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Using GWX Control Panel to Lock Out Pesky Windows 10 Upgrade Stuff

A few days ago, a countdown timer appeared on Carol’s Win7 PC when she booted up. It told her that Windows 10 would be installed in two hours.


I turned off the machine and started digging around online. A lot of people have this problem, apparently. All of us who aren’t already running Win10, of course, have been nagged mercilessly about upgrading since last summer. I don’t care if it’s free. I don’t want it now. If I want it later I’ll pay for it. But just so you know, I don’t plan to leave Win7 land before 2020. I dislike the nags, but nags are just nags. This time MS told me they were going to give me something I didn’t want and hadn’t asked for.


So. I quickly learned that the upgrade software is contained in a Windows update module called KB3035583. I turned Carol’s machine on and as soon as I could I uninstalled KB3035583. That ended the spy-movie countdown timer. Alas, the next morning the damned thing was back. The countdown timer now said Thursday, (it was Tuesday morning) which was some comfort. I still had some time to work.

I hid KB3035583. The next morning, someone (guess!) had un-hid it. Ok. This means war. I dug around a lot deeper, and found an enormous amount of cussing and bitching and suggested fixes. I tried a couple of things with mixed success. Then I stumbled upon the GWX Control Panel, by Josh Mayfield of the Ultimate Outsider site. Josh initially released it late last summer, and has been updating it periodically ever since. Josh’s instructions are pretty good, but for something a little clearer, take a look at Mauro Huculak’s article on Windows Central. He did a good job, which I know because I followed his instructions when installing GWX Control Panel on my lab machine. I had no issues, and understanding that MS was about to start messing with my wife’s PC, I installed it on her machine as well.

Like Philip Phillips says, Gone Gone Gone. We’ve not even seen the nag window since Thursday, much less the countdown timer. I quickly added GWX Control Panel to all of our other Win7 machines. Worked every time.

Now, why did Carol’s machine say it was about to install Win10, while our several others just kept nagging? We don’t know how, but Carol’s PC thought that somebody had reserved a copy of Win10. The download manager in KB3035583 had already downloaded well over a gigabyte of stuff, which I assume was all the install machinery and the OS itself. Carol doesn’t remember clicking on anything, nor do I. It’s possible that one or us selected something by mistake. MS seems to be increasingly desperate to get as many people as possible to upgrade, and its popups offer no clean way out.

Ironically, I vaguely remember reserving a copy from my lab machine way back when this business first came up. The lab machine did not have the install files and was not giving me a countdown timer. My only theory is that Carol’s PC may now be using the local IP address that my lab machine was using way back when I (may have) reserved a copy, even though that was in Colorado. It’s kind of crazy, but I have no better ideas.

I don’t have anything strong against Windows 10. I know a lot of people who like it just fine. I will probably use it eventually–once it has several years of history behind it. However, as most of you know, I do not like to be pushed. That’s the heart and soul of being a contrarian. The harder you push me, the more likely I am to go in the opposite direction.

All the usual cautions apply to GWX Control Panel. Do a full backup and a restore point before you install it, just as you would with any new software. Follow the directions closely, and do your best to understand what you’re doing. We’ve had no adverse issues with it, granted that I installed it yesterday. If anything changes tomorrow morning, well, you’ll read about it here.


  1. Jonathan O'Neal says:

    For my home PCs and those of select clients, I’ve just been renaming the GWX directory after each run of Windows Update. I have all machines set to ask before applying any updates, so I know when it happens. After the reboot, I simply kill the GWX.EXE process (if it’s running), then rename \Windows\System32\GWX to something else (assuming it exists; you’ll need Administrator privileges to do so). GWX.EXE stops running after restarts, I get no nags and no gigabytes of background downloads, and when I *do* want to upgrade a machine (which I’ve done), I simply rename the most recent copy back to GWX and let it do its thing.

    I’ve always felt that Microsoft was too in-your-face about changes (dating back to Windows 3), but this goes over the top, in my opinion. I understand not wanting to support legacy systems, and encouraging users to upgrade, but shoving it down our throats just underscores Microsoft’s monopolistic posture – “you don’t have any real choice of OS, so just do what we tell you to do.” (If only Linux was a little newbie-friendlier, the GWX debacle could create a lot more Linux converts. Seems like I’ve been saying that for about twenty years, though…)

  2. Tom Roderick says:

    I bought three fairly recent refurb. machines with Windows 7 Pro installed in the last year. When the first one got the KB3035583 update I stopped Windows Updates on ALL my machines. I then found some information on how to remove the KB3035583 manually so it won’t come back (requires finding and deleting a hidden file). I am keeping an ongoing list of all the updates that seem to be involved in this forced march to Windows 10 and had planned to, when I get the time, go back one by one and research and apply them if I think they are safe. GWX Control Panel seems like a better way to handle this

    I agree with you that this rather intrusive push is more than just annoying it is probably going to eventually wean me from Windows entirely. There are too many other options for what I need to do to put up with this for long. Windows 10 may be a perfectly fine operating system and many people I know do use it and find it acceptable. However, this forced feeding attempt has left such a bad feeling in me to anything to do with it now. Who convinced Microsoft that annoying their customers was a smart marketing strategy?

  3. Rick says:

    I don’t have a problem with W10; and have updated all Win7/8 computers at my place. No problems with the upgrade (other than the time required). Things ‘just worked’ afterwards, even old software.

    On my 5 year old HP Pavillion laptop, I was pleased to see that the display seemed a bit ‘crisper’ and clearer.

    So, no issues here with the upgrade. Just ordered a new HP laptop (to replace the old one), it has W10, along with a 256GSSD + 1TB drive.

    My personal experience. No problems with anything on any of the four systems here. YMMV, of course.

  4. TRX says:

    The security issues with Windows 10 are downright scary. If even 10% of what I’ve read is true, any company with an internet-connected machine that handles medical, financial, or legal information is putting the company in the position of failing to protect confidential data.

  5. An anonymous poster on my LiveJournal mirror posted the following, which is elegant but not for people who don’t understand the risks and protocols of fooling with the Windows registry. I haven’t tried this but I researched it online a little and it may work, assuming that MS respects its own registry keys:

    To block the upgrade to Windows 10 through Windows Update, specify the following registry value:

    Subkey: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
    DWORD value: DisableOSUpgrade = 1

  6. Ann in Keizer says:

    Thanks for the info. I haven’t been getting any nagging messages, but I checked the Windows update history and saw that KB3035583 was downloaded and installed on February 26. I installed GWX Control Panel–it was very fast–and did the two changes recommended by Mauro Huculak. The “Get Windows 10” app is gone, and I disabled automatic Windows 10 updates. I’ll open GWX Control Panel daily just to feel secure. I too plan to be on Windows 7 until 2020. I’m happy with my current setup.

  7. Thomas Hanlin says:

    I disabled the “upgrade” manually. There are good information sources about how to do that online. You may want some tech skills but, it’s really not complicated.

    I object to the built-in malware, of course; Windows 10 is instrumented in ways that will result in bright and shiny new toys for the bad guys, never mind how you feel about Microsoft itself tracking everything you do and disabling software it suspects wasn’t paid for…

    I also object to the automatic updates, which I’ve seen brick a machine or two. (Technically, not “brick”, but you don’t want to spend days reinstalling software after Windows decides not to boot.) And, of course, XP mode is still useful to me, and Win10 does not support that.

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