Enough with the popups Microsoft

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 12, 2016
Updated • Nov 12, 2016

Microsoft customers on Windows may have experienced yet another popup notification while running their device.

Microsoft's latest informational message is directed towards Office365 subscribers and is pushed to various versions of Windows including Windows 7 and 10. This may come as a surprise considering that those users are already paying customers.

The popup launches right above the Windows system tray area. It is labeled Office365, and informs customers that "your upgrade to Office 2016 is ready". It reveals furthermore that the upgrade is free (Free with your Office 365 subscription).

Customers can click on "see what's new" for information, later to postpone the upgrade, or upgrade to start the upgrade process right away.

via ZDnet

If that sounds awfully familiar to the "get Windows 10" notifications that Windows 7 and 8.1 users had to endure, you are probably not wrong.

The main issue with it is the usual one: there is no "no thanks" button. While you can select later to dismiss it for the time being, it is almost guaranteed that it will spawn again at a later point in time.

While not necessarily classified as an ad, it certainly is nagware.

Mary Jo Foley over on ZDnet reports that the prompt is misleading as well. She is a Office 365 Business Essentials subscriber and as such does not get locally installable Office 2016 apps. Still, she did get the popup advertising those.

A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDnet that the notification is designed to provide existing Office 365 subscribers with an easy way to upgrade to the latest version. Microsoft furthermore would evaluate customer feedback and adjust the right frequency of the notification.

The company has released a Fix It solution that turns off the Office 365 is ready notification on the operating system.

microsoft block office365 popup

To use it, simply download it and follow the steps outlined in the application to do so. Doing so should block any future popups from being launched on the system (until Microsoft changes the method I guess).

Office365 subscribers who don't want to upgrade to the newest versions of the Office apps, or cannot without paying extra, may want to run the Fix It solution to block the popup from appearing again.

The rise of the popup

Popup ads don't have the best of reputation on the web, and rightfully so. Microsoft pushing popups to Windows 10 first and foremost, but now also to other versions of Windows, may convince part of the company's user base to do whatever the popup suggests, but it will certainly irritate another part.

It seems that Microsoft is accelerating the pushing of popup notifications -- ads -- especially on Windows 10.

Most are limited currently to get users either to upgrade to a new Microsoft product version, or switch to a Microsoft product -- think Edge instead of Chrome -- instead.

Now You: What's your take on the development?

Enough with the popups Microsoft
Article Name
Enough with the popups Microsoft
Microsoft customers on Windows may have experienced yet another popup notification while running their device; this time for Office365.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. WWW said on November 15, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    So after all that, where’s the link to download the Fix It up above?

    I don’t see it there

  2. Armond said on November 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Aah, Dears, Is this something new? Wondering… I am not a gamer at all. Actually I am a visually impaired… I see something (maybe a game) called “FarmVille 2 : Country Escape” in my apps list in Windows 10. I do not use Metro/Modern/Store apps either.
    Microsoft. Please listen and understand!

  3. Ann said on November 14, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Yups saw that on Win7 too :(
    and it does come back, after 3 times I gave in and tried to install the update which failed.
    So uninstalled office as a result.

  4. 1 said on November 14, 2016 at 3:51 am

    I don’t quite understand the outrage with this one. Sure it’s a bit annoying for some people, but it is really a different scenario from the Get Windows 10 nags.
    With the Window 10 update, most people had simply bought a computer with Windows 7, and it could be argued that a lot of them had no interest in updating.
    In the case of Office 365, people are paying every month or year specifically so that they can get the latest updates without worrying about the additional cost. It seems quite reasonable to remind people who are paying to get updates that there is an update ready to install. People who have no interest in updates should be using a perpetual license of Office 2013 instead.

    “She is a Office 365 Business Essentials subscriber and as such does not get locally installable Office 2016 apps. Still, she did get the popup advertising those.”
    I’m guessing this was a mistake, rather than a decision to advertise.

  5. RPWheeler said on November 13, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    In most cases any ads just annoy / enrage me. Also I hate both Ribbon and Metro/Modern MS interfaces, so I was negative about the trend since I learned about Windows 8. My attempts to work with it only increased Windows 8 rejection which later was inherited by Windows 10. Nothing about Windows 10 I had read or heard so far made me less negative about it. Ads won’t make me positive about anything for sure.

    I’m avoiding MS Office since 2007, preferring to work with OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Also in most cases I do not trust cloud / connected / subscription solutions nothing I cannot abandon in any moment.

    So, reading about Windows 10 advertising Office 365 I say “Thanks heavens I do not see that because I’m avoiding Windows 10 and 8”.

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Same here. I think I just couldn’t stand it. Was a time I could figure out an “ad-attitude” based on an “after all there could be something valuable in this junkyard” tolerance. I no longer can, the ad business is exponential and I’ve reached my limits. Zero tolerance, especially when force-fed. Windows 10 is an advertisement hall dressed up with an OS, a true shame.

  6. Owl said on November 13, 2016 at 6:50 am

    1. 20% of their user base is huge, big money.
    2. regular users may accept a lot, but I bet they don’t like borked computers.
    3. what is it with the ‘Linux is unfriendly’ thing? Any Win 7 user would love Linux Mint. Some slight adjustment initially, then, easier to use than Windows .:)

  7. Mikhoul said on November 13, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Neo-Liberalism/Capitalism at work…

  8. Truted one said on November 12, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Microsoft against Users , we will see who will win I saw this Theater many times and the winner was Always the same , Only stupids make Short-term plans

  9. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa said on November 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Enough with the popups Microsoft? No, enough with Microsoft.

  10. Anonymous said on November 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    According to my experience in disinfection of computers the best way to get crypto-ransomware is to use Microsoft Office. But if for December you want to transform your taskbar into christmas tree, just install Microsoft Office 2016.

  11. jasray said on November 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Please fix:

    “your upgrade to Office 2016 is read”.

    As far as popups and problems Martin and others write about really makes me wonder what operating system I am running. It says, “Genuine Windows 10 Pro,” and I have Office 365. I never have seen a popup; I’ve never had an update hang; I’ve never had a change in default programs.” Sort of feel left out.

    1. T J said on November 12, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      @ jasray

      Well. either you are extremely lucky or Microsoft has made a special exception for you personally. Don’t feel left out. just give thanks that you and your hardware have been spared the innumerable hardware and software problems which have afflicted a huge number of people.

      I have used Hotmail since the 90s. For the last three months, I have been receiving emails from Bing which push “wonderful” MS deals. Each time, I mark them as junk and block them. MS overrides the block and sends more. I can find no solution. That is an example of MS popups and MS arrogance in ignoring user choices.

      FWIW, I removed Bing from the list of available search engines in my browsers ever since MS launched it.

    2. Tom Hawack said on November 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Meanwhile “your upgrade to Office 2016 is read” rather than “ready” is rather ironic, even if — especially if — unintentional :)
      We’ve read their upgrade is ready, we sure have, that’s the problem!

  12. Clairvaux said on November 12, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Avast Free Antivirus does that, too.

    1. Hoops said on November 12, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Clairvaux, Avast does what ?

  13. Hoops said on November 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Henk’s post is absolute right. MS is relying on the numb masses which will accept almost everything MS is spitting into their faces. These lemmings can get excited about the silliest “new” feature and apps as long as they are colorful, loud, beeping, blinking, flickering, square, round and most importantly, meaningless and data collecting. That’s in, tha’ts cool, that’s technical progress at its finest. Dumbing us down and taking away control from our own devices, that is one of the main goals of this industry and unfortunately the lemmings are the biggest asset for companies like MS.
    I am not at all against progress. But I can see the nonsense and trojan horses this industry is creating just to get to customers money and personal data. This is not progress. This is imho dirty business or worse.
    Unfortunately the lemmings don’t see it. So we have to take care of ourselves, help each other out as best as possible and be greatful for websites like ghacks where we can get advice and communicate with each other. One time the earth was considered flat. Some smart guy changed this opinion. Nobody wanted to listen, he was punished.
    Right now for us the earth is flat. Waiting for the smart guy or girl ……….):

  14. Brent R Jones said on November 12, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Office has changed. Windows has changed. Microsoft has changed. Microsoft wants a stable source of income. With Windows XP there were people using it for 10 years, myself included. That was not a source of income after Windows upgrades came. With all the fixes, it cost the company money to keep updating it. Lots of business users had software that only ran on Windows; no versions came on iOS or Linux. People stay with what they have, if they can. This is for familiarity and savings. I have been training users since the first IBM PC in 1981. DOS was slow and difficult for many users. Windows and hard disks and more memory made lots of development possible. But the Internet really stirred things up. Now the average user–whether at home or work–has to be a communicator-writer, applications user, and technical repairman. Most can’t do it.

    Microsoft still needs income. Subscription is now the model. You will pay for Windows and Office monthly or annually. If you are a typical ghacks.net reader you have alternatives and are technically savvy. But if you work for a company or are a home user, you generally work on PCs, Windows and Office. Apple is great; Linux is great. But neither are mainstream/majority. Personally, I could care less what OS and Office suite I use. But users need to fit in. They are not tech experts. Scorning Microsoft, Windows and MS Office is pointless.

    It would be nice if the user community had a way to give feedback about such issues as pop-ups in the OS. A website that collected complaints would be helpful. Microsoft might read and change.

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      “Microsoft still needs income.”, OK, but I know very few products which include advertisement and moreover tracking (or even plain anonymous telemetry) in a paid product. People have paid for a Windows OS license, they have paid for a Microsoft Office product and nevertheless receive ads, popup ads here with Office365. Windows 10 advertised as free within a year when launched back on July 29th 2015 implicitly refers to what appears indeed as Windows as a Service, paid monthly or annually. Seems to me that if you pay, either for a license either for a service, the product has to be free of advertisement. Fee or ads, not both!

  15. Yuliya said on November 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I use Office 2010, but didn’t enabled its updates last time I did a fresh install, so that’s not an issue for me. Never understood why Office needs updates anyway..

  16. Yi Ling said on November 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    As a consumer, subscription software is a big NO for me. I would rather stop using computers than pay for subscriptions even if my job depends on it. I have no plans to pay any kind of subscription fees out of my pocket for neither Windows nor Office. I cannot tolerate the ripoff pricing plans, the way they treat you – continuously moving features around, making them dumber, harder to control and not letting you be in control. 10 years ago, software on a PC was better than it is today and this trend is only going to get worse if lemmings accept Windows 10 and Office 365.

    Windows has entered crapware/malware/adware territory and Office has become an insanely bloated worthless pig that I do not need – thank God that LiberOffice, SoftMaker and Kingsoft exist. But unfortunately Linux is not a true alternative to Windows – it lags in user-friendliness when it comes to the desktop environments. So the best you can do is stay with Windows 7 until this trend of screwing the user blows over. Now you see why PC sales are down for 8 consecutive quarters. People know that Windows 10 is awful and Windows 10 is the devil’s OS – they will hold on to their old hardware which runs their OS of choice for as long as possible. Microsoft can play all the dirty politics they want to annoy the hell out of users – eventually it will damage their reputation.

  17. jern said on November 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Get used to fighting this – it has become the new norm.

    Amazon will sell you a tablet for dirt cheap that “Includes Special Offers” – ads that you can’t stop. You have to spend about 25% more to get a tablet without ads.

    If you want to transfer files from your Mac to your Amazon tablet, you have to use an Android File Transfer app. The “privacy” policy for that app is on a Google webpage and describes the data Google collects. To call it a “privacy” policy is ridiculous. These in-your-face tactics are not going away.

    Google’s “privacy” policy is here for anyone interested…

  18. Corky said on November 12, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    My take on the development is bring it on, more of the same please.

    The more Microsoft pushes the more customers will push back and come to realise Microsoft is no more customer focused than any other company, quiet the opposite in fact, for decades a minority of people have seen, and spoken out about, how hostile and antagonistic Microsoft is to not only their customers but the industry as a whole, it’s about time more people were made aware that Microsoft isn’t a positive force in the computer industry.

  19. Earl said on November 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I have Win7 and I’m not a subscriber to any form of Office, plus I don’t have any Office programs installed except for the free OneNote version that Microsoft started giving away a couple years back. And I’ve been seeing this popup. (I cancel the process whenever I see it.)

    I’m now thinking of uninstalling OneNote (never really used this version anyway) and anything else even slightly related to Office. Fortunately, though, I don’t really use Windows anymore; it just wakes up periodically to run some scheduled process.

  20. Anonymous said on November 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    When in Europe Microsoft and its virus leaders will be condemned for illegal practices, I hope the companies helping them to harass people by selling its products will also be too.

  21. Tom said on November 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    just wait, trump will fix it for you. :)

    the thing is, win 10 comes with every new (windows) notebook. and by far most people do stick with it.

    1. FractalZ said on November 12, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      > the thing is, win 10 comes with every new (windows) notebook. and by far most people do stick with it.

      Silly lemmings!

      Seriously, WinX is confirmation that MSWindows has moved into the territory that is favored by obvious bloateware. When M$ has to give one of their most profitable product lines (Windows) away, it tells us that Windows is broken or it would sell at a more respectable market price. Now MS Office is proving to be yet as unweildy for MS to maintain and attempt to give away then do a very hard sell upon naive users.

      Microsoft is reminding me of scary adults who offer free candy to young children…be afraid, very afraid!


  22. Tom Hawack said on November 12, 2016 at 11:51 am

    I’m not a Microsoft Office user, nevertheless this new popup notification within Office365 doesn’t surprise me. Microsoft hasn’t learned anything from its users’ anger regarding its aggressive behavior with Windows 10 enforcement because the company believes there isn’t anything worth being learned, not even the fact that Windows 10 might have had a far greater success had its deployment been conducted with respect, persuasion, seduction and brains.

    Not only users complain. Microsoft’s monopolistic tactics seem to have no limit, and Kaspersky itself is complaining ( http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/kaskpersky-complains-to-russian-and-eu-authorities-about-microsofts-monopolistic-tactics/ )

    I’ve always been told before agreeing by myself that determination avoids stubbornness when it is sufficiently flexible to include rebellion as an argument of factual mistakes. This doesn’t seem to concern Microsoft, which leads me to wonder if, beyond basic morality, the true problem of the company isn’t plain intelligence : has Microsoft become stupid?

    1. Henk van Setten said on November 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Tom, my own impression is they’re not stupid at all, rather they’re calculating.

      They calculated that about 80% of all users (my estimate) can be lured in easily by some flashy features, are naive enough to click on blinking start menu ads, are willing to give up privacy in return for some perceived convenience, are lazy enough to set everything to automatic, are trusting enough to click popups, etc.

      Microsoft doesn’t give a hoot about the protesting 20% and will be happy to lose that minority group of users, for this loss will be more than compensated by the huge gains of exploiting all the gullible others.

      If you look at it this way, then Windows 10 might be defined as the Donald Trump of operating systems.

      1. John in Mtl said on November 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm

        “If you look at it this way, then Windows 10 might be defined as the Donald Trump of operating systems”

        Love it hahahaha!!

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        Yes, Henk, you must be right. This business attitude, policy rather when reading/agreeing with your comment, seems not to be restricted to the Internet but rather to any wide market : the point is not in the ratio but in the credit balance, when losing 2 out of 10 is a problem but not keeping 800,000,000 out of a billion. Like ads in the mailbox (not to mention those on the network!) where everyone seems to throw them to the garbage and yet they continue to be invasive for the sole reason that a tiny minority of efficiency is enough to make those ads worth being carried on…

        Listen, this is my very personal belief, but I’m strongly tied to the idea that people emancipate and that this emancipation always starts with a minority. In other terms anything which tramples upon ethics is bound to change or disappear, it’s only a matter of time. Unaware of this would be… stupid as short-medium policies always are.

  23. Nik said on November 12, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Did you disable comments in the mobile theme again? Also the images in the post don’t get resized in the mobile theme. Only half part is displayed horizontally. Rest goes out of the screen.

    1. Dwight said on November 13, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Yeah. They did.

  24. Jeff said on November 12, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Why are idiots using crap like Windows 10 in the first place? Just wait for the CEO and his entire team to get fired again so you get back control over many aspects of Windows which you have lost. Until then, hang on to Windows 7 or 8.1 with Classic Shell for dear life. If you tolerate Windows 10 and its shenanigans there is no incentive left for Microsoft to fix or improve anything. They will milk your money all the way to bankruptcy. What’s next? Hardware as a service? Pay for connecting extra peripherals? Greed has no limit.

    1. Gatry said on November 14, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      I was wondering what happened with use of Administrative Tools (Control Panel), to eradicate this nagware?

    2. Mola Ram, CEO Microsoft said on November 13, 2016 at 5:19 am

      People need to complain and boycott or sue to convince Microsoft to take any action. Microsoft will never do anything because it’s the “right thing to do”. It has always been their policy to bully both consumers and competitors for as much as they can get away with.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.