Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

Why else would Redmond use security updates for 'more approachable' nagging?


When Microsoft let slip that it had snuck some new Windows 10 upgrade nagware into a security patch, we asked Redmond to explain just what the offending patch was about.

The company's response leaves us with a simple conclusion: all the nagware that's been irritating people for months was a botched effort. In fact, Microsoft's stuffed up promotion of Windows 10. The operating system's ~14 cent market share would be far higher, had Microsoft nagged us properly.

How else to parse the statement sent to us, which opens with the sentence: “Since launching Windows 10, our #1 customer support request has been 'how do I get my upgrade'”.

Your correspondent has upgraded a Surface Pro 3, a Netbook and a very, very cheap Windows tablet. On none of the three was it hard to get the upgrade.

Installation was sometimes hard. Finding it was never hard.

What, then, to make of Redmond's next sentence: “We’ve been using notifications from the task bar to inform people when their upgrade is ready. We are evolving our notifications to be more approachable and hopefully clear”.

Seriously? The Task Bar isn't clear to people? That'd be the task bar that users begged to be restored to prominence in Windows 10. The task bar Microsoft's offered for 20 years. But something more “approachable and … clear” is needed? Sheesh, Microsoft. If the task bar is so bad it would sure be nice if you worked on improving it for everything, not just nagware upgrades. Because if the task bar isn't fit to prosecute your super-high-priority mission to move the world onto Windows 10, I'm far from convinced it's making me as productive as Satya Nadella wants me to be when I use Windows.

Microsoft's response continues that the not-a-security-update is “part of that effort” to create more approachable nagware. The spokesperson who sent the missive went on to explain that “Users that have turned off the GWX app or disabled notifications in settings will not see this recent change, nor will Windows Professional users.”

Microsoft didn't directly answer our question “Can you explain exactly what happens when users install this update?”

Nor has Redmond explained just how or why it decided that subverting its own security process was a good idea.

Many years ago, Microsoft decided to label its security efforts “Trustworthy Computing”. Just how Redmond is being trustworthy by adding in-house nagware to security updates that it has never previously adulterated is anyone's guess. ®


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