Recent press reports claim the thoroughly detested Get Windows 10 patch, KB 3035583, is ignoring -- even blowing away -- the Stop Windows 10 registry settings that Microsoft developed. These are the settings that tell Get Windows 10 to take a hike.
I've conducted several controlled experiments, and at least on my computers and those of others helping me test, it isn't true. Microsoft is still playing fair, by its own rules, in the Get Windows 10 wars.
That said, I'm also seeing reports that Get Windows 10 has been installed on Win7 Pro systems attached to a domain. If true -- and I haven't been able to replicate it in a controlled setting -- system admins may be in for another rocky ride.
Back in August, when the Get Windows 10 campaign was but a gleam in a Windows marketer's eye, Microsoft published a Knowledge Base article, 3080351, that described certain registry settings designed to prevent Win7 and 8.1 machines from upgrading to Windows 10. It's all well and good, except the registry settings described in that KB article weren't the correct settings and the description was wrong.
GWX Control Panel creator Josh Mayfield reverse-engineered the settings and provided correct registry keys and values, which we published on Jan 8. Soon after, Microsoft republished KB 3080351, incorporating the correct settings divined by Mayfield. Since that time, I'm very happy to say, Microsoft has held true to the promise. The settings now described in that KB article accurately reflect exactly what's been happening.
Although the details are lengthy, Microsoft says that if you set this registry key, your Windows 7 system will never upgrade to Windows 10, unless you manually force the install:
DWORD value: DisableOSUpgrade = 1
In addition, you can set this registry key to turn off the Get Windows 10 icon in the system tray/notification area, in the lower-right corner of the screen:
DWORD value: DisableGwx = 1
Microsoft makes no promises about disabling or uninstalling the GWX program itself, taking pieces of it out of Windows Scheduled Events, or deleting the 3GB to 6GB of surreptitiously downloaded data in hidden folders -- but at least you can block the upgrade and/or remove the icon from the systray with these two registry values.
Both Mayfield's GWX Control Panel and Steve Gibson's Never10 block the forced march to Windows 10 upgrades by, in part, setting those registry values. If you don't want to use a separate program, you can set the registry manually or, if you have Win7 Pro, can use the Group Policy Editor to set the keys.
Several sites are now saying that the latest version of KB 3035583 -- the patch that installs GWX -- either deletes those registry keys or changes them. I've tried and tried and can't replicate the behavior.
Furthermore, in systems that have the Automatic Update setting "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" unchecked, the new KB 3035583 appears as an unchecked, optional patch. It won't install unless you specifically check the patch and run Windows Update.
I've been at this game far too long to believe that the results on a handful of systems are definitive for all machines, in all situations. But I don't see anything new or different with the behavior of this version of KB 3035583. The warnings of blown-away registry settings appear to me to be a false alarm.
If you have a well-documented case that shows Microsoft is cheating on its own rules, I'd sure like to see it. Hit me in the comments below or over on AskWoody.com.
I continue to strongly recommend that Windows 7 and 8.1 customers everywhere run GWX Control Panel. You should decide for yourself when and/or if you upgrade to Windows 10.
Otherwise, you could end up like the KCCI meteorologist, the broadcaster on twitch.tv showing off "Counter Strike: Global Offensive" (highly NSFW, start at 8:30), the Talking Newspaper recorder (described by Chris Williams at The Register), or any of a thousand others who have suffered at the hands of unexpected Win10 upgrades.