Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald
Can you quote the article. Misbegotten Forbes won't let me in even if I disable my adblocker.
Here you go:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
“There is no such thing as a free lunch” has been the mantra of those cynical about the true cost of ‘free’ Windows 10. But as Microsoft increases pressure on users to upgrade, it turns out the real cost of Windows 10 lies somewhere far less expected…
Windows 7 and Windows 8. Yes, the operating systems which users already paid for (either directly, or indirectly in the cost of a new computer) are getting more expensive by the day. The cost comes in terms of lost productivity, flexibility and enjoyment as Microsoft does its best to make life for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users so unbearable they give in and upgrade to Windows 10.
Prior to February 2016 the cost was already pretty high. On the irritation side Microsoft introduced upgrade prompts for Windows 7 and Windows 8 which reinstalled themselves if users disabled them. The upgrade prompts then became pop-up windows which were continually reworded to cut down choice until ‘Upgrade now’ or ‘Upgrade tonight’ or just one option – ‘Upgrade now’ – were all that was presented.
In addition Microsoft also hit many unsuspecting Windows 7 and Windows 8 users in the pocket by silently downloading the whole of Windows 10 (4-6GB) into a secret folder on their computers, even if users had repeatedly stated they did not want to upgrade. Those who have Internet contracts with data allowances found themselves facing inexplicable bills for breaking through those allowances. Windows 8 users could stop this by setting their computers to a metered allowance (Windows 7 users were out of luck) but most didn’t know to do this in advance.
And this was just the start. Amid falling adoption rates, Microsoft announced in October that the real war on users refusing to upgrade to Windows 10 would begin in January. And so it has proved.
Turning The Screw
Microsoft has followed through on its widely criticised decision to give Windows 10 ‘Recommended’ status in Windows Update. This means installations begin automatically for users who have not changed the default Windows Update settings (the vast majority) so they will now have to proactively cancel a Windows 10 upgrade which has already started, rather than the prior approach of saying they don’t want it to start.
Fine. Tech savvy users and the most belligerent were happy to cancel the installation and remain on the copies of Windows they chose to pay for. Yet it still isn’t that simple. Infoworld reports those who cancelled the installation after it started are finding it restarts every time they reboot their computer.
Furthermore many are not even spotting the automatic install in the first place since it comes hidden in the form of a Microsoft EULA (end user licence agreement) which the user is asked to accept. While not advisable, it is commonplace behaviour for customers to blindly accept EULAs without paying full attention to them, but if you do in this case then Windows 10 begins installation and cannot be stopped.
Yes this is irritating, but then again with careful reading those users who wish to avoid Windows 10 can still do so and it remains “optional” (as Microsoft continues to stress) even at the cost of continual irritation. You can hold out or even enlist the help of third party tools.
Except Microsoft’s other Windows 10 January upgrade measure even stamps on that plan because how Windows 7 and Windows 8 are supported has also now been changed. When you bought Windows 7 and Windows 8 (again I stress you did ‘buy’ them as they’re built into the cost of your computer) Microsoft promised to support them until 14 January 2020 and 10 January 2023 respectively. Now following the January changes, this is only true on the condition you don’t upgrade your computer to use current or future generation silicon from Intel, AMD or Qualcomm.
In short: your computer hardware must remain ‘old’ if you want to keep using Windows 7 or Windows 8 – implausible for anyone hoping to have a respectable system in 2023. Meanwhile if you buy a new computer and attempt to install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it, the support will be invalid which means no antivirus or security patches. If you want a new computer you will have to use Windows 10 – the first time such a restriction has been made in the 30 year history of Windows.
For now the hardware restriction only applies to businesses, but it seems inconceivable it will not eventually be rolled out to consumers as well.
And there is one more trick. For those complaining about Windows 10’s extensive user tracking through telemetry (some of which cannot be disabled) putting them off upgrading, Microsoft has a solution: it has retroactively installed all the same user tracking on Windows 7 and Windows 8 so this is no longer a reason to avoid upgrading!
The Increasingly Impossible Choice
All of which leaves Windows 7 and Windows 8 users in the following situation:
Invalidating their support if they upgrade their current computers or buy new computers
Seeing continual Windows 10 upgrade prompts which reinstall themselves if disabled
Facing automatically starting installation attempts every time they reboot their computer
Permanently giving up 6GB of their hard drive space to hold the Windows 10 installation files (typically it redownloads if removed)
Accepting the same user tracking and data logging behaviour as Windows 10
A simple monetary figure cannot be tagged onto these such restrictions, nagging or tracking but for those using Windows 7 and Windows 8 on a daily basis (currently 65% of the world’s computers) the cost is extremely high.
Of course Microsoft has some marketing rhetoric here saying it allows users to roll back to Windows 7 or Windows 8 from Windows 10 if they don’t like the experience. But the roll back simply leaves them facing all the same hassles. Microsoft doesn’t switch them all off just because you ‘tried’ Windows 10.
None of which – I must stress – has anything to do with whether Windows 10 is any good. This isn’t about it being ‘better’ than Windows 7 or Windows 8, it’s about respecting choice. For some Windows 7 and Windows 8 users they are simply happy where they are or they have critical legacy programs or hardware which has issues on Windows 10. No matter, the same measures are being taken against everyone on Windows 7 and Windows 8 – there is no ‘Special Case’ option.
As such when (and it seems increasingly likely of being when) Windows 10 achieves Microsoft’s one billion installations target, it will be a hollow victory since it comes largely on the back of making the cost of staying on Windows 7 and Windows 8 too much to bear. In the words of Wayne Williams at BetaNews:
“When Microsoft next announces how wonderfully well Windows 10 is doing, and how many more million users have been added from yesterday onwards, it will be a meaningless number, a hollow achievement, and certainly nothing for the company to be proud about.”
Yes, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.
There is a greasemonkey script to kill these nasty anti adblock script some sites lately began to use: