Windows 10 will soon be downloading to potentially millions of PCs whether the users want it or not. It’s now classed as a recommended update, meaning an automatic download for many users.
The download will happen for anyone who has an earlier version of Windows set to download updates automatically and has the “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates” box ticked in Windows Update settings. That will usually be the default option.
In a minor tweak to the way normal updates are installed, there will be an on-screen prompt for the user to confirm they want Windows 10 installed. If you click on that by mistake, or if you change your mind about the installation, you’ll have 31 days to roll back without losing files or settings.
The move by Microsoft has a couple of notable problems, beyond the somewhat dubious (and contrary to previous practice) interpretation that installing Windows 10 should be classed as an update to Windows 7 or 8. The first is that it seems designed to take advantage of less confident computer users who may well click the confirmation button either through confusion or because they trust Microsoft and then wind up confused when their operating system changes.
The second is that regardless of whether people go ahead with the installation, the computer will still have downloaded the files. At up to 6GB, that could be bad news for the unfortunately large number of people on broadband packages with some sort of data cap.
Another danger is that the move could push some users into turning automatic updates off. While the smart option here is to only turn off the recommended updates, it’s understandable why some people might miss this distinction, switch to manual updates only, and then wind up overlooking genuinely important security patches.