Depending on from what angle you look at it, Microsoft's Get Windows 10 (GWX) campaign to get Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices to upgrade to Windows 10 was either a colossal disaster, a great success, or something in between.
Microsoft launched Windows 10, the last version of Windows ever, in 2015. Windows 10 was a new beginning for Microsoft; the company wanted customers to forget Windows 8 and move towards a Windows as a service model.
Microsoft launched the Get Windows 10 campaign to push Windows 10 and the 1 billion Windows 10 PCs by 2018 target.
What looked like a good deal on paper -- free upgrades to Windows 10 for devices running legitimate copies of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 -- turned into a nightmare for customers who did not want to upgrade to Windows 10.
Microsoft used near-malware like tactics to get users to upgrade, for instance by displaying upgrade prompts without opt-out option, sneaky prompts, or windows where the close button would not actually close the window anymore.
Microsoft ended the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer a year after its launch. It is still possible to upgrade Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices to Windows 10 for free if a genuine product key is used.
Microsoft rolled out an update to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices after the end of the offer designed to disable the Get Windows 10 functionality. The company continued to push compatibility updates KB2952664 and KB2976978 on the other hand but without the "Get Windows 10" functionality included.
Get Windows 10 should not be on fully patched Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices anymore; Michael Horowitz published a report recently that claims otherwise.
An event log check on a Windows 7 PC with November 2018 Patches revealed that attempts to upgrade to Windows 10.
Further analysis revealed the following:
Horowitz discovered three additional tasks in the same folder. These tasks were never execute, however, unlike the three tasks mentioned above. The task were MachineUnlock-5d, OutOfIdle-5d, and OutOfSleep-5d.
Two tassk, refreshgwxconfig and launchtrayprocess under Microsoft > Windows > Setup > gwx, had been disabled by Horowotz in the past.
Horowitz could not disable these tasks. The folder C:\Windows\system32\GWX displayed that most files were from 2015 including GWX.exe. Renaming GWX.exe did not work either; what worked was renaming the GWX folder but it is too early to tell whether the renaming is enough to block GWX tasks from running on the system.
What is puzzling about all this is that GWX should not be running anymore on the system. Microsoft ended the Get Windows 10 campaign in 2016 and there is no reason to keep scheduled tasks or files associated with it on the system.
Is Microsoft preparing for another Get Windows 10 campaign? Is it a bug? Leftover files on a system that were never removed completely?
It is unclear but it is probably a good idea to check the tasks and folders on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices to make sure that these tasks and files don't exist.
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