Microsoft forcing Windows 10 onto people is wrong

Angry PC user

Microsoft says it wants to get people to a "safer place" and that’s why it’s so aggressively pushing Windows 10. But it’s one thing to advertise the new OS on someone’s computer, and another thing entirely to force them to upgrade to it.

Microsoft Marketing Chief Chris Capossela, says a lot of people are putting off upgrading to Windows 10 ("constantly kick[ing] the can down the street" in his words), and so the software giant is taking steps to give them a "push" into taking action. But not with a gentle reminder, or even full on nagging, but by downloading and then starting the OS installation without permission, and that sucks.

Yesterday, Microsoft changed Windows 10 from being an optional update for Windows 7 and 8.1, to a recommended update. If a PC is set to install recommended updates automatically then Windows 10 will be downloaded and the installation could then start once the download is complete.

People allow Microsoft to install recommended updates because they trust the company to keep their PCs safe by installing bug and security fixes automatically. They don’t -- and rightly so -- expect the software giant to download a massive 3.5GB+ file in the background and then attempt to change the operating system they use -- the operating system they paid good money for -- into something entirely different.

Sure you can cancel the upgrade when it starts, but if a user is in the middle of an important task, and they see a popup announcing something is happening with their PC, there’s a good chance they’ll just click OK and then find themselves waiting for an installation they didn’t actually want to complete before they can go back to whatever it was they were doing, except in a different operating system.

If they do cancel the Windows 10 install it’s not going to go away forever -- and while you can roll back Windows 10 within 30 days once the installation is complete, that’s a lot of hassle for someone who never asked for the new OS in the first place.

A lot of people aren’t even aware of Windows 10. My in-laws for example use and love Windows 7. They’ve never heard of Windows 10, and when that operating system turns up -- uninvited -- on their PC they’re not going to have the first clue what’s happened. Will they be happy about Microsoft getting them to a "safer place"? No, they won’t. They probably won’t even take the time to learn the new OS either -- because they don't want it -- they’ll just use their iPads more.

SEE ALSO: How to block the Windows 10 'recommended' update on Windows 7 and 8.1

Forcing Windows 10 on to people like this is frankly despicable behavior. Just because Microsoft has made Windows 10 free doesn’t excuse it. This is not an incremental change -- like when Apple updates iOS -- the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 10 is huge, and not all of the changes are for the better. Enjoying using Media Center? Yeah, we've taken it away.

Imagine if other companies behaved like that? If Amazon decided to swap the book you chose and paid for, for another book without your say so. "It’s new, it’s free!" Yes, but it’s also not the book I wanted or bought.

Microsoft says it wants Windows 10 on a billion devices. Google and WhatsApp have both just announced they have 1 billion active users. But the difference with them, is it’s a billion users who actually wanted Gmail, or wanted WhatsApp in the first place.

When Microsoft next announces how wonderfully well Windows 10 is doing, and how many more million users have been added from yesterday onwards, it will be a meaningless number, a hollow achievement, and certainly nothing for the company to be proud about.

Photo credit: Sebastian Gauert / Shutterstock

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