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Oops! MS ticks "Upgrade to Win10" in WU on Win7&8.1 PCs

Since the latest Patch/Update Tuesday earlier this week on 10/13, the computer trade press has been rife with stories about Microsoft’s accidental enablement of the Upgrade to Windows 10 option on Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs. More than mildly curious upon reading about same, I checked the 8.1 boot image on one of my dual-boot test machines (I’m already running Win10 on the “other boot” for that PC). Sure enough, here’s what I saw in my Windows Update widget for Optional update elements on that machine:

Note the checkbox next to “Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro” is already checked!

Indeed, MS has been doing everything it can to persuade Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10, including the by now infamous “Get Windows 10” widget it installs in the Taskbar on PCs running those OSes. But consensus is emerging that this latest prompt to catch users up with Windows 10 might be taking things a step too far on the side of MS convenience versus user control.

And in fact, Ars Technica obtained a statement from Microsoft on this subject that I reproduce verbatim here:

As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check.

Because I was still able to elicit this behavior this morning, one day after the report hit the Ars Technica website (and then proliferated wildly around the Web), it seems that MS hasn’t yet gotten around to pushing that removal out quite yet. Consider yourselves warned and/or amused, hopefully in equal parts!