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A ~5GB "pre-emptive" Win10 download?

This morning, I read Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’ ZDnet story entitled “Windows 10 installer could be on your PC whether you want it or not” with some amusement. Then I asked myself the question “I wonder if it’s already on my Windows 8.1 test machine.” And sure enough, there it sits in the (hidden) $Windows.~BT directory, weighing in at a fairly hefty 4.77 GB:

MS has already downloaded the Win10 files to my 8.1 test partition, though so far I’ve declined to upgrade.

Kingsley expresses a certain amount of shock and outrage that MS would presume to clutter up its users’ disk drives with this much stuff without obtaining permission, and makes the point that for users subject to bandwidth caps or limits this could involve some unwelcome resource consumption. I can kind of see this one both ways, believing that users should be allowed to choose what they do and don’t download, but also understanding that MS wants to get those files out the door and onto the wire at off hours when bandwidth is more rather than less available to its (or its service providers’) servers (such as Akamai, a frequent host for large MS downloads). But my understanding is that MS makes this presumption only for users who’ve indicated an interest in a Windows 10 upgrade by signing up for “Get Windows 10,” so I don’t think it’s necessarily an unwarranted assumption on Microsoft’s part to believe that such users might want to upgrade at some point in time. Even so, I think he’s right to assert that MS should still ask for user permission before downloading almost 5GB of files onto somebody’s boot/sys disk.

This all raises the very interesting question of how many such downloads (like mine) are still sitting there, ready to be used but not yet put to work. Methinks it might be even bigger than the rumored 80-100 million installations of Windows 10 already running.