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Windows 10’s biggest controversies

Howard Wen | June 28, 2016
Here are seven controversies that have been stirred up by Microsoft’s latest OS.

Since its release last July, the newest version of Windows has generally been considered a success, especially compared with its predecessor Windows 8/8.1. However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Here are seven controversies that have been stirred up by Microsoft’s latest OS.

1. Upgrade angst

Microsoft really, really wants those of you holding onto Windows 7 to upgrade to Windows 10. The company has been giving away the latest Windows as a free download installation for any computer that’s running a legit copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Since the release of Windows 10 last summer, users of Windows 7 or Windows 8 whose computers have Windows Update set to automatically update the OS have gotten pop-up notices telling them to upgrade to Windows 10, and the large installation files for it (which can be about 6GB) have downloaded in the background onto their system’s main drive, usually without the user directly consenting to this. Initially, Microsoft did provide the option to delay the upgrade, and hacks were figured out by users to put off the upgrading and stop the installation files from being downloaded. But Microsoft has become more aggressive in thwarting efforts to block the download by pushing through strongly worded notices that give just two options: “Upgrade now” or “Upgrade tonight.”

Microsoft announced on May 5 that the nagging would stop -- but not in response to public outcry: On July 29, Windows 10 will no longer be offered as a free upgrade to legitimate Windows 7 and Windows 8 licenses.

2. Windows 7 won’t be supported on new hardware

Microsoft announced that only the latest versions of Windows (which includes Windows 10) will be designed to work fully with future CPU architectures. Although Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will probably still run on upcoming processors, Microsoft doesn’t plan to provide technical support for this. (The company did specify that it would support Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 running on systems with Intel Skylake processors until July 17, 2018.)

Basically, this was another “hint” by the company to those still holding off upgrading to Windows 10: Soon, you might not be able to install Windows 7 on a new computer you buy or build. Or, the older Windows may not run correctly or fully take advantage of the new processor’s capabilities.

3. Documentation lacking

Whenever an update to an older Windows version was pushed out, Microsoft would provide documentation listing all the changes that were made to the OS. When the updates for Windows 10 were rolled out throughout the months following its release, very few technical details were provided. This upset many users, and is an obvious concern, for example, for enterprise IT managers who must vet updates before they are installed.


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