Microsoft wants people to upgrade to Windows 10 so much that it’s giving it away to home users for free – in some cases, to people who haven’t asked for it.
People with Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 devices are discovering that Windows 10 was downloaded to a hidden folder on their computers without prompting.
The unprompted downloading of Windows 10 appears to only impact users who have automatic updates turned on, according to Ars Technica.
Although you don’t have to install the update, Windows 10 hogs up a bunch of disk space (3.5 to 6 GB), and it’s apparently rather difficult to get rid of the files.
Microsoft said it just wants to “help upgradable devices get ready” in case users decide to install Windows 10, according to the Inquirer:
For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they'll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.
One user who contacted the Inquirer about the secret Windows 10 downloads said the Windows 10 update tries and fails to install on start-up, and has caused some people with metered internet to go over their data cap.
Removing the hidden folder (called $Windows.~BT) takes a bit of work.
According to Fatima Wahab, a writer at AddictiveTips, you need to uninstall the update called KB3035583 – only then can you delete Windows 10.
A lot of people have already decided to get Windows 10 – it was installed to about 75 million devices in the first month of its release, the Inquirer reports.
So, is Microsoft being a little too pushy?
Maybe. But let’s remember that the people who got the Windows 10 update had already signed up for automatic updates.
As Ars Technica’s Cassandra Khaw observes, choosing automatic updates means you have essentially agreed to “allow software developers to do what they will.”
If you do upgrade to Windows 10 home edition, however, you’ll have little choice about future updates – you’ll get updates automatically unless you use a special workaround to block a specific update.
Maybe, after trying so hard and failing to get users to ditch Windows XP, Microsoft has said “enough of that!”
Image of sneaky upgrade courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
38 comments on “Microsoft downloads Windows 10 to your computer even if you don’t want it yet”
It’s not memory – it’s disk space.
Thanks for pointing that out! I corrected the error.
You mentionned “Windows 10 hogs up a bunch of memory (3.5 to 6 GB)”. Really??
It has nothing to do with memory. It’s hard disk space not memory!
Fixed it, thanks!
And here you were the other day telling us to switch automatic updates on to keep holes patched…
If you don’t have a bandwidth cap to worry about, this is actually quite a neat idea. If you do…
…not so great 🙁
Oh it would be a good idea – if Microsoft wasn’t actually MicroSlop.
In the professional world, nobody uses automatic updates in their networks. Nobody. They “might” have one system in a back room to test the updates out on… but mostly the admins *wait* and read the huge number of complaints. Microsoft updates are well known for crashing peoples machines.
Really? Actually *crashing* computers? And “well-known” for it? Methinks you exaggerate slightly…for all that I don’t use autoupdates myself for bandwidth cost reasons, when I grab them I don’t spend a long time fretting over it. It’s a long time since an update actually crashed my computer.
OTOH, it’s *not* a long time since a crook last came knocking trying out a list of known exploits one-by-one.
I don’t mean to go to bat for Microsoft here, but dismissing the company as “MicroSlop” is perhaps a bit ill-tempered and unfair.
Yet another excellent reason to NOT have automatic uopdates turned on – providing you have a habit of regularly checking for updates, daily perhaps?, and finding out what each one does before considering installing it!
Further, such action by Microsoft may actually be illegal in the EU.
Why would it be illegal? As long as you aren’t forced to install it, or forced to make specific installation choices as a result, or forced to pay money for it if you don’t take some action.
I’m not in favour of this because I happen to pay a lot for my own bandwidth, but in view of that I have automatic updates off – which is, I have to say, a lot less convenient and requires me to follow a bit of a strict routine to make sure I don’t miss out.
But actually making it *illegal*?
Heck, there are better things to regulate first, wouldn’t you say? (Hotel lobby muzak. Unsocialised pets. The neighbour who says a loud goodbye to his kids at 6.30am every morning outside your window when he already said goodbye inside his own house. Mustard with vinegar added. Plenty of important things needing the attention of the regulators first… 🙂
Why would it be illegal?
“Microsoft downloads Windows 10 to your computer even if you don’t want it”
“Windows 10 was downloaded to a hidden folder on their computers without prompting.”
Because the above might be against the UK Computer Misuse Act 1990 – there are sections that relate to “Unauthorised Access”.
No matter how much you don’t like it, I reckon you might have some trouble persuading the Crown Prosecution Service to take that one on 🙂
OTOH, given the sheer size of the “just-in-case” download, I can see how you might turn this into a consumer protection issue.
Nevertheless, I’m guessing that quite a lot of people who install Windows 10 will end up doing so from the “secret cache” that was prepared earlier. When they get to the point of deciding, “Let’s do it,” I suppose quite a few will be pleased to find that they can get on with it right away. Especially those who were displeased (and skipped) Windows 8 because it wasn’t free!
I bought a Lenovo laptop that had Windows 8 on it. I did not especially like Windows 8 so when Microsoft ‘gave me’ Windows 10 I installed it. I like it.
This is actually at least the SECOND time they’ve done this. Since we are on an older non-AD network, this was pushed out. I had to manually uninstall 3035583, reboot, hide 3035583, and reboot again.
Paul you need to find a quiet corner and eat a plate of corned beef hash !
Advice from a user who added missed updates last week and ended up with Windows 10 and the dreaded browser Microsoft Edge !!
Why is Edge “dreaded”?
Seems that for years and years everyone has railed against Internet Explorer. It’s non-standard. It’s insecure. It’s old. It’s slow. Every other browser is cooler, faster, hipper, safer. Don’t use IE. Get something else.
Then, when MS actually comes along with another browser, everyone is like, “Wot? No more Internet Explorer? You mean you want me to use a different browser?”
(Only kidding. But it does feel a bit like Redmond can’t win here…probably wish they’d charged for Windows 10 now, so no-one could complain about it being free 🙂
Yeah, it was never dreaded. I haven’t heard anything awful about it other than it’s plain and won’t have extensions until the next update. Most Win 10 articles now are aimed at paranoid people just so they can get click traffic. Most of them are either full of misinformation or are worded to make things a bigger deal than they actually are. Pre-loading computers in case they upgrade? Not a bad idea. Should they have made it optional? Yes, simply for the fact that it’s 6GB. It’s really not that much space, but it’s considerably more than you’d expect from a routine system update and you should be informed of it.
MS edge is useless, you need IE11 to install your Favourites etc,
Google MS edge and open your eyes to all the problems its causing.
Point taken, but being free isn’t my problem with it. Being the most bug-ridden OS release since…ever…IS something to complain about. It’s really poor vis-a-vis a standard release Linux kernel which is now the standard for free.
The main thing ist that Microsoft forces down to you an OS which does not work as of missing drivers (not being able to get internet connection) or crashes completely and needs to have the W7 newly installed. It happened to three of mine laptops (1, 2 and 3 years old, OS W7).
The major problems this caused for me were:
1. unexpectedly consuming virtually all of my remaining monthly download allowance with two weeks left;
2. followed by a mis install requiring further large download over night;
3. followed by required interaction to start Windows 10 installation, which then took a couple of hours
I was going to install Win 10 after a few months, to give time for it to settle. As it happens, the second installation was uneventful, Win 10 works, and subsequent updates have worked.
Originally Win 8.1 Pro, I now have Win 10 Pro. I have marked my wireless connection as metered, selected deferred updates, & choose to run Windows update every couple of days.
I have Win7 but have apparently not got KB3035583 installed yet.
I had auto updates enabled but have turned that off now.
Also searched for $Windows.~BT but no results (I have enabled to see hidden folders).
Is this all I can do to avoid getting $Windows.~BT downloaded?
Does KB3035583 have any other files that are important?
Buy Apple 😛
I found the update, but can not find the hidden file
Ubuntu here I come. F MS
“choosing automatic updates means you have essentially agreed to “allow software developers to do what they will.”
So I guess it was foolish for me to assume Microsoft would exercise a little corporate integrity and limit automatic updates to items relevant to my installation. Between default spying and update issues the chances of me moving to Win10 are getting smaller with each news article. It’s too bad, I was looking forward to getting rid of the abysmal WIn8 on a tablet, but maybe I’ll upgrade to Win7 and call it good. The Windows program I need runs well on WIn7 and the rest of my life does just fine without Windows.
“…you need to uninstall the update called KB3035583…”
After you set either “Download updates and…” or “Check for updates…” be sure that the “Give me recommended updates…” box is unchecked.
Uninstall KB3035583, reboot, and check for updates. That update will now show in optional updates. Right click on it and left click on “Hide update,” so that you don’t accidentally install it again.
Thanks for this info. I have my 2 computers set to download but not install updates but I had my wife’s set to automatically install. What I found interesting was that on my wife’s computer in update history there were 38 instances of Windows 10 installation all of which “failed”. I did remove the update called KB3035583. I also reset her computer to download but not install.
This was actually an optional update.
You can opt not to install them as I have done after having to do a complete system restore when the Windows 10 auto install I didn’t ask for hosed my system. I’ve since learned my lesson. Turn off automatic updates. Only install the critical ones.
MY COMPUTER WILL NOT ALLOW WIN 10 FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT MY VIDEO CHIP ISN’T SUPPORTED,SO I HAVE NONE OF THESE PROBLEMS.
I can send you a keyboard that doesn’t yell all the time if you like.
My windows update was set on auto(by it’s self)and $windows has been downloaded-6GB.I uninstalled the update you wrote and I am trying to delete $windows.
Windows 10 has at least one serious bug which disables your start menu and toolbar icons and gives a BSOD reboot logoff screen when you try. From the MSFT help threads it seems to be pretty widespread and none of the solutions listed by their architects seems to alleviate the problem. This is on a clean upgrade install on an out-of-the-box new Core i7 laptop with 16GB of RAM. It’s been over a month and no new patches or instructions. Crazy stuff.
I don’t want Win 10 yet on any of my machines. It’s way too new. I usually wait until after the first SP comes out before I consider any new MS O/S.
So when this package lands on a machine, will I be nagged constantly to upgrade to Win 10? Is it going to decide on its own one day to upgrade to Win 10 without my consent?
On another website I read this: “Trying to stop the snooping is an exercise in futility. NONE of the listed programs actually stop Microsoft from recording keystrokes, website visits or stored data. As to it being non-identifiable, good luck. Microsoft continues to state that it can and may report suspicious or illegal data and correspondence that is swept up in the snooping programs integrated into Win10. Many corporations have as a result forbidden the introduction and use of Win 10 on any of their computers. This is a big issue and due solely to the potential loss of proprietary data and legal liability.
It is also interesting to note that these snooping programs are being readied for integration into updates for Win 7 and 8.1.”
Many corporations have banned Windows 10?
Ididn’t know that – can you identify some? (If it’s “many” that oughtn’t to be too hard.)
I’m trying to download it but it’s taking ages. I left it over night and still not ready ….arggghh
We should not have to jump through all kinds of hoops to keep the OS we paid for.