Microsoft has a rich history of testing boundaries when it comes to the distribution of apps and updates. The Get Windows 10 campaign demonstrated how far the company is willing to go to push something on the market but the unwanted upgrade to Windows 10 was just one of the methods that Microsoft utilized in the past couple of years.
A common user complaint is that Microsoft uses the Windows 10 operating system to install unwanted applications or games on user systems. Microsoft revealed in 2015 that it signed a deal with the Candy Crush game maker King which allowed Microsoft to distribute Candy Crush Saga with Windows 10.
Then, with the release of the Anniversary Update came even more promoted applications. Users who installed Windows 10 saw apps like Twitter, Photoshop Express, Minecraft for Windows 10, or Candy Crush Soda Saga displayed on the Start Menu.
Most apps and games were merely links and not installed. Users who clicked on these icons were taken to the Store from where the apps or games needed to be installed.
A report on Reddit suggests that Microsoft is still in the game of distributing games with its Windows 10 operating system; this time, the company apparently installs games in the background.
A user reported on the site that Microsoft installed Candy Crush Soda Saga and Disney Magic Kingdom; the games use about 750 Megabytes of space on the hard drive when installed. Downloads are initiated automatically without user interaction and even without users realizing that this is happening as there is no visible progress dialog displayed.
While it is possible to open the Windows Store and there the Menu > Downloads and updates to see the background downloads, it is unlikely that most users who end up with the downloaded games notice the downloads.
Not all Windows 10 users experience the installation of these apps and games. Microsoft does not distribute these with Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Channel versions of the operating system, but those are only available to Enterprise customers officially.
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations appears to come without these consumer application installations as well but it is the only edition of Windows 10 available to consumers that does so. The edition comes at a hefty price of about $300 though.
Microsoft removed options to control the pushing of third-party apps using Group Policy in 2016 from Windows 10 Pro.
Windows 10 users who have used tweaking software before for the operating system or modified the system settings manually may not experience the downloads.
The feature, if you want to call it that, is powered by a setting that has a very unfortunate name. It seems to be powered by a setting called "Show suggestions occasionally on Start".
We explained how to turn that feature off and many others in the past. Here is what you need to do:
There is something else that you may want to do as it may be related as well. You can disable application updates in Windows Store:
Now You: what is your experience with Windows 10 and application installations?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.