Microsoft starts pushing Windows 10 to domain-joined PCs
Microsoft really, really wants you to upgrade to its new operating system Windows 10. The company uses various strategies to achieve that goal, and one of them is to expand the upgrade offer to small businesses.
The company announced yesterday that it plans to make available the "get Windows 10 app" to small businesses and small organizations as well soon.
Matt Barlow, Microsoft General Manager explains that the company received "ongoing requests from many small businesses" to allow them to take advantage of the free upgrade offer to Windows 10, and that Microsoft made the decision to provide them with the opportunity.
The new campaign will target businesses that match the following criteria specifically:
- That run machines with licensed versions of Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro.
- With updates managed by Windows Update and not another service such as WSUS or System Center Configuration Manager.
- That joined an Active Directory domain.
Domain-joined PCs are next
The offer rolls out this month in the US but Microsoft will expand it to other markets "shortly thereafter".
Businesses who don't block the updates that advertise Windows 10 on older versions of Windows will receive the same "Get Windows 10" application that home users get (along with no visible "no thanks" option when it displays the upgrade option to them).
Microsoft updated a support article detailing how businesses can prevent the upgrade to Windows 10 on machines running Windows 7 or Windows 8.
The information, which is included in our block Windows 10 upgrade guide here on Ghacks Technology News, mentioned a new Registry preference that no one knew about previously (we have updated our guide to reflect the change, so check it out for a complete rundown).
- Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit and hit enter.
- Navigate to the folder HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx
- Right-click on Gwx and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
- Name it DisableGwx.
- Double-click on the preference and set it to 1.
Please note that you do need to set the DisableOSUpgrade preference to 1 as outlined in the support article and our guide as well.
According to Microsoft, this blocks the Windows Upgrade through Windows Update. The company notes that it is not necessary to block any of the updates released to push Windows 10 on previous versions of Windows if the two Registry keys are configured correctly.
What seems to happen in the background
The keys mentioned above prevent the upgrade to Windows 10, but it appears that they are not blocking any of the upgrade patches to be installed on Windows 7 or Windows 8 devices.
Woody Leonhard over at Infoworld confirmed that adding the Registry keys to Windows machines merely prevents the "get Windows 10 app" from being displayed on the system while all programs, scheduled tasks and files get still deployed on systems.
In addition, on some computer systems at least, Josh Mayfield, the creator of GWX Control Panel, noted that one of the scheduled tasks, refreshgwxconfig-B, was resetting the AllowOSUpgrade setting every time it runs.
He published a video on YouTube detailing the changes that happen on previous versions of Windows once the upgrade patches are installed on the device.
It appears as if Microsoft designed the Windows 10 upgrade mechanisms in a way that makes it very complicated for users to block the upgrade offer for good on machines running previous versions of Windows.
This persistence is similar to how malware evolves constantly to avoid detection or come back after it has been removed from operating systems.
Microsoft has an interest in getting Windows 10 on as many machines as possible, but the strategies it uses to make that happen are more than annoying to users who don't want to upgrade to the new operating system.
Irrespective of whether the user wants Win 10 or not, this, to me, looks like MS and Nadella are not meeting the installation targets. Is desperation creeping into Redmond ?
Yes. Desperation is creeping in. But it doesn’t matter how they scheme and connive they will never make that target of 1 billion devices. It is too unrealistic.
BTW, KB2952664 has just appeared in Win updates AGAIN !!
Should be fun hearing from all the business that have to deal with the aftermath of a user clicking to install Windows 10, especially if it means no work can be done for half the day or even longer should Windows 10 screw something up.
I assume Microsoft is so desperate to get people onto Windows 10 that all this animosity their build up doesn’t matter to them/
That’s exactly the scenario I envision playing out many times over. It is quite strange to me that the techs at Microsoft haven’t thought of it. Or perhaps the technical folk have, and the board insists on the move anyway. Regardless, someone in Microsoft seems to want to get Windows 10 onto as many machines as possible, by hook or by crook, with zero regard for the long-term ramifications. I wouldn’t be surprised if vultures are looking to pick their bones before flying on and leaving devastation in their wake..
> that the company received “ongoing requests from many small businesses” to
> allow them to take advantage of the free upgrade offer to Windows 10
As we all know, businesses large and small are notoriously known for being early adopters.
I am waiting eagerly for the Win 10 aficionados to post “Neanderthals” and “Tinfoil hat wearers” comments. I LOVE wearing my animal furs and extra thick tinfoil hat :-)
Gary, it’s already begun.
A couple of the “enlightened ones” drop by to snicker in here from time to time.
What i find odd is that Microsoft says “that the company received “ongoing requests from many small businesses” to allow them to take advantage of the free upgrade offer to Windows 10″
Are they really saying that many small businesses have taken the time to contact them because they didn’t know how to take advantage of the “free” upgrade offer, they couldn’t download the ISO, they couldn’t select the upgrade in Windows update, wouldn’t it have been easier to reply to these requests with instructions on how to upgrade rather than risk the backlash from small businesses that are going to be adversary effected.
I interpret this as MS counting the users (who clicked on the “learn more” button which keeps popping up in Outlook and hotmail) as probable suckers (OOPS should have said upgraders) for Win 10 install. Telemetry can lead to misunderstanding and misinformation !
I think small businesses (for a given definition of small) were not eligible for the free upgrade in the first place due to having an enterprise install or volume license. So it wasn’t just that the little app wasn’t showing up for them, if they downloaded the ISO they likely would not have had a license for it and could not migrate their current OS license. Of course, your point still mostly remains – Microsoft could have simply changed their policy and not also started pushing updates on even more unsuspecting users.
I may have this wrong but my understanding is that like you say enterprise versions aren’t eligible so the “ongoing requests from many small businesses” would have been from small businesses not using enterprise or volume licenses but still have their systems joined to a domain controller/server, that’s why it seems odd to me, they have enough knowledge to setup a server/domain but not enough to work out how to select an optional update or download an ISO.
That’s why I said “for a given definition of small”. It’s the definition that Microsoft feels is useful to their narrative that some places were not eligible for the upgrade, now are, so that justifies pushing it out in even more scenarios.
Maybe there’s been a misunderstanding as all versions of windows 7/8.1 apart from enterprise are eligible for the upgrade whether they be domain joined or not, the only difference was that computers joined to a domain, in the past, wouldn’t have received the GWX PUP but they could and still can take advantage of the “free” upgrade, the only thing that’s changed is instead of upgrading via an ISO or Windows update a domain joined devices now can also upgrade via the GWX nagware.
Oh ghosh… Microsoft… please… PLEASE!… stop going down this utterly abhorrent and evil path.
Before Microsoft followed this pathway to installing insane Windows-10-advertising-malware onto millions of PC’s, I was actually a STRONG voice advocating for Microsoft solutions in our enterprise.
But since they have gone down this path, so many people in the company I work for have developed a strong hatred for Microsoft, that I dare not mention their name anymore.
I honestly had such high hopes for Satya Nadella, and many of his promising ventures into new directions… but whatever progress he had made in re-establishing Microsoft’s reputation, and thus giving me credibility in the work place when I advocated for Microsoft solutions is now LONG GONE.
So sad… :(
The VP in my current company now hates Microsoft so much for having installed nag-malware on his Windows-7 laptops systems (along with abolishing his cloud storage files, when Microsoft reneged on the promise of free unlimited cloud-storage), that I really, really, (REALLY), can no longer recommend a single Microsoft product at my company, without high risk of being fired.
And again… I should emphasize that I’m someone who loves Microsoft, and made many past rational arguments to go with Microsoft in the Enterprise in the past… but not even I can function anymore as a Microsoft fanboy, without risking my career.
Again… it’s really so sad, and tragic the direction that Satya has taken Microsoft, because I really love and appreciate the products of Microsoft… Sigh…
I still believe there is no other Software-Engineering company on Earth that comes close to Microsoft…
But again… it’s just too bad about the direction Satya went with under his watch and leadership. I just hope Microsoft can survive Satya in the long term, when so many of today’s young generation (with a hatred for what Microsoft is doing today) make tomorrow’s decisions.
I fear this will come to bite Microsoft in the @ss…
Anyways… I’ve done all I could to defend Microsoft in my workplace. I can’t do anything more.
This is digital harassment. No other word for it.
Doesn’t exist in my installation.
If it does not exist, create it.
At the end of the day, it’s not really hard to convince users to update to metro/modern design if the underlying OS was legitimately spyware free. They could have gotten 1 billion devices easily. What MS did was to choose the hard way…
I agree with you. However, people who buy laptops (HDD, DVDRW) will source the cheapest. The cheap machines still do not have touch screens so metro apps do not work so well and frustrate the user.
NB !! If you want really cheap i7 laptops with Win 7, have a look at http://www.dellauction.com and http://www.delloutlook.com. I know that Dell had problems recently but they did fix them. BTW ! I do not work for Dell.
My mistake. “delloutlook” should be http://www.dellout.com.
Still surprised why there is no class action lawsuit against MS for pushing and sneaking Win10 on peoples computers without or even against their consent. Where are all these ambulance chasers ? Probably busy fixing their own PC’s after updating to 10 ???
I’d thought Mozilla was bad with its tricky forced-updates, but at least that’s just a browser you can wipe and (within a mere hour or two) have your desired installation and profiles restored. But these low-level OS “updates” from MS is pure fuckery.
We can’t even open OneNote desktop anymore without nag screen threats to “upgrade” to the “free version”, either. I fear they’re planning to “upgrade” the rest of Office and possibly even the development environments with these sneaky virus-like updates. We have to keep “clean machines” that are disconnected from the internet entirely, because merely rebooting connected workstations and devices has become a thing of nightmares: you never know WHAT you’ll get when you reboot from a connected machine or device.
I can’t wait to bail entirely on MS. Seriously.
Here’s something I’ve been testing on my mother’s (she’s 88!) Windows 7 PC, and while the previously mentioned registry entries seem to keep changing, this so far seems to do the trick. Paste the following into a text file, it “DisableOSUp.reg” . It uses the “DisallowRun” policy key to kill the GWX malware in the various user and system registry hives.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
1/29/16 today one of my users called saying his computer was doing some weird update.. sure enough his domain joined laptop was upgrading to Windows 10
Has this registry modification file as described above been working?