Microsoft Loading Windows 10 onto Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs Automatically via Windows Update, Even if the User Hasn't Opted to Upgrade
Microsoft has released an update for Windows 7 and 8.1 that surprisingly includes the install files for the entire Windows 10 operating system.
The huge Windows Update (KB3035583) was rolled out to all PCs with automatic updates enabled in an effort to help prepare upgradeable devices for the upcoming Windows 10 era. Still, despite the fact that Windows 10 offers a lot to be excited about, there are some users who aren't happy about the lack of warning regarding the contents and excessive size of the recent update.
The Largest Hidden Files Ever Included in a Windows Update?
According to an anonymous reader report sent to The Inquirer, the size of the Windows 10 install package included in the recent update can range from 3.5 GB to 6 GB. That's a pretty massive file to just shove onto someone's hard drive, especially when you consider how many devices are running low on storage space these days.
Even though these files are only being downloaded onto machines that have automatic updates enabled, there wasn't any warning to let users know “you might want to disable automatic updates before we force this gigantic unwanted installer onto your computer.”
We're not sure what the record is for the largest Windows Update ever, but we're sure this is a top contender being that it secretly bundles in an entire operating system. Even more surprising is the fact that the Windows 10 files are being dumped into a hidden directory that would otherwise go overlooked by anyone who failed to notice the sheer enormity of the update itself.
Entry without Reservation
Having Windows 10 preloaded onto your device probably doesn't seem so bad if you're already planning to upgrade eventually. However, for those loyal Windows 7 and 8.1 users who aren't quite ready to move forward, the decision to include Windows 10 hidden within an update seems a bit pushy.
Furthermore, even though Microsoft already released an app that allows users to “reserve” a copy of Windows 10, these “reservations” don't seem to mean much when the files are being rolled out to everyone who has automatic updates enabled, regardless of whether they've opted to reserve a copy.
Putting Data Plan Limits at Risk
Aside from the automatic downloading of such large files being a storage space issue, there's also the concern that the update could cause some users to accidentally exceed their mobile data usage limitations. This could be particularly problematic for people who use a carrier-provided mobile hotspot, or the hotspot feature on their mobile device, to connect their Windows machine to the web.
Imagine the inconvenience of having a single automatic update drain the entirety of your 4G data allowance without warning or consent. Obviously there's the potential for users with metered data plans to get upset about such a sneaky and excessive use of bandwidth, even if they do eventually discover that Windows 10 is actually worth the free upgrade.
Is this a Better Way to Upgrade or an Aggressive Tactic to Promote More Windows 10 Installations?
According to a spokesperson, Microsoft is attempting to expedite the upgrade process by pre-loading the Windows 10 install files onto devices that have opted for automatic Windows Updates.
In theory this will artificially streamline the upgrade by giving the user the impression that the entire process is being done quicker, when in reality the upgrade is only faster because the install files were already hidden in a previous update.
While this sounds like a logical approach towards improving upgrade simplicity and speed, one has to wonder whether Microsoft is also using this as a tactic to stealthily coerce Windows 7 and 8.1 users into upgrading.
After all, once the Windows 10 install files are loaded onto the computer, all that's left to do is run the installer, so there's the illusion that the upgrade is seamless and the constant reminder that you can easily upgrade at any time because you've already downloaded the installer. This added convenience will most likely serve to further increase the 75 million installations Windows 10 received in the first month.
An Easy Way to Get Rid of the Hidden Windows 10 Files
Fortunately, users who are not yet committed to upgrading to Windows 10 can easily remove the unwanted installation files using the native Disk Cleanup Utility. Unfortunately, while that will address storage space concerns, it won't do much to restore bandwidth allowance after the update has drained your data plan.
So, be on the lookout if you haven't already received this update, as you may want to disable automatic updates for now if you're not interested in downloading Windows 10 just yet, although we certainly do recommend giving it a try if you have the space and bandwidth to accommodate the upgrade.