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Richard Falk (Customer Support)

Microsofts Windows 10 Push

Written on February 5, 2016 by Richard Falk
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Why the push?

Today I want to discuss why Microsoft is pushing people so hard to upgrade to Windows 10. Not only are they offering a new and better operating system for free, but they have added popups to notify you of the upgrade every time you start your computer. In addition they have added it to the automatic Windows updates for people and downloading it for them so they can choose to install it. Some may find this helpful and others may find this annoying. 

I will try my best to explain why I think they are doing this; some of this will be based on known fact and some of this will be my personal opinions. Microsoft has said that it wants to have one billion devices running Windows 10 in two to three years, and I think there are four main reasons as to why they want this to happen.

 

Windows as a Service

Microsoft has released Office 365 which is essentially subscriptions to its full Office products for use on a number of Windows and Mac computers. If you go to their store today (microsoftstore.com/office) you will see over 3/4ths of the page is about Office 365 or saying why you should choose 365 over the standalone version. This is Microsoft selling Office as a service on a monthly or yearly basis where you pay to use whatever the latest and greatest version of the software is. Not only is this more stable and continuous income for them, but it is also easier as it gets everyone on the same version so that they do not need to worry about supporting multiple versions of Office.

I think this is precisely what they want to do with Windows. It is unclear what the business model will look like, but they do not want to you buy a standalone version, they want you to have a subscription for the same reasons. Microsoft has previously said 10 will be the last "version" of Windows and after that "versions" will not apply as such. Once a larger portion of users are on Windows 10, It will be much easier to turn Windows into a subscription based service.

 

Forgetting Windows 8 (8.1) Shenanigans

As you probably know, Windows 8 was not a very big success for Microsoft. In fact, it went very poorly. NetMarketShare states that today, Windows 8 only makes up about 13% of desktop operating systems, which is roughly the same amount of market share that XP currently has. Windows 8 was only just released 3.5 years ago and it has the same market share as a 15 year old operating system? Yes, the reason being the considerable changes that Microsoft tried to make compared to Windows 7. Windows 7 was a huge hit! It built on everything that XP did right and benefited from the improvements and lessons learned from Vista. Then 8 came out and did not connect with the audience at all. The start menu disappeared, and familiarity with how the user interface worked in previous operating systems went out the window.

Microsoft is hoping that moving more people to Windows 10 will allow them to forget the pains of 8 and learn to trust them again.

 

Patching, development, and issue reporting

How does a problem get fixed? Well, typically a user or several users find it, then Microsoft replicates it, and then Microsoft needs to have people work on it. After that, it is a simple matter of throwing the fix into Windows Update and voila! The more people that use Windows the better the patching and issue solving is.

In a way, this same logic goes for other companies who are considering making software or hardware with Windows in mind. The more people that use that operating system, the more likely they will be to consider making it for that operating system as there are more potential users and consumers whom they can reach. So the more popular Microsoft makes Windows 10, the greater quantity and quality of software and hardware other companies will develop for it.

 

Legacy Support

This chart is Microsoft's Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet which is accurate as of this writing (2/05/2016):

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/lifecycle

Client operating systems Latest update or service pack End of mainstream support End of extended support

Windows XP

Service Pack 3

April 14, 2009

April 8, 2014

Windows Vista

Service Pack 2

April 10, 2012

April 11, 2017

Windows 7

Service Pack 1

January 13, 2015

January 14, 2020

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

January 9, 2018

January 10, 2023

Windows 10, released in July 2015

N/A

October 13, 2020

October 14, 2025

What do these Extended Support dates mean? Well, the main thing it means is that Microsoft will stop offering security updates for these products on the listed dates. That means that currently Microsoft has to release security patches for Windows Vista, 7, 8.1 and 10. That is four different operating systems they are currently supporting and patching. That means they have four different teams of programmers and debuggers working hard to patch issues with each operating system. I imagine that is a lot of work! Once everyone is on 10, their job becomes MUCH much easier.

In addition, notice how in the name of Windows 10, they say "Windows 10 released in July 2015"? I imagine what this means is that they will no longer need to list new operating systems with their eventual move to Windows as a service, as it will be continually patched as long as you have a subscription to their service! This is just speculation on my part, but I imagine that is why they put that in the name.

 

Conclusion

There you go! That is why I think Microsoft is pushing so hard to get everyone upgraded to Windows 10. I am excited for Windows 10 and the future of Windows as there are some great things on the horizon.

For those who may not share my enthusiasm for Windows 10, or who need to stay on 7 for some software or hardware reason, maybe this related Windows 10 upgrade article will help in dealing with daily popups or unwanted automatic downloads: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/support-software/Windows-10-Upgrade-Notification-Removal-715/

Tags: Windows 10, Microsoft, Business, Upgrade
Gravitysmith

I am glad you brought this topic up because although Windows 10 may be good for Microsoft, I want an operating system that is good for me. I keep a computer for several years, and don't want new features or upgrades that break things, and I certainly don't want an operating system that automatically uninstalls programs. Even ignoring the privacy issues in Windows 10, I like a stable system, and so this forced update thing is strongly making me consider other operating systems such as Linux Mint.

With that said, I see on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... there is a "Long Term Servicing Branch" of Windows 10 which allows a user to "defer updates indefinitely". I know it is not intended for daily use, but it is the only version of Windows 10 I would even consider using. Will Puget have that version available for purchase?

Posted on 2016-02-06 13:34:37

I've never heard of a version of Windows like that, but there is an easy solution if you don't want *any* updates: turn off the Windows Update service. I do that on my systems, actually, so that I can control if / when I want to do updates (by turning the service back on temporarily).

Posted on 2016-02-07 07:52:28
Gravitysmith

Does that provide a way to selectively choose which updates you install? I want security updates, but I also want to selectively choose new features so I can avoid the ones that break things or make my system sluggish. In general, I have found it best to avoid upgrading my software after a few years. I have one box that is going on 9 years now and still runs perfectly smoothly because I selectively choose what to put on it.

The LTSB branch of Windows 10 might work for what I want, but I am having troubles finding how I can get it. Forced upgrades in the other versions are not for me.

Posted on 2016-02-08 23:06:38

No, unfortunately - turning off the service entirely is all or nothing. I don't know of any way to control what updates you get in Windows 10 (to separate security updates from feature updates). Maybe someone else does and can chime in, though?

Posted on 2016-02-08 23:11:28
Will

There are 2 great (and free) ways to shut down Windows spying, and the Windows 10 upgrade nag icon and automatic upgrades....

I've been using both of these for several months on my Genesis II from Puget Systems, with zero issues.

GWX Control Panel Monitor: This is a free tool that can remove and disable the 'Get Windows 10' notification area icon on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Recent versions can also disable 'Upgrade to Windows 10' behavior in the Windows Update control panel and do much more. See the user guide and download it for free at the Ultimate Outsider blog, here. http://ultimateoutsider.com...

Spybot Anti-Beacon: Spybot Anti-Beacon is a standalone tool which was designed to block and stop the various tracking (telemetry) issues present in Windows 10. It has since been modified to block similar tracking functionality in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems.

Anti-Beacon is small, simple to use, and is provided free of charge. It was created to address the privacy concerns of users of Windows 10 who do not wish to have information about their PC usage sent to Microsoft. Simply clicking “Immunize” on the main screen of Anti-Beacon will immediately disable any known tracking features included by Microsoft in the operating system.

Get the Spybot Anti beacon here: https://www.safer-networkin...

Posted on 2016-04-13 16:47:27

Hey Gravitysmith, I believe the only way to selectively choose which updates to install, is to setup a WSUS service (usually server environments employ this and it takes a lot of advanced configuration and I am not sure if it is even possible in your instance) and manually push updates out to a system.

Alternatively to disable updates completely and use a service like WSUS Offline updates and then manually go in and delete unwanted updates before using it. Here is the link to WSUS offline updates http://download.wsusoffline...

I have never done either of those personally with Windows 10 and as such, I have a hard time recommending either. I also highly doubt Microsoft would support it (it may damage your OS to selectively do updates like this) But If you were wanting to try at your own risk, that is what comes to my mind.

Posted on 2016-02-09 21:20:27
Gravitysmith

Thanks for the link! I will look into it.

Posted on 2016-02-12 00:44:32
rgeiken

If Linux Mint could make the operation of it's system more user friendly, it might draw a lot of home users to it's latest version. I have Linux Mint 3 on an older Toshiba Laptop, and it works pretty good. W7 is still my O/S of choice, but when that is no longer offered, then the latest version of Mint may be a good one to go to. They would likely have to offer this on an install disc since many people are not too comfortable downloading and installing like they do now. Also a Desktop version of Android might work for some people. I have several Android Tablets along with my 2 windows computers, and they are enjoyable to use. If you need to input data, you probably would want to have a regular wireless mouse and keyboard. It the device had power all the time, then it likely would not need a battery. I use a wireless keyboard and one of the old style ones that connects to the device, and it is a lot easier to type with one of those. I am not too impressed with the Bluetooth equivalents. There are still 4 years to go and a lot can happen in that time. Probably more than half of computing devices today are Android and i O/S. Windows is certainly not as dominant as it once was.

Posted on 2016-02-18 23:25:11
Larry

I don't like the idea of having a subscription service for Win10. I'm already stretched pretty thin when it comes to money. I'm not to fond of being forced to update either.

Posted on 2016-06-21 15:56:36

I'm not a fan of subscriptions for software either, especially not the OS! Thankfully Microsoft hasn't tried to move in that direction just yet, and I am hoping they never do... or at least that they continue to offer a single-payment option as well.

Posted on 2016-06-21 16:05:00