Today I am going to write about how Microsoft wants to take over everyone’s Windows PC with Windows 10, and I am writing from the perspective of an IT industry professional with many years’ experience of Windows and other Microsoft software. As we all know, MS has been pushing Windows 10 very hard as a free upgrade to older version of Windows. In fact, they have been pushing it so hard that they have been downloading the upgrade files to people’s PCs without asking them, and repackaging Windows 10 as a regular update on PCs. They even tried for a short time to make the upgrade automatically install on computers so that people did not have a choice, but that setting was quickly removed after complaints.
So the first problem is we have the so called “free” Windows 10 upgrade being pushed as blatantly as possible onto people – and other typical pressure techniques being used by stating the upgrade would only be free for a limited time. The second problem is what happens when Windows 10 does get onto your computer. Let’s be frank that you aren’t getting the Pro or Enterprise edition of Windows onto your PC with this free download. You are getting the Home edition and you are locked into even more obnoxious behaviour on MS’s part, in relation to the automatic updates system.
Now let us be clear, automatic updates have been around since Windows 2000 and generally the idea is a good one. However it’s become more clear in the later versions of Windows since 7 that MS has become a lot more pushy about getting people to install the updates on their PCs. But this has reached a new low in Windows 10. Out of the box, regardless of situation or usage, every edition of Windows 10 will automatically install updates and version upgrades at any time, regardless of what you are doing with your PC, and will simply force all running applications to close without warning and without saving your data. And it doesn’t do it in the middle of the night when your PC is not being used; it does it during the day, and multiple times in a single day. I have seen every computer I have installed with 10, suddenly restart itself in the middle of whatever work I was doing with it. I have seen people turn their computers on to be faced with a forced upgrade (equivalent to a service pack) to a new edition which can take several hours to complete during which the computer is unusable of course. I have seen cases where this upgrade got stuck at a certain percentage for an hour and then rolled back when the PC was restarted.
Now, on Pro, Enterprise and Educational editions you can bring back the old options for automatic updates by using gpedit.msc to change the settings in the local group policy. Note, these settings are still hidden from view in the Control Panel gui, but MS had to give way to its corporate customer base as they have on many other occasions. (Remember when Vista came out with the disabling of Windows if it wasn’t activated? MS had to cave in with 7 because of the huge furore from their corporate customers over this behaviour and as a result 7 will not stop functioning if it doesn’t get activated.) So on these corporate type editions of 10, a group policy or Windows Updates server can control this behaviour, but MS still nags the user to install the updates. However these options are not available on Home Edition and anyone who wants to upgrade to the retail edition of Pro will have to pay an eye-watering $300 plus in NZ to fix this problem. And I guess MS hopes they will and the bucketloads of money will roll into their coffers.
Given MS has been so blatant and obnoxious I would expect to see legal action in the US and possibly in the EU where they have fined Microsoft hundreds of millions of euros on a number of occasions (the total is probably well over a billion euros to date). It gets worse because not only can MS dictate your update and upgrade timetable, but the license agreement also allow MS to decide to remove any feature of Windows they want from your computer at their choice. Thus it is entirely feasible that MS could extend their license to print money by removing formerly free features of Windows 10 from your PC and rolling them into paid apps. In fact, I think this is very likely to happen in future.
If you are buying a new Windows 10 computer I strongly recommend you get Pro edition rather than Home if you expect to be able to do any reasonable amount of work with it. I am seriously considering switching to Ubuntu and am quite pleased that I changed my phone over to Android.