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Thread: Microsoft Sets Stage For Massive Windows 10 Upgrade Strategy Share

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    2635599 is offline
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    Microsoft Sets Stage For Massive Windows 10 Upgrade Strategy

    Microsoft sets stage for massive Windows 10 upgrade strategy



    Uses updates to enable -- and re-enable -- Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs for next move: auto-downloads of Windows 10 upgrade bits


    Microsoft has been preparing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs for a more aggressive Windows 10 upgrade strategy that the company will kick off shortly, according to the developer of a tool that blocks such upgrades.

    "Over Thanksgiving weekend I started getting reports that the Windows Update 'AllowOSUpgrade' setting was getting flipped back on on a number of peoples' PCs, and it keeps re-setting itself at least once a day if they switch it back off," said Josh Mayfield, the software engineer who created GWX Control Panel. The tool was originally designed to make the "Get Windows 10" (hence GWX) applet go away after Microsoft installed it on consumer and small business Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs starting in March, then activated in June.

    "This is new behavior, and it does leave your PC vulnerable to unwanted Windows 10 upgrade behavior," he said.

    Mayfield has been tracking Microsoft's various moves since last summer to keep his GWX Control Panel up to date with new features required to block the upgrade from appearing on PCs, and from automatically beginning the install process.

    The latest update to GWX Control Panel, which shifted the version number to 1.6, added background monitoring so that users did not have to repeatedly relaunch the app to detect changes in Microsoft's upgrade strategy. Mayfield released GWX Control Panel 1.6 -- which is a free download -- on Nov. 24.

    Concurrent with the release of GWX Control Panel 1.6, Mayfield began hearing from users that their PCs were being switched from a "do-not-upgrade-to-Windows-10" status to a "do-upgrade" state, often multiple times daily.

    In an interview Friday, Mayfield said that the Windows 10 upgrade setting switcheroo on Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs was apparently due to continued updates that Microsoft has shoved onto the older devices. The Redmond, Wash. company has repeatedly re-served its original GWX app to PCs, often with undocumented changes, even if the machine already had the app, or even if the user had managed to uninstall it previously.

    "Microsoft has released this update several times," said Mayfield. "It doesn't change the name of the update, but every version is new, with new binary files."

    Also in play, said Mayfield, were updates to the Windows Update client on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs that Microsoft has also pushed to customers: Windows Update was refreshed last week for both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

    Documentation for the Dec. 1 updates to Windows Update did not spell out all the changes, but did state, "This update enables support for additional upgrade scenarios from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and provides a smoother experience when you have to retry an operating system upgrade because of certain failure conditions. This update also improves the ability of Microsoft to monitor the quality of the upgrade experience."

    There's more to those updates than that, Mayfield argued. "They're telling [the PC's] Windows Update client that this computer can be upgraded to Windows 10," Mayfield said. "[The Windows Update client] is constantly checking settings several times an hour. It's fully aware of the Windows 10 upgrade."

    The Get GWX updates and the more recent refreshes to Windows Update on Windows 7 and 8.1 are running in tandem, Mayfield said. "They're working together," he argued. "They're laying the groundwork for something."

    That "something" is likely the next step in an unprecedented scheme by Microsoft to boost adoption of Windows 10.

    In late October, Terry Myerson, the Microsoft executive who runs the Windows and devices teams -- dubbed the "More Personal Computing" group -- outlined how Microsoft would try to convince users of Windows 7 and 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10. Rather than wait for customers running the older editions to request a copy of the new OS -- the original idea from the summer -- Microsoft will instead begin to automatically send the upgrade to PCs via Windows Update, the default security maintenance service.

    The new push will be a two-step process, with the first kicking in this year, the second in early 2016. First, Microsoft will add the Windows 10 upgrade to the Windows Update list on Windows 7 and 8.1 systems as an "optional" item. That list can be examined by users, letting them choose -- or not -- each optional update.

    Sometime next year, Microsoft will shift the Windows 10 upgrade from optional to the "recommended" list. Updates on that list are automatically downloaded and installed on most PCs.

    While the Windows 10 upgrade delivered as a recommended update will automatically begin the installation process, the user will be able to refuse the OS change early in the process. "Before the upgrade changes the OS of your device, you will be clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue," Myerson promised in October.

    Microsoft is counting on a large portion of users to allow that upgrade to proceed.

    Many Windows users, however, are not yet ready to upgrade to Windows 10, and are tired of being bombarded with the nagging messages to change operating systems. That includes Mayfield, who wants to remain on Windows 7, a desire that prompted him to create GWX Control Panel.

    Because he's been closely monitoring how Microsoft force-feeds the upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 devices -- necessary to keep his app in step with Microsoft's changes -- he's become an expert on what the company has been doing, often surreptitiously, to prepare PCs for Windows 10 and execute its "get-Windows-10" game plan.

    By monitoring his own test PCs -- eight all told -- and from the reports he's received from GWX Control Panel users, Mayfield has concluded that Microsoft is manipulating Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs with behind-the-scenes changes, part of its effort to ensure Windows 10 ends up on as many devices as possible.

    Microsoft's original GWX app, for example, does more than just display an icon in the Windows 7/8.1 taskbar and let customers "reserve" a copy of the Windows 10 upgrade. "It's pushed down three different processes that each had different jobs and were unrelated to the icon," said Mayfield Friday. Currently, his GWX Control Panel monitors 10 different Windows settings that may leave a Windows 7/8.1 PC "potentially vulnerable to unexpected Windows 10 upgrade behavior," Mayfield wrote in a Nov. 26 guide to his app.

    Microsoft keeps changing those settings, sometimes adding new ones, without the user knowing, Mayfield said. For example, users have reported that their prior GWX Control Panel settings have been overridden by recent updates from Microsoft. In some cases, even Mayfield has been unable to figure out which components of Windows 7/8.1 were responsible.

    It's unknown whether Microsoft has, in fact, begun placing the Windows 10 upgrade on older OS-powered devices as an optional item in Windows Update. Microsoft has declined to provide more information than what Myerson gave out on Oct. 29 about the timetable for the upgrade hitting Windows Update. "We will soon be publishing Windows 10 as an 'Optional Update' in Windows Update for all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers," Myerson said five weeks ago [emphasis added]. "Early next year, we expect to be re-categorizing Windows 10 as a 'Recommended Update.'"

    The lack of reports online, including on Microsoft's own Windows 10 support forums, argues that the company has not yet started adding the upgrade to Windows Update on Windows 7/8.1 PCs.

    The first move may happen as soon as Tuesday, Dec. 8, which is the month's already-scheduled "Patch Tuesday," the day Microsoft historically serves up security updates. Microsoft often uses Patch Tuesday to deliver other, non-security updates.

    In Mayfield's eyes, the background machinations conducted by Microsoft's GWX app and the recent changes to the Windows Update client on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems are clues that the company is preparing for the upgrade reaching the optional list.

    The GWX Control Panel app can be downloaded from Mayfield's website. While the app is free, Mayfield does accept donations from appreciative users via PayPal. But he's not getting rich from those donations. "I get a donation from about one in every thousand downloads," he said Friday.

    When users allow GXW Control Panel to run in the background, what Mayfield called "Monitor Mode" -- and which debuted in version 1.6 -- the app detects any behind-the-scenes changes Microsoft makes to Windows 7 or 8.1 to grease the wheels for the Windows 10 upgrade. Users can then use GWX to restore the PC's settings to a "do-not-upgrade" state.


    GWX Control Panel detects any changes to a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC that Microsoft has made to enable an upgrade to Windows 10. Version 1.6 now watches in the background for those changes.



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    Shemhamforash is offline
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    It's a very strange concept that installing a new OS would be considered a recommended update by MS. It appears it's no longer safe for those who want to stay on 7/8.1 to not check every update before allowing their installation. MS is desperate to reach their insurmountable 1 billion Windows 10 PCs in 2-3 years while it's still a free upgrade. It will be interesting to see if many people don't realize what update they just installed and the next time they reboot the Windows 10 setup options appear for them. Personally I think MS rushed W10 and now they are clamoring for people to switch over even though there aren't many benefits to using the OS over previous Windows versions. They should have listened to user feedback more, but other than a start menu all the insider feedback seems to have largely fallen on deaf ears.
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    razorsedge is offline
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    This is why I have my Windows 7 version setup the way I have since the beginning.

    Ever since I installed Windows 7 I have had the auto updates off once every month I do my updates from Microsoft update manually and I read what every update is for and does in the OS and I only install the ones that are needed for my setup.

    If you actually took the time to check out all the updates MS tries to throw out you would be shocked at how many updates are not needed ( depending on how your os is setup ) and just bloat down the operating system.

    Since Windows 10 got it's release date before it was even out MS was pushing updates on Windows 7 and Windows 8 and 8.1 users that ease the install of Windows 10 to your current system and if you did not read and check out what the updates were and not going to install Windows 10 then you were just installing a ton of bloat that your OS did not need. They even started to try and trick you into installing those ease of upgrade updates by not not telling you in the update description what the updates really did.

    That's why it's always good to check what each update is for before you install any update on the os, I won't ever change my way of leaving updates off and doing them myself I don't need unnecessary updates being forced on my system to bloat it down when it's already bloated down enough out of the box






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    Mr GRiM is offline
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    Well I was pretty sick of the GWX icon in the system tray and tried to remove the updates that installed GWX but in the end I just gave up and decided to live with it.

    That was until I found a very nice reg hack and I have not seen the icon or been nagged to install Windows 10 since.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\GWX]
    "DisableGwx"=dword:00000001

    Edit: This is a more in depth description to disable it, I have not seen this one but the effect is the same.



    Copy and paste the text below (and above) the obvious markers into a text file, save it as 'DisableGWX.reg' (<-- changing even the file extension - if you cannot see it, you'll have to change your Windows Explorer view a bit to make this easier) and then use that (right-click on it, MERGE it into your registry) to disable the upgrade 'pushiness' you are seeing. Restart to get the full effect.

    ---------------- COPY EVERYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ----------------
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\GWX]
    "DisableGWX"=dword:00000001

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
    "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade]
    "AllowOSUpgrade"=dword:00000000
    "ReservationsAllowed"=dword:00000000
    ---------------- COPY EVERYTHING ABOVE THIS LINE ----------------

    Once that is done, you should be without the notification and your Microsoft Updates should return to it's normal state. If you ever want to upgrade to Windows 10 again (remember, it is a work in progress and if you upgraded already on that system and activated - then there is a license for Windows 10 you will never have to pay for tied to that individual machine for the life of that individual machine) you could likely use the Media Creation Tool to do so *or* reverse the registry values above (all dword:00000001 becomes dword:00000000 and all dword:00000000 becomes dword:00000001) and save that file and MERGE it again. Restart and you are back where you were before.

    *TIP* for everyone out there. One thing I have not seen advertised about the 30-day rollback option you have with Windows 10 is that *if* you run the Media Creation Tool at any point in those 30 days, it BREAKS the ability to rollback - even if you did it just to create an ISO image so you would have installation media to keep. This is because that tool recreates the '$Windows.~BT' and '$Windows.~WS' folders on the root of your C drive and those two folders and their original contents after the upgrade along with the 'Windows.OLD' folder (the only 'visible by default' one of the three) are all necessary for the rollback process to work.

    This is a little 'reflective', but pictures (animated ones) might be worth at least whatever number of words are above this line . . .

    (Animated GIF - should view in a web browser for full effect.)

    Source http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...1a6f039?page=2
    Last edited by Mr GRiM; 12-09-2015 at 04:15 PM.

    Please do not PM me to ask for support - please use the relevant thread or forum.
    Please Post in English or at least include English Translations
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    nadeem15 is offline
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    Few weeks back I installed Windows 7 (coz Win 10 sucks). And since then I've set the updates OFF. I checked the registry and didn't find GWX under Windows. Am I lucky? Should I just leave the updates off (I have Kaspersky installed, so no security issues) ?
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    razorsedge is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by nadeem15 View Post
    Few weeks back I installed Windows 7 (coz Win 10 sucks). And since then I've set the updates OFF. I checked the registry and didn't find GWX under Windows. Am I lucky? Should I just leave the updates off (I have Kaspersky installed, so no security issues) ?
    Hi nadeem ya this depends on what updates you had installed when you put Windows 7 back. The GWX will come after the updates that include it are installed, these are normally the ones that are the ease of upgrade to windows 10 updates. You might have been lucky enough to not have installed them, alternatively if you don't want to turn updates off just have it set to check for them but not auto install them and when you get the updates notice that there are ones ready just see what updates are available and only let it install the ones you need ignore any ease of upgrade ones.






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