One of the persistent complaints about Microsoft’s various efforts to force-feed the world Windows 10 is that the OS has absolutely no sense of priority. By default, Windows will prompt you to upgrade at moments of its own choosing, regardless of what applications might have window priority.
This unfortunate tendency was on full display recently, when Windows 10’s upgrade notice hijacked a weather forecast out from under KCCI meteorologist Metinka Slater. Slater handled the notification gracefully enough, switching to other views, but it’s an amusing example of how Windows 10 notifications have become the great annoying unifier of us all.
In all seriousness, the upgrade notification messages are in tune with the generally tone-deaf way that Windows now handles updates, upgrades, and software installs in general. I’ve seen Windows 10 reboot systems that I was in the middle of testing in order to perform system updates — and no, I wasn’t testing at 3 AM, either. I’ve had to kill the Internet connection on a system to actually do a clean GPU driver wipe and reinstall (the rig downloaded and installed its own drivers while I was downloading the set I wanted to test). These sorts of issues can be handled in other ways — driver updates can be shut off on a device-by-device basis — but when you’re swapping video card hardware out of a testbed, that can get a touch tedious.
Each version of Windows has introduced more nanny state than the last, beginning with Vista and its much-derided UAC (User Account Control, a click-through menu that still provides no actual security 10 years after its introduction). Now, there’s more hoops to jump through before testing — driver updates, UAC, and SmartScreen all need to be disabled (the latter in both the browser and the general system).
Some of these issues are related to the fact that testing an OS isn’t the same as just using it, and many of the capabilities Microsoft has introduced in the name of making systems safer are probably good ideas for the vast majority of users. Nonetheless, the company’s relentless push towards automatic-everything makes using its operating systems increasingly frustrating, as Metinka Slater’s reaction makes rather clear. Windows 10 upgrades, at least, can be shut off using the GWX Control Panel. We strongly recommend using this approach if you have a system you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10 — it’ll keep the download off your system and suppress Microsoft’s nagware.
Now read: How to delete Microsoft’s unwanted Windows 10 download files