Since Windows 10 arrived, more than 70 million people have upgraded to Microsoft’s latest operating system. And while more people upgrade every day, there are still hundreds of millions of people waiting, including plenty of you reading right now.
Maybe you’re waiting for certain problems to be fixed, perhaps you just haven’t taken the time yet, or maybe you aren’t planning to upgrade at all. Whatever it is, you might be shocked to know that Microsoft isn’t waiting for you to decide; it’s started the process for you.
Recently, a number of people started reporting that Microsoft automatically sent the Windows 10 upgrade package to their computer without permission. It isn’t just a glitch either.
Microsoft has confirmed to The Inquirer that it’s doing this deliberately. According to Microsoft, “For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”
We understand that Microsoft is trying to be helpful, if a little pushy, but this plan is a problem for many people. The Windows 10 upgrade package is 3.5 to 6 gigabytes. For people with small hard drives, slow Internet connections or Internet connections with low monthly data limits, 6GB can fill up the drive, bog down their connection for a long time, or push them over their monthly limit and get them in trouble with their service provider.
According to Microsoft’s statement, the only way to stop the upgrade package is by turning off automatic Windows updates. If you switch your Windows updates over so you choose what to download and when, then you can control what it grabs.
Unfortunately, this means you have to be very vigilant about updating your computer every month, or whenever Microsoft releases new patches, so your computer stays safe from the latest threats. That’s a pain, but there might be another way.
Some sites are reporting that the trigger for downloading the update seems to be a Windows update named KB3035583. You might remember this update from many months ago. It’s the same one that put a Windows logo in your notification tray and bugged you to reserve your copy of Windows 10.
Whether your reserved a copy or not, it appears to be taking matters into its own hands. So, if you don’t plan to update to Windows 10 soon or ever, you can remove it.
In Windows 7, go to Start>>Control Panel. In Windows 8, using a mouse, right-click in the lower right corner of the screen and choose Control Panel. If you’re using a touch screen, swipe from the right of the screen and tap Settings>>Control Panel.
In Control Panel, click “System and Security” and then under “Windows Update,” click “View installed updates.” Find update “KB3035583,” click on it and then click the “Uninstall” button toward to the top of the Windows Update screen.
While it isn’t totally confirmed, that should keep the Windows 10 upgrade package off your computer. Of course, your computer might already have the Windows 10 update package downloaded.
If you’re upgrading to Windows 10 at some point, and you have the space, you might leave it alone. However, if you need to free up space, here’s how to find it.
To see if you already have the upgrade files in Windows 7, go to Start>>Computer. Select your main hard drive and then the “Windows” directory. Click the “Organize” menu in the top left of the window and select “Folder and search options.” If you’re using the old-style menus, go to Tools>>Folder Options.
In the “Folder Options” window, go to the “View” tab, and then select “Show hidden files, folders and drives.” Click “OK.” Now go back to the “Windows” directory and look through the folders for one labeled “$WINDOWS.~BT” (without the quotes).
For Windows 8, click the “File Explorer” icon on your taskbar that looks like a folder. In the left column, click “Computer” and then double-click your hard drive and go to the “Windows” folder. If you don’t have the “File Explorer” icon, you can right-click in the lower-left corner of the screen and select “File Explorer” and then select your main hard drive and go to the “Windows” folder.
Then at the top of the window, select the “View” tab and on the far right check “Hidden Items.” Then look through the folders for one labeled “$WINDOWS.~BT” (without the quotes).
If you see “$WINDOWS.~BT”, that folder holds the Windows 10 upgrade files. You can delete it to free up space. However, if you still have the KB3035583 update installed, your computer will just download it again.
Did you have the Windows 10 upgrade package on your system? Are you on a limited connection and it pushed you over the limit? Let us know in the comments.