Why The Windows 10 Nagware ‘Trick’ is Irresponsible
A quick look on your smartphone will reveal how many of your applications are updating on a daily basis. Once upon a time, everything stayed the same for months, if not years. But applications are now forced to continuously evolve with consumers constantly changing needs and expectations.
Although this never ending update cycle is often frustrating, it’s the difference between keeping an app on the front page of your smartphone and it being relegated to an irrelevant subfolder on page 3.
This is where Microsoft have run into a huge problem that is holding them back. In a world where software is always evolving and updating, it famously took them over ten years to convince users and businesses to migrate away from Windows XP.
To convince users to look at the Microsoft operating system through the same eyes as all their other applications, they offered Windows 10 has a free upgrade to all users. In a brave move forward they even offered the update to those who were currently running a pirated version of Windows.
Apple is in a much stronger position by making their money from hardware sales. This makes it much cleaner and easier to lock users into a free operating system that updates automatically. Meanwhile, Microsoft designs their software to run on an endless list of hardware. This has left them stranded in a world of free operating systems and an old business model that no longer cuts it in this digital age.
Many have been a little cautious around seizing their free upgrade of Windows 10 due to the fear of their unique hardware and software ceasing to work. This has turned into frustration or even anger when their operating system desperately nags them to update their computer every time they switch it on.
After six months of frustratingly clicking the red cross to prevent the Windows 10 upgrade on their PC’s, Microsoft has sneakily added what some are calling a nasty trick to get users to upgrade. The absence of a “decline” or “No Thanks” button ensured that users clicked the red “X” to close the dialogue box. Microsoft takes this as permission to upgrade later.
If you look at the image below you can instantly see “upgrade now” or “ok”. If you click the red cross in the corner to exit, it will schedule your update not cancel. The only way to cancel your upgrade is to click the link underneath the date. Sneaky?
Microsoft has employed the same tactics as spammers use to trick unsuspecting users into downloading the Windows 10 update. This dangerous move also blurs the lines on the rights and wrongs of downloading software now that Microsoft and scammers are using the same methods.
We have all learned over the years that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you are also tricked into getting that free meal, then it’s easy to see why so many are starting to feel suspicious about Microsoft’s intentions.
Anyone that has spent years educating friends and families how spammers trick people into downloading malware or unwanted software onto their PC can now be seen shaking their heads in disbelief. Those that work in IT are dreading their phones ringing at 9 pm as parents or grandparents say the words “It’s updating to Windows 10 and I haven’t done anything, honest.”
Getting all users onto the latest operating system and signed up for an automatic update policy is incredibly attractive for Microsoft for obvious reasons. For users and businesses, it’s a little more complicated with their unique bespoke applications, hardware, and configuration.
The harsh reality is that users will always be cautious and maybe event too slow to perform operating system updates. Equally, the belts and braces approach to any upgrade should involve testing on hardware and software to ensure an update is compatible before proceeding.
I fully understand the importance for Microsoft to move forward and ensure all users update to the latest operating system. Aggressively pestering users with annoying pop-ups that are difficult for the less tech savvy to close without accidentally downloading the update is nothing short of irresponsible.
Are you an IT admin that is being asked by users why an update they accidentally selected is blocked? Or have you received a call from a friend asking for your help?About the Author: Neil Hughes writes the "Tomorrow’s Tech” column at Inc.com Accolades include being named one of the “ Top 9 Influential Tech Leaders on LinkedIn ” by CIO Magazine and ZDNet included him on their list of “ You need to follow these 20 big tech thinkers right now”