Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Microsoft’s Upgrade Deceptions Are Undermining Windows 10

Paul Thurrott (via Nick Heer):

For months now, I’ve complained about the software giant’s heavy-handed tactics in trying to trick customers into upgrading to Windows 10. But a recent change to the Get Windows 10 advertisement that is forced on Windows 7 and 8.1 users takes things entirely too far. This is indefensible.


Last week, Microsoft silently changed Get Windows 10 yet again. And this time, it has gone beyond the social engineering scheme that has been fooling people into inadvertently upgrading to Windows 10 for months. This time, it actually changed the behavior of the window that appears so that if you click the “Close” window box, you are actually agreeing to the upgrade. Without you knowing what just happened.

Update (2016-06-01): Olivier Roux:

Yup, happened overnight to one of the attendants of our 2-weeks international meeting last week, couldn’t reboot her laptop, hosed.

Update (2016-06-02): Peter Maurer:

The one thing I don’t get about the ever-changing Windows 10 upgrade dialog is why it has a standard close widget in the first place…

If the user is supposed to make a choice, present the options as buttons, and disable the close widget. Force them to make that choice.

Update (2016-06-03): See also: Hacker News.

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The first thing I heard about Windows 10, shortly after it was released, was when it automatically downloaded (and failed, and repeated) on two laptops of a relative's while he was on vacation in the mountains and used up the entirety of his monthly cellular data allowance on the first day of the billing cycle. According the information I found at the time from Microsoft and various fora, that was normal behavior—although there was a relatively sane method at that time to decline the automatic update, and there was a command-line method of adding a wireless network that specified it was a metered connection, which would prevent automatic downloads while on said network; needless to say, I made those changes to my dad's laptop as soon as he came back from vacation.

From then on, my dad and I were generally on-guard to watch out for the sneaky upgrade attempts…until he was on vacation in Hawaii for a month earlier this year, when something happened (he's not sure what, exactly, but he never knowingly installed/approved it) and Windows 10 installed. Luckily it was (mostly) just a surprise "Oh, Windows 10 installed itself somehow; I wonder what new UI/UX annoyances I will encounter" and not a bricking-while-on-vacation or anything, but, man, it was annoying trying to keep Windows 10 off. I can't fathom the intersection of hubris and desperation that led to these "let's sneak Windows 10 upgrades" decisions/UIs.

(As an aside, the screenshot in Thurrott's article…I know Steve Gibson makes some great utilities, but that UI…my eyes!)

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