For at least the last two months, Microsoft has been using a deceptive tactic to trick users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 into upgrading to Windows 10.
According to a support document on the company's website, Microsoft has aggressive upgrade practices showing up a pop-up notification to Windows 7 and 8.1 users. The notification announces these users that the free Windows 10 upgrade had been pre-scheduled by Microsoft.
Computerworld reports that according to the same Microsoft support document, by clicking the red "X" in the upper-right corner of the pop-up, the users were approving the scheduled upgrade. However, clicking the X operation has been in graphical user interfaces (GUIs), a decades-old convention for simply closing a window.
To users, shutting a window by clicking the X means forcing the application or the operating system to close the window frame or remove the notification without selecting an option, expressing an opinion or without calling for an action.
For instance, in an application such as Microsoft Word, clicking the X closes the window. All content would be lost if Word would not remind the user to save his or her work.
Users have been "trained" by Windows and other operating systems to click the "close" button. Yet Microsoft changed the former convention by instead considering the user is approving the scheduled update by closing the window.
It is highly likely that the vast majority of users who intended to make the notification disappear and clicked on the X had no idea that in fact they were authorizing an upgrade to Windows 10. And Microsoft has been tricking users for months by counter-intuitively interpreting their action.
At hearing the news, the reaction from Windows users and tech experts was mostly negative. For instance, long-time Microsoft watcher and blogger, Paul Thurrott, was criticizing the practice on his blog and called it "indefensible."
Microsoft responded to critics in a statement released to BBC that it just wanted to help users to upgrade to the best version of Windows. But users can still "choose to accept or decline the Windows 10 upgrade."