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Windows 10 Update Goes from 'Optional' to 'Recommended'

Microsoft has bumped up Windows 10 from being an "optional update" in Windows Update to being a "recommended update," which could lead to some unexpected migrations.

ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley reported on the change Monday, citing a delivered statement from a Microsoft spokesperson. Microsoft had warned of the change back in October, but it just said back then that the bump-up in status was expected to happen in "early" 2016. No date had been specified.

The status change likely means that some Windows 7/Windows 8.1 users will experience this notice in the form of a surprise, namely an unexpected upgrade to Windows 10. Traditionally, Windows Update served as just a patching mechanism, rather than an operating system upgrade solution, but Microsoft switched things around with Windows 10.

Automatic upgrades are expected to happen if a PC has its Windows Updates settings configured to get updates installed automatically. In addition, a checkbox in the Windows Update settings reading, "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates," has to be checked for Windows 10 to automatically install on a user's device.

This sort of Windows Update setup might be expected to be seen more on consumer machines than on machines used in corporate settings. However, it's possible that some organizations could wake up on Tuesday with freshly upgraded Windows 10 machines.

The reason such upgrades could happen is that Microsoft made another policy change that's likely to affect smaller organizations, especially those organizations that do not use management software to control the updating of their PCs. Last month, the company indicated that it was pushing Windows 10 down to domain-joined PCs. Those machines had previously been exempt from getting Microsoft's "Get Window 10" app, which prompts users to upgrade the operating system.

With the new change in policy, those domain-joined PCs possibly can get this upgrade app. It can happen if Windows Update is set to deliver updates automatically.

Organizations having reasons to block the Windows 10 upgrade will have to modify the Windows registry settings for their PCs or configure Group Policy Objects to fend off this Get Windows 10 app. Alternatively, there's a GWX Control Panel third-party software app.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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