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Microsoft gets even pushier about Windows 10 updates, starts pilot program for pirates

Published Oct 30th, 2015 7:15AM EDT
Windows 10 Upgrade Automatic Download Pirates
Image: Microsoft

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Microsoft is getting even pushier about Windows 10 updates, something that has been more than apparent over the last few weeks. Ads for the Windows 10 update are becoming more annoying for some users while others discovered their machines were accidentally upgraded to Windows 10 without their explicit permission.

Even so, Microsoft says the number one request from users is about how to get the upgrade – supposedly those annoying popups aren’t clear enough – so the company is taking additional steps to update your machine. Microsoft won’t quite force the Windows 10 upgrade on you, but that might also be a way to describe the upcoming upgrade experience.

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In a new post on the official Windows blog titled “Making it easier to upgrade to Windows 10,” Terry Myerson explains that the company is evolving its notifications to make it easier, and more fun, to upgrade.

More importantly, Microsoft will replace Windows 10 reservations with the Windows Update program. Windows 10 will initially appear as an “optional update” in Windows Update on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Later next year, the update will be upgraded to “Recommended Update” which means the update will initiate automatically on devices that are set up to receive recommended updates.

However, Microsoft makes it clear that it won’t install Windows 10 without your express consent. Even so, the company tells you no less than three times that you can roll back to your previous Windows installation in the first 31 days after getting Windows 10. Does that mean that there’s a chance Windows 10 will be installed on your machine by accident?

Sure, you might think there may be several problems with this approach. First of all, should the full Windows 10 image download over a metered connection automatically, you might reach your data cap, which isn’t something pleasant to wake up to. But the company says you can turn off automatic updates to prevent such an instance, but recommends you manually check for updates after that to get the security patches it often launches.

Secondly, next year, the free Windows 10 offer will expire. But Microsoft doesn’t explain what will happen with the Windows 10 prompt on machines that have not upgraded to Windows 10 and don’t qualify for a free update anymore. Will it still download automatically? Time will probably tell.

Speaking about selling Windows 10 to customers who don’t qualify for the free update, Microsoft says that it has learned quite a few from pirates who have found unique ways to getting the update. According to the company, many of the pirates who upgraded to Windows 10 were then compelled to purchase a genuine Windows 10 activation code through the Windows 10 store. Thus, the company is kicking off a Windows 10 upgrade pilot for pirates in the U.S. “to ease the upgrade of non-Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.