World's Current Worst Malware Threat Is Windows 10 Upgrade Code

I just found that my guest computer in the lobby of my office has a screen that said "Welcome to Windows 10".   I never asked for or initiated such this operating system switch.  It was done entirely without my permission by a bit of malware Microsft has introduced to Windows 7 computers.   I have had malware issues in the past, but never have I had one that A) put unwanted advertisements on my desktop every day and B) changed my entire operating system without my intervention or approval.

Thank goodness I read somewhere that one can avoid even this seeming fait accompli by declining the terms and conditions.  Which I did -- hopefully the computer is rolling back right now.

I am very worried that my 30 or so field managers, who have poor computer skills on average, will get their computer upgraded without knowing it.  I do all the tech support in the company and have no desire (and since I don't know windows 10, no ability) to support another operating system right now other than Windows 7.

I will double down on my recommendation of the free GWX control panel to remove this windows 10 upgrade malware from computers.  It has worked fine for me (except of course of computers like the one above I did not even think about).

  • morganovich

    it's the worst. it auto updates once you have it and repeatedly breaks things.

    the latest stupidity seem to be around playback devices. it broke our soft phones. the designation "default communication device" no longer works. so, you either have to have all sound through the headset, or none. this is a serious issue if you want to, oh, say, HEAR THE PHONE RING if you are not wearing a headset.

    i have yet to find even one way in which w10 is better than w7.

    avoid it like a cliche about plagues.

  • donald

    I unfortunately had to purchase a new computer for my wife and kids very quickly. Now i don't know a whole lot about the issues, and the fact that every computer in the store was preloaded with 10, I decided what the heck. I wouldn't mind trying to figure it out, but it's so aggravating. The antivirus software may as well be a virus. The free 30 day trial is up. So I kid you not. Every 60 seconds while trying to use the computer McAfee pops up, takes over your screen, makes an audible beep, and says that you are at risk from having your computer taken over. I mean from something besides McAfee. and asks you to buy the full version. There is no, hey remind me again in 1 hour instead of in the next minute. I can't figure out long enough how to disable it (it has no way other than purchasing it to shut it up) from windows 10. In previous versions, control panel, programs, uninstall, bam, done. so now to feel my way around and test the windows 10 model I have to either purchase something that I probably don't want (always been a norton guy or the free stuff) or can't stand to use the product long enough to get comfortable with it.

    Total piece of junk. damn you microsoft, I actually just got an iPhone, and while I miss my old samsung, I think that I have this windows 10 experience to blame for walking over to the lame side of apple.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "i have yet to find even one way in which w10 is better than w7."

    Subscription fees. Oh wait, you meant better for you, not better for MS.

  • DaveK

    Blame the vendors for selling you a computer with malware (yes, McAfee has fallen to that level) embedded. Microsoft doesn't put it on the stuff they sell you on disk. Although it's a pain, you might be able to do a clean reinstall of Windows 10 (with only the slightly annoying Microsoft add-ons included), then reload the programs that you actually need.

  • DaveK

    I had to finally pull the plug on Windows XP. It worked well enough, but not being able to get security upgrades (at least without figuring out how to "safely" use the underground network that still supports it) put me over the top.

    With Windows 10, as far as I can tell, you don't really need the 3rd party Antivirus (if you have some level of trust in the Microsoft Windows Defender app). There certainly has to be a way to uninstall McAfee, even if you have to do it root and branch using regedit (just make sure you back up those registry files before you take that step). Still a good backup plan is a must no matter what AV plan you use.

  • marque2

    I just googled how to restore Win 7. Microsoft doesn't make it obvious but the steps are easy as long as you catch it before 30 days runs out. I came back from a work trip and found the computer changed when I returned. Interestingly my kids are pretty computer and Internet savvy and they much prefer the windows 7.

    My big complaint with win 10 (other than Cortana not really working and the unremovable advertising tiles, oh and it's inability to stay connected to wifi, oh oh and the fact that it randomly will decide all my network connections are public and it can't be undone - and it restricts me from web pages and updates in the process) is that it takes up tons of CPU when the computer is idle doing background tasks, even when the laptop is not plugged in. It always seems to be using 25% and the fan goes humming. Win 7/doesn't have this problem and I suspect the battery life is much longer.

  • marque2

    See my complaints above, I am not happy, but there is one thing that is nice. It boots up in about 4 seconds vs about 35 with SSD for Win 7.

    If you don't like it - search online (not on Bing or Yahoo) for Win 7 licenses. I was able to purchase 2 Win 7 pro for $32 each. One I used to upgrade my mother from Vista, and the other I used to undo Win 10 when it finally just stopped working, since I lost my original license. It was a kinda sad, because I when I installed Win10 last February, I clobbered my win 7 partition so I have lived with it through most of the beta testing and was hoping for so much more. It was extremely hard to use last February because you either had to have a touch screen, or be really comfortable with Windows hot keys.

  • marque2

    Isn't the subscription fee for Office 365 rather than Win 10? If you don't want to pay, Google has a good online office suite and you can always download Libre Office.

  • LoneSnark

    McAfee sucks, but it isn't actually a virus. It can be uninstalled. Windows key, type control panel, select it, add/remove programs.

  • herdgadfly

    Windows 7 has Defender as well but it is not rated anywhere close to free Avira.

  • Richard Elliott

    Went to Linux three years ago. Solid, dependable, faster, never breaks, runs just about everything you need. Free.
    You can run it alongside Windows until you are used to it then dump everything MS. Be brave.

  • Robert Davidson

    Would you suggest a Linux distro for long time Windows users? I tried Ubuntu, but I didn't really like the UI.

    I've been using Windows 10 for a few months and its not horrible, but considering that Microsoft has never just given a brand new OS away for free before and that they are trying to make everyone switch to it I am highly suspicious of Windows 10. I've already installed a program to block some of the spyware built in to Win10, but of course that's broken some things (like the app store) and I can't help but wonder if it even caught everything. I think it's time for me to dump Microsoft.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    I already use Open Office.

    Don't bet that MS isn't planning to make Win 10 subscription based eventually.

  • CTD


  • Richard Elliott

    You could try Zorin, which is essentially Ubuntu linux, but can be easily set up to mimic Windows style and layout.
    Find it here: Give it a try, if you don't like it, dump it and go back to Windows.

  • kidmugsy

    Is there no enterprising lawyer somewhere to get Microsoft charged under RICO?

  • DaveK

    I ran Ubuntu for about a year, and finally got tired of all the hassle with finding work-arounds to get programs only available in Windows-flavor to work. Ubuntu and other Linux distros are fine operating systems, but every time I turned around I had to do something via the command line interface, and that is a very steep learning curve. If you have a tech guy to maintain the systems, that's probably fine. If you are an average Joe or Jill, you are going to be frustrated.

  • marque2

    You might want to switch to Libre Office. It is the branch of Open Office still under active development. The OO Apache project has pretty much stalled.

  • Dan Lavatan

    Windows 10 is horrible, but the taskbar icon should have motivated you to rollback the GWX update as soon as it was installed. Then it is just a matter of never applying it again, and you can either hide it, or as a safety measure deny all accounts access to that directory.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    I have no idea what you are talking about. The current version is only a few months old

  • mesocyclone

    I finally switched to OS X (Mac) 3 years ago. I keep a Windows 7 virtual machine around for various electrical engineering programs that only run on Windows. But other than that, I avoid Microsoft.

    I'm a tech guy and have used and programmed Unix for over 30 years. Even so, I found Linux just too much hassle to sysadmin and to find programs for. I set it up for my non-techie wife for awhile, but it just didn't do the trick.

  • Richard Elliott

    If you were using Windows for the first time, you would describe just as much hassle. I am not one who thinks Linux is perfect, but ask yourself, when using windows and you are at rest, "Why is your hard drive still working hard? What is going on?" And again, whenever I run Windows, I have to wait while it reconfigures on and on for ever and ever amen before I can get to work. Then later when you switch off, "Do not turn off I am downloading updates". It drives me mad. Why can't they write the code properly in the first place! You do get updates in Linux, but they are few and far between, and you are in control, not others offsite.
    There are also good alternatives to Win applications. Take Adobe Light Room as an example. I use Corel AftershopPro in Linux (Adobe won't do Linux so they lost a customer- more fool them). Aftershot is a country mile cheaper and in my view every bit as good. It is slightly different, but does the job well, and I find one or two features better, but that is me not everyone else.
    Finally, virus and malware susceptibility. It would be foolish for me to suggest that no malware exists in Linux, but I have yet to see it on my desk, and I use no dedicated software for that purpose.Virus checkers slow your applications down, it just doesn't happen in Linux.
    Windows appeared in the mid 90's, and one would have thought that MS in 20 years, could have got their code secure, but they have not. Why not?
    So again I suggest, give it a try, if you can't cope with it, dump it and use what you know.

  • DaveK

    Sorry, I wasn't trying to say that Windows (of whatever flavor) is a great OS. It's just that I couldn't get Linux to work for me. No matter how fancy the Linux GUI appears, at some point you are going to use it's command line interface to do a tweak to something on the computer. That's a steep learning curve, even for someone with experience (long ago) in command line DOS. For busy people who matured in a Windows only environment, that's asking a lot. Sure, even in Windows you have to do that, but at that point the "busy" folks just sic their friendly computer technician on the problem and get on with business. Yes, it's getting better, but Linux still has a long way to go.

    And I have no problem with folks trying it. It's just that Linux isn't for everyone, and you have to be ready to go back to your old Windows ways if it doesn't work out.

  • Robert Davidson

    Thanks for both of those suggestions. I'm currently giving LinuxMint with Cinnamon a try, but Zorin looks good too. I'm liking what I see so far, but I'll have to figure out how to make a remote desktop connection to my work computer. I asked the IT department, but they'll only support Microsoft. So know I'll have to learn enough about it to ask the right questions and trick them into giving me the info I need. lol

  • Robert Davidson

    That's a new one on me, although I admit to not keeping up with Linux distros up until now. I'm definitely going to give it a try, along with LinuxMint.

  • Richard Elliott

    Team viewer works in Linux and windows I believe.

  • John

    For those who use Linux Mint, make sure you have a good copy of the OS. The Linux Mint distribution site was hijacked in February, so a download in this timeframe may have some extra malware in it. See .

  • NormD

    You might also try Never10 from GRC. Its simpler than GWX Control Panel.

  • SortingHat

    Unless all you do is online games Windows 10 sucks at solo games and screws up installation where on Windows 7 and XP you'd be surprised at what gets thru.

    We put in hidden object games in both Windows 10 and Play on Linux to compare and the font is much better on Play on Linux. I bought mom a PI Vacation Dream game where the font is really tiny on Windows 10 and resizing it does not help but on Linux it is normal size and I didn't have to squint my eyes playing it and got a bunch of objects real fast.

    I've ALWAYS done *relaxed* mode on Windows because of the small font but on Linux I could get away with doing the timed mode for more points and get a good score because my eyes don't hurt. Play on Linux is the only way I'll do windows games for now on as of this year a huge update made a lot more games compatible.

    Windows XP actually was the best at compatible mode which they should've made a polished Dos Box emulator which I'd even pay for to run NOT JUST old games but even old software in general that doesn't run on either 7 or 10. Especially Windows 10.

  • SortingHat

    Play on Linux software (free) has really improved since last summer. I bought a hidden object game for Mom and I like it now because it runs very smooth on Linux with proper font where on Windows 10 it is really tiny font and menu with no way to fix it which Dad tried various things. He's our computer expert and has fixed lots of computers spending entire weekends to avoid going to the shop which we had and has put Linux on Mom's computer on top of 7.

    Up to Windows 10 you could do a work around to turn Windows Protection off and make a bootable drive but on my computer you can't do it because of Windows 10 protection will keep making it turn back to Windows and ignore the boot screen. My computer game with Windows Vista preinstalled which *marks* my computer. Whenever we have to erase or make serious changes to Windows we have to roll back all the way to Vista then work up or it will screw up royal.

    I didn't even realize most people took their computers to the shop for a long time growing up.

  • SortingHat

    It's because MS is a monopoly and monopolies do not see incentive to change because they know most users who try to escape will come back like a runaway puppy with it's ears dragging behind looking foolish.

    They feel smug and mighty and now want to cater to Android type users who are the lowest of the barrel and don't care about custom changes or freedom. Just as long as they can chat and shop it's fine by them.

  • SortingHat

    Good luck doing any serious production other then chat and shop on an I-bone.

  • Dizzyland

    Wouldn't it be weird if MS decides to just make Windows 10 an X-Box experience where you have to pay for the *PRO version to do anything useful which all the good stuff goes and the *free* version you have to have an Xbox One to do anything and it will keep prompting you to connect it if yyu don't.

    I can see it happening after Win 10 goes off beta they decide to *streamline* the experience and *consolidate* the workforce of Xbox and Windows *which are Nokia workers now* into one OS for social media only.