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Windows 10 Makes Automatic Updates Mandatory for Home Users

The move underscores Redmond's effort to transform Windows into a frequently updated service rather than a static piece of software.

Lauren Goode

Microsoft has talked about Windows 10 as being a service that gets continually updated rather than a piece of software that is installed and left as is.

Apparently, Microsoft is making that view mandatory. The software maker is requiring that consumers installing Windows 10 agree to take any Microsoft updates automatically. A Microsoft representative confirmed Thursday that such language is part of the official terms and conditions that accompany the operating system, which starts shipping July 29.

“The license terms for Windows 10 require Automatic Updates be enabled as a part of keeping our customers secure and delivering Windows as a service,” the company said in a statement to Re/code. Business users will have the option to turn off such automatic updates to allow IT departments time to test updates before installing them.

In the past, consumers had the option to download and install upgrades automatically, but could also choose to do so manually. With Windows 10, users will have limited say on when the automatically downloaded updates are installed and no option to block them.

For Microsoft, the move risks some backlash, but it offers a number of benefits. Historically, Microsoft has had to spend considerable time and money supporting older versions of its operating system as well as taking the reputation hit that came from security flaws that had been fixed in later versions. Microsoft also found that customers were judging the company based on less-than-current versions of its software.

As evidence, more than half of Windows users are still on Windows 7 while the number using Windows 8.1 is roughly on par with those using the more-than-decade-old Windows XP, according to Net Applications.

With Windows 10, Microsoft hopes to change all that. In addition to requiring Windows 10 customers to stay current, the company is also trying to make it easy to get the new software. Microsoft is making the new version free of charge for most consumers upgrading their PCs over the next year.

The company has a stated goal of getting a billion users on Windows 10 within three years.

This article originally appeared on

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