Windows 10 is coming, and don’t you know it!? If it isn’t in your email inbox (thanks Microsoft), in your news feed, a reminder on Twitter and Facebook or on the news, it’s there, on your desktop.
Microsoft’s popup reminder about Windows 10 is an aggressive marketing campaign that has the signs of a malware infection, and while the get Windows 10 message is not a virus it is certainly annoying.
So much so that it inspired one developer to release a tool to remove Windows 10 upgrade notifications.
Why Is Windows 10 Being Pushed So Hard?
Before we take a look at how you can get rid of the Windows 10 notification, let’s take a step back for a moment. Windows 10 is coming, that much we know. But why is Microsoft promoting its future operating system so heavily to its existing users?
The answer lies in what they expect to gain with Windows 10: a blanket installation of their new operating system and the abandoning of Windows XP (which continues to hang on despite being 12 years old), Vista and 7 in particular, and also Windows 8/8.1. Getting users off Windows XP has proved difficult, but for them to safely upgrade to Windows 10, XP users must first upgrade to Windows 7.
Windows 10 on PCs, Xbox One and Windows mobile devices – that is Microsoft’s dream, a cross-device solution to various perceived problems from the lack of apps on Windows Phone to the poor implementation of touch-based apps in the “modern” interface. If this sounds intriguing, you can try out the new OS before it is formally released in the shape of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which can be installed on most desktop and laptop computers.
Many see Windows 10 as Microsoft’s last roll of the dice in desktop computing. Such doom mongering is simply specious, but by setting the stakes so high, the team behind Windows 10 really has to deliver.
So, Microsoft wants you to be aware of Windows 10 so that you’ll upgrade when it is available. They’re so engaged with this that they’ll even subject their own captive audience to adware tactics (and risk a “free U2 album on your iPhone”-style backlash) to tell you all about it.
The Windows 10 Upgrade Notification
If by some unlikely stroke of luck you haven’t seen the Windows 10 upgrade notification, it first appears as a Windows logo in the system tray. By right clicking it, you can view the Get Windows 10 popup, or Check your upgrade status, but if you continue to ignore it, it will begin popping up automatically.
Although it isn’t malware, the upgrade notification is introduced to your computer via a download, specifically a Windows update. So if you have Windows Update enabled and haven’t had the Windows 10 upgrade notification yet, you’ve either been lucky so far or you were wise enough to opt out of optional updates!
Three ways of removing the notification have been established. You can hide it, remove the Windows update that added the popup, or use the I Don’t Want Windows 10 v2.0 tool.
How to Hide the Windows 10 Upgrade Notification
Probably the easiest method of managing the GWX (Get Windows 10) notification is to hide it, which you can do by right-clicking in the system tray near the clock, and selecting Customize notification icons. In the resulting screen, find GWX and change the Behaviors setting to Hide icon and notification.
Click OK when you’re done, and this will hide the Windows 10 icon and end notifications.
Incidentally, it’s also possible to kill the upgrade notification until the next time you restart your PC. Right-click on the taskbar, select Task Manager and identify GWX.exe. Select, then click End Task.
To go nuclear on this, you can also delete it permanently (or at least until Microsoft adds a new update!) by opening C:\Windows\System32\GWX and C:\Windows\SysWOW64\GWX on 64-bit systems and deleting the GWX folder.
Remove a Windows Update, Kill the Upgrade Notification
The notification came via a Windows Update, so why not remove the update?
Uninstalling a Windows Update is surprisingly easy, as long as you know its name. This update is called KB3035583 so we can use the command line to delete it with a single command. Begin by opening the Command Prompt with Administrator privileges (right-click the Command Prompt icon and select Run as administrator) and enter
WUSA /UNINSTALL /KB:3035583
Follow the on-screen prompts, and when complete type exit to close Command Prompt.
Use “I Don’t Want Windows 10″
Free for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.x, I Don’t Want Windows 10 removes notifications of the coming upgrade. It doesn’t prevent you from installing the upgrade.
It works by automatically removing the KB3035583 update from Microsoft, so is in effect a “clean” version of the previous fix. After downloading the I_Dont_Want_Windows_10.zip file, unzip the contents and run I Don’t Want Windows 10.exe. The utility will warn you of a few things (such as it isn’t a Microsoft patch, and that you use it at your own risk) and you’ll need to click I Agree to continue.
With the patch applied, restart Windows to enjoy life without the upgrade notification for Windows 10.
Don’t Disable Windows Update
That’s three ways to remove the Windows 10 upgrade nag screen, each reasonably straightforward to apply. You might be tempted to avoid getting it all by disabling Windows Update, but this is only going to result in useful updates being ignored. Instead, set Windows Update so that you can review updates before installing them.
Do this in Windows 8 by opening Settings > Change PC Settings > Update and recovery > Windows Update > Choose how updates are installed and set Important updates to Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.
In Windows 7, select the same option; the quickest way you can get there is by opening Start > Windows Update, or finding the Windows Update icon in the system tray.
However, don’t overlook the important fact that if you do eventually plan to upgrade to Windows 10, Windows Update will be the easiest path, so you will need to keep an eye on these updates.