back to article Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

When Microsoft let slip that it had snuck some new Windows 10 upgrade nagware into a security patch, we asked Redmond to explain just what the offending patch was about. The company's response leaves us with a simple conclusion: all the nagware that's been irritating people for months was a botched effort. In fact, Microsoft's …

Re: Yada yada yada

"Businesses are strapped for cash. so they made it free."

Microsoft didn't make this free and they know it. They way it appeared to be worded last year was that people who upgraded before July didn't have to pay at all. Now they say if you change out your motherboard after July, you have to pay for a license. You need to activate with MS anyway, so they COULD just have given you a generated key and only allowed that to be installed on one PC at a time, but no, they did it this way so that they conned everyone into upgrading and just have to sit back and wait for the money that they know they'll almost certainly get from you sooner or later.

It was just another bulls**t tactic by Microsoft.

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I've had a rather productive weekend.

Did two things with computers.

- Built a quick and dirty 'Hackintosh'. I'm going to be faffing around with it a bit in the next few weeks to see if I like it for daily use.

- Installed Mint on my main box with a swappable drive. So it boots native. Installation was extremely painless and fast. They also include 'commercial' drivers for the GTX980, and the thing is blisteringly fast. Hardware wise I'm chuffed. Then I tried to install Cairo, which went fine, and proceeded to add some shortcuts to it, which is kind of arcane and clunky. But I'll get there.

I'll still have Windoze on another drive on for the occasions where I need specialized software like autocad, valve calculation software, storage tank software and other stuff I need every now and then. When push comes to shove I can run that off the portable (it's a very good portable)

But I have decided I'm going to make a real go of this and see if I can separate myself from Microsoft in the next few months. I truly hope I persevere this time. Who knows, maybe I'll do something with Wine or something to see If I can get completely shot of it.

Even if I fail, It won't be for the lack of trying. Wish me luck.

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Linux

Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

Linux Mint, like most distributions, has multiple desktops. Install VirtualBox and run Windows in a VM. You can have seamless (fullscreen) display on one of your Mint desktops. It is not difficult to achieve.

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Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

Yarp. I built a hackintosh. I wiped it fairly soon afterward and installed Ubuntu instead (my self build tower is currently multibooting Ubuntu, FreeDOS and Windows 8.1). The problem is that a Hackintosh, in my experience, doesn't really approach the ease of use that Mac at its best can be*. It wouldn't be reasonable for it to, I suppose, since Apple hasn't tested OS X to run on the hardware that you pick. For my money, the best bet for OS X is an old style Xeon powered Mac Pro tower (get one second hand with guarantee from vendors like Scrumpy Macs). If you can't bear that then just use Linux of your choice.

* In fairness, Yosemite wasn't Mac at its best either. El Cap is much better in my experience.

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Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

An article on your experiences with a Hackintosh would be most welcome.

How about it? Or are El-Reg journo's trying to get back into Apple's good books these days?

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Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

"....An article on your experiences with a Hackintosh would be most welcome.

How about it? Or are El-Reg journo's trying to get back into Apple's good books these days?..."

Unlikely, given that it's a direct breach of all of Apple's EULA T's & C's.

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Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

I've also had a productive weekend with Mint, building a dual-boot Win 7/Mint system.

I did try Debian at first (as I was already familiar with it), but hit a few hurdles (Grub issues, then X Windows crashing on boot etc.). So tried Mint instead.

Mint installed without issue, even recognising my GTX 980 Ti, and giving me options of which drivers to install. Propitiatory ones from nVidia themselves, or an Open Source version, all in a nice little Driver window, listing pros and cons of the different options. Mint recommending the nVidia propitiatory ones, which is what I used, and installation was just a matter of a couple of clicks.

The only issue I had was my audio, which is a Creative SB card feeding some 5.1 speakers. but I was already aware of Creative's lack of Linux support, so expected this anyway. (Mint recognises the card, knows it's a Creative sound card, but no sound comes out).

But my monitor has built in speakers (not normally used), and Mint automatically configured the nVidia audio driver in the GTX 980 Ti, which let me select Displayport as my audio output, so the system still has audio, just stereo at the moment, rather than 5.1 (for now).

As a quick gaming test, I installed Steam (direct from the web site), and then installed a couple of test games, which worked without issue. (About 40% of my 178 items in my Steam library showed up as Linux compatible).

I'll keep Win 7 for now, but hopefully over time the need for Windows will diminish, I've also set up a Win 7 64bit VM within Mint itself, which seems to work fine so far.

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Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

All El reg has to do is ask politely and I will endeavour to oblige;

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Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

"Installed Mint on my main box with a swappable drive. So it boots native. Installation was extremely painless and fast. They also include 'commercial' drivers for the GTX980, and the thing is blisteringly fast"

But Windows 10 is faster on the same hardware. Especially the latest games that support Direct-X 12. Hence why my PC - which is primarily used for gaming - runs Win 10.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I've had a rather productive weekend.

Sucks you got down-voted for such an obvious thing... Games, in particular, modern games that are optimized to run in a Windows environment (take advantage of D3D) will run better than when ported to run on Linux or Mac and use OpenGL. It's just a fact of market realities, do you spend resources optimizing a game for <12% of the market, or do you aim for the mainstream market? It's not just game developers making this choice, it's also game engine developers and hardware/software engineers at graphics card manufacturers. Don't get me wrong, OpenGL is great, but it is not optimized for gaming.

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Anonymous Coward

"Trustworthy Computing"

Quite.

These days, whenever I run task Manager and see "trustedinstaller.exe" doing stuff, I get nervous.

I think Microsoft grossly underestimated the capability and willingness of people to actually cooperate and communicate to reveal and fight their machinations.

If they hadn't started the whole GWX thing, they might have had more success - there are plenty of fans out there willing to praise Windows 10. Not so many who can justify what Microsoft have been up to.

No quick wins here for them, I'm afraid.

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And we thought the NSA were sneaky bastards...

It appears that there's a trend setting into the Updates. They're now burying their wares in non-system updates. It makes one wonder when they'll start fragmenting it and putting bits and pieces into Security Updates until the Beast is fully assembled on the sly. You'll think you've got it turned off, firewalled, locked down and wake up some morning to Win10 on your PC and there will be no smoking gun, no footprints, nothing to tell you how it got there.

They've carefully weaseled about how the new OS is to be paid for. By subscription? By ads? By selling your particulars to the highest bidders (more ads, of course)?

If it's trust they want, then dammit, they'd damn well better be open and honest. The statement about the largest number of CS calls about "how to I get my upgrade?" my be real, as those fighting it aren't going to call the source of the problem, are they?

I don't normally think of myself as a tinfoil hatter, but the weasel words from MS, the underhanded and sneaky methods make me wonder. But not too much longer, I'm only a couple more tests away to converting to Mint/Wine. When that happens, I'll be more than happy to take my friends and family along if they want.

I go quietly now. Rant is over. Time for a nice adult beverage and a lie-down.

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Re: And we thought the NSA were sneaky bastards...

"It appears that there's a trend setting into the Updates. They're now burying their wares in non-system updates. It makes one wonder when they'll start fragmenting it and putting bits and pieces into Security Updates until the Beast is fully assembled on the sly. You'll think you've got it turned off, firewalled, locked down and wake up some morning to Win10 on your PC and there will be no smoking gun, no footprints, nothing to tell you how it got there."

I was thinking exactly the same: put 25% of the nagware in every update. I'd bet good money they'll be going this way very soon.

"They've carefully weaseled about how the new OS is to be paid for. By subscription? By ads? By selling your particulars to the highest bidders (more ads, of course)?"

I'd say subscription is on the way, by way of an update, which will mandate a Visa card be put on Windows, for it to boot. We'll see this summer in my opinion.

There'll certainly be ads as well, and of course anti-ads, plus some "specials" like proto-ransomware.

Oh yes, and paid security updates !

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Re: And we thought the NSA were sneaky bastards...

Oh yes, and paid security updates !

I certainly hope so, because that would get Microsoft in all sorts of new problems due to a rather obvious conflict of interest.

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Re: And we thought the NSA were sneaky bastards...

"I certainly hope so, because that would get Microsoft in all sorts of new problems due to a rather obvious conflict of interest."

Well, to be franck, in many countries, conflict of interest is not illegal, it's only bad for morality, which we've all concluded on, now.

Conflict of interest actually excellent for the revenue and profits line, like I'm reading every day in the press.

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Translated...

Microshite has lost the plot.

It's trying to push people to cloud just as the general public are starting to wake up to the issues of privacy, data location and are doing the calculations on the cost of renting server storage and processor time.

It's ignoring mobile just at the point where traditional PC's are slightly declining in the home in favour of tablets and other devices that save resources in our ever dwindling floor space where we can't eat a large take away pizza in comfort, let alone invite the neighbours around for a spot of tiffin.

The only thing it has going for it, it Surface, and that's at a price that defies many people's pockets at a time of recession.

Nadella's just making screw up after screw up as far as I can see.

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Childcatcher

What little trust Microsoft had remaining in the bank has been well and truly overdrawn by the utter disrespect and contempt shown toward their customers.

When someone offers sweeties to come back to their place you can bet it isn't going to end well for you.

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Trust from whom?

Millions and millions and millions would have no clue what you are talking about, they are not aware of these issues. Nor do they care.

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Facepalm

notifications from the task bar

Bought a lease-return Lenovo X130e for a knock-about field computer. Came with a fresh install of Win7 64-bit. Delightful purchase! Flashing & blinking icon in the task bar, right there from the get-go! Can't miss it. Then comes the pop-up window! Upgrade! Free! Windows 10!

No thanks. Don't need it, don't want it, doubt that I'll like it. Dug out the list of 17 (!) KB-number "Security Patches" I'd been collecting & saving from Win10 dissenters here on El Reg. Found 6 (!) of them installed in the freshly-installed Win7 installation! Dug 'em out, sprayed 'em, stomped 'em, killed 'em. Downloaded GWX control panel. Set it for Win10 'death watch' mode. And ... also turned off MS Security Update.

Waiting for the day that MS decides to bypass all Update settings and ram Win10 down the pipe anyway. That will be the day for total disk-wipe and Linux install.

Did we notice the "notification" in the task bar, MS Marketing? YES ... now go diddle yerself.

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It's a bit like some sort of midlife crisis thing going on here, I think. A middle-aged guy, well established, doing well. Everything moves along nicely, but a little too routine, a little bit boring. So all of a sudden he wants to do all the stuff the hip young kids are up to, but hasn't got a clue about it. So inevitable he makes a fool out of himself; alienating both his old peers and his would-be new peers. We've all seen that happen, and it usually doesn't end well.

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I have just remembered something that's probably also a good comparison. Does anyone remember the 'New Coke' desaster from the 1980ies?

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Yes, new Coke was all over the news media, there were protestors with placards and loads of people spreading the word that we should boycott Coke - and they did that without having social media available to help them.

None of that with Windows 10, it's an issue mostly amongst the tech strata alone.

And anyway, Coke reissued Coke classic to shut everyone up, then quietly and stealthily eased over to the new cheaper to produce drink without anyone seeming to notice.

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Angel

Sneakin' something in

Ayup, so they did. And so did we stop drinking Coke altogether. That sickly-sweet flavor left a gawd-awful aftertaste, and it prompted us to think what a silly price we'd paid for a habit of drinking colored sugar-water!

(But at least they weren't sneakin' in ethylene glycol as an 'upgrade'; that would of been an MS-like move of sneakin' in the telemetry without confessin' the truth of what its all about.)

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Pint

"It's a bit like some sort of midlife crisis thing going on here,"

Well put. Upvoted and beer.

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There's a plant down Mexico way that still produces the Original Recipe Coke. More than a couple of bucks a 12oz bottle up here but occasionally I succumb to temptation.

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PT

Mexican Coke, yes! It's made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Worth the price.

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Yes Mexican Coke and Mexican Sprite, the only way I'll every on rare occasions drink it...

Funny how you have to get your drink from Mexico for it to be actually good.

Just like Dr. Pepper and their crap, shutting down the only US producer who made it original and the way people wanted to pay extra for...

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FAIL

WELL DONE MICROSOFT

The line you crossed is not so far behind you, the curvature of the Earth hides it.

Now no one will ever trust you ever again.

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Yag
Facepalm

Weasely words for weasely actions.

Whenever I read each sentences of the response, this song was popping in my head...

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Facepalm

Re: Weasely words for weasely actions.

Because Microsoft sort-of started out OK a long time ago but ended up like this?

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Anonymous Coward

Is that Microsoft's usual "management" of statistics?

“Since launching Windows 10, our #1 customer support request has been 'how do I get my upgrade'”.

Knowing how trustworthy statistics are that are quoted by Microsoft, I wonder what exactly they did to prevent the real #1 from showing up:

'How the %$#@ can I prevent my computer from even mentioning it, let alone stop the upgrade from happening?'

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Re: Is that Microsoft's usual "management" of statistics?

"How do I get my upgrade [off the computer]?"

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The part of this that really boggles my mind

is that they've snuck the latest W10 ad in via stealth mode in a security update, so full on sneakyness, but then I read this:

The spokesperson who sent the missive went on to explain that “Users that have turned off the GWX app or disabled notifications in settings will not see this recent change, nor will Windows Professional users.”

Don't get me wrong, this bit qualifies as a good thing, or at least a not terrible one. And it appears to be true - having let this update through during the weekend on one machine and fired up IE to check, there is no W10 update prompt anywhere to be found.

It's as if Gollum is running the show for the most part, but occasionally Smeagol manages to take control....

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After all the nagging, the upgrade failed

Having built a new PC I decided the easiest way to clean up my old Win 7 system prior to passing it on was to do the Win 10 upgrade and tell it not to preserve user data or settings. Failed with an undocumented error code. Hmmm. Find an article on preparing to upgrade. Follow advice. Same result. <sarcasm>Much praise to M$ as the rollback worked perfectly! </sarcasm>

Fortunately the requirement to upgrade before doing a clean install was removed in November so I made a DVD and installed from that using the Win 7 product key. What a ridiculous mess.

Now the new PC is a games-only zone. Everything productive I want to do is run under linux mint on a 5i5 intel NUC, accessed via NoMachine to avoid multiple-keyboard issues.

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Re: After all the nagging, the upgrade failed

Yes, I've also stepped over to Linux mint, and whilst I agree that it not only eats Windows' lunch, it also sleeps with Windows' wife, most people don't actually give a shit.

Most of this discomfort about what MS are up to really only exists in the IT savvy world and it's always a mistake to assume our world is the only world. Our world is relatively tiny, though it might in the long term prove to be influential.

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@ werdsmith

Most people may not give a shit, but don't you think it's a good thing that some of us do? It's just like the 'snooper's charter', where 99% of the public don't know or care what will happen with their data, but a bunch of barristers are making a fuss.

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Microsoft says that Windows 10 is fundamentally more secure than Windows 7. Therefore, the entire OS is an important security update. I don't see the issue.

Windows 7 is nearly 7 years old, its very much time to move on.

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Microsoft says....

Microsoft says a lot of things. I personally don't trust a word they say.

And Windows 7 may be 7 years old, but it's due to be supported with security updates until 2020. I'll 'move on' on my terms, when I choose.

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Security updates like these? I wouldn't like to see a Windows 7 computer in 2020, it'd be covered in popup adware for MS' latest and greatest OS.

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Yes, with security updates like these, I might very well move to a *nix before the end of 2016.

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Anonymous Coward

I might very well move to a *nix before the end of 2016

That was pretty much what made transitioning to OSX easier for us. The GUI is not that much different (although so much more usable in so many little ways if it wasn't for having to work out where home/end/pgup/pgdn went to), but it also has Unix with a lot of the trimmings underneath and we were already comfortable with that on servers.

A win/win by going for no-Win :)

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I wouldn't like to see a Windows 7 computer in 2020, it'd be covered in popup adware for MS' latest and greatest OS.

Well a few years back when we were reeling from MS's madness over XP EoL and W8 release, I did say that the Win7 EoL in 2020 was an opportunity for open source and Linux in the Enterprise, as MS were and still seem to be doing much to push customers away from Windows.

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Not optional

"Since launching Windows 10, our #1 customer support request has been 'how do I get my avoid this upgrade."

“We’ve been using notifications from the task bar to inform people when their upgrade is ready. We are evolving our notifications to be more approachable unavoidable and hopefully make it clear that resistance is futile.”

“Users that have turned off the GWX app or disabled notifications in settings will not see this recent change, nor will Windows Professional users - and we need to assimilate them as well.”

There. Fixed it for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Now, if they could deliver Seven of Nine also...

.... maybe I could think about an upgrade.... <G>. Even if she's Seven of Ten..

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Re: Now, if they could deliver Seven of Nine also...

I was going to question the use of Seven of Ten - but then I realised that with Microsoft, there is no Nine!

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Linux

Is Microsoft German, in a way?

... but then I realised that with Microsoft, there is no Nein!

(actually, there is, and we all know how it's written)

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Drop the final word in the Subject line ...

... and I suspect that you will be closer to the truth.

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My main PC Windows 7 SSD is about to be given a rest until all this update BS is sorted one way or another.

I've almost finished preparing my 2nd SSD with another install of Windows 7 (I have 3 W7 genuine licences, btw) and Linux Mint as a dual boot. Windows 7 is at SP1 level only, with no further updates and NO Internet access allowed whatsoever. All Internet activities will be Mint only.

Not long to go now and when I'm ready it's just a matter of moving the SATA cable from one SSD to the other (with the PC shut down and power off, of course). I keep them both powered inside the tower, makes swapping a little easier.

But, the way things are going, I suspect my W7/Mint drive will be the only one I'll be using very soon.

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"Windows 7 is at SP1 level only, with no further updates and NO Internet access allowed whatsoever."

Why? Surely, with this configuration and your knowledge, WSUS Offline is your friend.

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Anonymous Coward

Since launching ... our #1 request has been 'how do I get my upgrade'...

I doubt that except in round table conversations from serfs to executives. After all, its what they expected (demanded) to hear! Microsoft is essentially a cult... What a surprise, eh? Apple is too. Even unsexy IBM. Accenture was the biggest of all (I know I worked for them)! I hear Google is heading that way also, according to worker interviews for a mainstream newspaper! The sect leaders must meet every new hire to make sure they're firmly brainwashed....

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