Taking to its TechNet blog, Microsoft has announced it will step up the intensity of its ‘Get Windows 10’ campaign for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. The nagware has already been heavily criticized for its persistent attempts to push consumers to upgrade (including automated downloads and reducing choices) but now business users are going to get the same treatment.
“Small businesses and organizations will soon be able to receive notifications about the upgrade and then directly upgrade to Windows 10,” explained Matt Barlow, Microsoft’s general manager of business group marketing, in the blog post.
Get Windows 10′ notifications and upgrade pressure is has now been increased to business users.
This is a notable change as previously Microsoft had decided not to push business customers in the same way as consumers, recognizing many businesses have mission critical legacy software and hardware which may or may not run into compatibility problems.
So how does it all break down? Microsoft says the rollout will begin in the US later this month followed by additional markets “shortly thereafter” and will impact devices which meet the following criteria:
- Running and licensed for Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro
- Configured to receive updates directly from the Windows Update service (i.e. updates are not managed by WSUS or System Center Configuration Manager on those devices)
- Joined to an Active Directory domain
This checklist means small to medium size businesses are squarely in Microsoft’s sites, especially as ‘Enterprise’ editions of Windows 7 and 8 do not qualify for a free Windows 10 upgrade. The upgrade notifications will also not appear for organizations who prefer to manage their own updates with onsite tools.
These exclusions are a good thing as notifications and pop-ups with the infamous choice of ‘Upgrade Now’ or ‘Upgrade Tonight’ are not what anyone wants to see on Windows PCs running critical functions in industry or defence.
‘Get Windows 10′ notifications and upgrade pressure is has now been increased to business users
Also worthy of praise is the fact Microsoft will offer businesses a method to block Windows 10 upgrade notifications. But this method is still not being offered to consumers running ‘Home’ versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 (the vast majority).
As might be expected, the extension of these upgrade rule changes has been rounded criticised. ZDNet’s Ed Bott warns “Microsoft is getting more aggressive…If you thought Microsoft was getting ready to ease up on its massive Get Windows 10 upgrade campaign, think again”
Meanwhile Paul Thurrott has launched a savage attack concluding:
“For the record, I deplore the tactics Microsoft is using to force Windows 10 on users. Advertising the upgrade is one thing, but users should be able to turn off notifications for set periods of time or for perpetuity, and Windows 10 Setup should never silently download in the background ‘just in case’…And forcing the upgrade down SMBs customers’ [sic] throats only exacerbates the problem.”
Of course I have my own theories on why Microsoft is doing this and publicly stated targets to get Windows 10 on one billion devices within 2-3 years are not helping. In fact Microsoft will make further upgrade rule changes for consumers to accelerate adoption in the next few months.
Consequently only one thing looks certain: if you want to continue using Windows for the foreseeable future, then it is going to be on Microsoft’s terms and that means Windows 10…