Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has stated that the information published by The Register, upon which this article was based, is "inaccurate".
You can read that statement at the end of this article. The original article follows:
Microsoft has been facing growing criticism over the methods it has been using to encourage owners of older Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs to install Windows 10 before its offer of a free upgrade expires on July 29. Despite this, it appears the company is not only refusing to back down, but actually becoming even more forceful in its efforts.
Initially, after Windows 10 launched last July, Microsoft allowed users of these older devices to opt in to the upgrade at their leisure. But over time, it's become more aggressive in its approach, as this brief timeline indicates:
- September 2015: Microsoft starts downloading Windows 10 to PCs regardless of whether or not users have expressed a desire to upgrade. Some users note that the large download - up to 6GB in size - has significantly eaten into their monthly data caps, without their prior knowledge.
- October 2015: Users report that the optional 'Upgrade to Windows 10' checkbox in Windows Update has been pre-ticked, prompting the upgrade to begin without them specifically opting in. Microsoft says that "this was a mistake".
- December 2015: Microsoft revises its Get Windows 10 app - which lets users know that they can install the new OS - offering users just two clear options: "upgrade now" or "upgrade tonight", with no obvious means of opting out entirely.
- January 2016: Frustrated users who have modified the registry on their PCs - mostly using third-party software to do so - find that Microsoft has updated their systems with software that rewrites their registry edits back to the defaults, re-enabling its prompts to upgrade.
- February 2016: As it said it would do in October 2015, Microsoft makes Windows 10 a 'recommended' rather than 'optional' update. For those with automatic updates enabled, the upgrade to Windows 10 begins without the need for users to opt in.
- Since then: Microsoft has been assigning a date and time on which the OS will be upgraded to Windows 10, while still allowing users to reschedule the installation, or cancel it entirely. However, clicking the 'X' to close the window doesn't cancel the planned installation, as some users expected it would; many claim that Microsoft has deliberately changed that behavior, compared with December 2015, when closing the window would defer the upgrade prompt to a later date.
Now, as The Register reports, Microsoft has begun tweaking its upgrade process yet again, to make it even more difficult to opt out of Windows 10 installation for those on older devices.
As the screenshot above shows, a new version of Microsoft's upgrade tool no longer offers the option of cancelling installation entirely. Instead, users are presented only with the choice of setting a date and time - being able to defer the Windows 10 installation by no more than a few days - or "start the upgrade now". The 'schedule your upgrade' window has no red X to allow users to close it, forcing them to pick one of those two options.
Speaking with The Register, a Microsoft representative did not comment on the latest revisions, saying only that the "your upgrade is scheduled" notification has been around "for months".
According to Microsoft, Windows 10 is now installed on over 300 million devices around the world. But given the company's increasingly pushy approach to getting users to upgrade to its latest OS, one can't help wondering how many of those users actually decided that they wanted to upgrade, and how many believed they had no choice but to do so.
Update: Mary Jo Foley has posted an update to her article stating that this may have been a false alarm. It would appear that this screen only appears if a user has already accepted the update and agreed to the EULA. Still, it's not much better that once you've explicitly agreed to the update, you don't have the right to change you mind.
In other words, if you agree to the Windows 10 update, be sure that you really want it first.
Update 2: A Microsoft spokesperson has provided the following statement to Neowin, making it clear that the information in The Register's report was wrong:
The Register report is inaccurate. The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice -- designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows. People receive multiple notifications to accept the upgrade, and can reschedule or cancel the upgrade if they wish.