Once again, Microsoft has unleashed the GWX Kraken, with no explanation and no description. The latest KB 3035583 appears as a “Recommended” optional patch for Windows 7 and 8.1. Those with Automatic Update turned on and “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates” checked -- the default settings -- will see the patch as a checked, optional update, and it will be installed the next time Automatic Update runs. If you previously hid KB 3035583, it’s now unhidden.
I’m sure there are a dozen people on earth who still have Auto Updates turned on, “Recommended updates” checked, and who haven’t yet accepted Microsoft’s kind invitation for a free copy of Windows 10. This one’s for them.
In late March 2015, Microsoft released the first version of KB 3035583. Described as “Update enables additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1,” the patch immediately raised eyebrows. In April of last year, a German researcher named Gerard Himmelein, writing at heise.de, figured out that Microsoft was sneaking a Windows 10 upgrader onto Win7 and 8.1 machines. Life for Win7 and 8.1 customers since then has degenerated into Win10 whack-a-mole.
Microsoft describes the now-notorious method for dismissing the upgrade, hidden in a tiny link on the “Windows 10 is a Recommended Update for this PC” dialog, in its explanatory post KB 3095675. I was quite surprised to find that, as of early Thursday morning, the “Windows 10 upgrade: How-to information on scheduling and notifications” post has not been changed. It’s still at Version 12, dated May 18.
There’s a lot of speculation online that this new version of GWX may implement a “U-turn” on Microsoft’s Win10 upgrade ramrodding, as described yesterday in a report by Jane Wakefield on the BBC. Although the headline, “Microsoft U-turn on 'nasty trick' pop-up,” seems to me at odds with the content, which says:
Based on "customer feedback," Microsoft said that it had added another notification that provided customers with "an additional opportunity for cancelling the upgrade." The pop-up design had been described as a "nasty trick." Microsoft told the BBC it had modified the pop-up two weeks ago as a result of criticism: "We've added another notification that confirms the time of the scheduled upgrade and provides the customer an additional opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling the upgrade."
I may not be reading that correctly, but it looks to me like the “U-turn” being reported is, in fact, the tiny popup on the GWX icon described in KB 3095675, shown in the screenshot here, taken from the KB article dated May 18.
If Microsoft added a "notification that confirms the time of the scheduled upgrade and provides the customer an additional opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling the upgrade" U-turn, it was long before the statement made to the BBC. This new version of GWX, dated May 26, clearly doesn’t cover the remonstrations made to the BBC.
That leaves an open question then: What, exactly, does this new KB 3035583 do? How is the May 26 version different from the KB 3035583 we got on in 2016 on May 3, March 23, Feb. 23, and Dec. 15 and then in 2015 on Oct. 5, Oct. 1, July 9, May 14, April 3, or March 27 – and any other versions I may have missed? Does it nag more? Snag less?
Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Win10 development team there’s a tiny core of people who are responsible for releasing the GWX Kraken. They’ve been plunking away at it for 14 months, likely under confusing and conflicting instructions from on high. Perhaps one of them would like to comment?
If you can shed some light, please comment here or -- completely anonymously -- on AskWoody.com.