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Windows 10 gets one last, desperate nagware update

Today is Wednesday, July 20th. Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 expires in nine days. Chances are, you already know that. Chances also are you’ve already decided whether or not you’re going to spring for that upgrade before the window closes forever.

BUT JUST IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T: Microsoft has one more nagware update for you. As InfoWorld reports, this is an update to the previous full-screen nagware update. Now you get a countdown clock (the exclamation point is free) and a yellow exclamation point in the system tray, just in case you haven’t noticed the unusual Windows icon that’s been yammering for attention and trying to stealth-upgrade your system for the past 12 months.


Other new features include a hamburger menu, as shown above. And speaking of hamburger menus…


The image above is from an old computer game called Space Quest 3. The point of the joke, of course, is that you can’t actually opt out of the option to buy additional food. Microsoft, similarly, can’t bring itself to accept that a user might actually have declined to upgrade to Windows 10.

Here’s what really confuses me, though. Over the past 12 months, Microsoft has steadily amped up its Windows 10 push. It changed the free upgrade from an optional update to a recommended update. It made the upgrade notifications pushier. It even took a page from malware authors and upgraded people whether they actually wanted the operating system or not. Twelve months after launch, I’d be willing to bet that there are only four groups of Windows users not using Windows 10:

Technically, yes, there will be a handful of people who have been planning to get around to upgrading for a year, never quite managed it, and will now lose that option. The vast majority of non-users, however, will fall into one of the four groups above. This means that Microsoft’s “Upgrade Now!” policy is overwhelmingly targeting people who either won’t upgrade or can’t upgrade. In short, this does nothing but piss people off.

What’s disturbing about all this is that Microsoft can’t seem to stop. It’s like watching a meth-addicted rat punching levers in a Skinner box, except in this case the rat only gets its fix if it hits another download milestone. Someone, somewhere, only gets to eat today if Microsoft manages to convince another 5,000 people to install Windows 10. Really, that’s the only thing that makes sense at this point. A year after Windows 10 launched, we’re nearly at the end of this incredibly annoying journey — and Microsoft can’t resist cavorting around the finish line, punching people in the head and trying to set their pants on fire.

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