Windows 10 sees its largest surge ever as Microsoft's forced-upgrade push rolls on

It seems to be working, at least for Microsoft.

Putting away the carrots and breaking out the sticks appears to be paying off for Microsoft, at least in raw market share.

After pushing Windows 10 onto legions of Windows 7 and 8 PCs as a Recommended update, Windows 10 saw its largest-ever surge in month-to-month usage share in May, according to Net Applications. Windows 10’s usage share jumped by 2.09 percent between April and May, to 17.43 percent overall. That may not sound like much, but it’s a huge leap in such a short time. The only other month that even comes close is January, which saw Windows 10 usage spike by 1.89 percent after the holiday season.

windows 10 desktop share Net Applications

The usage shares of Windows 7, 8, and 10 over time, according to Net Applications.

While some of the upgrades likely occurred naturally, it’s no coincidence that Windows 10’s uptick took off in the month where Microsoft began using aggressive tactics to force Windows 10 onto Windows 7 and 8 PCs. In May, Microsoft began pushing Windows 10 out as a Recommended update, which means that the upgrade installation begins automatically if you’re using the default Windows Update settings. (Experts recommend doing so for security reasons.)

A redesigned “Get Windows 10” (GWX) pop-up warns you it’s coming, but many people who were upgraded without consent didn’t notice the change—or that in a nasty trick, Microsoft changed the pop-up’s behavior so that closing the window via the traditional red button in the corner now counts as consent for an upgrade. That’s after Microsoft let you use the same method to decline the constant, annoying GWX dialog boxes that popped up every time you opened or updated your PC for the past six months. It’s like Microsoft suddenly switched the brake and gas pedals around in your car.

What’s more, if you leave your Windows 7 or 8 PC on and don’t see the new pop-up, your computer will automatically upgrade to Windows 10 with no action (or consent) on your part whatsoever.

//

//

So it’s no surprise that Windows 10 usage surged this month. Microsoft’s aggressive new tactics are effectively forcing and tricking people into it. But it’s also no surprise that some Windows 7 and 8 users would rather disable Windows updates entirely than deal with forced upgrades and annoying pop-ups—and that’s dangerous behavior for Microsoft to inspire.

Given the effectiveness of the forced upgrade, don’t expect Microsoft to change its behavior anytime soon. The pop-ups will end when the free upgrade offer ends on July 29, Microsoft says. Until then, you can install Never10 or GWX Control Panel to stop the pop-ups and potential non-consensual upgrades without disabling Windows updates.

The impact on you at home: Don’t be mistaken: Windows 10 is the best Windows ever, and it’s brimming with all sorts of handy features and underlying system boosts. I use it, love it, and advocate for it. That said, people have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7 or 8—and pushing a full-blown operating system upgrade on consumers who repeatedly declined already is just plain wrong.

If you found yourself in the midst of an unexpected Windows 10 installation, here’s how to abort a scheduled upgrade, and how to roll back to Windows 7 or 8 if your PC already made the jump. If you plan on rolling back to your older operating system, you’ll need to do so within 30 days of upgrading to Windows 10.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?