The desperate tricks Microsoft employs to force customers to upgrade to Windows 10

Angry man

When Microsoft introduced Windows 7 back in 2009, the software giant didn’t need to persuade customers to upgrade -- they leapt at the chance. Back then, upgrading to the latest and greatest version of Windows was a no brainer.

Fast forward to today, and Microsoft is in a very different position. Windows 10 is a huge improvement over its predecessor, Windows 8.x, and yet it’s struggling to gain market share. Figures from NetMarketShare, and Microsoft itself show adoption of the new OS has stalled. That’s got to be hugely frustrating for Microsoft, especially when you consider the number of tricks it has pulled to force users to upgrade.

SEE ALSO: Why you shouldn't rush to install the Windows 10 Creators Update

It’s Free!

The carrot, which came before the sticks, was Microsoft’s smartest move -- making Windows 10 a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and 8.1. The software giant flubbed this move at the time though by stating it would be a free upgrade "for the first year" and then talking up "Windows as a service," which made many people think they would eventually need to shell out money on paid subscriptions, à la Office 365. Thankfully, that never came to pass.

Naturally, for many Windows users, Microsoft had us at "free", and the OS got off to a great start, helped by the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app which simplified the upgrade process.

But then things got ugly.

The GWX app turned into a form of malware, tricking users into upgrading to Windows 10 even if they didn’t want to, downloading massive installation files in the background "just in case" the owner wanted to upgrade, and then, in some instances, starting the upgrade for them.

Microsoft played around with the language in the upgrade box to make it harder to understand exactly how to say no to the new OS, and then it changed the behavior of the red corner X so closing the popup didn't mean "go away and stop bothering me" but rather meant "yes, install your new OS even though I've already said no numerous times." Microsoft even went so far as to remove the X in some cases, so people couldn’t even close the popup without agreeing to install the upgrade either immediately, or at a time decided by Microsoft.

New low followed new low. At one point, Microsoft even snuck Windows 10 advertising into an Internet Explorer security patch.

These were dark times for Microsoft, and darker times for paying customers who were happy to stay with Windows 7 or 8.1.

And that brings us up to date, and the latest nasty trick Microsoft is pulling to get users to upgrade to Windows 10 -- killing updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 if the hardware it's running on is too modern.

This is something that’s been threatened for a while, but has now come to pass.

If you’re running an Intel 7th Generation Core processor (Kaby Lake) or an AMD Ryzen system you’ll now see a message stating:

Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows. Because the processor is not supported together with the Windows version you are currently using, your system will miss important security updates. Please select the "learn more" link to address this situation.

Clinking that link, naturally takes you to a page where Microsoft attempts to push Windows 10 on you.

Let’s not pretend here, Microsoft has one reason and one reason only for this move, and it’s to try to force its customers to upgrade to Windows 10, even if they really, really don’t want to, and in doing so it is putting anyone who doesn't upgrade at risk. Yes, it's true the new processors introduce new features that aren't supported on older operating systems, so you could, if feeling kind, understand why Microsoft has made this decision, but let's remember the software giant hasn't only dropped support for Windows 7, it's dropped support for Windows 8.1, which is still in its mainstream support period!

It might not be quite as odious a move as the GWX episode turned into, but it’s still yet another sad, desperate move from a company which increasingly seems to believe the best way to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 is by taking away their choices.

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