Why You Shouldn’t Allow Microsoft To Download Windows 10 Until You’re Ready

The news broke a few days ago that Microsoft, to no one’s surprise, surreptitiously downloads Windows 10 into computers running Windows 7 and 8 so as to ‘prepare’ them for the update to Windows 10.

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I could think of three reasons why this isn’t ok:

  1. You might not have enough space – The most obvious reason is that your computer might not have enough hard disk space for the humongous Windows 10 installation files. Yes new computers these days have enormous hard disks to begin with but it’s irresponsible to make that assumption. The worst case that might happen here is that the computer will hang for lack of space leaving the user scratching his head wondering why and / or deleting more important files to make space.
  2. It Hogs Bandwidth – Anyone who’s ever downloaded gigabytes of files knows how much bandwidth it takes away from your internet connection. Those on a shared connection will suffer because everyone’s connection will slow down, but those on a metered connection – those who pay per kb. of data – will suffer the most. People argue over downloading 2gb. movie torrents will certainly not be happy knowing Windows 10 install files are up to 11gb.
  3. Trust – MS abuses trust on two levels. One, why does it assume it knows better than the user as to what they want installed on their computer? The argument that it is trying to ‘help you have a better Windows experience‘ doesn’t fly considering that it takes up valuable resources (disk space and bandwidth) without specific consent. And Second: Windows update calls the Windows 10 upgrade files as ‘updates’, such as here for Update no. 2952664, described as ‘..helps Microsoft make improvements to the current operating system in order to ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows‘. Masking Windows 10 as an ‘update’ is misleading. An update is a piece of software that supposedly updates / improves / enhances what is already there. It is therefore not updating Windows 7 or 8. Rather it is preparing it to UPGRADE to Windows 10. Two very different things.

Here are some resources to counter this measure. As per ghacks,

  1. Tap on the Windows-key on the keyboard, type programs and features, and hit enter. This opens the list of software installed on the system.
  2. Switch to “view installed updates” on the left side of the window.
  3. If you are using Windows 7, locate the following updates: 3035583, 2952664, 3021917
  4. If you are using Windows 8, locate the following updates: 3035583, 2976978
  5. Right-click one update after the other and select uninstall from the context menu.
  6. Select Restart Later when the prompt appears and remove all updates first from the system.
  7. Once done, restart the computer to complete the process.

Once you are done, it is important that you block these updates from being found and installed again by Windows Update. If you don’t do this and have automatic updates enabled, they may be installed again on the system.

To block these updates, do the following:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type Windows Update, and hit enter.
  2. This should open the Windows Update dialog.
  3. Select “check for updates” to find new updates to install on the system. Windows should find the updates listed above again.
  4. Click on the “important update is available” link.
  5. Right-click each of the listed updates above that are listed on the page and select hide update from the context menu.
  6. This blocks the update from being installed on the system.

To see if your PC has already downloaded the files, another article from ghacks also helps. This basically asks you to look for the folder $Windows.~BT. If it does, Windows installation files have been downloaded already even if you did not explicitly accepted it.

What Wally Bayola Should’ve Done

Wally Bayola, as everyone knows by now, is a comedian who has become more famous for his video sex scandal than his comedic career.

His story from what I gathered was typical as far as scandals go. He made a sex video with someone and saved it on his laptop for his enjoyment later. He then sold this laptop after deleting the video (or so he thought), to the girl he made the video with. She then either sold it or had it repaired at a repair shop where the nosy technicians decided to share it with the world.

While we cannot undo all that, I can find at least a few instances in that sequence of events where Wally could have either kept the video from prying eyes while the laptop was still in his possession or at least deleted it completely when he decided to sell it. Here they are.

First, recognize that Windows doesn’t delete a file immediately just because you pressed ‘Delete’ (Wally was using a Windows laptop, but this applies to Mac and Linux as well).

The file still resides on your computer in the ‘Recycle Bin’ in Wally’s case. Why does Windows do that? So that you can retrieve a file if you accidentally pressed delete, or at least give you a second chance at getting it back if it turns out you still need it. Obviously a useful feature, but in Wally’s case it meant a drastic change in his career.

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