Microsoft hasn’t exactly been endearing themselves to tech geeks everywhere lately, with all the privacy concerns and other issues. And now they are automatically downloading all of Windows 10 to your Windows 7 or 8 PC, whether you asked for it or not.
To be clear, they aren’t automatically installing Windows 10, but they are downloading the entire installer, which is at least 3 GB, which takes up a lot of drive space, and also wastes your network bandwidth. For people who don’t have unlimited bandwidth, this can seriously cost you a lot of money.
According to a statement provided to The Register by Microsoft, their explanation is that they think this is a better experience:
“For those who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help customers prepare their devices for Windows 10 by downloading the files necessary for future installation. This results in a better upgrade experience and ensures the customer’s device has the latest software.”
So this only affects people who have automatic updates enabled, but that’s almost everybody since automatic updates are on by default and are rather important for security reasons — the flood of critical security patches in the last year has shown that it’s probably a good idea to leave automatic updates enabled.
Based on the comments in other news reports about this, a lot of fanboys are going to come along claiming that this isn’t a big deal, it’s just business as usual. But downloading an entire operating system “just in case” you might want to upgrade to it instead of simply waiting for people to decide to opt in — that isn’t the type of behavior that we want.
This is a really stupid move by Microsoft, and it won’t be surprising if they reverse their decision and stop doing it.
Make Windows 10 Stop Downloading, the Easy Way
If you want a really simple and easy way to get rid of the “Get Windows 10” icon and stop your PC from downloading Windows 10, you can download a little piece of freeware called Never10, from well-respected security researcher Steve Gibson.
Download it, run it, and then click the “Disable Win10 Upgrade” button. If your system has already downloaded the Windows 10 update files, it will tell you, and you can click the “Remove Win10 Files” to delete them.
You’ll have to reboot, but at the end, the icon will be gone and your computer shouldn’t get the upgrade. And luckily, you can click those buttons again to put things back the way they were.
In the past, we’ve recommended an app called GWX Control Panel–but Never10 is much simpler and more straightforward. You can still use GWX Control Panel if you if you want, but we recommend Never10. Check out our full article on getting rid of the GWX icon for more information on both.