No More GWX!
A reader writes:
Ralph, here is shocker that I got this past week. I put my laptop in sleep mode during the middle of the day and then later that night I looked at the screen to find it running. I looked closer to see that it was installing Windows 10 without my permission or any action by me. You talk about hijacking a computer: this is just about the ultimate: it warning me not to shut off the computer to stop it.
Microsoft wonders why people hate them, and then they do cr*p like this. If I were a lawyer I would sue them for hijacking my computer. Had I needed to do some work, I could not have for several hours. What was a nice, easy-to-use computer is now a pain, because it takes more steps to do simple tasks. The startup menu is a real piece of cr*p, and so bad I am now pinning most programs I run to the taskbar. Don't like doing that on general principle, but it beats wading through multiple picks to do something that had been simple.
The good news is that you have 30 days to uninstall Windows 10.
The other good news is that many other people and tech publications are also outraged at Microsoft taking over computers like a poorly-written virus from Eastern Europe. The bad news is that Microsoft doesn't care about you, but what else is new!
The reason this occurred to your computer is that Microsoft unilaterally changed the Windows 10 update (the GWX program -- "Get Windows 10") to a recommended update. If you have Windows set up to install recommended updates automatically, you get snookered.
Should you stay with Windows 10, you can get a replacement for the confusing Start menu through Start10 from Stardock. I used their Start8 program extensively to fix the dreadful-UI problem of Windows 8 running on computers belonging to relatives and friends. $5 from https://www.stardock.com/products/start8/download.asp.
(Here's a tip for any release of Windows since Vista: to find a program or file quickly, just click the Start button, and then begin typing; no need to go into search mode with Explorer.)
In general, my advice to people is only upgrade to Windows 10 if they have a touch screen computer. Otherwise, stay with Windows 7 (or fix Windows 8 with Start8). The biggest headache about Windows 10 is not the unnecessarily confusing UI actually, but having to turn off all of Microsoft's surveillance options.
To keep Microsoft from invading the privacy of your computer, I recommend installing GWX Control Panel from https://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/08/using-gwx-stopper-to-permanently-remove.html. It is free, and I found it to be effective. My highly-optimized desktop computer is how I make my living, and I cannot have Microsoft attempting to destroy my livelihood.
As the GWX Control Panel reports on my computer's status: "No traces of the Get Windows 10 app, Windows 10 upgrade settings, or Windows 10 installation files found. You appear to be safe!"
Meanwhile, I have a Windows 8 computer that Microsoft still hasn't figured out how to update to 8.1, despite many attempts by the software behemoth for two years now.