Introducing Your AI Host
Your Windows operating system has nifty AI-like process called BITS or the Background Intelligent Transfer Service. BITS is the system process responsible for downloading updates from Microsoft Servers. Recently, it is also responsible for automatically downloading and forcing users to upgrade to Windows 10.
What Does Upgrading to Windows 10 Mean For You?
Have you already upgraded to Windows 10? If not, there was probably a reason for the delay. Maybe concerns about software and hardware compatibility? Maybe you wanted a choice in the Microsoft Operating System in which you run your computer or mobile device? Do you have privacy concerns from rumors you may have heard? In which I can tell you, this is a very valid concern! Whichever the reason, if you weren’t aware of the workarounds to prevent this forced change, you have already or will have continuous messages recommending the upgrade. Either that, or you are like the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of users that recently restarted their computer to find that Microsoft gladly took care of the upgrade for you! That’s awesome right?! Not really…
I use Windows 10 for my own computers and I think it’s pretty great. It has convenient features and the interface is much more intuitive, than that of Windows 8. It’s faster than Windows 7, which was a heck of a lot better than the failed Vista OS. So I do genuinely believe that Microsoft’s Windows 10 is a great system and can help make using the computer, tablet, etc, more efficient.
However, being in the industry for quite some time (over 15 years), I have seen the chaos that upgrading to a new OS can cause for consumers and businesses alike. Now, the good news is that, generally speaking, Windows 10 plays fair with most software and hardware connected to computers from Windows 7 and up. However, as I saw when Windows 8 came out, some hardware such as printers and specialized devices are not supported by Windows 8 through the manufacturer. This makes it difficult or impossible to use your devices, products and software.
As an example, a quick search brought up an article with the following segment:
Here is the link for credit to the author: Is Your Software & Hardware Compatible With Windows 8.1?
Your Life, Connected … Everywhere
Hardware issues, patches and the like aren’t the biggest concern I have for the general public regarding the Windows 10 upgrade. Here’s where things get crazy, “Welcome to Skynet Version 1.0”. For those of you who are fans of the Terminator franchise, you know what I am talking about. For those of you who aren’t, well this is what it means: Every program, internet search, website, contact, typed word and more will be available for the team of Microsoft to view and analyze.
When you finish installing Windows 10 by choice or get it pushed upon you on restart, there are a few things you need to do if you want to keep your personal computer, well… personal.
Let’s take a look at the custom privacy settings screen upon completion of your installation.
At the top of the customization screen, the very first option is:
“Personalize your speech, typing and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft.” This is set to ON. So inking input like signatures, typing input like browser searches, your contacts which connect all your friends to you. Essentially means that Microsoft is creating an entire scope of you and your online activities. This mean they are building a profile about you for use at a level we aren’t quite sure of at this point.
It’s not just Microsoft, however. Google and Apple have been under scrutiny for their privacy policies as well. A movie called Terms and Conditions May Apply, was even made in 2013 regarding corporations and their policies. Bottom line is, if you don’t want this personal information all sent to Microsoft, toggle these options to OFF.
How to Prevent the Automatic Update
If you aren’t sure that you are ready for Windows 10, or you are concerned about all the other issues regarding privacy, hardware compatibility, software compatibility, etc, then here’s what you can do:
Check if the download is on your computer already.
To do this you need to verify if the $Windows.~BT folder exists on your hard drive.
- It’s a hidden folder, so you need to open File Explorer, and from the ribbon menu, navigate to View, and click on Folder Options.
- Go to View and under “Advanced settings”, check Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
- Click Apply and OK.
- Go to your main Windows drive and you’ll now be able to see if you have the$Windows.~BT folder. If the download has already completed, you’ll notice it’s taking between 3GB and 6GB of your local storage, when you check folder properties.
Stop Windows Update from downloading the files without your approval.
- Open Control Panel and navigate to Programs and features.
- From the left pane click the View Installed Updates link.
- If you’re running Windows 8.1 Update, look carefully for these updates: KB3035583 and KB2976978. If you’re running Windows 7 Service Pack 1, look carefully for these updates: KB3035583, KB2952664, and KB3021917.
- Right-click each update and from the context menu click Uninstall.
- If you’re asked to restart, simply click to do it later and continue uninstalling the updates.
- Reboot your computer.
Now that the updates are out of the system, we need to tell Windows Update that we don’t want to install those updates in the future.
- Open Control Panel, go to Windows Update, and click Check for updates.
- From the left pane, click on Important to view those updates.
- Depending on your version of Windows look for the updates we have mentioned above, right-click on them, and click Hide update. This last step will block the service from re-downloading the updates in question.
In conclusion, our opinion is that a personal computer (or tablet) should remain as such and not be subject to hidden or forced upgrades, purposeful privacy exploits and the like. If we receive a free operating system upgrade or share our lives with Microsoft or the rest of the world, we should be allowed to do so by choice, not by ambiguous settings or obscure relinquishment of our rights as product users.
We hope that this article helps you make the best decision for your computing needs and helps you avoid any unwanted changes to your personal computer. We would love to hear your feedback on our Facebook and Google+ page as well!
The Elevare Team
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