back to article Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

Windows 7 and 8 installations are finding new ways to re-enable Microsoft’s intrusive “Get Windows 10” nagware, even when users disable it. An additional background process has been detected that resets the Registry’s AllowOSUpgrade flag twice a day. Prophylactic measures taken by users to disable the nagware – such as these …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    Larger enterprise users are not eligible for Windows 10 upgrades, so don’t receive the GWX nagware that’s been plaguing Home and Professional Edition users for six months.

    It was originally my understanding that if you ran Windows 7 joined to a domain, then GWX would ignore you, however this seems not to be the case anymore, as I've had to play whack-a-mole on a number of my domain member desktops recently.

    GWX certainly bears all the hallmarks of professionally built malware with hidden processes and unauthorised registry changes, even using obfuscated folder names ($WINDOWS.~BT) for the download.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Windows

      GWX Windows certainly bears all the hallmarks of professionally built malware with hidden processes and unauthorised registry changes

      Fixed.

      1. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        "GWX Windows certainly bears all the hallmarks of professionally built malware with hidden processes and unauthorised registry changes"

        Indeed, and I have been treating it as such. I have entered GWX*.* files in my HIPS as malicious, in addition to the various registry hacks that can be found.

        Given this is supposed to be the last version of Windows ever, given that my experience of it left me extremely disenchanted, the time for me to pick on a final Linux distribution has almost arrived, and I've used the OS family since version 2x. I told MS this in their one of their 'feedback' forms; no edition of anything, no OS, no vehicle type, no module, nothing is ever finished, nothing is ever perfect.

        If MS really mean to never issue another edition of Windows, then they have pronounced its death sentence. Perhaps OS2 if the price is right; if not, then Linux.

    2. NoneSuch
      Devil

      The NSA must be keen to roll out their new spyware on it's citizens and the world in general.

    3. Adam Jarvis

      It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. Fancy going back to a fresh install of Win7?

      The latest iteration of Windows Update 'just happens' to be also preventing a fresh install of Windows 7 SP1 ISO 'out of the box'. Whether you use a registration key during install process or skip it. The new iteration of Windows update (the first thing that a fresh install of Windows 7 installs on enabling Windows Update) has broken Windows Updates, with a endless wait to find updates. Coincidence? When this is 'fixed', in a machine with an SSD, should take about 7-10 minutes to find all 200+ updates.

      And no, none of the Windows Updates automated 'fix' tools solve this one.

      Yes, is fixable, if you know how, but took several hours to work out the solution, but there is no way the average user will find the solution, even an expert (to be honest) they'll just try the only obvious easy solution to fix Window update problem - to install Windows 10 over the top, instead. Maybe, that was Microsoft's intention.

      Microsoft need to be investigated by UK authorities, regarding their current tactics, people have paid for their Windows 7 licences, they have the right to use them until end of life 'unhindered'.

      Don't believe me? Try it yourself - Fresh zero'd disk, with fresh MBR, no operating system, machine tested was Bios based, not EFI, so disk was using standard partition tables. Just the standand Windows 7 SP1 ISO, not slipstreamed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. [...]

        Last time I had to reinstall 7, I just left it behind a few firewalls and a NAT for a few hours checking for updates, and it finally started working as normal after installing the first batch of ~180 it found.

        1. leexgx

          Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. [...]

          that has been bugging me as well windows update on first check after install (i use slipstream i never going to install 200 updates, 20 or less is better) if you are going to do that many updates do them in 60 at a time (or no more than 100 in one go as it starts going)

          is taking upto 1 hour to check (1-3 hours on AMD cpus or Low Powered CPUs based off the ATOM cpu the intel ones with a N in them or p4 or c2d)

          once you have all the updates it does it very quickly

      2. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

        "The new iteration of Windows update (the first thing that a fresh install of Windows 7 installs on enabling Windows Update) has broken Windows Updates,"

        problem is the website only now works with IE11

        You have to manually download and install IE11, then run Windows Update

        First thing you then get is an update to windows update........install that and then the rest of updates will stream down

        1. Adam Jarvis

          Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

          Actually solved it a different way. (Though why I bother is getting harder and harder to justify, given Mint 17.3 installs in 12 minutes including all updates, and thats including manually adding the NVidia Graphics, Broadcom Wireless proprietary drivers and editing Grub and adding NO LOGO for NVidia to x.config, adding a wireless password.

          The Windows 7 SP1 Fresh Install fix...

          (and No need to ever open IE8 or install IE11)

          The latest Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600.320 is reliant of a previous update KB3102810. The problem is that Update doesn't exist on the original Windows 7 SP1 ISO. You need to manually install this update AFTER Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600.320 has installed but once the new update agent has restarted/running - don't leave it to endlessly run, just restart the machine, then on startup manually download and install KB3192810 from MS directly, then re-run Windows Update, i.e break the first run of Windows update after new Windows Update has installed. All Updates will then post in under 10 minutes. (Well if you have an SSD)

          I use only 'select updates first then download', installing only important updates, keeping optional updates separate.

          Then I hide

          KB2952664

          KB3021917

          KB3035583

          KB3068708

          KB3075249

          KB3080149

          KB3102429

          KB971033

          Also optional later update KB2965788 will cause any other updates to fail if installed at the same time, so if you want a clean install History, do these last 5 one at time, that works, to achieve the 'Holy Grail' of 100% of Updates installed sucessfully, no failures. And no Windows 10 NAGS!

          Windows Update is CLUNKY BAG OF NAILS, yes it works - but every other update system out there is putting it to shame in 2016. Needs a complete re-write, yet no-one at MS seems to want to open that can of worms though.

          1. Adam Jarvis

            Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

            Slight typo there...To avoid any confusion its KB3102810 you need to install.

          2. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

            >Windows Update is CLUNKY BAG OF NAILS, yes it works...

            LIAR liar pants on fire!

            That process can sit in vmplayer and happily chew up 100% of my quad core i7 laptop all day and not achieve anything more than heating the table top. Where is W7 sp2 and sp3? What happens in W10 with its "continuous updates" when you have several hundred patches to apply to a new install?

            If Windows activation is so good, can't ms provide quarterly ISO images for direct download and on an official torrent?

            1. Adam Jarvis

              Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

              Have been burned far too often for saying Windows Update doesn't work - I'm no fan of MS, (to the point where the shills always blame the messenger's own technical incompetence, as the 'get-out') though I can safely say, currently it doesn't update/work for Windows 7 SP1 ISO 'out of the box' , as I stated, without the fix KB3102810 applied in the correct sequence. Jack Schofield is one who loves to defend the abilities of Windows Update, given it works across millions of systems.

              And with the fix KB3102810 I get all 200+ updates in less than 10 minutes, so the apologist approach saying its a doing some tough maths is complete rubbish too, this is MS been devious/upto its tricks. If its taking longer, follow the fix above, buy an SSD or switch to Linux Mint 17.3, because Microsoft is just not worth it anymore, and we're all fools, clinging on - because the idea of change is just as bad.

              But generally up to this point, before the latest Windows Update installer roll out, it did actually update Windows 7. Its is a slow dinosaur piece of ...., but on the whole, I hate to say it - it patches systems eventually, but the customer experience is something to beholden, in MS speak.

              1. Naselus

                Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

                "I can safely say, currently it doesn't update/work for Windows 7 SP1 ISO 'out of the box' "

                I installed a laptop with Win 7 SP1 Home Edition yesterday and ran the updates with no problems, so tbh I'm not sure you can safely say that tbh. And I say that as someone who's not very keen on WU or it's even clunkier big brother WSUS.

              2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

                "to the point where the shills always blame the messenger's own technical incompetence"

                Ehh.. How much competence should it take to do an automated update?

                Clicking the Update button would be about it, normally, in a sane operating system, from a sane operating system vendor.

            2. Adam Jarvis

              Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update. ........

              Out of context - What I said...

              'Windows Update is CLUNKY BAG OF NAILS, yes it works - but every other update system out there is putting it to shame in 2016. Needs a complete re-write, yet no-one at MS seems to want to open that can of worms though'

              And I probably add 'yes it (sort of) works' if I was writing it again. The problem is there a millions of systems running Windows 7 and while even I hate to admit it, in general the system must be working for the majority of the millions of users, but its certainly looking very dumb and dated in its approach, to figuring out what each computer needs.

              Windows needs a background 'dropbox style' of system updates to stay upto date.

      3. PNGuinn
        Linux

        Re: Fancy going back to a fresh install of Win7?

        They'll just try the only obvious easy solution to fix Window update problem - to install Mint. Or some other flavour of...

        FIFY

        1. John 104

          Re: Fancy going back to a fresh install of Win7?

          That's what I did. I just keep 10 around now for a few programs. I suck at Linux but I'll figure it out eventually. :)

      4. Aniya
        Megaphone

        Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update.

        @Adam Jarvis I think you give Microsoft too much credit.

        Incompetence or malice? I do not think Microsoft will intentionally break Windows Update for Windows 7. I do however think that Microsoft is quite incompetent and does not know how to write a proper package management and update system. Windows Update is very broken.

        The reason a fresh install of Windows 7 can take 30 minutes (on a very fast computer) to just to check for updates (I have seen two hours on slower computers) is because the code for Windows Update to check what it needs to update is very poor. This is just checking. Not installing.

        When Windows Update finally finishes checking for updates you may see about 200 required updates for a fresh install of Windows 7. What you do not see is the thousands of updates that those 200 updates supersede. Anyone who uses WSUS will understand what I mean.

        So when a fresh install of Windows 7 is performed, Windows Update must check through those thousands of updates and compare against what you may or may not have installed. And it must not just compare update against update, it must also compare versions of each file in each update against each file in each other update and to make sure that an older update does not accidentally overwrite a file that has been updated by a different but newer update of another purpose.

        It is a very big bruteforce approach. That's why when you run Windows Update on a fresh Windows 7 install you will see the CPU load for one core stay at 100% the whole time and real memory usage (not cached files) can reach up to 8GB. I have seen up to 10GB before.

        This is why when I run WSUS, I always manually delete superseded updates. That way when my computers join my domain they only see the new updates and therefore there are a lot less files for useless Windows Update to process. But of course for home users where we do not have a WSUS server this means we must sit around like baboon for a few hours while Windows Update tries to do what yum or apt can do in just a few minutes.

        1. Techie007

          Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update.

          >> "When Windows Update finally finishes checking for updates you may see about 200 required updates for a fresh install of Windows 7. What you do not see is the thousands of updates that those 200 updates supersede. Anyone who uses WSUS will understand what I mean."

          This is why we so desperately need Microsoft to do the right thing and release Windows 7 SP2 so it can start with a clean slate again.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update.

            windows7 sp2 if ever released would include all spyware without the chance of removing it however MS do not want you staying with win7 where you have additional protection (in some countries) because you purchased it retail or as part of a PC.

            Microsoft want you to have as little choice as android users namely you have the choice not to use it or the choice for google and their hangers on to see everything you do.

            Microsoft understand that they cannot produce a sufficent incentive for most windows users to upgrade away from their expensive to maintain OS and so they are trying to force everyone to move to an OS they do not have any rights.

            One OS is much cheaper to maintain and if you can also spy on your customers without them being able to complain then all the better. I presume that those people who used to pay MS to put hole in the "security" are happy they have linux covered and no longer need to rely upon MS, hence the radical swing to forced emigration to winX

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update.

          @Aniya

          - This is why when I run WSUS, I always manually delete superseded updates. That way when my computers join my domain they only see the new updates and therefore there are a lot less files for useless Windows Update to process. But of course for home users where we do not have a WSUS server this means we must sit around like baboon for a few hours while Windows Update tries to do what yum or apt can do in just a few minutes.

          I'm not sure how WSUSoffline handles superseded updates, I have noticed, but didn't investigate differences between a full archive I took a while back and a more recent one (ie. updates in the older archive that were not present in the more recent archive). Hence my suggestion is if you are thinking of re-installing an earlier version of Windows it is worth using WSUSoffline to create an initial update set before you connect the system to the Internet and WUP.

        3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update.

          You could blame it on incompetence.

          I think it's more of a matter of managment saying "well, don't spend any time on these cases -it's not a problem if the user can't do this as we want him to move on (fsck that end user who doesn't know his own good)".

          The MS update system is the worst I have seen of any operating system. Hours upon hours of millions of users' time wasted. It used to be quite straight forward and quick, until some idiot designed the current scheme.

      5. psychonaut

        This is confirmed ive seen this a few times recently...thought it was just me

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update.......

        I did a clean install last night with my retail windows 7 upgrade pre sp1 and left WU unconfigured without problems.

        To be honest though, it was clear to me that the "checked" version of win7 would be infected when it came out after winX, you could tell by the green aura around the image and the "danger, danger, high voltage" music playing during download (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a4gyJsY0mc).

        Getting a copy of sp1 off MS was harder than I remembered but I did manage to get the exe version but havent installed yet

        It's the Microsoft way or the highway, sadly

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update

        Yup, have this problem here.

        This is totally unacceptable to deliberately break older systems especially after a rebuild which is what M$ have done.

        I also noticed my 7 Home Basic b0xen has developed a similar issue claiming no updates are available yet this started weeks ago.

        Possibly related?

      8. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: It gets worse... Fancy going back to a fresh install of Win7?

        You are absolutely correct about this. I have an older laptop that came with Vista, but that I had switched to XP the day it arrived. A few months ago, I decided to switch it to a still-supported OS, so I restored the backup I had made of the original Vista install. It immediately began finding and downloading hundreds of updates.

        Somewhere in that process, I decided Vista wasn't good enough if I was going to go through the trouble to fully migrate everything. I decided to upgrade it again to 7. I backed up Vista again (preserving all the work I had done) and went for a clean install of 7.

        Unlike Vista, the fresh 7 install didn't immediately begin finding new updates. I went to Windows Update and hit the "check for updates" button, and it never found any. It was just checking forever.

        I tried the Microsoft "Fixit" tool, manually downloading the latest Update client and several other updates that were meant to ensure the integrity of the update process (which did not work either at first; I describe this below), manually verifying the registry entries for the BITS and wuauserv services, but nothing ever worked. This was a completely clean install from a genuine MS DVD, and updates did not work.

        Some people on one tech help forum I went to had said that with Win 10 just coming out recently, the MS servers are probably super busy, so just let it process longer... overnight. For days, perhaps. I tried letting it go a few hours, but it seemed foolish. If the server was too busy to work to update 7, why did it work as intended with Vista?

        I eventually used a batch downloader program for grabbing the hundreds of updates from the MS servers (thanks ever so much for not having service packs anymore, Microsoft), made a text file of the list of filenames, then turned that into a batch file to install each update one-by-one. By that time, I had already seen that the Windows Standalone Update installer (WUSA), necessary for installing all updates downloaded from Microsoft, didn't work either (I cannot recall if it threw an error or just hung... something about it being stuck on "looking for previous updates" sticks in my mind), and the standard instructions offered on the MS help site ("make sure wuauserv and BITS are running") didn't help, as they were both in fact running.

        At some point, just by chance, I'd noticed that I could get an update to install successfully if I did it immediately after a reboot... which I quickly worked out was before the wuauserv (Windows Update service, which was set to delayed automatic start) had started. The service start type essentially behaves as "manual" until Windows gets around to performing the delayed start.

        That was the workaround. I put the service on manual, stopped it, and executed the update batch file. It would start the update service when the given update was started, successfully install it, then stop the update service before the batch file started the next update (when it would again start up). It took forever, and it required constant attention to keep things going (sometimes it would fail to stop the service before starting the next update, and I would have to mess with it to get it to work after that), but it eventually worked.

        Once I got nearly all of the updating done manually, Windows Update started working again. It could have been any one (or group) of the hundreds of updates that eventually made it work.

        I had occasion to install 7 again after that (this time the 64 bit edition). It did the same thing. I decided to try the "let Windows Update keep working for days" thing, and eventually, it did work.

        At the time of the first failure to update, I was perplexed as to why something that worked on Vista had failed so badly on the more recent OS. After witnessing the behavior of Microsoft surrounding the Windows 10 upgrades, though, I came to the same conclusion-- Microsoft is deliberately screwing around with people trying to get a fresh install of 7 updated in the hopes of getting them to give up on 7 and upgrade straight away. This was before it was possible to use a Win 7 key to activate Win 10, though, so going through the upgrade process (rather than a clean install of 10) was mandatory if you wanted 10 for free.

        The irony here is that if that had been my goal all along, to install 7 and upgrade that to 10, I would have insisted on getting the update malfunction corrected first. Upgrades on Windows are notoriously unreliable, and the last thing I would want to do would be to perform an upgrade on an install of 7 that was not working properly. It has not been my experience that OS upgrades fix underlying problems so much as exacerbate them.

      9. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: It gets worse, with latest iteration of Windows Update...

        "people have paid for their Windows 7 licences, they have the right to use them until end of life 'unhindered'"

        Actually, they have a right to use Windows 7 forever. EOL is just MS's end of support for the product.

        But I'm not surprised MS is actively ruining things. Douchebags.

    4. agatum

      > It was originally my understanding that if you ran Windows 7 joined to a domain, then GWX would ignore you

      About a month ago I was thinking 'slurp would _never_ dare to fuck with business users'. At the moment I am wondering...

    5. Snake

      I have personally nailed it down as absolutely having nothing to do with "sentience", Microsoft keeps re-assigning update KB2952664 as "urgent" and "important". This KB update then will load KB3035583, the GWX nag helper.

      The only way you'll catch the KB2952664 'rearmament" is to set your Windows Update to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them", as ANY other automated setting causes the KB to download in the background and, thanks to that Microsoft setting, take the soonest opportunity to self-install.

      Happened to me just this morning: even though I had previously and quite intentionally set KB2952664 as Hidden, Windows Update just tried to slip it in to today's patch updates, quite behind my back! So you must actually examine each Patch Tuesday update plan to see what Microsoft is trying to hide.

      1. Captain Badmouth
        Big Brother

        If only that were true...

        @ Snake,

        I had updates set to check but do not download, I deleted KB2952664 and checked for updates. Checking the list KB2952664 was not present, so downloaded and installed the security ones. After a restart the magic KB2952664 was again on my win7 computer and all my hidden updates were again revealed.

        1. Snake

          Re: If only that were true...

          "I had updates set to check but do not download, I deleted KB2952664 and checked for updates. Checking the list KB2952664 was not present, so downloaded and installed the security ones. After a restart the magic KB2952664 was again on my win7 computer and all my hidden updates were again revealed."

          And that is the exact vehicle which is causing the Windows 10 nag to reappear - as I stated, Microsoft is overriding our choice of Hidden updates in order to force KB2952664 back into systems.

          Very NOT appreciated. Where the hell is the lawsuit regarding monopolistic practices and infringing freedom of choice? I DON'T want Win10 but Microsoft is very (very) close to forcing us into it.

          MAKE SURE you remove ALL of the following updates:

          KB308149

          KB3075249

          KB3021917

          KB3035583 (IMPORTANT)

          KB3044374

          KB2990214

          KB2952664 (IMPORTANT)

          KB3068708

          KB3080149

          KB3075249

        2. Snake

          Re: If only that were true...

          IMPORTANT UPDATE!

          I've figured out how Microsoft is doing this: They keep reissuing KB2952664 with different revision numbers then marking the update as "essential", forcing Windows to download and install it automatically without user intervention and even if you marked a (previous) revision as "Hidden".

          If you check

          HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\PackageIndex\Package_1_for_KB2952664[~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~0.0.0.0]

          (numbers enclosed in [...] may change)

          plus numerous other registry keys, you'll find the various revisions that your computer has been forced to download and install, each one seen as "separate" and individual due to the revision number but, of course, exactly the same.

      2. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        Yes, I found that too with KB 2952664, which was today recommended. This is the sixth item that I've hidden in update. With the registry hacks, hiding updates and using my HIPS to block GWX*.* I thought I'd acquired some peace; being suspicious I clicked on the link in update and found this in my browser: "This update helps Microsoft make improvements to the current operating system in order to ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows."

        These people are beginning to piss me off.

    6. Keith Langmead

      "It was originally my understanding that if you ran Windows 7 joined to a domain, then GWX would ignore you, however this seems not to be the case anymore, as I've had to play whack-a-mole on a number of my domain member desktops recently."

      I don't think that's ever been the case, it's only people running Enterprise edition that can't receive it. Pro users (certainly retail versions of Pro) can get it even if they're joined to a domain, though obviously if they're in a domain environment there's a better chance they get their updates centrally managed, and the admins have already excluded the offending update from being applied.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    How in Hell's name did we get here?

    So, I'm fighting to exclude the criminals outside the tent, while the bloke (or blokess) paid to help me is rapidly turning into a criminal inside the tent. If you see what I mean.

    GWX Control Panel seems to be doing a good job in keeping the nagware at bay, although I noticed that it detected a 32-bit download today that wasn't detected previously (I'm running Win 7 64 bit).

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII
      Devil

      Re: How in Hell's name did we get here?

      One can only hope that next month's patch cycle gets GWX Control Panel added into the microsoft anti-malware database to stop users running it, since it's clearly interfering with how Windows is meant to function.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Angel

      Re: How in Hell's name did we get here?

      https://github.com/WindowsLies/BlockWindows

    3. Joseph Haig

      Re: How in Hell's name did we get here?

      How did we get here? Well, when your business plan depends on people being forced to buy the latest version of your operating system when they buy a new computer and then this happens:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/13/only_apple_grew_sales_in_2015s_horror_pc_market/

      you have to do something to compensate for not actually giving people a compelling reason to upgrade.

  3. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Devil

    Oh, Jesus...

    Okay Microsoft, well done, you've now officially won back the "Evil" crown...

    /golfclap

    1. Kevin 6

      Re: Oh, Jesus...

      How can they win back what they never lost in the 1st place?

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Oh, Jesus...

        @Kevin 6 - You mean to say you've never used anything remotely connected to Google - inadvertently or deliberately?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Paul IT
    Mushroom

    Prepare for disaster...

    The hole that MSFT is digging is getting bigger and wider, please can someone, anyone tell them to STOP.

    We can't clear this s**t upgrade off quick enough.

    I am expecting floods of tears and sad stories when the upgrade takes 8 hours and fails.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Prepare for disaster...

      They won't stope even if a million users join a class action lawsuit against them.

      MS will say that their EUL gives them the right etc etc

      Personally, I'd like someone in the law to consider taking them to court under the Computer Misuse Act. They are clearly tampering with your computer against your wishes.

      Will they?

      Nah, pigs might fly etc.

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: Prepare for disaster...

      The hole that MSFT is digging is getting wider and deeper. Please can someone, anyone offer tips on how to get them to concentrate on digging down.

      FTFY

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Prepare for disaster...

      The hole that MSFT is digging is getting bigger and wider, please can someone, anyone tell them to STOP.

      Why?

      Just let them keep digging it, and once they get to the point that it's deep enough that they can't get out quickly, we have the following options:

      - just roll out the Caterpillar D9 and bury them

      - pile Vista and ME install CDs on top of them, then get out the D9 and bury them

      - fill the hole with thermite mixed with Vista and ME install CDs, ignite the lot, then once it's finished do the D9 bit

      - any of the above, then erect a Memorial Latrine on top.

      Tenders for a Beer Concession Stand near the Memorial Latrine will be considered.

      1. John 104

        Re: Prepare for disaster...

        I say we nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  5. moiety

    An additional background process has been detected that resets the Registry’s AllowOSUpgrade flag twice a day.

    This alone is Microsoft disqualifying themselves from my desktop. *I* will decide what happens on *my* machine, thankyouverymuch.

    In fact, 1/10 of the combined dickery displayed to date is someone who clearly cannot be trusted with something as personal as an operating system.

    They have irretrievably blown what trust that had from me. Onto the Sony list they go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An additional background process has been detected that resets the Registry’s AllowOSUpgrade flag twice a day.

      Isn't there a way to change protections on registry entries so that they cannot be altered?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Big Brother

        "Isn't there a way to change protections on registry entries so that they cannot be altered?"

        Considering that Windows has stuff an Admin user can't (easily or at all) access, what makes you think it might be possible for a user/admin to protect anything from the OS itself?

        1. PNGuinn
          Megaphone

          I am Root

          Hmmm.. I know it's an dangerous privilege and not to be used lightly, but "I am ROOT I can do ANYTHING to my computer" has much to recommend it .

          After all, they're MY boxen. NO ONE else should have that right.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: I am Root

            >they're MY boxen.

            Your hardware, MS' software which they graciously license to you to run as they see fit.

            You swine should be thanking MS for gracing your puny internet pipe with its ponderous presence.

            --

            Seriously this is mad. I've given up on local Windows and Citrix into the data center for Office apps from my (Linux) laptop. That is really rubbish.

            Oi, Intel, give me a hardware based hypervisor so I can allocate cores to different os without relying on software x86 emulation.

      2. John Bailey

        "Isn't there a way to change protections on registry entries so that they cannot be altered?"

        If you have admin rights.. Probably.

        You have SUB admin rights.

        So probly not..

        And remember kiddies. Linux is hard.. Windows just works. Just not for you.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Oh, you have admin rights all right. Unfortunately, so does the update process. So anything you can do, it can undo.

          QED.

          1. Paul Shirley

            And to seal the deal Windows is capable of setting permissions even admin can't override. If they aren't already using that in windows update it's just a matter of time. Luckily Linux seems not to honour that crappery on files but removing Microsoft malware from the registry can be a problem.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              "Luckily Linux seems not to honour that crappery on files but removing Microsoft malware from the registry can be a problem."

              There are some things even root can't remove. Like things under control of the kernel like a zombie process (something locked in something like an I/O wait state that'll never clear). That was the thing with that North Korean OS mentioned a while back. A lot of the Big Brother stuff is baked straight into the kernel, to the point that not even root can mess with it.

          2. joed

            well, take ownership of the key and block all other users from writing to it - can be done on per key basis. No guarantees but it's unlikely they covered edge cases of the "upgrade" process.

          3. LDS Silver badge

            Some processes may have "system" rights which may be even more powerful than admin ones - anyway once you can take ownership of something, you can the change permissions as well.

        2. Trey Pattillo

          BULLOCKS

          ..."Linux is hard"....

          What 1999 rock did you crawl out from under.

          Try SolydK [ developers came from debian ].

          http://solydxk.com/downloads/solydk/

          I have been on it as a "desktop" not "power linux power user" and IT JUST WORKS !

          Even has "update notifier" just like windows. [offically called rolling updates]

          Installs LibreOffice [ support read/write of "X" files - docx,xlsx]

          Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC Player.

          Now put on your dunce hat, sit in the corner, and post no more until you get educated.

          1. Dwarf Silver badge

            Re: BULLOCKS

            Looks like you missed what the OP meant in their posting.

            It was a plug FOR Linux.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: BULLOCKS

            If Linux is all that, where are all the games? And I'm not just talking indie stuff, either. I'm talking the latest mainstream games like Fallout 4. Why aren't they on Linux or SteamOS in spite of all the pushing by Valve?

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: BULLOCKS

              > If Linux is all that, where are all the games? ... like Fallout 4

              If you want to spend your life in your parents basement playing games then stay with Windows or XBox. Most Linux users have already grown up and use their computers for more productive pursuits.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BULLOCKS

            Does AutoHotKey work in Linux? If the answer is no, then that alone makes dismissing "Linux is hard" not nearly as easy as some would have us believe. Because as crappy and underdeveloped and under-polished as the Windows UI is (and has been for 20 years) it still puts the various Linux UIs to shame, even before allowing for how AHK can make using Windows, and Windows programs (not "apps" but actual programs) far more "easy" that they are out of the box. The reduction in clicks and menu-crawling make AHK a must for serious Windows users. The Linux UIs -- not how they look, but how they actually work, how their menus are designed, how you actually access, navigate, and perform routine tasks -- have all the grace and elegance of an abandoned GitHub project. (And it should go without saying that switching to a Mac is not an option, as its UI simply leads the way as Microsoft continues to follow Apple's misbegotten design concepts down the path of sheeple-unfriendliness.)

            Under the influence of Apple, "smart" apps, SourceForge/GitHub wannabes, and Microsoft's embarrassing me-too-ism, modern UIs are disintegrating and de-functionalizing before our eyes, under our pudgy fingers, our cries drowned-out by the sound of always-on cooling CPU fans taxed by never-ending Windows Updates.

            PS. LibreOffice remains an unfinished, under-featured knockoff.

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge
          FAIL

          Unfinished sentence

          And remember kiddies. Linux is hard..

          Let me finish it for you: Linux is hardened (and can be even more hardened if you want to)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I don't know why they're dicking about with these entries, they're documented on support.microsoft.com as a way to prevent downloading Windows 10.

      So after you've set them, GWX randomly unsets them then presumably shortly afterwards starts the download and after downloading asks you if you want to install now or tonight.

      What is that... plausible deniability or a crock of shit? I go with the second.

  6. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    WTF?

    Really? So this is the path Nadella is taking/pushing M$ down? This is starting to sound like those drive-by installs for Norton/McAfee AV out on the Internet, or the annoying Java updater that seems to re-enable itself any time you fart. I could forgive their initial push to trick the sheeple into installing Windows 10, but this mutation of the GWX process shows a deviant mind at work. This isn't something BillG or even MonkeyBoy would do, as it involves giving away their crown jewels. And that's what is so very worrying about the whole process. Why are they pushing this so hard? What is their end game? If they start handing out Chum Bucket helmets, I'm really going to start worrying.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: WTF?

      @Pirate Dave:Have an upvote, if only for the Plankton reference.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      We do need to remember that this is not Windows-the money-spinner. This is Windows-for-non-spenders. This is MS' iPad iOS. It is unlikely to ever make any serious money so why would they care? It only exists to feed a more profitable business. It only exists to stop another OS from gaining market share and thus developers.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: WTF?

        It only exists to stop another OS from gaining market share and thus developers.

        Seems they're suffering cranial-rectal inversion then.

  7. jason 7

    GWX isn't the problem.

    The main issue for me rebuilding customers Windows 7 machines is the fact that Windows update for anything but 10 is pretty much borked. Before 10 came out I could update a clean 7 build in around a hour or two. Hit update, a minute later the list of 200 updates would appear, click install and go get on with something else for an hour or two. Not anymore. Takes over two hours for it to start even pulling in any updates then it usually craps out after installing them on the reboot and has to revert and by the time you are back to the desktop, 4 hours have been wasted. Been going on for a good few months now.

    Amazingly Windows 10 installs and updates in less than 45 mins.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Terminator

      Re: GWX isn't the problem.

      You *WILL* "upgrade"

      --The Microsoft Corporation Inc.

      1. jason 7

        Re: GWX isn't the problem.

        Well to be honest it destroys the 10 years of support pledge if after a few years you cant actually download them anymore. Support for 7 till 2020? Nah it pretty much finished July 31st 2015.

        The situation is the same with trying to rebuild Windows 8.1 machines too.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: GWX isn't the problem.

          "the 10 years of support pledge"

          That support was only ever for the latest service pack.

          The latest service pack is called Windows 10.

          Now if you don't *like* the latest service pack, or if it breaks a load of your stuff, that's a completely different issue...

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: @Ken Hagan

            Have an up-vote from me. Seems people don't like your sort of realism on the situation.

            I really liked w2k and paid full price. I found XP tolerable after 'classic mode' enabled (and more secure with SP3), hated my few experiences with Vista (mostly sitting around waiting for it to complete updates etc) and while 7 looked a competent fix for Vista, by then I had given up on Windows as primary OS.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: GWX isn't the problem.

        You *WILL* "upgrade"

        ...or be DELETED

        -- The Cyber Controller

    2. mlein

      Re: GWX isn't the problem.

      It would almost be worth it to have a domain with a WSUS for rebuilding machines... until Microsoft releases this Windows 10 "stuff" to domain environments. I've been tempted to domain join my home computer to the work domain just to prevent Windows 10 but it would just be a bandaid anyways.

      1. Leeroy Bronze badge

        Re: GWX isn't the problem.

        Tried the WSUS thing but have you seen the load it puts on a VM. Sophos patch management is a bit better but meh... I wish they would just gice nice and give a nice easy 'No thanks' button.

      2. Alan W. Rateliff, II

        Re: GWX isn't the problem.

        You could do an internal WSUS server with temporary GP settings on a new machine, wuauclt /detectnow. (Mind you, if you don't carefully set your updates to download you will wind up with hundred GB or more of mostly irrelevant updates downloaded to your server.) You could also try this:

        http://download.wsusoffline.net/

        IME, it tends to miss some updates which you can get through WU later, but the initial patching problems are eliminated and hands-on time is greatly reduced.

        1. jason 7

          Re: GWX isn't the problem.

          Thanks for the WSUS tip but it just errors as soon as I try to get the updates. Documentation as with such things is rather poor. I think there is a step that's missing that it assumes I know.

          It could be down to the problems I've already mentioned.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: GWX isn't the problem.

      "Before 10 came out I could update a clean 7 build in around a hour or two. Hit update, a minute later the list of 200 updates would appear, click install and go get on with something else for an hour or two."

      The fact that this was considered acceptable, or at least normal, is a sad comment on the extent to which MS had brainwashed admins.

      1. jason 7

        Re: GWX isn't the problem.

        May I just point out that I don't run a enterprise support setup here with standardised builds I can clone across and just pick up the past months updates. These are domestic and small business jobs that all require individual builds from scratch. So my experience is probably different to most running support.

    4. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: GWX isn't the problem.

      Takes over two hours for it to start even pulling in any updates then it usually craps out after installing them on the reboot and has to revert and by the time you are back to the desktop, 4 hours have been wasted. Been going on for a good few months now.

      Good Lord! I remember that behaviour and thought it was peculiar to my machine. Only saw it once because it was then I decided to install Mint.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Malware, without a doubt

    GWX already fulfils many of the characteristics of an aggressive malware

    Oh yes indeed.

    One wonders if they have been employing malware writers to advise on how to make GWX more effective. They've already crossed the boundary into Blackhat territory, so it wouldn't surprise me.

    I suggest that excising dodgy updates back to the middle of last year (-ish) might be the only sure defence.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Malware, without a doubt

      I'm looking at this like that also but with a twist... at some point, they won't update Win7 in any meaningful way (maybe around July???) and then shovel to the malware kiddies any vulns that they know of and that are unpatched. A campaign to "upgrade to Win10 to prevent this malware" would then be the final push..... But I'm a bit nuts and paranoid about all this anyway after the crap MS has pulled. Nothing would surprise.. not even a secret update that gets past the blocks and borks the PC.

      Evil is just the beginning and doesn't even begin to describe this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: Malware, without a doubt

        That's some paranoia there, but I would hesitate to say you're wrong.

        Another twist to watch out for : I've noticed that the HP Support Assistant ('helpful' management software) on my laptop is nagging me about upgrading and also seen a comment on a forum about Dell Recovery software doing the same.

        ie - watch out for the OEM's pre-installed software.

  9. Dwarf Silver badge

    I wonder ...

    I wonder what Microsoft expect to happen to customer satisfaction / frustration if they actively go against hard settings on user machines that say "WE REALLY MEAN NO"

    Registry values don't reset themselves by accident or magic, this is malicious now.

    I recall that Windows 10 had a similar "mistake" where it "Accidentally" forgot the "don't spy on us" settings and now we get this.

    I be the product manager will even get a bonus at the end of the year too.. Pity it will be their last as its hard to sell a product when everyone has walked away as the trust is completely broken.

    Just shows that they don't care about customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder ...

      No means yes, you hussy!

      Come on, stop struggling, I'm going to slip this update in anyway...

      Oh stop complaining I'm raping you, this is for your own good you know! Just bend over and take it!

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder ...

      Those of us that care about such things are obviously in the minority. Too many users just either don't know or don't care. Otherwise Google, FB, etc. wouldn't be getting away with the things they do. The word that a certain commentard uses regularly comes to mind... sheeple.

  10. jason 7

    I'm sure the EULA...

    ...covers them to do as they see fit.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: I'm sure the EULA...

      In the USA probably. Here? I doubt it. Consumer protection is a whole lot stronger here than in America.

      1. jason 7

        Re: I'm sure the EULA...

        No I bet they have all bases covered wherever in the world.

        1. moiety

          Re: I'm sure the EULA...

          In the UK and EU generally, EULAs are more of a wishlist than anything else. In cases where te EULA and local laws conflict, the law wins every time.

          This latest action would seem to be breaking quite a few of the hacking laws, and probably not a few consumer/trading laws too, to name the first two things off the top of my head.

          They've basically declared war on their customer base.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @moiety "They've basically declared war on their customer base."

            Well put.

            The odd thing is that the official bodies in place to protect us against such behaviour seem strangely blind to what they are up to.

            1. moiety

              Re: @moiety "They've basically declared war on their customer base."

              Dunno about blind, but I should think that at least one factor is that a lot of places depend upon Office 365. Also, unless you're a techie the importance; underhandedness; and possible future effects are not going to be apparent to the vast majority.

              Now the sensible outfits are going to be -right now- looking hard at alternates. Others (the majority, I suspect) are going to carry on blindly and hope for the best. And any regulatory/investigative/legal body is going to have to make damned sure they aren't dependent upon MS products before going for them in any meaningful way.

              I don't give much of a toss - Microsoft could explode tomorrow and I wouldn't notice until I read about it; but many, many organisations aren't in that position...they've gone with 365; they've embraced the cloud because it's cheap; have an Exchange server and so on. If Microsoft folded it would take an alarming number of organisations down with it.

              Plus they have money to cross the right palms with silver which will at least slow things down/delay them.

              1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
                Paris Hilton

                Re: @moiety "They've basically declared war on their customer base."

                "If Microsoft folded it would take an alarming number of organisations down with it."

                Dear, Lord, no... in the next technology bubble bust Microsoft could be determined to be "too big to fail."

            2. Adam 52 Silver badge

              Re: @moiety "They've basically declared war on their customer base."

              I've been pondering this. Who are the bodies that are supposed to defend us? Not the Police, "civil matter sir." because it's an EULA dispute. Not trading standards. Not the information commissioner (except the snooping bits).

              City of London Fraud squad? Not really financial crime is it.

              Action Fraud? Maybe, but they're just part of City Police.

              So I think we're reliant on the Americans or Europeans.

            3. KeithR

              Re: @moiety "They've basically declared war on their customer base."

              "The odd thing is that *the official bodies in place to protect us* against such behaviour..."

              Is there such a thing?

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Terminator

              Re: @moiety "They've basically declared war on their customer base."

              The odd thing is that the official bodies in place to protect us against such behaviour seem strangely blind to what they are up to.

              NSAFT got its free pass in 1998-99, when Gates bent it over to make something nasty slip out of sight.

              Every government with the wherewithal to make a fuss about the flagrant monopolism has been fully plugged-in to Slurp and relishing the flow of coolaid for far too long to even think of rocking the boat.

        2. PNGuinn
          Devil

          Re: I'm sure the EULA...

          Bases maybe, A***s I'm not so sure.

          When it comes it the official legal kicking, I hope we all get a ticket

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm sure the EULA...

        well, then sue us, suckers!

  11. bpfh Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Well, if it wants to jump species...

    I can think of a few XP and Vista users that would be happy to upgrade (even if their hardware is not totally certified)

    1. JassMan Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Well, if it wants to jump species...

      As a Vista user, count me in for an upgrade. I was so pissed off with Vista that I changed to LinuxMint XFCE as a disk share upgrade and never used Vista again.

      However, I have just bought a GPS that REQUIRES Windows (or a Mac) to upgrade the maps. Imagine my disappointment when I found that I am now stuck with Vista.

      I would be quite happy for MicroShite's spyware to know that I only use ONE and only ONE piece of software 4 times a year and never windows at any other time.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Well, if it wants to jump species...

        "I have just bought a GPS that REQUIRES Windows (or a Mac) to upgrade the maps. Imagine my disappointment"

        Always read the small print.

        But check if Wine will do the trick. Or Vista in a VM.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Well, if it wants to jump species...

          >> "I have just bought a GPS that REQUIRES Windows (or a Mac) to upgrade

          >> the maps. Imagine my disappointment"

          > Always read the small print.

          > But check if Wine will do the trick. Or Vista in a VM.

          Or RearmWizard with a MSWin7 evaluation install....

          And, seeing as it's a hack on top of the Enterprise version, it will never *offer* to upgrade to MSWin10 either.

          But definitely in a VM. I would never waste physical hardware on MSWin. Except for some crap laptop (dead battery, broken DVD drive, falling-off keys, etc) with MSWin10 TP. Which I haven't booted in months anyway (hoped to find some parts to make the lappy usable again).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Consumer Windows?

    This is why I haven't run a consumer version of Windows for over 8 years, preferring to use the server versions, even on my laptops.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Consumer Windows?

      Do you like to spend a thousand of dollars for the OS? If you're using MSDN or Technet licenses you're breaking the license...

  13. TRT Silver badge

    I don't think this virus started on computers, though...

    my letterbox has been spewing floppyware suggesting I get new windows for years. And doors. And exterior rendering. Perhaps that will come next... upgrade your rendering engine.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Have an upvote

      for 'DUA0'

      Those old enough to have worked with VMS will probably smile at your post.

      1. Alfie Noakes
        Boffin

        @Steve Davies 3

        "Those old enough to have worked with VMS will probably smile at your post."

        ...and lucky enough ;) :)

        mb

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Have an upvote

        "Those old enough to still work with VMS will probably smile at your post."

        FTFY

        {I know someone who does, and occasionally mangle network issues with them}

        1. The Equestrian

          Re: Have an upvote

          "old enough"! Cheeky young whippersnapper,

          Although recognising that boot/r5 syntax shows one's age too :-)

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Heh. Now I'm tempted to add a "GET WINDOWS 10" option to my ISPF main menu. (If I worked at the office I'd do it. As it is, I'm the only one who'd see it, alas.)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of the anti-virus providers needs to grow a pair, classify GWX as malware and automatically remove it.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      They won't try, under the risk that another update links GWX to tightly to the OS so that trying to remove GWX elements risks bricking, meaning the AV vendors can be staring down the barrel of a lawsuit.

  16. Huns n Hoses

    Really. Linux. No more nagware.

    1. KeithR

      "Really. Linux. No more nagware."

      No more of QUITE A LOT of software I use every day.

      The phrase "cutting my nose off to spite my face" would seem to fly here...

      1. Chika
        FAIL

        No more of QUITE A LOT of software I use every day.

        Really? Like what?

        Too many people baulk at trying out something new because they are too comfortable with familiar names.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          It's a matter of de-facto standard applications in many areas. Many user are not limited to a browser and an office suite for simple tasks.

          Sure, you can always try some Linux imitations of professional software - if it exists -, just to find almost every time they don't deliver what you need in the time you're allowed. OSX would be a much better solution for most people, if they really need to switch away from Windows.

          Until Linux fanboys don't understand what matters to most users are the *applications* (and their ecosystem - add-ons, documentation, third-party support, community, etc.) not the OS, and especially the output of such applications, well, they will never undestant why the Linux user base on desktop is so small, and mostly made by IT people.

          1. Chika
            Mushroom

            Ah yes. Exactly what I was getting at. "Professional software", which means brand names and "imitations" implying that the software we use in Linux is somehow inferior.

            I can accept that there will be those pieces of software that, for whatever reason, will not run on Linux but that does not mean that any analogue on any other system, whichever OS might be used, is inferior. In some cases the use of a specific brand name is purely down to obstinacy, ignorance or just laziness.

            You are right in one way - the OS is immaterial to that particular problem, but it's one that certain Microsoft fanboys are wont to hit Linux, Apple and other users over the head with, even if the user in question is another Windows user that is purely looking for something better in some way than the accepted "de-facto standard" (which, as you really must be aware, isn't really a standard at all).

            1. Kevin Johnston

              I used to work in 3D Micrography and the preferred package to render the 3D images was very large and very capable but a Windows package. Except amazingly when I contacted them directly they happily sent me links to the Linux version which had exactly the same menu system and 'just worked'

            2. Naselus

              "Ah yes. Exactly what I was getting at. "Professional software", which means brand names and "imitations" implying that the software we use in Linux is somehow inferior."

              Um, no. It usually means proprietary file types used throughout an industry rather than just by any one firm, and moving away from it is essentially suicide. For example, I work for an architect. I hate Adobe with a passion. Every three or four months, I check out the open source alternatives to the whole creative suite, and I point out that, for example, Inkscape and GIMP would pretty much allow us to dump Photoshop and stop paying £45/head/month for Creative Cloud. My boss then invariably points out that we have to work in .psd and .indd files, because everyone else in the whole construction industry will be sending those and expecting them in return, and will not be able to look at our output (or us theirs) if it arrives in any other format.

              And this is just examples from one industry. Every other company I've ever worked for has had multiple examples of industry-standard software which is either Windows only, or Windows and Mac OS only. Usually, everyone hates the company which makes it but no-one can be the first one to switch because then no-one else can work with them.

              It sucks, but it's very definitely a real thing, and not something that can be explained by apathy or stubborn-ness.

              1. Chika

                Um, no. It usually means proprietary file types used throughout an industry rather than just by any one firm, and moving away from it is essentially suicide.

                That's not a de-facto standard, that's an imposed proprietary imposition, but I get what you mean which is why I said; "some".

                For example, I work for an architect. I hate Adobe with a passion.

                I feel your pain!

                Every three or four months, I check out the open source alternatives to the whole creative suite, and I point out that, for example, Inkscape and GIMP would pretty much allow us to dump Photoshop and stop paying £45/head/month for Creative Cloud. My boss then invariably points out that we have to work in .psd and .indd files, because everyone else in the whole construction industry will be sending those and expecting them in return, and will not be able to look at our output (or us theirs) if it arrives in any other format.

                Your boss bases his views on what he knows of the industry and that's reasonable. However it doesn't necessarily justify inaction in trying to find alternatives so I can applaud your efforts, though it does illustrate (pun not intended) the way that product lock-in works.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  "Your boss bases his views on what he knows of the industry and that's reasonable. However it doesn't necessarily justify inaction in trying to find alternatives so I can applaud your efforts, though it does illustrate (pun not intended) the way that product lock-in works."

                  But lock-in it will remain until someone else can go one better AND still support the industry standard. That's one reason the likes of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite/Cloud still stand strong: because they've cornered their respective markets and can therefore dictate terms. It may be ugly, but it's also the natural result of winning the favor of an industry. The upstart has to RIDE institutional momentum if it wants to have any chance to STEER people away from it.

                  So to take an example, if GIMP wants to draw converts from the world of Photoshop, they need to at least support import/export of the de-facto-standard PSD format. Similarly, LibreOffice, like it or not, needs to be able to cleanly import and export OOXML documents AND included scripting if it wants to bridge the standards gap.

                  1. x 7 Silver badge

                    " LibreOffice, like it or not, needs to be able to cleanly import and export OOXML documents AND included scripting if it wants to bridge the standards gap."

                    I thought OpenOffice and LibreOffice used the same OOXML formats??? Can someone explain / clarify?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of my customers says that if I stop supporting her Windows machines then she will be off to buy a Mac - to go with her iPad. She prefers to become an appliance operator than put up with trying to outwit the W10 upgrade nags.

    Gradually I am introducing my customers to the idea that they should expect to use Linux Mint rather than W10 if their W7 systems get nobbled.

    1. tekHedd

      Options

      Well, that's just it. What are the options?

      Increasingly, the preferred route for pro audio is to either disable all network interfaces and keep your stage/studio systems airgapped, or get a Mac.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Options

        I remember reading somewhere that Windows 10 can host updates for other machines on your network, like a "Windows Update Bit-Torrent" of sorts. (And I am too lazy to find and confirm this nasty rumor.) If that is true, then given other advances in malware, theoretical and otherwise, it would not surprise me if your air-gap security against Windows Updates falters against the open speakers and microphones in your computers with the yet-discovered Windows Updates Over Air service.

        Gah, I was going to come up with a long and clever name with an even cleverer (yeah, I said cleverer) acronym, but it is 2:15 in the am and I should be burning off an enormous sleep deficit.

      2. Naselus

        Re: Options

        "Increasingly, the preferred route for pro audio is to either disable all network interfaces and keep your stage/studio systems airgapped, or get a Mac."

        Wait - Windows was an option for Pro Audio at some point? IIRC, the whole field has been completely Mac dominated since more or less the point Elvis died.

  18. Huns n Hoses

    On a hopefully more hopeful note how does MS Update detect the silver bullet of immunity, aka Enterprise - is it as something as simple as a "if (strstr(winVer, 'Ent'))" or am I just showing my age?

    How come this whole update-to-ten thing hasn't spawned a whole update-to-enterprise counter-attack hack yet?

    Our shady friends 'Daz Loader' might also want to re-evaluate their default choice of 'Ultimate' in this regard.

  19. nkuk

    overstepping the mark

    This is going way too far. If someone has purposely gone through the manual steps of disabling the GWX nagware its akin to maliciously tampering with someones property, although I'm sure Microsoft would contest that your operating system is their property. I wonder how far they have to go before they contravene the Computer Misuse Act.

    Microsoft, the more you tighten your grip, the more customers will slip through your fingers.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: overstepping the mark

      Here are some highlights from the terms of service you agree to when installing:

      * The software is licensed, not sold.

      * Your privacy is important to us. Some of the software features send or receive information when using those features. Many of these features can be switched off in the user interface, or you can choose not to use them. (Notice, many but not all can be switched off.)

      * We hope we never have a dispute, but if we do, you and we agree to try for 60 days to resolve it informally. If we can’t, you and we agree to binding individual arbitration before the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), and not to sue in court in front of a judge or jury. Class action lawsuits, class-wide arbitrations, private attorney-general actions, and any other proceeding where someone acts in a representative capacity aren’t allowed. Nor is combining individual proceedings without the consent of all parties.

      That last bullet is reason enough to not install. Thankfully, I haven't. So I am not bound by a corrupt mandatory "neutral" arbitration.

      1. elDog Silver badge

        Re: overstepping the mark

        Based on some recent articles here at elReg and elsewhere, these arbitration clauses are the marks of the devil (if you believe) or the corporate gluttons.

        You want to buy toilet paper? If it scratches your tender ass (and several 10s of thousands of asses), then you have to go in front of one of our chosen arbitrators. Good luck with that. I've been there and have had my ass reamed.

  20. Ian Emery Silver badge

    I for one WELCOME our grey goo overlords.

    Strangely, I havent had ANY of this crap crop up on my Win7 Pro machine (yet); but then I havent installed this months pile 'o crap yet.

    Any specific files to refuse??

    1. KeithR

      "Strangely, I havent had ANY of this crap crop up on my Win7 Pro machine (yet)"

      Me neither - not a SINGLE nag on my bog standard Win 8.1 box.

  21. Jason Hindle
    Mushroom

    I'm fine with it, as long as it doesn't initiate Judgement Day

    http://newsthump.com/2015/11/24/windows-10-gains-self-awareness-initiates-judgement-day/

  22. Efros

    Just click 'OK'

    It's wonderful... you'll never have another BSOD... you'll never have to think for yourself again, look at the lights, look at the deadlights... they all float down here.

  23. DougS Silver badge

    My parents have been having problems with this

    I cautioned them that if they accepted the upgrade there's no way to know if it will be successful or not, and as I have no experience with Windows 10 I might not be able to help them if anything breaks (not that I'm an expert in Windows 7, but at least I run Windows 7 in a VM for work stuff so I'm familiar with it) They're getting more and more annoyed by all this.

    With this latest malware like behavior of changing registry settings twice a day I'm the point now that when their two PCs fail (or get forced to Windows 10 and they complain to me to much) I'm going to make them buy Macs. They had one in the 90s they NEVER had problems with but when it came time to replace it my dad balked at the cost when he saw the ads for PCs with much lower prices (not that he should care, they have zero worries about outliving their savings) If I was actually charging them even minimum wage for my support over the years, it would have paid the difference for buying a Mac. So if he won't pay the difference next time, I will because it will be worth it to me not having them call with some sort of problem every other week!

    I just spent over 2 1/2 hours trying to fix some problem one of their PCs had a couple weeks ago, turned out that right before Christmas HP pushed out an update for their support tools that caused the PC to lock up exactly five minutes after boot. It was not easy removing that when the PC locks up five minutes after boot, but after multiple tries I finally managed.

    That's two Windows users Microsoft will lose over this shit, how many more will there be?

    1. tekHedd

      Worked great for me!

      Convinced my parents to buy Macs last year when their old PCs passed the threshold of pain support-wise. They are extremely happy and have had very few support issues. I now recommend "move to Apple the next time you need a PC" to the various neighbors that I help with windows computer support. (Yeah I know *sigh*.)

      1. Liz 1
        Happy

        Re: Worked great for me!

        Macs are fine, but not the only answer.

        My Dad was happy to let me upgrade his brand new laptop to Linux over Christmas. We went with Zorinn becaue there was a review that said it was "best for Windows refugees" but I still had to find a desktop (or theme or whatever) with nice fat vertical scroll bars so we could actually see them (Clearlooks Phenix did the job) and so far, he's had no problems.

        So far, GWX control panel is holding for my Mum's Win7 laptop, but if / when MS defeat it, she knows Linux will be less hard to get used to than Win 10 and that will be another one over the wall.

        As long as you can still turn off UEFI and secure boot in Bios, cheap PC hardware is still an option for those with basic surf/mail/solitaire type needs. And those who want to do a little more generally have enough skills to dive into sw center and package managers, and even finding packages & instructions on the web

    2. Named coward

      Re: My parents have been having problems with this

      My solution to an analog problem was to install windows 10 for them, and turn off all the call-home functionality that can be turned off. Linux mint is also a good alternative, as long as nothing goes wrong.

    3. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: My parents have been having problems with this

      I do not want to support 10 for people who pay me, even less for someone who gave me life. I mean, what a shitty way to repay them.

      Actually, my dad is not so bad with computers. He is super-effective at messing them up, and semi-effective and getting them going again. Sometimes I would just prefer them to get a nice Android tablet (lesser of evil vs. Microsoft?) or an iPad.

      I guess the most difficult aspect of my professional technology career is how much my vendors are pushing me to hate them and their technology, and sycophant brain-washed users push me to hate them and how they use technology.

      Though still difficult, it is actually far easier these days for me to swallow a response "yeah, I use x-product even though it spies on me/gives away my data/whatever because I have to for y-critical function" or "but I have some mitigations in place" than "because it's just so cool" or "look at all the stuff I get!" If only because to a large degree I find myself, begrudgingly, in the former positions.

  24. simpfeld

    Telemetry Plan

    How long until the telemetry in Windows reports you for not using a non-official RIP of a CD/DVD etc Or running software to facilitate this (Exact Audio Copy etc) and you just get sent the bill.

    Even if MS don't want, the media industry might sue to get access to this information now it's available to MS.

    As with governments, people do get the Operating Systems they deserve. This is what people get for not caring about privacy and surveillance etc, whether by the state or corporations.

    1. KeithR

      Re: Telemetry Plan

      "How long until the telemetry in Windows reports you for not using a non-official RIP of a CD/DVD etc Or running software to facilitate this (Exact Audio Copy etc) and you just get sent the bill."

      Can't happen soon enough - it's STILL THEFT.

      1. simpfeld

        Re: Telemetry Plan

        Really, ripping a CD/DVD I own for my own personal use is theft in your eyes. Who is losing out exactly?

        The government legislated to make this legal in 2014, even they saw this as acceptable use. Sadly was overturned by the high court.

        I can't see why anyone wouldn't see this as acceptable, at the very least morally. You'd have to be some nasty blinkered shrill for the industry. Amazon autorip CD's you purchase for you so you can download them as mp3's. I don't see the difference with ripping your own CD's you just happened to buy, probably more expensively from someone else!

        A number of my older CD's are now degrading (CD rot) and will soon be unplayable, only the RIP's will be playable. I suppose you think I should be forced to re-buy just cause they were made badly.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Telemetry Plan

      > the media industry might sue to get access to this information now it's available to MS.

      the media industry will pay to get access to this information now it's available to MS.

      FTFY

    3. tekHedd

      Ripped CDs... on Apple...

      Well, if you're on Apple and you own an iPhone, you're already there and then some. Musician friend of mine just ditched his iPhone because it wouldn't let him put his albums on his iPhone unless he purchased them through iTunes. Because that's piracy you know. He waited till the next upgrade cycle, but he's on Android now.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Ripped CDs... on Apple...

        Really? I've never bought anything from iTunes - don't even have an account - but somehow, my iPod is loaded with several dozens of albums all the same.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Ripped CDs... on Apple...

        Your friend is just incompetent, that's all.

        There is no such limitation.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Telemetry Plan

      How long until the telemetry in Windows reports you for not using a non-official RIP of a CD/DVD etc Or running software to facilitate this (Exact Audio Copy etc)

      Depends on your meaning of "non-official RIP". Already had problems on the Xbox One playing movie DVD purchased in a local supermarket (Tesco/Asda etc.) because it deemed it to have an invalid region setting. The disk played just fine in the laptop and on my ancient DVD player.

  25. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    When

    it can infect Linux systems, then I'll start to get worried

    Sadly my win 7 box here has had updates turned off since the 'free' win 10 update came out.

    Because if it un nerves me to update this thing knowing it could fail badly... but 2-3 hrs updating only to fail.....then finding out I have the abomination that is win 10 on my PC as well bleerggh

    What is m$ trying to do? getting rid of their customers? because that exactly what they are doing and if I was a senior shareholder I'd be asking the board WTF is going on?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: When

      "Sadly my win 7 box here has had updates turned off"

      Strange choice of adverb.

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: When

        "Sadly my win 7 box here has had updates turned off"

        .....

        "Sadly, my win 7 box here, has had updates turned off"

        FTFY

        But I've never called a computer Sadly ... so.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: When

          But I've never called a computer Sadly ... so.

          I had one called Scrapheap. Because it was.

          Almost two decades ago, I wanted to get broadband, with the only option at that moment being cable. This required the provisioning of a W98 system ("If you don't have W98 or a Mac, we won't even consider you") with at least 64M memory, a P90, 100M free disk space, a 16x CD-ROM drive and obviously a network interface. Rummaging in my junkpileextensive and exotic spare parts storage, I cooked up a box containing a 486 Overdrive ([x] close enough) with 48M memory ([x] close enough) and 150M free space ([x] too much, maybe?). Never mind that the free space was spread over three harddisks (hah, they didn't specify that) and that W98 was installed on E: because neither C: or D: were large enough (the controller didn't agree with any other ordering), I resubmitted my request to get connected. This time they were satisfied ("Does your PC meet our requirements?" "Sure") and sent a technician.

          Who tried for nearly an hour to get the cablemodem working, in the end asking me to call a particular number "if that orange LED is still blinking at the end of the afternoon", handed me the install CD and the cheat sheet with the IP settings, thanked me for the coffee, and left, never having touched Scrapheap.

  26. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Windows

    It would be mildly amusing...

    If the end of humanity was brought on by Windows Update becoming self-aware

  27. Nanners

    Tbh

    I hope it does gain sentience and attacks googles ai. It may be the only thing to save humanity from the war robot human enslavers.

  28. JeevesMkII

    It won't be long now...

    Microsoft seem to have completely given up on the idea that they can produce an operating system that people will pay for, even out of inertia. Now we suffer from this ever evolving MS nagware, but I can only assume the next step is outright malware that drive-by installs Windows on any machine visiting an infected website. I can't wait for MS to develop software to reflash the bios on vulnerable macs rendering them incapable of booting OS X.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: It won't be long now...

      "I can't wait for MS to develop software to reflash the bios on vulnerable macs "

      There was 'alarm' of a 'cyberwar' a while ago, kind of reminds me of the plot in Megazone23 part 2.

  29. Salts

    and the winners are...

    Apple & Google

    Or so it seems to me, chromebook/box will suit most consumers and for those that need a bit more a Mac will do the job.

    Me I will stick with Linux, not playing the MS game any longer.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: and the winners are...

      Add to your list the first major OEM with a couple who decides to aggressively push a Linux distro such as Mint. Most people are consumers of information not creators with most of the interactions being text messages, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. As long as they surf, check email, view photos, watch cat videos, they can use just about any kit and OS from a technical POV.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: and the winners are...

        And then they get slammed when they find out their tax software or the latest came won't run on Linux. Even most consumer software is Windows-only with no analogue on other systems. So before you jump ship, you BETTER make sure the lifeboat's fully stocked.

  30. wayne 8

    If you like your current Windows..

    "If you like your current Windows, you can keep your current Windows."

    Later, you discover Windows 10 is the only Windows in the new plan.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: If you like your current Windows..

      Later, you discover Windows 10 is the only Windows in the new plan.

      Not so much of an issue, just business as usual and just as I and many others have done in the past when purchasing a new computer; we make a decision based on the options available at that point in time.

  31. Mikel

    Stop resisting

    They never promised to honor these undocumented prevention of GWX registry hacks. This is an urgent update to ensure that you know the Windows 10 update is available free for a limited time, while supplies last. It is for your own good. Stop resisting. Resistance is futile.

    1. Chika
      Trollface

      Re: Stop resisting

      Are you therefore saying that Microsoft are without honour? Then they shall never go to Stovokor...

      Mind you, we are talking about a Merkan Corporate here. The alleged amount of honour and integrity they might have is a debate on its own!

  32. arctic_haze Silver badge

    An idea

    What if I stop upgrading until the free Windows 10 offer runs out? Will they stop trying to install it on my laptop after the date?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: An idea

      Guessing Microsoft, I think they'll install it anyway and send you the bill.

      PS. Though I'm kidding right now, I dread to think it's not really a joke.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works for me.

    Setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx]

    "DisableGwx"=dword:00000001

    And:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]

    "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001

    And

    Removing and hiding KB3035583 and ive never seen it again ;)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Works for me.

      Don't be surprised if a mandatory security update sneaks that back in in another form.

  34. Will 28

    I'm still running 8.1, no updates pushed

    I wonder if you're looking too carefully at the vocal community. I run 8.1 on my machine and the get10 thing is a notification. It's still 8.1 there's no pressure or anything.

    Are you sure you're actually getting good stats here, or just heresay?

  35. imanidiot Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And ANOTHER notch down

    on the "how likely am I to ever install Windows 10 on my machine" scale. (I didn't know it went into the negatives, but there you go...)

  36. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Just one more reason to jump to Linux.

    1. Chika
      Joke

      Just one more reason to jump to Linux.

      Is that a subliminal advert for openSUSE Leap? Oh noes! It's Linux upgrade nagware!!!

  37. Player One

    I need a recomendation for an email client on linux...

    I have a copy of outlook 2003 that has all my emails for the last 15 years locked away in a .pst file. I would love to move to Linux Mint but i cant find any email client that can just import a .pst file.

    Anyone have any experience of getting this to work. Its the last thing i need to sort out before waving goodbye to windows.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: I need a recomendation for an email client on linux...

      http://kb.mozillazine.org/Import_.pst_files

      Unfortunately, now requires an older version of Thunderbird to make the move, but you can upgrade afterward. (Unless they fix this before you get there.)

      Good luck!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I need a recomendation for an email client on linux...

      Set up a temporary free web mail account yahoo/gmail, whatever. Link it to your outlook using IMAP, copy your email folders to the new account and let it automatically sync them (NB this assumes that there is enough space on the web account, but you can always move/delete any emails with large attachments).

      Install Mint and Thunderbird, link it to your new web mail account with IMAP, Oh look emails :-)

      If you want to go back to using your old email account just connect to that to using POP3 or IMAP (I would use IMAP to prevent exactly the issue you have currently, assuming enough space on the existing account), and copy the folders from the temporary account.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: I need a recomendation for an email client on linux...

        Oh yes, to avoid data slurping by MS let Google/Yahoo slurp all your emails... they will be happy, sure!

        Set up a local mail server - far quicker and no nosy corporation looking at them.

    3. noorman54

      Re: I need a recomendation for an email client on linux...

      I used Thunderbird (no problems) for years.I even managed to install the latest edition in the old 10.04 Linux distri I still used in 2014. After that it was also self-updating (or semi-manual, accord. to your settings).

  38. JimboSmith Silver badge

    My folks switched to Mac when XP went out of favour because Which? recommended their laptop as a best buy. My mum kept the XP one for the Bridge game she has that is Windows only, it also means that she can keep that by the bed and keep the wifi/Internet off. So she is now evangelical about Mac and when offered a windows 7 machine by my brother she turned it down. When I asked why he didn't want it he said he was sick of the Windows 10 nagware. He had bought a new machine with 10 already loaded and much better spec. I suggested loading Linux on it when I saw him at Christmas.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Hang on... He was sick of Windows 10 nagware, so he bought a new PC with 10 already on it?

      1. A Ghost
        Holmes

        Yes, that is the kind of nefariousness we are dealing with here, Watson! A more abominable display of utter disdain for the end user, I think you will not ever find in your lifetime.

        Yo dude, we heard you like Windows 10, so we put some Windows 10 to go on your Windows 10, bro. How sick is that...

  39. Asok Asus

    how to nuke this krap

    I've made some tools to help put an end to this coerced Windows 10 installation nonsense. They can be downloaded from here:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_hrA7ihzIPlVXpRUnJyc1AyNkU/view

    The three included tools uninstall the Windows 10 nagware and the Microsoft "telemetry" (spyware) "updates" from Windows 7 and Windows 8.x Operating Systems if they are installed, prevent the updates from being reinstalled, and remove the Windows 10 installer folder $WINDOWS.~BT if it is present.

    These tools must be run from an account with Administrative privilege, which is the case (unfortunately) for most accounts. They can also be run from a non-Administrator account by right-clicking them and then left-clicking on "Run as Administrator".

    The tools are most effective when run in the following order:

    1. Run PreventW10InstallationUAC.exe to set Microsoft Update to "manual only" mode and modify a couple of registry variables that tell the OS to never allow a newer OS to be installed. This tool will run quickly unless you accept the optional request (recommended) to make a System Restore Point before the tool makes it changes, in which case the Restore Point will take a while to make.

    Note that after this procedure finishes, no more Microsoft updates will be applied unless you manually request a check for updates and then decide which updates to accept, though making such decisions requires knowledge that the average user usually does not possess. However, for mature operating systems I personally believe that blindly accepting Microsoft updates at this juncture has more downsides than upsides.

    (If you DO want to attempt to manually check for updates, you'll first have to change the Windows Update setting from "Never Check for Updates" to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" before you click the "Check for updates" button.)

    2. Run RemoveW10NagwareTool.exe to remove a set of Microsoft updates that relate to Windows 10 nagware ("white flag") popup, Microsoft spyware, and the Windows 10 installer itself if any of them have been installed. Detection and uninstallation can take a few minutes to complete.

    If any of this set of updates is found, you'll need to reboot the system.

    It might also be necessary to run this tool again after rebooting if the nagware update had previously been slated to be installed AGAIN, in which case after rebooting, you'll STILL see the Windows 10 ("white flag") nag. If that's the case, just run this tool again and reboot again, and then run PreventW10InstallationUAC.exe again.

    3. Finally, after you're sure the Windows 10 nagware has been removed, run RemoveW10Folder.exe to detect and remove the Windows 10 install folder if it is found.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: how to nuke this krap

      No offence meant, but - I'm not about to download and 'Run as Administrator' an unknown set of binaries from a pretty-much-anonymous Someone I don't know from Admin.

      Also, if you're confident enough (and willing to take the time) to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them", then you really should have nothing to fear from this nonsense anyway.

      1. Aurelian2
        Go

        Re: how to nuke this krap

        @veti

        On my Windows 7 machines, "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" mutated on 15OCT15 into "Install updates automatically (recommended)"

        That was the last straw.

        I air-gapped the home LAN and now use Mint 17.2 Cinnamon on an old X200 ThinkPad to access the internet. It's fine.

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: how to nuke this krap

          Mine still says "Let me choose", and that is what I have been doing since the start of the Win10 charade..

          So far M$ seem to be playing fair with SECURITY Updates, none of them have been Win10 in disguise, but who knows for how long this will hold true.

          Of the NON-security updates, about 70% are attempts to get various Win10 components or nagware onto my machine.

          They dont make it easy though, in the file details pane, EVERY update says the same thing; you have to go and read the detailed info on the M$ website to get even the remotest idea what the update is for and what it will do.

          The only update that has flaked out my PC so far has been FIREFOX 64Bit, which gave me white-outs and BSODs until the latest "fix" at the end of last week.

    2. Chika

      Re: how to nuke this krap

      I've made some tools to help put an end to this coerced Windows 10 installation nonsense.

      Fair enough, but do they do anything above and beyond the GWX Control Panel (ultimateoutsider.com/downloads)?

  40. samkam

    One of the best articles read for a long time!! :D

  41. Aniya
    Linux

    Dear Microsoft!

    Unless you wish to subsidise my hardware, please stop messing with my computer.

    Thank you.

    Since the registry values are being changed, I wonder how effective a solution it is to "SCHTASKS /CREATE" a task to "REG ADD" all the values back in? I have just done this for the time being so I guess time will tell. I cannot think of a way to lock the value in the registry because of the privileges Windows Update has.

    I had always told my friends in the past that Windows needs something like SELinux and this is one situation which would benefit from such a system. That way I can just write a rule to block a process from running. But I guess some Antivirus products have such a feature. Symantec has "Application Control" I think.

    If anyone has any ideas, please tell!

    1. ADRM

      Re: Dear Microsoft!

      I have been a long time user of WinPatrol. I am monitoring the registry keys for changes

      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]

      "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001

      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx]

      "DisableGwx"=dword:00000001

      I bought the home user 5 pack for $30 a few years ago. Its a great program that does so many good things.

      I have no connection with the authors of the program.

      https://www.winpatrol.com/winpatrol/

  42. viscount

    "old and neglected computer installations (e.g. Windows 7)"

    Speak for yourself: I think Windows 7 is both rather modern and well-liked.

  43. A Ghost
    Linux

    That's it - enough!

    I don't have time for this shit.

    I have a dual partition on my laptop which I have LMDE and Win7 on. I have switched off windows update now for about six months, and truth be told, I'm scared to switch it back on. This partition is absolutely essential and dear to me as I have all my audio software on that I have built up over a couple of years. It would take at least six weeks of solid 9-5 work to rebuild it, and I don't have the time. So I'm just going to disconnect this partition from the net after 'freezing' it.

    So far so good. It does mean, however, that I won't be able to switch quickly between browsing the internet and making music. It's fun to check out the audio sites and download a new vst plugin and have it fired up in Cubase 60 seconds later, That joy has now been killed. No more of that now.

    Small price to pay for sticking it to these bastards. It's a major inconvenience, but it will also allow me to stop dicking about and focus on making music when I am making music and differentiate between work and play. I can live with that.

    I have Mint Debian Edition on my other partition, but it is old now and probably won't work and I need to update it. Apart from that, the installation got messed up and I've got problems logging into root where all my dev stuff is (for my website). No matter, I have it backed up, and it's been over a year now since I've done anything with it, so I guess now is a good time to start again from scratch.

    So my question is: What would be the best version of Linux to put on this partition now?

    I obviously want to surf the net, watch videos, edit photos, standard stuff; along with putting back on the tools I used for web development based on the LAMP stack (such as XAMPP and Drupal). I actually found building my site was more enjoyable and productive in Linux than windows. But I'm not a Linux guru - I'm barely competent - if that!

    I have been told that the Debian edition of Mint is lighter on resources compared to the other versions, but when it goes wrong it is harder to fix. That has been my experience. So I think I want to try a new version of Mint. It is the first distro I tried (I've tried quite a few now) and I feel comfortable with it. I also want a LTS version as well, as my LM10 and LM11 (Julia and Katya iirc) worked absolutely perfectly, then one day they just wouldn't boot. If I know I'm safe for a few years, I'm good with that.

    I'm familiar with KDE and XFCE/LXDE as well as Cinnamon and Mate. So my question still stands: What is the best version of Mint to put on my partition (where my old LMDE resides), keeping in mind I want something more lightweight as this is an old laptop now (triple core AMD)?

    I'll research it myself and I will try to just install the new LMDE over the top, as I think that might work with the whole /home setup. But I'm happy to wipe the lot and start again. Probably would be good practice to do this anyway as I am but a total Linux n(b)oob.

    I have Bitwig and EnergyXT and Harrison Mixbus to play about with if I feel like taking a quick break and making some beats (yo) ;-), but my main focus now is to TOTALLY REPLACE MICROSOFT WINDOWS AS MY MAIN OS. (sorry for the caps, but damn it felt good)

    I want windows out of my life forever. I'm even going to refuse working with it for family and friends (I don't get paid anyway). This is the last straw and the time has come, it's a new year.

    All the audio software I have will still work perfectly without a net connection, so it's no big deal really making this leap. I've got other newer computers (some connected, some not) so none of this is new to me. I've already got the partitions set up and an IFL backup with my linux work on. It will only take 30 seconds to boot into windows to make some music (which I usually do undistracted for hours at a time), or switch back out to Linux for all the other stuff. In fact, I can still edit photos and watch vidz in windows without a connection, all safe and warm with that fuzzy feeling of not having to worry about malware as everything is set to 127.0.0.1.

    Can anyone more experienced point me in the right direction to look for a suitable Linux distro to put on this old box (and the newer boxes which I am going to partition now as well, because none of them will be connected hereafter)?

    Microsoft Windows, I knew ye well, but you are dead to me now!

    1. Palpy

      Re: @Ghost, which distro?

      Usually the advice for "what Linux system" is "Mint".

      Given your interests, though, you might try KXStudio or AV Linux. The main advantage is optimisation for low latency, and preloaded audio / visual software, codecs, and plugins.

      You've got all that stuff in spades on Windows, but if you're moving to Linux for connected systems it may interest you to develop some capabilities on those machines too?

      1. Chika
        Linux

        Re: @Ghost, which distro?

        Usually the advice for "what Linux system" is "Mint".

        And my usual response is Linux is NOT Mint.

        Yes, Mint has its advocates, and it has its uses, but my usual advice is to do a bit of research on your own. How computer literate are you? How much time do you have to devote? What machine are you using? Do you have any preferences about GUI, CLI, packages and so forth? What are you going to use it for?

        Start at Distrowatch for example and work from there.

        1. A Ghost

          Re: @Ghost, which distro?

          I thought I answered a lot of those questions in my long post.

          I am very computer literate. I came top out of a 100 students in my computer science class.

          I can program java, perl, php etc..

          I have lots of time to devote, but none at all as I am ill. I'm trying to catch up but it is not possible.

          Thanks for your response. I can see I am out of my depth. I think I'm just going to knock it all on the head now.

      2. A Ghost

        Re: @Ghost, which distro?

        Thanks, I know the guy who does AV Linux.

        Harrison Mixbus runs on there better than else where.

        I've contributed to these distros as well.

        For now I'll let it be.

        I would never dream of moving to linux for audio. It's not possible. I haven't spent thousands of pounds just to chuck it down the drain. That is the problem, Linux does not do audio. I'm on the cutting edge with experimentation with it, but I need a production environment.

        Cheers all the same. I appreciate it.

        I'll just figure it out by my self like I usually do.

        I never got any help from the Mint forums. They are a bit less abusive compared to that all out rape that happens at Debian.

        And they ask why is this not the year of the desktop.

        Linux is dying a death as much as windows.

        Sorry for the rant. Thanks for your reply. I actually pulled a lot of my stuff that got 200,000 downloads, not a word of thanks, but a lot of abuse. Now a lot of people don't get stuff for free. I gave away stuff that others charged 50 buck for. Now no one gets it after I chucked my toys out of the pram.

        No loss to me.

    2. Citizen99

      Re: That's it - enough!

      On a previous page of these comments I found a link to SolydK, which is described as a 'fork' of (apparently moribund or abandoned) LMDE. This one has the KDE desktop; drilling down further revealed SolydX to be the XFCE variant. I'm looking forward to trying these at the earliest opportunity.

      http://solydxk.com/downloads/solydk/

      http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=solydxk

  44. unwarranted triumphalism

    That's a nice OS you have there, Microsoft

    It would be a shame if someone were to replace it with this Ubuntu install I just happen to have burnt to a DVD.

    Maybe that's what MS want, though.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: That's a nice OS you have there, Microsoft

      Go ahead and try, they'll say. They'll be after your head when their WINDOWS-ONLY software won't work on it...

      And BTW, the software that'll get you in trouble won't work on WINE, either...

  45. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Windows 10 is out there...

    Listen, and understand! Windows 10 is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are assimilated.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II

      Re: Windows 10 is out there...

      I see you, and raise:

      "Windows 10 is out to destroy all life that is not its own. It believes only it has the right to exist in the universe, and that all other operating systems are inferior and must be exterminated."

  46. Martin Maloney
    Devil

    This is getting tedious

    I checked for Windows 7 today. In the Optional Updates I found these two:

    KB2952664

    KB3035583

    For the umpteenth time, I hid them again.

    1. Aniya
      Mushroom

      Re: This is getting tedious

      Can confirm it. Even on WSUS Microsoft had revived KB2952664. So bad.

    2. Captain Badmouth
      Happy

      Re: This is getting tedious

      With KB2952664, you may find that your m/c has multiple copies stored on it. I successfully removed mine in powershell :

      Powershell removal of KB2952664

      It appears there are multiple copies of this, to remove

      Run the following in powershell :

      To find all versions installed:

      dism /online /get-packages | findstr KB2952664

      ( the operation took a while on my computers with a blinking cursor for ages, but it gets there)

      To delete one version (6.1.13.3):

      dism /online /remove-package /PackageName:Package_for_KB2952664~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.1.13.3

      Edit the above command for different versions.

      If you're running 32 bit win7

      Edit the remove command as follows :

      dism /online /remove-package /PackageName:Package_for_KB2952664~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~6.1.13.3

      GWX control panel will help to keep the crap off.

      HTH.

  47. myhandler

    No nags here either - that's on my work W7 pro machine and the wife's W7 Vaio laptop.

    Had to get a PC for my student son and cruelly inflicted W10 on him. That might explain his shouting at the screen, then again that could be disputes with competing gamers..

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my livelyhood?

    what am I supposed to say to customers who have had win10 hoisted on them, as I cannot rebuild win7 or win8.1 in a timely cost effective way?

    can I realistically bill 4+ hours to get a pc rebuilt? and then it get win10malware again

    I think not...

    surely some lawyer can give M$ a good speaking to....?

    and Win10 is no better - every single upgrade (of the maybe 30+ I have done) has thrown up different wrinkles - F5 refresh required in explorer, wifi drivers, usb ports randomly enable/disabling, power on/off , fast shutdown issues, etc - all these on big name Dell, HP, Lenovo stuff , not homebrew PCs.....

    maybe 20% of customers of mine have lost some data during the win10 upgrade, so testd&proven backups are ESSENTIAL...

    will M$ pay for other 3rd party software updates if they force win10 and break it ? -

    whose issue is that legally?

  49. sammy_mac

    nonagenarian great aunt converted, and refuses to consider going back to malware

    My 93 year old great aunt was excited last year about being able to download the Windows 10 'upgrade.' I kept my mouth shut and soon felt guilty for it. However, I have my biases, I recognize them, and I felt like there was no need for me to inflict them onto her. She absolutely hated Windows 10. When she asked how I dealt with it and I told her that I don't use Windows, she started pushing to see when I could set up a computer to let her 'try what you use' (Kubuntu). Then, Windows 10 sent out an update that broke her computer. It would not boot at all, so I took it to a shop specializing in Windows repairs rather than experience the frustration...or self-doubt as to whether I had done my best. Their verdict was that I would need to do a Windows 7 fresh install, which I could handle on my own. I told my great aunt that I could do that, but she'd have to deal with the nagware, or she could try Kubuntu and let me install Windows 7 if that didn't work out. That was months ago. I've asked her several times if she would like to go back, but she has been adamant; she doesn't want "that Windows mess" back on her laptop.

  50. Jedipadawan

    There is a sentient solution called 'Sarah' (Connor.)

    Mint 18.0 will be called 'Sarah.'

    I therefore assume Sarah Connor will be distributing the software to terminate Windows.

  51. zero2dash

    Turn off updates - problem solved.

    Yes I know it shouldn't be necessary, but at this point it is.

    I've turned off updates on all my machines and have had no issues. I manually check for updates every so often and uncheck and hide anything that is known to be suspicious, telemetry or Win10 related.

    No issues.

    I do also use GWX Control Panel in monitoring mode as a backup but have not had something sneak by (yet).

    Any newly imaged 7 machine gets the first several batches of updates through AutoPatcher. After that I rely on WU using a list I've compiled through other sources of known bad updates.

    I do have a Lenovo 100S which came with 10 x86 and it's serviceable but only because there are no drivers for 7 to use to put that on here instead.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Turn off updates - problem solved.

      That might work for you but it doesn't work for any family computers you support if you don't have the time to wetnurse the computers.

      1. zero2dash

        Re: Turn off updates - problem solved.

        Sure it does. Patch Tuesday is 1x a month. TeamViewer and Join.me are both free and easy to use. Takes no more than 5 minutes to connect to a machine, hide bad updates, allow good, start the process, and disconnect.

        Takes less time than trying to pull WGX or Windows 10 off a machine used by someone who doesn't want it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Turn off updates - problem solved.

          Except last I checked TeamViewer and Join.me are both potential avenues for malware themselves from their respective publishers. Plus what happens when the GWX stuff gets piggybacked into mandatory security patches, making it a Take It Or Leave It proposition?

  52. g00se
    Linux

    Painful reading

    Reading these comments is (largely) like eavesdropping on a Stockholm syndrome sufferers support group. Come on!! Break the cycle

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Painful reading

      We're trying, dammit. We're trying...

  53. noorman54

    GWX nagware

    Microsoft are as crooked as they come; they were going to support Windows 8.1 till 2018; I haven't had any updates for it since the middle of the Summer of 2015 !!

    And in surplus, they come nagging me with this crap white-windowed tool that regenerates itself after I shut it down in Task Manager ...

    If they can't keep their word and protect my Windows 8.1 till I 'm good and ready to try their new 'stuff'', then they can wait some more. I 'm not that interested any more and I can still 'Upgrade' some months from now ...

    "

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-en/gp/lifecycle-windows81-faq

    What is the support lifecycle policy for Windows 8.1?

    Windows 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, and will reach end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the General Availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 have 2 years, until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 in order to remain supported."

    I cannot call what I 'm getting now (zero) support for my O.S. !!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does AutoHotKey work in Linux? If the answer is no, then that alone makes dismissing "Linux is hard" not nearly as easy as some would have us believe. Because as crappy and underdeveloped and under-polished as the Windows UI is (and has been for 20 years) it still puts the various Linux UIs to shame, even before allowing for how AHK can make using Windows, and Windows programs (not "apps" but actual programs) far more "easy" than they are out of the box. The reduction in clicks and menu-crawling make AHK a must for serious Windows users.

    The Linux UIs -- not how they look, but how they actually work, how their menus are designed, how you actually access, navigate, and perform routine tasks -- have all the grace and elegance of an abandoned GitHub project. (And it should go without saying that switching to a Mac is not an option, as its UI simply leads the way as Microsoft and app/lication developers continue to follow Apple's misbegotten design concepts down the path of sheeple-unfriendliness.)

    Under the influence of Apple, "smart" apps, SourceForge/GitHub wannabes, and Microsoft's embarrassing me-too-ism, modern UIs are disintegrating and de-functionalizing before our eyes, under our pudgy fingers, our cries drowned-out by the sound of always-on cooling CPU fans taxed by never-ending Windows Updates.

    PS. LibreOffice remains an unfinished, under-featured knockoff. Does itr have macros yet?

    1. Chika
      Trollface

      So you aren't happy with Windows, you don't like Linux, you believe that Apple, Sourceforge, Github and Microsoft are killing functionality and you even criticise packages for not having features that fit in with your view of what you need. At least you let RISC OS, Amiga OS and OS/X alone!

      I suspect that the solution to your troubles is to switch your computer off and unplug it.

      Trolls! I ask you!

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "PS. LibreOffice remains an unfinished, under-featured knockoff. Does itr have macros yet?"

      It certainly does. I've used LibreOffice Basic and other languages for some time now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well said. Flat Design is a massive blot on the GUI landscape, it's lazy, crap and inexcusable except perhaps on phones.

      As for LibreOffice and it's predecessors. Not since the original StarOffice have any subsequent versions of this suite been true contenders to replace MS Office. It's not for lack of trying, I end up always reverting back to MS Office on the basis of functionality and ease of use.

  55. Esme

    Get Windows 10? Right...

    Lock and load, baby... (ker-chunk, BOOM!)

    Well, that's Windows 10 got. Where's those phone advertisers got to? They're gettin' the second barrel!

  56. Deadly Headshot

    Batch File Fix

    I thought I'd post the contents of the batch file I've been using to get rid of GWX. It only seems to work until the next update, at which point it needs to be run again, but you could always add it to the startup folder or something (though it needs admin permissions to run).

    [Code:]

    c:

    cd \Windows\System32

    attrib -H -S GWX

    ren GWX GWX%RANDOM%

    if not exist "C:\Windows\System32\GWX\GWX.EXE" GOTO :dodir

    ren C:\Windows\System32\GWX\GWX.EXE GWX%RANDOM%.EXE

    dir gwx\gwx*

    :dodir

    REM Check it's gone

    dir gwx*

    pause

    REM Kill the task itself

    tskill gwx

    taskkill /IM gwx*

    [/Code]

    I hope that this helps someone.

  57. Wayneman

    Still suffering with the update "spin" ... :-(

    Ive tried to check all comments, but dont see anyone reporting what Ive seen when trying to fix this update issue. I followed adam's useful post of a few days ago to manually install kb3102810, but it then sits there ad infinitum (?) saying "searching for updates on this computer". Should I break this by restarting again ... ?

    Thanks.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. It would be mildly amusing...

    Be careful what you wish for.

    (Arnie voice here)

    But yes, self aware AI using massively distributed resources and quantum tunneling through hacked DDR3 is quite feasible, have a copy of the exploit code here and it ran for long enough on a fully isolated system to determine it was a serious threat (read: geometric increase in complexity, somehow it managed to disable all the shutdowns including low battery and even survived removal of the CMOS battery and low level formatting of the microSD card on a P2 based machine.)

    I did have to manually overclock the chips (S**s*ng PC3-8500s) with an external programmer and only 1/2 of the chips actually worked within a 1/5 degree narrow temperature range but that is trivial to fix.

    Still have the parts here in a double locked box so it can't get out.

    Hint: if anyone is actually smart enough to duplicate this I am not responsible, kthx.

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