Don’t want Windows 10? Here’s a preventative and a remedy.
Having experience with Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10, I can say that Windows 10, at least from a user interface (UI) perspective, is far, far better than Windows 8/8.1, which is to say it is more like Windows 7. There’s still a plethora of oft-used functions that have been confusingly relocated, and I, as a techie-type, have a hard time getting past that.
But the Start menu is back (essentially), and Windows 8’s non-intuitive, sometimes randomly triggered system menu that appeared on the right side of the screen if you happened to move your mouse to just-the-right spot (or swiped on a touch-enabled device) is gone in Windows 10. Windows 8/8.1 was Microsoft’s feeble attempt to beat Apple to the punch, by having one, unified UI across all devices (desktop and mobile). Let’s face it: If Apple hasn’t perfected it yet, how the heck did Microsoft think it could do it?
Side note: I've long suspected (more like firmly believed) that Windows Vista was Microsoft's way of duping the general public into paying to beta-test the Windows 7 operating system (beta-testing, in the software world, is offering your software -- typically for free -- for people to test and shake out the bugs before the final, finished product is made available for sale). I distinctly remembering Bill Gates, like some politician taking to the airwaves to spout his/her party's talking points, being asked the softball question on a network morning show: "Should people upgrade to Windows Vista?" "Absolutely," (or some other strong affirmative -- my ) he said. Windows 8 seemed like the paid beta-test of Windows 10. Maybe that's how Microsoft could afford to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade for one year.
Anyway, Microsoft has now changed the behavior of the Windows 10 upgrade in such a way that, instead of your having to make a conscious decision to proceed with an upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10 is now considered a regular update that’s part of the Windows Update process that brings you security updates and such. The result is that you might wake up one morning after your Windows Updates automatically installed, and be staring at a Windows 10 login screen, without ever having been asked. This is happening now (see here).
So, how do you stop it, or what can you do if it’s already happened to you?
First off, if it has happened to you, there’s hope, so long as it has been less than 30 days since the upgrade happened (even if you did consciously initiate the upgrade). Microsoft graciously preserves a backup of your original setup as part of the Windows 10 upgrade, and you have 30 days within which to revert back. The nice folks at howtogeek.com have an easy guide you can follow.
But what if know you don’t want Windows 10o, and you don’t want the hassle of having to revert back? There’s an app for that! Well, it’s more like a hack, in that it’s a small application that changes a setting in your Windows registry to disable the Windows 10 upgrade. This neat little program, aptly called Never10, is available for free. You can use the same program to toggle the setting back the other way, to re-enable the Windows 10 upgrade. Because some of the paid software I have is potentially incompatible with Windows 10, I’ve used Never10 to hold off on Windows 10 until I can confirm I won’t have to buy an upgrade to that software.
You should definitely think twice about being cavalier with respect to the Windows 10 upgrade, as there are reports that the upgrade process might automatically (i.e., without notice) uninstall software deemed incompatible with the new operating system (see the article at ghacks.net). I haven’t seen definite word as to whether the lost software would be restored upon reverting back using the procedure referenced above.
Lastly, and although this is probably better suited for a separate post directed at people who have embraced the Windows 10 upgrade, there are several privacy settings you should absolutely, positively, and without equivocation, change. Get those instructions at pcworld.com.