No, Microsoft hasn't backtracked from zealous Windows 10 upgrade tactics

Secondary notice of pending upgrade was not added recently, but harks back to early May

Contrary to scattered reports, Microsoft has not backpedaled from its latest aggressive tactic to boost Windows 10 adoption.

Accounts claiming that Microsoft has only now introduced a new warning dialog are incorrect: That secondary notice has been part of Microsoft's campaign since at least the first week of May -- before word spread about the company's unusual interpretation of a click on the red "X" in the upper-right corner of a notification that a pre-scheduled upgrade to Windows 10 was imminent.

Since at least March 23, and probably as far back as February, Microsoft has been defining a click-the-X as approving the scheduled upgrade, rather than the expected behavior of ignoring the notice and closing the window. Microsoft's interpretation of clicking the X runs counter to its own design rules.

Some reports, including one in Forbes last week, claimed that Microsoft had "buckled under public and media pressure" and added a new notice to the pre-upgrade process. That notice, according to a Microsoft support document, was "based on customer feedback," confirms the time of the scheduled upgrade, and "provides you an additional opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling the upgrade."

But Microsoft has not bent to criticism: The additional dialog has been part of the campaign since early May, when Computerworld first examined the support document. That was approximately two weeks before reports of the click-the-X trick multiplied.

Forbes quoted a Microsoft statement that said, "Based on customer feedback, we've also added another notification that confirms the time of the scheduled upgrade and provides the customer an additional opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling the upgrade." That was virtually the same wording as that used by the support document, including the phrase "based on customer feedback."

So while the Redmond, Wash. company may have revised the campaign to give users one last opportunity to reject the upgrade, it did so long before the negative news stories and blog posts appeared last week.

Anecdotal accounts of users affected by the new upgrade campaign have been widespread.

After Computerworld's May 16 story on the click-the-X dilemma, reader Brad File reported that he had been victimized by the tactic. "I clicked on the red X to get rid of the Windows upgrade notice and went to the kitchen for a snack," File wrote in an email. "When I returned, the upgrade had forcibly started. The real problem is that the installation failed, and my computer is [now] unable to boot."

But organized criticism has not appeared.

Change.org, a popular online petition website, shows no recent activity on the subject of Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade strategy.

One petition demanding that the company stop pushing Windows 10 launched six months ago, but has collected fewer than 60 signatures, a puny number when compared to others that have targeted the new operating system. For example, a petition begun in October 2015 that asked Microsoft to let customers delay or ignore feature and functionality updates has collected nearly 6,400 signatures.

The free Windows 10 upgrade offer will expire July 29, after which Microsoft may disable the "Get Windows 10" (GWX) app that it planted on millions of Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs last year. GWX was responsible for the scheduled upgrade notifications users have encountered.

win10 second warning Microsoft

This confirmation notice of a pending upgrade to Windows 10 -- and a last chance to cancel the process -- was not new, but harked back to early May.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
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