Microsoft’s approach to forcing you to you to install Windows 10 seems is really starting to get annoying. For example, I posted this story on how you can stop Windows 10 from updating your Windows 7/8.x system. But Woody Leonhard has written a story which you can read here that seems to suggest that simply doing what I suggested last week may not be enough:
Yesterday, my old friend and erstwhile co-author Ed Bott ran an article on ZDNet that explains how to change two different registry entries — AllowOSUpgrade and DisableGWX — to “block Windows 10 upgrades on your business network (and at home, too).”
Both approaches temporarily block the immediate threat of “Get Windows 10” by removing the GWX icon in the Win7 and Win8.1 system tray and by derailing some of the Windows 10 update programs that are currently installed. Neither approach, however, will remove background tasks that bring GWX back, reclaim the 3GB to 6GB of hidden installation files Microsoft may have surreptitiously stored in the $Windows.~BT folder, nor will they keep your system protected if future Microsoft-initiated GWX attacks similar to the old ones occur again.
In short, Microsoft seems to be running an application in the background that undoes whatever changes you make to stop Microsoft’s GWX process from shoving Windows 10 onto your system. That implies that Microsoft is investing significant amounts of time and effort to find new and creative ways to force you to upgrade to Windows 10. Now, how does one know there are background tasks running that undo attempts to block Windows 10? Here’s the proof from Josh Mayfield, the inventor of GWX Control Panel which you can use to stop this nonesense from happening…. At least for a time:
- The DisableGWX value, which GWX Control Panel has been setting since version 1.0, does one thing, and one thing only: When the scheduled GWX.EXE task runs, it checks for that registry value, and if it’s set, GWX.EXE quits itself. That’s how you remove the icon from your notification area. but this doesn’t do anything about the several background tasks that Microsoft installs along with GWX.EXE.
- Beginning in version 1.3 of GWX Control Panel, I’ve included additional logic to help people whose Windows Update control panels get hijacked by Windows 10. Version 1.4 and beyond can even rescue you from an already-initiated unwanted Windows 10 upgrade.
- As your own AskWoody.com visitors (and mine) have confirmed many times over by now, KB3035583 needs to be rehidden each time Microsoft pushes a new version. If you don’t want to install it, and if you happen to get more than one version installed, uinstalling it no longer gets rid of the update. (I walk through this in more detail in my troubleshooting guide.) This is why I added the new Delete Windows 10 Programs feature in version 1.7.
- Beginning about a month ago the KB3035583 update started installing a new background task — beyond the ones previous versions already installed — that resets the AllowOSUpgrade value to 1 (enabled) twice a day. Not all users have this background task — I don’t know how Microsoft decides how these things get distributed — but for those who do, changing this value like [Bott] suggests will only help you for 12 hours or less.
Color me unimpressed.
Clearly Microsoft wants you to run Windows 10 at any cost. Even if that means pissing you off in the process. To me that doesn’t sound like a winning strategy. But clearly they don’t care. That may yet come back to haunt them.