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Microsoft Will Never Again Sneakily Force Windows Downloads on Users (betanews.com) 200

A reader shares a report Windows users in Germany were particularly unimpressed when Microsoft forcibly downloaded many gigabytes of files to upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10. Having held out for 18 months, and losing its case twice, Microsoft has finally agreed to stop its nefarious tactics. After a lengthy battle with Germany's Baden-Wurtenberg consumer rights center, Microsoft made the announcement to avoid the continuation of legal action. A press release on the Baden-Wurtenberg website reveals that Microsoft has announced it will no longer download operating system files to users' computers without their permission: Microsoft will not download install files for new operating systems to a user system's hard disk without a user's consent. The consumer rights center hoped for this resolution to be reached much sooner, but Microsoft's decision will please the courts and could have a bearing on how the company acts in other countries.
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Microsoft Will Never Again Sneakily Force Windows Downloads on Users

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  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:42PM (#55071113)

    And we made sure of this because we locked up the fuckers responsible.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      You don't put people in jail over civil suits. What they did wasn't criminal. It was only an annoyance.

      • Re: And... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It was criminal. They need to go to jail, and they need to be tortured to catch everyone involved. Only then will things be right again.

        • Windows 10 is possibly the worst spyware ever made [networkworld.com]

          Quote: "Buried in the service agreement is permission to poke through everything on your PC."
        • Coporate Justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @05:09PM (#55071953) Homepage Journal

          TLDR? From the first paragraph of the wikipedia summary:The law prohibits accessing a computer without authorization, or in excess of authorization.

          Putting file on a computer for the purpose of an unrequested upgrade certainly seems to be 'in excess of authorization', especially when you factor in the several million counts of it. The people who authorized this decision are CRIMINALS.
          • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

            Except that by accepting the license terms you have granted them authorization.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Actually if you declined the terms, by say closing the window or clicking "not now", it installs anyway. After you specifically declined to authorize.

            • I'll reply here instead of the same comments at this level.

              Folks need to remember you own your computer, but not the Windows OS. By accepting the Windows EULA, you are agreeing to a lease of their software. You don't own it, never have, never will. Since the OS is property of MS, it stands to reason (law is a different question) that they would have access to their own stuff.

              Now, if they used that access to get PII without consent, then MS would be up shit creek.

      • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

        by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:59PM (#55071545)

        Interfering with someone's computer without their permission is a criminal offence in Europe. In the UK it comes under the Computer Misuse Act. It just seems that no-one (other than, in Germany, the Baden-Wurtenberg consumer rights center) has the bottle to pursue this.

        From this [inbrief.co.uk] :-

        CMA 1990 introduced the following three new offences into UK criminal law:

                unauthorised access to computer material;
                unauthorised access with intent to commit a further offence;
                Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc (as amended by the Police and Justice Act 2006).

        I would consider converting Windows 7 to Windows 10 shows an intent to impair.

        • Interfering with someone's computer without their permission is a criminal offence in Europe.

          Interfering with animals without their permission is a criminal offence in most states of the US. Should computers be any different?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      While I agree with the sentiments, you can't lock up an entire company's work force. Because everyone involved is only partially involved, and each individual could point to a thousand others that each contributed to boneheaded decisions, to the point that no one person is culpable.

      The fix, is if this was "criminal" offense, would be to go after the CxO and Board of Directors and actually lock THEM up for the group think decisions of the company they are supposed to oversee. IF you actually started going af

      • doing a reverse of lives are money thing then as they have cost people MILLIONS then a case could be made they are "serial killers".

        hey i would be nice and load their jumpsuits with a buncha gold coins first.

      • you can't lock up an entire company's work force.

        Strawman: one need do nothing of the sort.

      • You can lock up the guy or a team who made a decision like that. Not that I'm saying that we should lock up people for that though. But somebody did make a decision that those updates will download even without the consent of the user. And someone did make an implementation of that. Programming like that is made by hand, not really by some independant AI.

        In general, yes, decisions are done in every company and there are people standing behind those. And if those decisions are bad enough the same people shou

    • i love the humor.
    • Re:And... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by megamind ( 4743067 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:47PM (#55071479)
      Windows update has been relabeled to "version control" and install files have been renamed to "for your benefit security patches". Germans should wise up and realize nothing they do or say will stop Microsoft from doing whatever they want.
  • Next time they'll just send it out piecemeal anyway
    • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:04PM (#55071261)

      I seem to recall them claiming (a year or so ago?) that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows, it's rolling updates from here on out. In which case this announcement is a completely meaningless way to duck punishment - they promise to no longer download files for a new operating system... because they will no longer release new operating systems. Just massive updates to their only one.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        [...] they will no longer release new operating systems. Just massive updates to their only one.

        Ah, yes. The "Highlander" approach.

      • I came here to say the same thing. The "new operating systems" wording is a nice little loophole if you're planning on going to a rolling release model.

        • Ditto. The old adage, if over time you replace all the parts of a ship, at what point isn't it the same ship?
          It's almost like Windows saw this coming and made Windows 10 in response.

          Having held out for 18 months....

          Humm......no, I know that MS can't work quite that fast....

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        Being a /. reader, I of course haven't read the details.. but I suspect a lot of that hinges on what the courts consider to be a "new version." Is the anniversary update or the creators update considered new versions? They're both fairly massive updates (both in terms of download size and feature changes.) Or does it only count as a new version when the marketing department decides to change an already-arbitrary number to a new arbitrary number? Or does each build count as a new version and this blocks

        • The last is not necessarily a bad thing with Win10's update behavior being what it is. The problem is that, in order to 'fix' the 'problem' of users not installing security updates, they've gone and made all updates install themselves and not even make sure you get proper warning before rebooting the system to install. Not only that, but I suspect the current regime at Microsoft would happily insist that all of those were 'legitimate security updates' if that lets them get around the pesky issue of having

  • Yeah right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ponraul ( 1233704 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:44PM (#55071127)
    honest injun we wont!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So where do users who were sneakily forced go to get reparations?

  • Trust Us (Score:5, Funny)

    by FerociousFerret ( 533780 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:50PM (#55071157)
    You can trust us this time. Honest! We have changed.
  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:51PM (#55071169)

    There are no demands to make up for all of the inconvenience, wasted time, overages on bandwidth, etc?

    Slap on the wrist...

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Agreed to stop it, 1.5-years after they stopped giving away Windows 10 too. Seems like win-win for Microsoft, drag the case out so long its irrelevant then agree to stop the behaviour.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    By now there probably aren't that many people left to force an upgrade to Windows10. They need to stop these automatic updates and reboots. Rebooting a PC without explicit permission from the owner of that PC is as criminal as what Sony did with their rootkit. Microsoft may own the IP in the OS but they don't own my PC.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I would be willing to accept automatic updates if it was limited to security updates only.
    • No it isn't.
      You may hate them both, but in no way are they equivalent transgressions.
  • by Ann O'Nymous-Coward ( 460094 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:53PM (#55071177)
    Microsoft Will Again Sneakily Force Windows Downloads on Users

    because let's be real, they've got a track record.
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:54PM (#55071179)

    I wonder if this will be implemented globally, or whether there will be a "Windows 10 G" edition. Windows N and Windows KN editions for South Korea and the EU were created to remove Media Player and force the user to make a browser choice before IE is turned on by default.

    Some people were beyond pissed when this happened, so maybe they'll just cut their losses and do it across the board. The sneaky upgrade dialog was the thing I wasn't happy about, but I'm sure there are some people out there who are very privacy-minded, and any files they didn't explicitly ask for are a no-go for them. I work with people all over the world, and the EU and Germany in particular has some of the strictest privacy laws. 99% of the information harvesting that your average one-trick web startup gets away with in the US is just forbidden by law there. Facebook and Google are constantly lobbying to have the rules not apply to them because their business model falls apart without full access to people's data.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As much as I disagree with forced patches, it has kept the 0 day rate down lately.

    • Yeah, there are plenty of people and companies that are many years, and sometimes a decade or more out of date on OS and security patches. It's sad, especially when they then get upset over how they got infected by a virus or other malware that's now eating their network when everyone else that wasn't running antique software was immune to. You don't want to know how many hundreds of thousands of machines I've seen that happen to.
  • Next Step (Score:5, Insightful)

    by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:55PM (#55071193) Journal
    Sue to extend this to system updates so MS is forced to restore the previous functionality that was available to users.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      No. The next step will be to change the description from "new operating system" to "monthly update of your existing operating system, including user experience optimizations".
  • Payback (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:57PM (#55071203)

    Germans complain about Microsoft and come back proclaiming "Peace for our time".

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @02:57PM (#55071213) Homepage

    They said (emphasis mine):

    Microsoft will not download install files for new operating systems to a user system’s hard disk without a user's consent.

    How about you just don't upload or download anything without the user's consent?

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      They have your consent -- its buried in that EULA you didn't read but still clicked Accept on.

      GWX was perhaps questionable. I'm not sure if the win7/8 EULAs were expansive enough to cover a full upgrade to the latest version, but they all cover MS' butt with regards to downloading and installing updates, and I'm sure the win10 EULA is even more stringent on that given that MS no longer gives you an opt-out to their updates. They're just forced on you whether you like it or not (and I totally wouldn't mind

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Where's my signature. Where's my actual name applied to the bottom of the EULA?

        That's what I thought. I never signed that contract of adhesion.

      • In Germany, a EULA presented in this way is not enforceable and most of them are invalid and void anyway, because they contain clauses that are not compatible with consumer rights, contract law, or other regulations. Contract law in the EU is very different from US contract law. The corporations are just betting regularly that nobody will sue them or otherwise invalidate the contract, which sadly is the case.

        My general advice is to read the EULA, print it out, and send the company any changes you would li

  • ... they pinky-swear that they have changed. Bullshit! If they ever have a chance to do anything similar and it will make them money, they'll do it. I've been MS-free for years and it's been a real joy to convert so many family and friends to it. Plus, BTW, I no longer get calls from them about the latest thing that Windows is doing. Great!!
  • From now on, our subsidiary [name yet to be revealed] that "isn't Microsoft" will instead force downloads on users for us^H^Hthem.
  • has convinced them to do it in the full open.

  • SubjectIsSubject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0p0 ( 1841106 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:01PM (#55071243)

    Microsoft will not download install files for new operating systems to a user system's hard disk without a user's consent.

    They really need a clear definition of "consent" because from what I remember just hitting the "X" on the upgrade Window instead of "Cancel" was actually considered consent by MS. It's purposefully misleading and you know they'll do it again with Windows 11 or whatever bullshit name they call it.

  • Yea right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:01PM (#55071249)
    More like

    Microsoft will never sneakily force updates on users through large downloads and only in Germany


  • What about windows 10 S store only will the EU come down or that or the new windows 10 update that disables ReFS unless you upgrade at an added cost to windows workstation?

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      They probably won't have to. Unless MS has a dazzling, amazing plan for bolstering their store offerings, Win10S is likely to be close to DOA. Windows' main ability to keep users is the fact that so many users are already running Windows and won't (or far more often, can't) switch all of their apps to a competitor.

      If MS kills their own compatibility benefits, it undermines a lot of the reason people have stick with their platform through all of the shit they pulled with Vista's compatibility disaster, Win

  • No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:10PM (#55071295)

    Microsoft will not download install files for new operating systems to a user system’s hard disk without a user's consent.


    By using the software you hereby consent to ....
    .... [ 25 pages later ]

    Your computer automatically downloading and installing updates for bugfixes, security patches, and operating system upgrades with no further notification required, with no guarantee of visible a UI indication, options dialog, or other opportunity being provided defer, pause, cancel, undo, revert, or to opt-out of this process of automatic self-updating.

    • EULAs are pretty much unenforceable in civilized countries. And in Germany, too.

      Germany has something in their consumer protection laws that is worded like "if there's anything in your contract that could be considered special or unusual, you have to stress it and the customer has to explicitly agree to explicitly that". And not only is it a computer illiterate judge that gets to determine what's "unusual" in terms of computer related contracts, on top of that you have a lot of consumer protection laws that

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        That's a pretty strong claim. I'm not sure how many countries have ever brought a EULA to trial.

        Certainly parts of a EULA that contradict local laws are generally invalid in pretty much every jurisdiction, and almost all EULAs include a clause stating that when that happens, it only invalidates the contradictory parts rather than the entire EULA (so that they don't have to write a separate one for every town and hamlet that has their own local bylaws on the issue.)

        But they almost certainly tailor EULAs to

        • One legal reason why most software EULAs aren't enforceable in Germany:
          If someone buys Windows from some retailer, the buyer enters into a contract with that retailer.
          Any additional crap one party wants to enforce has to be made part of that contract; if the EULA isn't made explicitly a part of that contract, it's not enforceable:
          If the seller hides a piece of paper with additional terms the customer doesn't know about somewhere in the box, then those terms aren't enforceable afterwards; and putting a st
        • In most countries, contracts where you get loaded additional bullshit onto it after the sale are void. And that's basically what an EULA is. The sale happens before you get even informed what the EULA consists of, let alone agree to it.

          And no, the click-through bullshit is not a substitute.

    • Non-binding in EU countries. Thanks for playing, though.

  • Because sneaky upgrades were seriously annoying.

  • Also, does this apply globally, or just in Germany?
  • Until the next time.
  • Where's my Bill Gates / Borg avatar. Come on Slashdot, you're slipping.
  • A good laugh is always welcome!

  • Mainly because we've already force-upgraded everyone who didn't nuke their machine.

  • You do know that GWX sent 24 hours of your computer usage to Microsoft just after it installed. I would hope they decide not to steal that type of info again.

    Yes I have the file that seriously wanted out, HOSTS file kept it in place for 7 days.

  • "I faithfully promise upon my heart and soul that under no circumstances will I stick my hand up your dress ever again until the next time. And I truly mean what I say, Missy.

  • Ya got that right! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s1d3track3D ( 1504503 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @05:07PM (#55071945)

    Microsoft Will Never Again Sneakily Force Windows Downloads on Users

    Ya got that right! - Ex-Windows user

  • When American companies fuck you up the ass, the EU will come along and sort it out eventually.

    • Yeah, if anything showed us the kind of teeth EU has for corporate globalists, its the HSBC scandals. If it is anything like window dressing, I'm sure they'll think twice.

  • The German state is called "Baden-Württemberg"!
  • And I promise I won't come in the mail.

  • >> "it will no longer download operating system files to users' computers without their permission"

    Translation: we will simply add yet more opaque/vague terminology to the already far too long EULA so no-one actually reads it all, where clicking through implies consent.

  • "We can't make you do anything, but we can make you wish you had." – Army saying
    – Stephen E. Ambrose

    Unfortunately, our justice system routinely falls far short of this mark when dealing with corporations.

    For Microsoft, the jump to Windows 10 represented a one-time only change of business models.

    And even as the legal dust settles, we didn't make them wish they hadn't done what they done.

    Why can't corporations also be lowly worms under the law?


    JUDGE Who said that?

  • Never is a very long time..
  • "Microsoft Will Never Again Sneakily Force Windows Downloads on Users".... in Germany.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce