Microsoft starts pushing Windows 10 to domain-joined PCs

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 14, 2016
Updated • May 22, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

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".

turn off windows 10 upgrade policy

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).

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit and hit enter.
  2. Navigate to the folder HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx
  3. Right-click on Gwx and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  4. Name it DisableGwx.
  5. 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.

Microsoft starts pushing Windows 10 to domain-joined PCs
Article Name
Microsoft starts pushing Windows 10 to domain-joined PCs
Microsoft announced that it will push Windows 10 to domain-joined PCs soon that are updated via Windows Update.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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