Microsoft scrubs Windows 7 PCs of upgrade nagware

Ends 18-month campaign that offered free Windows 10 upgrades, and endlessly pestered those who didn't want the new OS

Microsoft has begun yanking the long-lambasted "Get Windows 10" nag software from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs, according to a support document.

The document posted to Microsoft's site Tuesday said that the company was fulfilling a pledge that it would remove the promotional code and content after the free Windows 10 upgrade offer expired at the end of July.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet.com first reported on the removal of the pitches yesterday.

Served to Windows 7 and 8.1 users via Windows Update, the removal process strips seven previous updates that were force fed beginning in early 2015. "This update removes the Get Windows 10 app and other software related to the Windows 10 free upgrade offer that expired on July 29, 2016," the accompanying support document stated.

The most notable, and noticeable, of the seven earlier updates installed the "Get Windows 10" app -- shortened to "GWX" -- which was first used to "reserve" a copy of the free upgrade, but then later morphed into a pest that, after numerous refreshes by Microsoft, ended up self-scheduling an upgrade without user approval.

During the final months of the one-year upgrade offer, Microsoft pushed its promotions to the limit, and beyond, by duping users into thinking that they had rejected the upgrade when, in fact, they had unknowingly authorized it.

Microsoft only stepped back from the practice after a flood of complaints, and then only a month before the upgrade offer expired.

Shortly after the upgrade offer ended, Microsoft sent instructions to Windows 7 and 8.1 devices to stop displaying the GWX nags.

Although some -- including Computerworld -- speculated that Microsoft might retain GWX on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices to market the $120 to $200 Windows 10 licenses, those concerns were unwarranted: Microsoft did remove GWX.

In early August, Josh Mayfield, the software engineer who created GWX Control Panel, a tool designed to eliminate all upgrade pitches, was unsure whether Microsoft would make good and remove GSW. "At the moment we're not certain whether Microsoft will kick off another nag-em-to-death upgrade campaign, or what form a future campaign would take," Mayfield wrote on his blog. "It's just too early to say whether it's really over for Windows 7/8.1 users, or whether the settings GWX Control Panel puts in place are enough to protect against any future Microsoft efforts to get you onto their new platform."

Even so, Mayfield outlined the steps necessary to remove his GWX Control Panel from a PC.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users eager to rid their machines of the Windows 10 promo-ware should look for the update labeled KB3184143 in Windows Update, then instruct the service to download and install it on their PC.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftWindows 7

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

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?