damage it can do to my privacy is essentially nil). Microsoft is in bed with the Fedcoats. Windows, Office, Outlook, etc., should all be considered spyware.

    To those who haven’t already: GO OPEN SOURCE. Linux is the answer. Those with minimal computer background may need some time to learn some things and make the transistion, but it’s worth it in the end. Check out the Free Software Foundation and other online sites dedicated to this topic.

  2. “…Microsoft made an error in Windows Update that’s forcing people to upgrade to Windows 10, whether they wish to do so or not.”

    It was NOT an “error”. They’re trying their best to pump their new spyware into as many computers as possible.

    I loaded some updates more than a year ago, because when this windows7 computer was new it needed them to function, but I’ve been set to “never check for updates” since then, and the computer’s working fine. (you don’t need any of their updates, and if your computer works, you should stay away from them)

  3. There are hundreds of Free, stable and reliable operating systems available. They’re are not hard to learn. So why use something thats known to cause problems, known to have back doors, bugs and spy-ware?
    Take your pick here —–>

    1. Good link. I just want to add the caveat that not all open source software is 100% open source — i.e., some distros might come packaged with proprietary, closed source programs that could conceivably house government or other spyware.

      That’s why I recommend also checking whether a Linux distro has been vetted by the Free Software Foundation. I should have posted the link earlier:

  4. My 4 year old Toshiba laptop runs Windows 7 and I was NEVER even tempted to upgrade to 10. In fact, every couple of months I return my system back to its out-of-box state just to erase the Internet trash every computer accumulates over time, and the first thing I do after the process completes is to turn “Windows Update” OFF.

    However, I’m going to check out some of the suggestions made here, because if I can eliminate a forced-dependence on MicroSHAFT imposed on us by manufacturers using an alternative OS, I’m going to look into it.

      1. I can only account for how Toshiba machines allow users to do it BW — if that’s the brand of laptop you’re using, then all you need to do to return the system to its out-of-box state, is to save any data (photos, docs, etc), you want to keep, then:

        1) Turn off your computer OFF and wait 30 seconds.

        2) Press the “0” key and hold it down.

        3) Then, press the start button and release the “0” key as soon as the big red “TOSHIBA” appears on the screen.

        4) Follow the prompts from there.

        Just remember that the process wipes everything clean and that you’ll have to re-adjust preferences.

  5. Not an error!

    They want Windows 10 on every computer to gather personal data and your biometric information.

  6. I actually “reserved” a copy of Windows 10 by mistake. Then I went to change the setting from automatic updates to choose updates, and since I have administrative function on Windows 7 Professional I can hide updates (right click the update twice to hide it, choose hide update)…but good old Microsoft (in August) re-installed a hidden update that “reserved” Windows 10 (even if I hide it again, they’ll try to force me to re-install it. It is the patch KB2952664. (This is the “reserve” Windows 10 patch). So now I have to uninstall this patch again…and then MS will try to re-install it again. If they keep pulling this I will turn off updates, even though I do like the security updates.

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