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Microsoft Finally Retires Windows 10 Upgrade App

An update issued by Microsoft this week will delete the infamous "Get Windows App" from users' systems.

The Get Windows App (also known as the "GWX app") was a nag-ware-like popup that showed up on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 desktops, prompting users to get a free upgrade to Windows 10. It hung around with that same message over a one-year period for those who didn't accept the offer. It took a lot of effort to make it go away.

The update that dispenses with the GWX app is labeled as "Knowledge Base article KB3184143." It became available through Windows Server Update Services as of Sept. 20, according to Microsoft's description article.

This update removes seven updates that had something to do with inserting the GWX app into eligible systems. The seven updates that get removed by KB3184143 are perhaps evidence of Microsoft's efforts to make sure that the GWX app was front-and-center before end users. Microsoft had an internal corporate goal to put 1 billion users on Windows 10 by calendar year 2017, and the GWX app was part of that push.

A minor GWX blocking industry had arisen to stop the arrival of the GWX app. Solutions like the GWX Control Panel and GWX Stopper were regularly updated to stop its arrival. However, it still required diligence to block it or make the GWX app go away permanently, perhaps because Microsoft kept sneaking it in via the Windows Update patch process.

Many organizations not wanting to execute free Windows 10 upgrades still got the GWX app. It appeared in the form of a white icon located in the system trays of end users. IT pros had to take proactive steps to block it, including making Group Policy changes and registry edits.

The GWX app wasn't initially supposed to show up on domain-joined PCs at businesses, but Microsoft later changed course on that policy and it even made the GWX app a "recommended update," which meant it might install automatically, depending on a PC's Windows Update settings.

Back in May, Microsoft had just said that the free Windows 10 upgrade offer would go away after July 29, except for customers using assistive technologies. The company didn't indicate exactly when the GWX app would disappear, though, except that it would be gone sometime after July 29.

The KB3184143 update seems to be the final nail in the coffin for the GWX app. Many won't mourn its passing. It caused much grief in its time, including lawsuits. It's possible, though, that KB3184143 is just a formality at this point. Organizations long ago may have stopped seeing the dreaded GWX app icon due to some other Microsoft removal process that went undescribed.

About the Author

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