back to article How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest

Microsoft uses techniques similar to aggressive malware to promote its “Get Windows 10” offer. As many readers have discovered, the persistent and constantly changing methods Microsoft uses to continually reintroduce its “Get Windows 10” tool, or GWX, onto computers means it’s extremely difficult to avoid. Windows users who …

Page:

  1. Herby Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Finally confirmed my belief...

    That Windows (in any form) is a virus.

    1. davidp231

      Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

      Wrong - a virus is small and efficient in what it does... Windows doesn't fit either of those criteria.

      1. Chemical Bob

        Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

        "a virus is small and efficient in what it does... Windows doesn't fit either of those criteria."

        Right, Windows is a sexual mistake.

        1. Mpeler
          Holmes

          Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

          Ahh, like that old joke.

          Q: What's the difference between love and Windows?

          A: Windows is forever...

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

            Q What's the difference between herpes and the Windows 10 nagware?

            A You've got a better chance of getting rid of herpes.

            1. Bloakey1

              Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

              "A You've got a better chance of getting rid of herpes."

              I am no lover of spam but I did smile ten years ago when I got spam from a dating agency that matched up people with herpes so they could party on and not worry about transmitting it.

              1. Jedit
                Trollface

                "ten years ago I got spam from a dating agency that matched up people with herpes"

                Ten years? Damn, those spammers were riding the crest of the targeted advertising wave, weren't they?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Finally confirmed my belief...herpes

                Then people are fools: it is estimated that 90% of the world's population has already been exposed to one of the forms of the herpes virus. Most people are simply asymptomatic.

                Playing off the hopes, and ignorance, of gullible individuals.

    2. Mpeler
      Pint

      Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

      Now if only we could get it added to Windows Defender's definitions...

      Sit back, and let the fun begin...

      Mmmmh. Popcorn... and beer...

    3. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

      A virus who thinks it is the IT industry on its own, or that the IT industry is its own to do as it pleases.

      Linux user here, more hardcore as each day passes finds these MS shenanigans both amusing, ridiculous and petty.

      But this being MS I sort of expect these crap and people will tolerate it, as they always tolerate and bend to anything that comes from MS.

      Every day I wonder more and more what is the endgame MS is aiming for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

        But this being MS I sort of expect these crap and people will tolerate it

        I don't know how people can tolerate it. Consumers, perhaps, since they're used to "their" computer cocking up for no apparent reason (that's why tablets have gained popularity)

        But for those working in IT, how can you put up with this type of thing? Seriously.

        Things like this over-shadow any MS FUD from the last decade.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

          "for those working in IT, how can you put up with this type of thing?"

          Certified Microsoft Dependent IT departments. They were all the rage a decade or so ago, and there are still a few left, where people haven't caught on yet to the fact that one size does not necessarily fit all, neither in software nor in hardware.

          IT Departments that are scared wotsitless that Bad Things will happen if they allow "a cancer" on to their lovely IT network.

          IT Departments in companies whose CEO thinks Windows is great too because he's got it at home, and sees no need to permit anything else anywhere in the company.

          Marvellous. Like dinosaurs were marvellous.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

            Marvellous. Like dinosaurs were marvellous.

            Dinosaurs are marvellous. I see dinosaurs out of my window every day; they flit and frolic above my head when I'm in the garden. Birds are modern dinosaurs, descendants of the long-dead animals that fill our museums. Everything we consider to be characteristic of birds was first a (non-avian) dinosaur characteristic and that includes feathers.

            You might want to try a different analogy.

          2. AlbertH
            Flame

            Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

            Most British Government departments are like that. They're entirely clueless and tied to MS by a very unfavourable contract that Tony Bliar signed (in return for a house in Belgravia - sue me if it's not true, Tone). They use Cap Gemini and Fujitsu etc. to "manage" their networks, and the level of service "enjoyed" by the users is truly abysmal.

    4. Sebastian A

      Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

      Anything that's that persistant has to be doing something nefarious. They obviously don't trust Windows 10 to stand on its own merits, and this campaign of harassment is only making me determined to avoid it. I had originally figured I'd wait a few months before installing it but now... Hell no.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

      "GWX subverts a channel intended for one purpose (security hotfixes) for another (advertising)"

      Windows 10 is a security upgrade in many ways from older Windows versions so it's not "subverting" the channel.

      1. KjetilS

        Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

        I wish I could downvote you more than once

      2. Mr Flibble

        Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

        “Windows 10 is a security upgrade in many ways from older Windows versions”

        Yes, but whose security, I wonder…

      3. el_oscuro
        FAIL

        Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

        How does adding all of this telemetry phone home shit make Windows 10 more secure?

      4. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

        > Windows 10 is a security upgrade in many ways from older Windows versions

        It may be, but it is *NOT* a "security update"

        > so it's not "subverting" the channel.

        Yes it is.

        If it were just a security update then it could update Windows 7 to ... Windows 7, make no changes to the way the user uses it, make no changes to the way existing programs work, and absolutely not add outright spyware to send unknown data to unknown places and automatically give your kids' friends' friends access to your WiFi !

        And yes, I wish I could downvote you more than once !

  2. 2460 Something

    I know they are keen to push it out so they don't end up with the majority of their users being on windows 7 at the end of it's life. But this is completely the wrong way not only that, it should be the end users decision to make.

    I recently rebuilt a laptop for a blind friend of mine. She cannot upgrade as that would require a new license for her screen reader software, which at £400 isn't cheap. The constant nagware mutations are just completely inappropriate. There should be a simple option to say no, and that option should be respected, irrespective of Microsoft's ulterior motives.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      @2460 Something, re: screen readers.

      After all the "fun" you had in setting up a computer to use a screen reader, imagine all the "joy" your friend will have in *using* the thing. It's hard enough for you sighted folk to do this sort of work, it's infinitely more difficult to purge your computer of the various "Get Windows 10" scumware when you can only DO that IF the screen reader can & will parse the bits you need to know about in order to kill them.

      It's playing an infinite game of Whack-A-Mole when you can't even see the board to whack the moles when they appear. =-(

      1. 2460 Something

        Re: @2460 Something, re: screen readers.

        Yup. Although I suspect that she would call me rather than attempt it herself :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @2460 Something, re: screen readers.

        Unfortunately a number of disability aid software including screen readers does not play nice with windows 8.x or 10 so these people are stuck on 7. and with the ever increasing way Microsoft is forcing W10 on to systems and if you dont catch it. it will take over :-( more people will be in difficulties and cut off from the world due to the upgrade.

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: @2460 Something, re: screen readers.

        It's playing an infinite game of Whack-A-Mole when you can't even see the board to whack the moles when they appear. =-(

        It is apparent that even those of us with working eyeballs can't see all the moles. MS has become even more devious than previously proved and imagined.

    2. Adam Jarvis

      Breaking Disability Laws?

      Its an interesting Point, maybe Microsoft could be be taken to Court under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I recently rebuilt a laptop for a blind friend of mine. She cannot upgrade as that would require a new license for her screen reader software, which at £400 isn't cheap. The constant nagware mutations are just completely inappropriate.

      Now THAT is a story for the screechy rag trade. If the Sun blows this up into a hate fest I reckon it will change what Microsoft is doing quicker than just a lot of online whinging - they couldn't care less. You're just a number.

    4. Adam Jarvis

      Selective amnesia?

      Microsoft seem to have forgotten we paid for Windows 7.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Selective amnesia?

        "Microsoft seem to have forgotten we paid for Windows 7."

        No, they haven't forgotten. They know you only paid once. Now they're back for more and if selling your eyeballs is the only option then that's what they'll do.

        1. Adam Jarvis

          Re: Selective amnesia?

          Actually we've paid for Windows 7 several times over, 'per user', due to failing NVidia Graphics Chipsets with poor lead-free solder. It certainly felt like a subscription at the peak of the problem. (and still happening today, Quanta, I'm looking at you).

          It might be my selective amnesia but I don't remember reading that Microsoft had agreed to pay back their Windows tax share of each new failed Laptop purchase regards a Class action lawsuit.

          MS are very quick to talk up Piracy, but very quiet when it comes to all the unused licences out there that were paid for, but unuseable, due to the poor HW they were sold with.

      2. Glenn 6

        Re: Selective amnesia?

        Speak for yourself. :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Re: Selective amnesia?

        I didn't pay for windows 7, I pirated it.

        Pirates always get the superior product, no exceptions. No DRM, trailers, upgrade nags or other marketing rubbish.

        Obviously I'm using Linux now. I'm not a moron.

    5. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Yeah... we know.

      """Microsoft's ulterior motives."""

      Kind of remind me of something.... "Microsoft Loves Linux" hmmm.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Yeah... we know.

        YES!!--This is why MS is embracing Linux now, so it can implant Windows 10 nagware on Linux systems!!! Soon, all OS will be Windows 10!! Muahahahahahaha!!!!

        "Nice distro you go there, but wouldn't you rather have Windows 10?"

        (Hmmm, tough icon choice between black helicopter and Tux for this post. I'll go with the now-endangered Tux, before he is driven into obscurity.)

        1. Mpeler
          Big Brother

          Re: Yeah... we know.

          Have to wonder about Secure Boot, UEFI, and Micro$loth signing boot keys...

          Conflict of interest? Nefarious interests?

          Nah, couldn't be...

          Or?

        2. el_oscuro
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Yeah... we know.

          I had to look for that Black Helicopter icon. Now off to the complex..

    6. Florida1920 Silver badge

      ulterior motives

      Does MS have any other kind?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I know they are keen to push it out so they don't end up with the majority of their users being on windows 7 at the end of it's life.

      They're giving it away, and trying to force it on Windows 7 users because....?

      Well, I suppose if at Win 7 end-of-life, 40% of all PCs are using windows 7, then stockholder faith in Microsoft takes a nosedive.

      The whole "we now have 2% of all PC users on Windows 10, up from 1% last year!" is just something to put in the annual shareholders report.

      It's pretty sad if a company has a "newer, better" [their words, not mine] version of something that they can't convince people to use for "free"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        wait in line

        "It's pretty sad if a company has a "newer, better" [their words, not mine] version of something that they can't convince people to use for "free""

        Wasn't there once a time where people used to line up in overnight queues on release day so they could be first to hand over money to get the retail edition of their beloved leader's latest greatest OS?

        Or am I confusing MS and another company?

    8. AlbertH
      Linux

      I recently rebuilt a laptop for a blind friend of mine.

      Me too. We tried Vinux and Sonar and she still has both installed because she can't (yet) decide which one suits her better. Vinux has a brilliant speech synthesiser and Sonar has every multimedia codec you could imagine - she still can't choose!

      She ditched Windoze in 2005 for Knoppix with a built-in speech engine, and has used FOSS ever since.

    9. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      > I recently rebuilt a laptop for a blind friend of mine.

      How "pushy" are you and your friend ?

      As I see it there are several potential criminal acts here :

      1) Someone has already mentioned Disability Discrimination

      2) Computer Misuse Act - MS are "doing something" to her computer that's not been authorised* by her.

      3) It might even be classed as criminal damage.

      So if you are "pushy" enough to pursue it, then this is probably the best sort of case to go forwards with. Probably worth getting in touch with the relevant charities as I'm sure they'll be somewhat interested in what's going on and may already have "things happening".

      * No MS, me not turning off updates and you clearly misusing the system to push your nagware does not mean that I have authorised you to push it !

  3. Christoph Silver badge

    The easier way to block it

    Install GWX Control Panel to clear out all the settings and files automatically and to watch for attempts to reinstall them.

    1. JohnnyGStrings

      Re: The easier way to block it

      "GWX Control Panel" has worked excellently for me, it's now on all my PCs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The easier way to block it

        On a dozen or so laptops I have added the disable gwx =1 to the registry then run the blockwindowslies scripts, as yet the malodourous travesty that is windows 10 hasn't popped up any one of em..

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: The easier way to block it

        I have noticed that since I installed GWX Control Panel my Lap Top actually starts in less than half the time it used take, it also seems faster. If that is not my imagination then it show how much bloat MS is injecting into helping you into your new 'Windows As A Service'.

        For me I'llstay on 7 until I feel the urge to go Minty.

        I liked GWX Control Panel so much I sent a donation, definitely worth a few bob.

    2. oiseau Silver badge

      Block it ...

      Hello:

      Reading this article, I have the idea that (may be wrong) Firefox may use similar methods to 'auto-update' itself in spite of what the Window installation's owner wishes to allow.

      Funny, this does not happen with the Firefox in my Mint 17.1 install ...

      Cheers,

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Block it ...

        Uninstall Mozilla Update Service from the Control Panel and that should be that.

        Or there's a setting somewhere in Firefox's preferences which disables it but leaves it installed IIRC.

      2. Doctor Evil

        Re: Block it ...

        "Reading this article, I have the idea that (may be wrong) Firefox may use similar methods to 'auto-update' itself in spite of what the Window installation's owner wishes to allow."

        Tools | Options | Advanced | Update, select option "Check for updates, but let me choose whether to install them", and you're good to go. You'll be notified when there's an update available but it won't install until you give the go-ahead.

        If you want no Firefox "telemetry" at all, select option "Never check for updates (not recommended: security risk)" instead.

        1. psychonaut

          Re: Block it ...

          ive been using this script i developed with another guy. its on about 200 odd machines, i installed it about 6 weeks ago. no signs of any problems yet, although the kb removals may need to be updated. you are welcome to use it at your own risk etc etc. bung it in a .bat file and right click and run as an admin.

          it checks for admin permissions, then sets reg flags to disable the upgrade. then removes kb's that were relevant 6 weeks ago. it does that twice because apparently they dont go after the first removal sometimes. it also sets "give me recommended updates in the same way as critical updates" to "off" so that you can leave it on automatic critical updates and not get the recommended ones installed as they are the ones that cause the problem, although there was a story last week about a critical update that did something similar. ive decided to turn off all recommended updates on my customers machines - ymmv - if it does, delete the entry for REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update" /v IncludeRecommendedUpdates /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

          be careful you dont get line breaks when you copy and paste it into your favourite text editor.

          its quick to deploy to lots of machines if you only have remote control to do it with (i dont have a domains) and doesnt require the user to know anything or have to teach them about gwx control panel.

          @echo off

          if not "%1" == "max" start /MAX cmd /c %0 max & exit/b

          @echo off

          goto check_Permissions

          :check_Permissions

          net session >nul 2>&1

          if %errorLevel% == 0 (

          REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx" /v DisableGWX /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

          REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate" /v DisableOSUpgrade /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

          REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade" /v AllowOSUpgrade /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

          REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade" /v ReservationsAllowed /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

          REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update" /v IncludeRecommendedUpdates /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

          echo.

          echo should have 5 succesfull statements above

          echo.

          echo.

          TASKKILL /IM GWX.exe /T /F

          echo.

          echo dont worry if you get an error about GWX.exe above, it doesnt matter

          echo.

          echo.

          echo please wait until you see the FINISHED statement this may take 10 seconds or 20 minutes

          echo.

          echo.

          echo step 1 of 6 - PLEASE WAIT dont touch anything

          @echo on

          start /wait wusa /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart /log

          @echo OFF

          echo step 2 of 6 - PLEASE WAIT dont touch anything

          @echo ON

          start /wait wusa /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart /log

          @echo OFF

          echo step 3 of 6 - PLEASE WAIT dont touch anything

          @echo ON

          start /wait wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664 /quiet /norestart /log

          @echo OFF

          echo step 4 of 6 - PLEASE WAIT dont touch anything

          @echo ON

          start /wait wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664 /quiet /norestart /log

          @echo OFF

          echo step 5 of 6 - PLEASE WAIT dont touch anything

          @echo ON

          start /wait wusa /uninstall /kb:2976978 /quiet /norestart /log

          @echo OFF

          echo step 6 of 6 - PLEASE WAIT dont touch anything

          @echo ON

          start /wait wusa /uninstall /kb:2976978 /quiet /norestart /log

          @echo OFF

          echo.

          echo.

          echo FINISHED!

          echo NOW press any key to reboot your computer

          echo.

          pause

          shutdown.exe /r /t 005

          ) else (

          echo.

          echo.

          echo Failure: THIS HAS NOT WORKED.

          echo PLEASE RUN THIS AGAIN AS AN ADMINISTRATOR. press any key to exit

          pause

          exit

          )

          pause >nul

          1. psychonaut

            Re: Block it ...

            im not saying gwx control panel isnt the way forward, its great, but if you have to quickly deploy to many machines and the users arent able to cope with using gwx control panel then this is a good compromise. if you can use gwx control panel, then do. if you cant, this mitigates the problem for the moment.

            im guessing thats why i got a thumb down....unless its my code in which case its probably deserved. i had to throw it together quickly and it works...disnt have time for niceities

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019