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.Advertisement