How to Block the Windows 10 Upgrade, Everything We Know

Tina Sieber 25-05-2016

In the coming weeks, Microsoft will push more than ever for you to upgrade to Windows 10 6 Microsoft Tactics to Make You Upgrade to Windows 10 Microsoft is keen to get you onto Windows 10 and they are pushing hard. We have summarized the tactics they are using to get you to upgrade to Windows 10 as quickly as possible. Read More because from July 29 on the upgrade will cost $119 Act NOW to Keep Your Windows 10 Upgrade Free After July 29 Microsoft has confirmed that the free Windows 10 upgrade will expire. After July 29, a Windows 10 license will cost $119. We show you how to become eligible to install Windows 10 for free, even... Read More . For Microsoft, it’s more valuable if you upgrade now — for free — because Windows 10 creates long-term revenue and it’s easier to support.


And we all know you won’t pay to upgrade your old Windows 7 or 8 machine.

Microsoft speculates that once you do wake up to Windows 10, chances are you won’t go back. Maybe you’ll enjoy Windows 10 Are You a Windows 10 Upgrade Refugee? Do This First! Did Microsoft just upgrade your computer to Windows 10? Since February, Windows 10 is being pushed as a Recommended update on Windows 7 and 8.1 computers. This is what you can do after you've been... Read More or you won’t know how to downgrade. But what if you do want to continue running Windows 7 or 8?

How to Avoid the Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft has been trying several different tactics to get you to upgrade. First, they launched the Get Windows 10 app, which featured ever new pop-up windows, alerts, and messages designed to make you upgrade.

Most recently, they made Windows 10 a recommended upgrade. We covered this development in our post on How to NOT Upgrade to Windows 10 Microsoft Strikes Again - How to NOT Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is now a recommended update on Windows 7 and 8.1 computers. If you're not yet ready to upgrade, it's time to double-check your Windows Update settings. We show you how. Read More .


The takeaway from all that we’ve covered on the aggressive Windows 10 upgrade How to Block the Aggressive Windows 10 Upgrade on Windows 7 and 8.1 Microsoft ramps up its efforts to make users upgrade to Windows 10. Come 2016, many people will wake up to a new operating system, despite never having consented to the upgrade. Don't be one of... Read More so far is:

  1. When the Get Windows 10 app pops up and announced your upgrade was scheduled, find the link Click here to change upgrade schedule or cancel scheduled upgrade and cancel it. Note that closing the window using the X button How to Say "No" to Windows 10 on Your PC Tired of postponing the Windows 10 update? Microsoft has made it easier for you to say No! Read More  will no longer cancel the upgrade!
  2. If Windows Update wants to get the upgrade started, simply Decline the EULA.
  3. Disable recommended updates in Windows Update.
  4. Clean up the already downloaded installation files to recover disk space.

You can try to keep on top of Microsoft’s latest moves and manually counteract them or you can let a third-party application take care of it. We recommend these two:

  • GWX Control Panel was one of the first tools to remove the Get Windows 10 notification and it also keeps Windows Update in check.
  • Never10 can apply reversible system configurations to disable the Windows 10 upgrade and it helps you clean up left over Windows 10 installation files.

How to Undo a Windows 10 Upgrade

You literally woke up to Windows 10 installed How You Could Have Upgraded to Windows 10 by Accident & What to Do Windows 10 was accidentally auto-installed on Windows 7 and 8.1 machines without user consent. Microsoft apologized for the mistake. We analyze the events and show you once more how to NOT get Windows 10. Read More on your computer! Or maybe the setup is still in progress. Do nothing until it’s done!

You have three options:

  1. Re-install your previous Windows version.
  2. Install a system backup you made.
  3. Roll back or downgrade within the next 30 days.

We have covered all downgrade methods in depth in our article on How to Downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 How to Downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 Windows 10 is here and maybe it's not what you expected. If you already upgraded, you can perform a rollback. And if you haven't yet, create a system backup first. We show you how. Read More .

Here’s a brief summary of the third option: Press Windows key + I to launch the Settings app, head to Update & Security > Recovery, and under Go back to Windows 7 / 8.1 click Get started.

windows 10 recovery

This method only works if your previous installation was backed up into a Windows.old folder, as it should have. Also note that the rollback option expires after 30 days or when you update Windows 10 to a new version.

Now that you know how to undo or — better yet — prevent an involuntary Windows 10 upgrade, you can sleep tight again.

Do you have any other Windows troubles that keep you awake at night? Or dreams of a better Windows? Share them in the comments and maybe we can help!

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows Upgrade.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    May 28, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Doesn't it seem odd to PC users that one has to take this "how-to-prevent-a-MS-generated-calamity" stance? It's an OS! An OS is meant to enable use of your PC in terms of being able to run software... that's it. Particularly when you have to pay for an OS (come July 30), the OS should really behave itself and not do things the user didn't ask for nor need.
    We have all come to accept and expect this behaviour, hence articles like this one walk us happily through uncanny valley, with no one raising eyebrows or asking themselves: "does it really have to be like this?"
    Even though I still work (at 63 - yeah, the economy is another harsh taskmaster!) I'm on a limited budget. Buying new equipment like desktops and such just to run the newest flavour of OS isn't in the cards. I warrant there's heaps of us out there, too. We will be running Win7 - or some alternative OS - until the machine physically 'falls over'. So, for those of us, articles like this - very well written, providing crucial information: thank you for writing it! - whilst providing important solutions to avoid OS-manufacturer calamities, shouldn't even exist, should it? This OS maker is losing faith daily amongst users, losing relevance with the big IT-industry leaders (like Google, FB, stock exchanges) and don't seem to care.
    I've been dual-booting / VM-running Win7 for some time now. Auto-updates are firmly turned off. Security is not the key issue here - as MS would have you believe - it is potentionally bricking your PC / losing all your data due to an unwanted upgrade. How many times have I seen this now: got the upgrade, re-formatted my PC and set it back to Win7, BUT LOST ALL MY DATA.
    So, the key thing to do here is:

    1) do frequent backups - this applies for any OS
    2) back up (image) your fully-installed flavour of Win7 with all software and settings so you can easily restore from that image
    3) do frequent backups of your data - oh, did I say that already?
    4) share the love - tell others who you know use PCs about all this

    You cannot trust an OS maker who sees you as a product. That's my take, anyway.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 28, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Thank you for your comment and your great advice, Robin!

      I wish I didn't have to write articles like this. I wish we could all focus on what a great operating system Windows 10 is (apart from the advertising part). I wish we could write more about how they can upgrade easily and make the most of Windows 10, rather than over and over again showing users how to prevent the Windows 10 upgrade if they don't want it. It's insanity.

  2. Mark Boelte
    May 27, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I will not upgrade simply because Microsoft has been so sneaky. I build my own gaming machines. I have 3 Retail Windows 7 licenses. When I upgrade my machine, I re-install. If I go to 10, every time I build a new machine, or UPGRADE a machine, I have to buy a new license for Windows 10. I will not do that.
    Until MS makes it clear, without obfuscating language that I can get a Retail copy of 10 that can be re-installed when I upgrade or replace my computer.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

      You're making a great point, Mark. I sure hope that *buying* a retail copy of Windows 10 means you'll be able to use it the same way as a Windows 7 or 8 retail license.

      I can understand why they decided to lock the *free upgrade* to one piece of hardware, but if they did the same for a license that cost USD 119, that would be insane. I can't imagine Microsoft would be so reckless.

      • Mark Boelte
        May 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm

        When asked directly, MS rep only replied that a new license would be required if you replaced a "major component, like a motherboard or processor". Follow up questions were not answered. So, even if you bought a new computer, then later wanted to upgrade your processor, you will have to buy a new Win 10 license.

  3. Carol203
    May 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I had Windows 7 until I voluntarily agreed to one of those Download Windows 10 for Free! Pop up messages after hearing a friend rave about it. Now I can't even get into my computer. "Windows" is requiring a password! If I ever established a password - it was 5 years ago and I have no clue what it is. How can I get around this? This is my home computer and I'm the only one who uses it, so I don't believe I ever had a password. I don't know what to do.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 27, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      Were you using the Administrator account? This always requires a password. Maybe try hitting Enter on the password prompt, maybe you set an empty password.

      Or rather than a local account, is this for your Windows (online) account? If you ever had Hotmail, it should be the same password.

      You can also try to reset your password:
      4 Simple Ways to Reset Your Windows Admin Password

  4. Phil
    May 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

    MS shenanigans have finally pi**ed me off so LINUX here I come. Looks like too many are in the same boat. Ignore this, MS honchos, at your peril

  5. Anonymous
    May 27, 2016 at 4:11 am

    To anyone who "woke up to find Windows 10 installed on their computer".
    Turn off automatic updates, & update your computer manually.
    It's a little more time consuming, but better than having to rollback an unwanted 'upgrade'.
    I keep a text file of upgrade & telemetry updates, so I don't have to search google every time I run windows update.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Turning off Windows Update entirely is drastic. If you forget to regularly install legit updates, you risk catching worse infestations than Windows 10. Windows 10 is a "recommended update", thus it should be sufficient to only disable recommended updates.

      To be safe, run Never10 or GWX.

  6. ElaineMDG
    May 27, 2016 at 2:04 am

    I'll TRY and make this short: I woke up several months ago, turned on my desktop, and got a nice "Congratulations for choosing Windows 10" screen-something like that. I'd followed every trick, tip and instruction I could find both on this site and others for both my laptop, (a Windows 7 Latitude which isn't compatible with 10) and my desktop, (a fairly new HP all-in-one with W8). As soon as I logged into my "new" OS, my desktop became POSSESSED!! Windows and apps were opening & closing, the cursor was moving around, and a voice, apparently "Cortana", was blabbering intelligibly. Longer story short-it took several weeks and bringing a friend in to help to get me back to a working computer. I got a seriously corrupted hard drive and some missing, irreplaceable documents, as a result of this unwanted fiasco.
    I wouldn't mind upgrading so much if 1. They didn't try and shove it down our throats and 2. Software I use for work is currently incompatable with 10. The software developers are working on an upgrade, but it may not be available until August.
    If I register for the upgrade but don't install it, can I still get it in August at no charge-IF I decide I want it?
    Second question-despite also taking all these steps with my Windows 7 laptop-with it being incompatable--they won't attempt to install it anyways like they did with the desktop, will they?
    Thanks to anyone who can respond!!

    • Tina Sieber
      May 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Elaine. Sorry this happened to you! You're not alone, many others had go through the same nightmare.

      Regarding your questions...
      1: You have to upgrade to Windows 10 once to be able to install it again for free on that same device after July 29, 2016. Microsoft will record your motherboard ID in an online database, which makes it eligible for Windows 10 and means it will automatically be activated when you install Windows 10 in the future. This is called digital entitlement.
      Rather than upgrading, you can also install a dual boot and (if your BIOS isn't UEFI) use your current Windows product key to activate Windows 10. Read more about your options in this article: Act NOW to Keep Your Windows 10 Upgrade Free After July 29

      2: The Windows 10 upgrade mechanism should only attempt to install Windows 10 on machines that are compatible with Windows 10. I would guess that any Windows 7 hardware is deemed compatible. Software incompatibilities are ignored, sometimes even hardware incompatibilities, e.g. graphics cards without drivers for Windows 10.
      To be on the safe side, please use Never10 or GWX on that machine to prevent the aggressive upgrade!

      Good luck!

  7. nfafan
    May 27, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Have been trying to find a legit free Windows 10 upgrade for my Vista PC - no luck, Vista is the red-headed stepson of Gates/ Now I live in dual-boot Linux to avoid using Vista.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Yes, it's a bit strange that they didn't extend the free upgrade to Vista users. I guess it's got to do with hardware requirements. And if you listen to some of the other commenters, maybe it's for the best.

      Linux is a pretty great alternative. How do you like it?

  8. Anonymous
    May 26, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    We, Luddites, Were Bullied Since APRIL 8, 2014.

    I Love KARMA.

    Enjoy Your **Latest And Greatest**, Because I Am Enjoying Reading These Growing Whining Comments, The More And More, With Each Passing Freaking Day.


    • Tina Sieber
      May 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Good to see you're still around. :)

      • Anonymous
        May 27, 2016 at 11:50 am

        Thank You For Responding.


        A - With A Volume License Key, And,

        B - With A Site Like PCPARTPICKER, And,

        C - With Lots Of Browsers Still Supporting My Beloved OS...

        ...Only Death Will Prevent Me From Nagging You In The Many Many Many Years To Come.


  9. Anonymous
    May 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    "When the Get Windows 10 app pops up, ignore it! Instead, find the X button in the top right of the window to close it."

    From what I've read, this is now wrong. As I understand it, clicking the X now starts the upgrade. Please revise the article.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Are you referring to clicking the X on Windows Update or the Get Windows 10 app? I haven't heard of the latter being a problem yet.

      However, when you've let Windows Update advance to a state where you can see the X again, you're already on the path to upgrading to Windows 10.

      • Anonymous
        May 26, 2016 at 3:32 pm

        Ah. My mistake. You were talking about the app, and I thought you were talking about Windows Update. I apologize.

        Also, I agree with your recommendations of GWX and Never10. In particular, Steve Gibson's GRC has been a very reliable source of utilities for a very long time.

        • Tina Sieber
          May 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm

          No worries. They are easily confused. Maybe I should highlight the difference in the article.

          Yes, Never10 is a really great utility. I still recommend GWX next to it because it has been around for a little longer and it's been very reliable in catching and fixing every new trick Microsoft came up with.

        • Tina Sieber
          May 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          Hm, I've looked into this and it seems you were right. Microsoft recently switched the behavior of the Get Windows 10 app: Closing it now equals agreeing to the upgrade!? No warning of course. The behavior just changed behind the scenes and no way users can tell until it's too late. That's insane.

    • Anonymous
      May 26, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      i did close the window and now i'm on windows 10... pffff M$ is really pethetic. Well, time to move on osx or linux!

  10. Tim
    May 26, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I installed never10 on May seemed to work however my chrome browser was also "takenover" by on the same day. I installed no other programs that day..... #justsayin

    • Tina Sieber
      May 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      That's really strange because Never10 is not supposed to install anything, not even itself. It's an EXE utility that runs without installation, like a portable app, and applies changes to the system.

      I double-checked the app on my Windows 7 machine and can't confirm a takeover.

      Also, the developer, Steve Gibson, has released many other utilities and I can only find positive reports on his work. According to Wikipedia, he is a security researcher and IT security proponent. Packaging malware with his tools would really hurt his reputation.

      Did you download Never10 directly from Do you reboot your computer or restart your browser every day? It could be that it came from somewhere else, but you didn't notice it until that day.