How to make sure your PC doesn't auto-install Windows 10

These two simple steps banish that pesky Windows 10 update alert in your system tray and ensure your PC never updates to Windows 10 on its own without permission.

20160224 stock mwc microsoft windows 10 signs
Credit: Stephen Lawson

If you're a PC user who is sick of Microsoft constantly pestering you to update your OS to Windows 10, and you're worried the out of control upgrade process will force you into an unwanted OS, I have a two-step solution. 

Never10 eliminates Windows 10 updates

First is the "Never 10" tool, which automatically changes the Windows Update settings so the program doesn't start (or complete) the Windows upgrade process from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, without explicit permission. Of course Windows shouldn't do that anyway, but sloppy wording in Windows pop-up boxes and occasional errors have in fact caused many users to install updates they don't want.

Never 10 is the brainchild of Steve Gibson, a software developer and founder of Gibson Software. The utility is composed of a small amount of code that you download from his site and then forget — unless you change your mind about upgrading to Windows 10. If you do, you can easily reverse the process. (Hat tip to Paul Thurrott for publicizing Gibson's work.)

never10 logo Gibson Research Corp.

"Using this utility, inexperienced users will be able to easily use Never10 themselves, while advanced users will likely appreciate that fact that no additional software is installed and will be able to refer friends and family, whom they support, to this easy-to-use utility," Gibson says

Microsoft also offers an alternative fix, but it involves tinkering with the Windows Registry, which can be tricky and can cause serious problems.

I installed Never10 on my Windows 7 laptop, and it appears to work well. It's worth noting that I don't hate Windows 10; I run it on one laptop and rather like it, but users deserve to have real control of the upgrade process.

GWX Control Panel tidies up your Windows system tray

Then there's Microsoft's nagging, which consists of annoying white Windows icon in the system tray. And that brings up the second step of my process to do away with Windows 10 update reminders: an app called GWX Control Panel, which removes the icon and stops the nagging. The tool can also be used to clear your Windows update cache, and delete Windows 10 download folders, according to

Neither Gibson's trick or the GWX Control Panel software block Windows 7's routine — and necessary — updates. And you can still upgrade to Windows 10 whenever you want by disabling the tools. 

Download the CIO October 2016 Digital Magazine
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies