Sunday, August 30, 2015

Using GWX Control Panel to Permanently Remove the 'Get Windows 10' Icon

This is the official user guide and announcement page for GWX Control Panel, the easiest way for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to protect their computers from Windows 10. With GWX Control Panel you can: Remove the "Get Windows 10" icon that appears in your notification area, prevent your Windows Update control panel from upgrading your computer to Windows 10, prevent your computer from secretly downloading Windows 10 installation files, detect and remove the hidden Windows 10 installation files if they're already on your PC, optionally monitor your computer for unwanted Windows 10-related settings and files- and beginning with version 1.7 you can now easily delete some hard-to-remove program files that are known to cause Windows 10 upgrades and annoyances.

GWX Control Panel is free software that really works, is safe and easy to use, and gives you the option to re-enable the icon and upgrade notifications if you're ever ready to move forward with Windows 10.


NEWS AND HOT TIPS

Just some quick notes before we get to the documentation...
  • August 1, 2016: The current version of GWX Control Panel is still 1.7.4.1, and Microsoft has finally ended their year-long "Get Windows 10" campaign of pestering Windows 7/8.1 users into upgrading to an operating system that they don't necessarily need or want. While the jury's still out on whether Windows 7/8.1 folks are truly out of the woods, I have added a topic to the FAQ that discusses GWX Control Panel's role in the post-July-29th world (see topic #2). I've also written some new instructions for uninstalling/removing GWX Control Panel if you're the gambling type.

    Sometime soon- probably in the coming week- I will publish a minor update to the program that fixes a couple of bugs that are already described in the troubleshooting guide. I had been working on a HUGE feature for the next major version, but my non-GWX responsibilities prevented me from completing that work before Microsoft halted Phase One of the Windows 10 upgrade push. It will probably show up in another of my projects though- and maybe even a future version of GWX Control Panel if Microsoft ever releases the Win 10 kraken again.
     
    Please note that due to the increased demands of my day job, I am not able to respond to blog comments or emails very often, so forgive me if my responses are slow. If you're looking for help with the program please check out the links mentioned in the following "Tips." Thanks!
     
  • Tip: Having problems with GWX Control Panel? Check the troubleshooting guide.
  • Tip: Do you have questions not answered below or in the troubleshooting guide? Check the FAQ.
  • Tip: You guys broke the Internet! This post has so many comments that my blog started putting them on a separate page! Look there if you posted a comment recently and are looking for a response.


NOTE: GWX Control Panel has always been available as a stand-alone executable, but a convenient installer option is also available. The installer creates some handy icons and enables seamless upgrades, but doesn't include any additional software. The choice is yours.

WHAT IT DOES AND HOW IT WORKS

The goal of GWX Control Panel is to protect you from unwanted Windows 10 upgrades and notifications without disabling important or popular operating system features, and without requiring you to change the way you work with Windows. Here are some specific ways GWX Control Panel helps you:
  • The Disable 'Get Windows 10' App feature removes Microsoft's "Get Windows 10" nagware app from your notification area.
    This is the 'Get Windows 10' icon app.
  • The Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature checks for system settings that leave you vulnerable to unwanted Windows 10 upgrades and gives you the ability to fix them.
  • The Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature also restores your Windows Update control panel to its normal behavior if it gets hijacked by Windows 10 advertisements or installers. Here are some specific symptoms it fixes:
    This is one of numerous ways that Windows 10 can hijack your Windows Update control panel. In this example, Windows Update is hiding the normal Windows 7 updates behind the "Show all available updates" link.
    The Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature fixes the "Your upgrade to Windows 10 is ready" problem in Windows Update. (Note, some users will have to follow this with Clear Windows Update Cache in order to fully resolve this issue.)
    The Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature can even rescue your PC from impending Windows 10 installs that display the "It's almost time for your upgrade" window.
  • The Delete Windows 10 Download Folders feature locates and deletes hidden Windows 10 installer files that Microsoft secretly downloads to your computer.
  • The Delete Windows 10 Programs feature easily deletes hard-to-remove program files that are known to prepare your computer for Windows 10 upgrades.
  • The program can alert you if your Windows Update settings change from one of the safer "download only" or "check only" options to "automatically install" behind your back and gives you the chance to fix it with the Change Windows Update Settings feature.
  • The optional Save Diagnostic Info feature (in the right-click pop-up menu of the title bar) generates enhanced diagnostic reports that give you detailed information on any settings GWX Control Panel finds that leave you open to unwanted Windows 10 behavior.
  • The optional "Monitor Mode" feature runs quietly in the background watching for unexpected system changes, and alerts you as soon as any new Windows 10 settings or files are detected.
What it doesn't do:
  • Doesn't interfere with any Windows features such as Windows Update or OneDrive; the goal is to keep you safe from Windows 10 without having to change the way you work with your computer. (Note: You can optionally choose to disable automatic Windows updates with the Change Windows Update Settings feature if you prefer, but all update-related settings you can change in GWX Control Panel are safe and reversible.)
  • Doesn't block or hide any specific Windows Update patches. (Although it can detect and optionally delete problematic Windows 10 files that Windows Update installs.)
  • Doesn't include any advertising.
  • Doesn't include any additional third-party software (you can even download it as a stand-alone executable).
  • Doesn't collect any personal data or "phone home" in any way.
  • Doesn't do any specific checking or disabling of Windows "telemetry" features, although this may appear as an optional capability in a future release.
  • Doesn't (yet) prevent the Windows 10 advertisements that Microsoft displays in web browsers. At first I thought it was unique to Internet Explorer, but now it appears that the ads are tied to specific Microsoft sites (most notably MSN.com) rather than Internet Explorer itself. I am currently investigating whether there's a safe way to stop this. (But for now if you don't want to see those ads, just don't go to MSN.com or other Microsoft sites that display them.) There are examples of these specific in-browser ads at the troubleshooting guide.

DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING GWX CONTROL PANEL

You can always download the latest version of GWX Control Panel at the Ultimate Outsider Downloads page. The program is available for download either as an installer or as a standalone executable, but I recommend using the installer for the following reasons:
  • The installer gives you some handy Start menu and desktop shortcuts for GWX Control Panel, documentation, and the uninstaller.
  • The installer can provide a better experience for computers with multiple user profiles. (The program's Monitor Mode might not work properly for all users unless you run it from an appropriate location, and the installer takes care of this for you.)
  • Using the installer allows for a more streamlined experience when updating to newer versions of GWX Control Panel, for a number of reasons.
The standalone version is still available for folks who want it, though.


Important
If you maintain a computer with multiple user profiles, please follow these simple tips to ensure the most streamlined and predictable installation and configuration experience:
  • Use an administrator account when installing or uninstalling GWX Control Panel. (Standard and Child accounts actually run software installers using an administrator account's credentials, and this can result in a confusing experience for non-technical Windows users.) The troubleshooting guide has more information about how to use GWX Control Panel with Standard and Child user accounts.
  • If your computer has multiple user profiles, log out of all profiles except your primary administrator user account before installing or uninstalling the program. The installer closes running instances of the program before upgrading or removing GWX Control Panel, but it cannot "see" instances of the process running under other user accounts. The fail-safe thing to handle this is to restart Windows, log in to an administrator account of your preference, then install, upgrade, or uninstall as desired.
A note about upgrading
If you use the GWX Control Panel installer, then upgrading from one version to the next is very simple. Just follow the Important guidelines listed above and run the GwxControlPanelSetup program. The installer will safely upgrade everything for you.

If you use the stand-alone version, you should follow these steps:
  1. If you use the optional Monitor Mode, launch your existing GWX Control Panel version and click Disable Monitor Mode or use the Enable/Disable Monitor Mode for Current User option in the right-click pop-up menu of the title bar in order to disable monitor mode for your current version.
  2. Delete your old copy of GWX_control_panel.exe.
  3. Launch your new copy of GWX Control Panel and re-enable Monitor Mode with the new version if you plan to use that feature.

HOW DO I BLOCK WINDOWS 10?

When you launch GWX Control Panel, you'll see something like this:
The main GWX Control Panel window in version 1.7.1.
To make sure you're protected from Windows 10, take a look at the Information section of the GWX Control Panel window. If you see either of the following cases, you are already protected from Windows 10:

Windows 10 upgrades are blocked and Get Windows 10 app isn't installed.

Windows 10 upgrades are blocked and Get Windows 10 app is installed but disabled.


If any of those fields read Yes, that means you are currently vulnerable to Windows 10. Here's how to fix it:
  • Click the "Click to Disable 'Get Windows 10' App" button.
  • Click the "Click to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" button.
  • If you're a completist, click the "Click to Disable Non-critical Windows 10 Settings" button.
You can optionally use the "Click to Enable Monitor Mode" button to have GWX Control Panel watch your system for any changes to your Windows 10 settings.

I posted a quick video tutorial for GWX Control Panel 1.1 at YouTube. There's also another tutorial that covers the new features in versions 1.2 and 1.3. Many features have been added since those videos were produced, however.

THE INFORMATION SECTION

The upper portion of the main GWX Control Panel window is enclosed in a box labeled Information. This is where you can learn how protected your PC is from Windows 10 upgrades and notifications.

Here is a summary of the bits of information available here:
  • Is 'Get Windows 10' icon app running? This indicates whether the Microsoft program that creates the "Get Windows 10" icon in your notification area is currently running. If the program doesn't exist on your computer, it will say, "(App not found)".
  • Is 'Get Windows 10' icon app enabled? This indicates whether Microsoft's "Get Windows 10" is configured to run on your PC. It is possible for this field to say Yes, even if the first field says No, because Microsoft uses a series of scheduled tasks to determine when to run the program. If the program doesn't exist on your computer, it will say, "(App not found)".
  • Are Windows 10 Upgrades allowed? This field indicates whether your computer is vulnerable to unwanted Windows 10 upgrades and related side-effects that can appear in your Windows Update control panel. If this field says Yes, it means that one or more critical system settings are set in such a way that you might experience unexpected Windows 10 upgrades or other upgrade-related behaviors in certain parts of the operating system (such as messages in the Windows Update control panel encouraging you to upgrade to Windows 10). If you would like to know exactly which settings GWX Control Panel discovered, you can find this information in the output file generated by the Save diagnostic info command in the program's system menu. (See "The System Menu" section for more info.) Click the Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades button to make this field go to "No."
  • Non-critical Windows 10 settings enabled? (New in version 1.7.1) There are a number of other Windows 10-related settings that aren't necessarily harmful, but occasionally result in annoying behavior. This field reads Yes if any of those less-significant settings are detected. The Disable/Enable Non-critical Windows 10 Settings button manages these settings, and you can get details on which settings are enabled by looking at your Save Diagnostic Info report.
  • GWX Control Panel Monitor Mode Status: This indicates whether you have enabled the Monitor Mode feature of GWX Control Panel, and also whether a Monitor Mode instance of the program is currently running. Depending on how you've set up your computer, you might have monitor mode enabled for a specific user account or for all users on the PC, and that is reflected in this field as well. (Please see the section on Monitor Mode for more information.)
  • Windows 10 Download folders found? Microsoft pushes the Windows 10 installer files into secret, hidden directories on unsuspecting users' computers through a couple of different methods. This field indicates whether GWX Control Panel detects one or more of the locations where these files are known to reside.
  • Size of Windows 10 download folders: If one or more of the hidden download folders are found, this field indicates the total amount of storage space occupied by the files they contain.
  • Open BT Folder: When the hidden $Windows.~BT download folder is found, you can click this button to open the folder in Windows File Explorer.
  • Open WS Folder: When the hidden $Windows.~WS download folder is found, you can click this button to open the folder in Windows File Explorer. This folder is less common, and is usually the result of running Microsoft's Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
  • Automatically install Windows Updates? If this field says Yes, it means that you currently have Windows Update configured to automatically install new updates on a regular schedule. This is not recommended if you truly wish to avoid Windows 10, since Microsoft routinely pushes new Windows 10-related updates, and you could easily get an unpleasant surprise by installing all new updates without reviewing them first. This field is new in version 1.7, in response to a number of reports I've heard from Windows users who claimed their Windows Update preferences changed from "download only" or "check only" to "automatically install" without their consent. GWX Control Panel checks for this now so you can catch any unexpected changes.
  • Status and settings summary. Most of the time, this little box gives you a quick summary of your PC's current status as far as Windows 10 files and settings go. This box can also display the current status of operations that take some time to complete.
     

THE BUTTONS

The lower portion of the main GWX Control Panel window contains a number of buttons for configuring and troubleshooting your PC. This is what they do:
  • Click to Enable/Disable 'Get Windows 10' App: This enables or disables Microsoft's Get Windows 10 icon app, either removing or restoring the icon in your notification area, as desired. This button is only available if GWX Control Panel detects the app on your PC.
  • Click to Prevent/Allow Windows 10 Upgrades: This changes a couple of settings that determine whether Microsoft is able to upgrade your PC to Windows 10 or change the behavior of your Windows Update control panel to deliver Windows 10 advertisements and updates. This does NOT disable Windows Update and does not block or hide any Windows Update patches.
  • Click to Delete Windows 10 Download Folders: If any of the hidden Windows 10 installer folders are detected on your computer, you can use this button to delete those files and free up storage space. This button is not available if no download folders are detected. Note that this procedure can take some time (once it starts actually deleting files, you should see the "Size of Windows 10 download folders" field report gradually decreasing sizes. If you have trouble deleting all of the files, you can use the "Save diagnostic info" option in the program's system menu to see if there were any telling error messages.
  • Click to Delete Windows 10 Programs: This removes files and background tasks known to cause Windows 10 upgrade symptoms. This button is only available if GWX Control Panel detects these problem files on your computer. See the GWX Control Panel FAQ if you use this feature but eventually decide you want to upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Click to Change Windows Update Settings: This new button in version 1.7 opens a dialog box where you can change how Windows update behaves. These are some of the same options available in the "Change settings" screen of the Windows Update control panel. For the best balance of security and protection from Windows 10, it's recommended that you choose one of the options that lets you choose which updates you wish to install, rather than installing all updates automatically or disabling updates entirely.
  • Click to Clear Windows Update Cache: While not directly related to Windows 10, this step is sometimes necessary to remove some lingering Windows 10 notifications from your Windows Update control panel after using the "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" feature. While this feature isn't harmful, it really isn't necessary in most cases, and it does result in some one-time changes in Windows Update that some users might find annoying. GWX Control Panel lists all known one-time effects when you choose this option and gives you a chance to decide whether to proceed before clearing your update cache.
  • Click to Disable/Enable Non-critical Windows 10 Settings: This feature relates to settings detected in the "Non-critical Windows 10 settings enabled" information field. Clicking this button enables or disables those settings, as needed. These particular settings don't leave you vulnerable to unwanted upgrades, but they can cause some annoying behavior in some cases, so you might need to disable them if disabling the Disable Get Windows 10 App and the Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades features don't clear up all your problems. Note that Windows sometimes changes these settings in the background, so you might occasionally have to re-disable these settings if you want them to remain off.
  • Click to Enable/Disable Monitor Mode: Use this button to manage the Monitor Mode feature of GWX Control Panel. Monitor Mode places an icon in your notification area that alerts you if it detects any changes to your PC that might leave you vulnerable to Windows 10. Please see the "Using Monitor Mode" section below for more info.

    Note: This button configures Monitor Mode for all user profiles on the PC. If you'd like to manage Monitor Mode for just a single user profile, you can use the Enable/disable Monitor Mode for current user command on the system menu.
     
  • Click to Display the User Guide: This launches your default browser to the GWX Control Panel user guide.
     

THE SYSTEM MENU

If you click the icon in the upper-left of the main GWX Control Panel window, you will see the system menu:
The version 1.7 system menu.

  • Check for updates: This opens a dialog box that displays the version of GWX Control Panel you're currently running and links you to the Ultimate Outsider Downloads page to see if a newer version is available.
  • Save diagnostic info: This saves a file called GwxControlPanelLog.txt to your desktop that contains relevant information about your computer and your Windows 10-related settings and files. Beginning with version 1.7 this report explains exactly what system settings it detected on your PC, which will help you understand what's going on behind the scenes when Monitor Mode detects new changes, for example.
  • Restart Monitor Mode: You can use this to launch a Monitor Mode instance if you have Monitor Mode enabled, but it's not currently running.
  • Enable/disable Monitor Mode for current user: Use this to manage monitor mode configuration for a specific user account on the computer. This replicates the behavior of the Enable/Disable Monitor Mode button from version 1.6 whereas in 1.7 that button now manages the feature for all user accounts on the computer.
  • About GWX Control Panel: Just displays a dialog box with the current version and author information.
     

USING MONITOR MODE

When you enable GWX Control Panel's optional Monitor Mode, a new icon will appear in your notification area that will alert you if GWX Control Panel detects any unexpected files or settings that leave you vulnerable to Windows 10. Once enabled, GWX Control Panel will start and quietly monitor your computer whenever you log in to Windows.

Enabling/Disabling Monitor Mode for all users (recommended):
If your computer has multiple user profiles- and especially if some of those profiles are Standard or Child accounts- the best way to use Monitor Mode is to enable it for all users. To do this, just click the Enable Monitor Mode button in the main GWX Control Panel window. The notification icon will appear in the currently logged-on session of Windows, and will also appear for other user accounts who later sign in to Windows.

To disable Monitor Mode, just click the Disable Monitor Mode button. If you do this from a Standard or Child user account, you will have to enter the password of an administrator user account in order to proceed. Please see the troubleshooting guide for more information about the limitations of Standard and Child user accounts.

Note
Version 1.6 of GWX Control Panel only enabled Monitor Mode on a per-user basis, which resulted in some confusing behavior for users running on Standard or Child accounts. As a result, if you upgrade from version 1.6 to 1.7 of GWX Control Panel, you might find that Monitor Mode is enabled for both the current user and for all users. While this is harmless (only one Monitor Mode instance ever runs per-user at a time), you can fix it by disabling Monitor Mode for the current user. (See below.)

Enabling/disabling Monitor Mode for a single user:
If you'd prefer to only have the Monitor Mode icon active on a per-user basis, or if you'd like to disable the single-user Monitor Mode from a previous version of GWX Control Panel, just choose the Enable/disable Monitor Mode for current user option in the program's system menu (accessible by clicking the icon in the upper-left corner of the program window).

Responding to Monitor Mode alerts:
When Monitor Mode detects a Windows 10-related change to your computer, its notification icon flashes with an exclamation mark, and a balloon notification normally appears to draw your attention. (The operating system decides whether or not you see these balloon notifications and how long they appear. Don't worry if you don't see one.)
The Monitor Mode balloon notification.

To see what specific settings or files were detected, open up the main GWX Control Panel window. You can do this in several ways:
  • Click the balloon notification.
  • Double-click the Monitor Mode icon in your notification area.
  • Right-click the Monitor Mode icon and then click Display GWX Control Panel from the shortcut menu.
Any of the above three actions also stops the notification icon from flashing.

Once you have a visible instance of GWX Control Panel open, check the various fields in the program's Information section to see what files or settings may have triggered the alert. If you'd like a more detailed report, you can use the Save diagnostic info option from the shortcut menus of either the Monitor Mode icon or the main GWX Control Panel window.

When alerts are triggered:
Monitor Mode keeps track of which Windows 10 settings or files it discovered, and if you choose not to remedy a specific new finding, it will not alert you again until something else changes. This alerting is done on a per-user basis. Consider this scenario:
  1. User A receives a Monitor Mode alert because some Windows 10 files were detected on the computer. The user dismisses the alert but decides not to do anything about it.
  2. User B logs in to Windows and also receives the alert, but likewise doesn't do anything to fix the problem.
  3. When user A logs back into Windows, Monitor Mode does not alert that user about the same problem again.
Keep this in mind if you receive a Monitor Mode alert about something you don't care about. For example, if you are aware of the risks of leaving your Windows Update set to "Install updates automatically" and wish to leave it that way, just dismiss the Monitor Mode alert and forget about it. You won't be bothered again unless someone changes your Windows Update settings to something else and then changes it back to "install automatically."

The Monitor Mode pop-up menu:
If you right-click the Monitor Mode icon, you'll see this pop-up menu:


Several of the menu options are also available from the system menu of the main GWX Control Panel window, but some are unique to Monitor Mode:
  • Display GWX Control Panel: Opens a visible instance of GWX Control Panel if one isn't already opened. Also dismisses any alerts if the Monitor Mode icon is currently flashing.
  • Reset Control Panel Window Position: If you ever find the main GWX Control Panel window in a strange location such that it is not visible or cannot be moved due to the title bar being out of reach, this option re-centers the program in the middle of your main display.
  • Check for updates: This opens a dialog box that displays the version of GWX Control Panel you're currently running and links you to the Ultimate Outsider Downloads page to see if a newer version is available.
  • Save diagnostic info: This saves a file called GwxControlPanelLog.txt to your desktop that contains relevant information about your computer and your Windows 10-related settings and files. Beginning with version 1.7 this report explains exactly what system settings it detected on your PC, which will help you understand what's going on behind the scenes when Monitor Mode detects new changes, for example.

    Note
    Doing Save diagnostic info from Monitor Mode does not include any potential error messages that might occur when attempting to delete Windows 10 download files. Please use the option from the main GWX Control Panel instance if trying to troubleshoot file delete problems.
     
  • About GWX Control Panel: Just displays a dialog box with the current version and author information.
  • Change Monitor Mode preferences: This opens up a dialog box where you can choose which kinds of events you'd like to be alerted about. All alerts are enabled by default except for the one for non-critical Windows 10 settings. (This is because Windows sometimes changes those settings in the background and they can result in a lot of alerts.)
  • Exit: This closes the current instance of Monitor Mode. If you want to permanently quit Monitor Mode, use the Disable Monitor Mode button in the main program window.
     

WORKING WITH STANDARD AND CHILD USER ACCOUNTS

If you have multiple user accounts set up on your Windows PC and some of them are Standard or Child accounts, there are some important things you should know about how GWX Control Panel works when running under these limited account types.

Under normal circumstances (when launching GWX Control Panel from one of the desktop or Start menu shortcuts, or when it loads in Monitor Mode), GWX Control Panel behaves the same for all Windows user account types: It doesn't need administrator permissions when it's just checking your current settings (Monitor Mode never needs administrator permissions). Things get a little more complicated once you attempt to use GWX Control Panel for a system-level change that requires administrator permissions.

If you are using an administrator account and User Account Control (UAC) is enabled, Windows will ask if you want to grant GWX Control Panel permission to make settings to your computer the first time you attempt to perform an action that requires administrator permissions:
The User Account Control prompt when an administrator account attempts a system change in GWX Control Panel.
If you are using an administrator account and User Account Control is disabled, GWX Control Panel will silently grant itself administrator permissions and perform the action you requested.

If you are using a Standard or Child account and try to use a GWX Control Panel feature that requires administrator access, Windows prompts you to enter the password of an administrator account. Important: After you enter the password, GWX Control Panel runs under the user profile of the administrator account until you quit the program!
Windows requires an administrator password if a Standard or Child account tries to make any system-level changes.

In all three of the above cases, GWX Control Panel continues running at elevated permissions until you quit the program. For Standard and Child account users, this can have some confusing side-effects!
  • User-specific settings, like Enable/disable Monitor Mode for current user, will happen under the administrator user's account.
  • The Display the User Guide feature launches the administrator account's default browser with that account's browser settings, bookmarks, etc.
  • The Save Diagnostic Info report will say "User is Administrator=Yes" because Windows is running it under the account of an administrator.
The GwxControlPanelSetup installer requires administrator permissions in order to install/upgrade/uninstall GWX Control Panel. If a Standard or Child account uses the the installer and then checks the option to launch GWX Control Panel in the final page of the setup wizard, that instance of GWX Control Panel inherits the permissions of the installer; it runs under the administrator's account. This is why I recommend that you only run the installer/uninstaller from an administrator account.

Please see the troubleshooting guide for some more information on weird things that Standard/Child user accounts can experience.

ABOUT THE 'CLEAR WINDOWS UPDATE CACHE' FEATURE

You should only use the Clear Windows Update Cache feature if the Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature (followed by a system restart) didn't fix the Windows 10-related problems you were having. While my own testing (and some public beta testing) has shown this procedure to be safe, it has the following immediate effects:
  1. The first time you view the Windows Update screen, it will look as if you had never previously run an update.
  2. The first time you check for new updates, it will take longer than normal, since Windows has to download some additional one-time information.
  3. The "view update history" list will be empty, and only new updates you install from this point on will appear on it.

    Note: Your list of actual "installed updates" will not be empty, and previously installed updates can still be uninstalled.
     
  4. Any updates you had previously hidden with the "Hide update" feature of Windows Update will have to be re-hidden if you no longer wish for them to appear in your lists of available updates.
While all of these effects are only temporary, they also cannot be undone. Beginning with version 1.5, the program lists the above one-time effects and gives you a chance to cancel or proceed. I go into my usual excessive detail below...

The Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature puts the correct settings in place to keep your control panel from being hijacked by the Windows 10 Upgrade, and that alone (followed by a Windows restart) should be enough for most people. Sometimes, however, the Windows Update subsystem needs to be refreshed in order to display the correct updates, so that's what Clear Windows Update Cache is for.

When you click the button, GWX Control Panel checks to see if you currently have any "pending updates" waiting for a system restart in order to complete, and it will ask if you're sure you'd like to proceed.
  • If you haven't restarted Windows in a while, you should probably click No when you see this message. GWX Control Panel will then ask if you'd like to restart Windows to let the pending updates complete installation.
  • If you just restarted Windows after using the Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades feature and you still get this message, this warning is probably a false alarm resulting from some mismatched files in your Windows Update cache. You can safely click Yes to proceed.
  • Likewise if you just restarted Windows in response to GWX Control Panel indicating that you had pending updates and you're still seeing this message, it is likely a false alarm and you can safely click Yes.
Clearing the update cache only takes a few seconds. Upon completion, the information area reports "Operation complete" and indicates how many cache files were deleted.

The next time you open the Windows Update control panel, you'll find that it behaves as if it's being displayed for the very first time.

On Windows 7 it looks like this:
Don't be alarmed by the red X!
On Windows 8 it looks like this:

The first time you click Check for updates, it will take Windows longer than usual to download information on available updates. This is to be expected, and only happens the first time you check for updates after clearing your cache.

You may want to take a look at the specific updates available to you, because clearing the cache also clears out any record of updates you have explicitly hidden in the past. If you want certain updates to remain hidden, look for them under your important and optional updates and re-hide them. (Thanks to commenter Jim for the reminder!)

Note: If you experience errors in Windows Update after clearing your cache, these are usually intermittent server-side Windows Update errors that aren't related to GWX Control Panel. Please see the "i used gwx control panel and now i get errors when i try to check for windows updates" section of the troubleshooting guide for more info.

GWX CONTROL PANEL RELEASE NOTES

 I am now maintaining this information in the following post: GWX Control Panel Release Notes and Version History.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Here are the specifics:
  • OS: Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (See note below)
  • Platform: GWX Control Panel is a 32-bit application that runs on both 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) flavors of Windows.
  • Connectivity: The "Display the User Guide" and "Check for Updates" features launch your default Internet browser for different reasons, so you obviously need an internet connection for those. No other features of the program require a network, though.
Note about OS support: GWX Control Panel only serves a purpose on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. According to Microsoft's Knowledge Base article about the patch that installs the Get Windows 10 application, it sounds like the app only installs on Windows 7 systems with Service Pack 1 installed, and Windows 8.1 systems with a different set of patches installed- and it won't install on the Enterprise versions of either OS. I have not personally tried running the program on earlier versions of Windows, but it almost certainly won't run on XP and I received one user report that it doesn't run on Vista.

COMMAND LINE SWITCHES


This section will grow as new program modes are added. As with any Windows program, they work from a command line or as additional parameters in the Target field of shortcut properties.
  • /norestart - This switch prevents any possibility of GWX Control Panel performing a system restart. This can help support technicians who are running GWX Control Panel via some sort of remote assistance tool, where slow connections can sometimes result in accidental clicks being sent to dialog boxes such as the prompts asking whether users would like to restart Windows. When this switch is used, instead of giving users the option to kick off a system restart from within the program, GWX Control Panel instructs users to exit the program and restart Windows manually.
  • /traymode - Launches the program in Monitor Mode. This is handled automatically if you use the Enable/Disable Monitor Mode button in the main GWX Control Panel window.
     

REMOVING GWX CONTROL PANEL

How you remove GWX Control Panel depends on which version you downloaded:

If you downloaded the stand-alone version: If GWX Control Panel's Monitor Mode is enabled, use the Disable Monitor Mode button to shut it off. Next, simply locate the GWX_control_panel.exe file you downloaded and delete it.

If you downloaded the installer: Open your Programs and Features control panel in Windows. Locate the GWX Control Panel entry and select it. Next, click Uninstall.  Optionally, you can browse directly to the install folder (the default location is C:\Program Files (x86)\UltimateOutsider\GWX Control Panel) and launch Uninstall.exe. Beginning in version 1.7 there is also an Uninstall GWX Control Panel shortcut in the Start menu, under the GWX Control Panel folder.

SUPPORT GWX CONTROL PANEL

I develop and maintain free software on my own time. I don't charge a fee because I want everyone to have equal access to my programs- and unlike a lot of developers of "free" software, I don't bundle any annoying third-party programs, spyware, or advertising with my tools. However, if something I wrote helped you and you'd like to express your thanks in a concrete way, you can send a donation of any amount via PayPal. Support from my visitors covers my hosting and licensing costs, and gives me incentive to keep putting out cool new utilities.

If you wish to help out, you can enter a donation amount below and then click on the Donate button. You do not need a PayPal account in order to donate! Just click the "Don't have a PayPal account" option on the page that comes up after you click the Donate button. The donation amount is in U.S. Dollars (USD).

Amount: $


Note: You might receive a personal "thank you" from me in response, but I won't sign you up for any mailing lists and you won't hear from me again unless you contact me first. Thanks for your consideration!

Click here on the PayPal page if you don't have a PayPal account.

CONTACTING THE AUTHOR

If you have problems that don't sync up with your expectations or with the user documentation, please let me know. User feedback has been important in helping me decide where to focus for future updates. There are three easy ways to get in touch with me:
  • Leave a comment here on the blog.
  • Visit the Ultimate Outsider page on Facebook and use the Message feature to send me a private message.
  • If you ever decide to send a PayPal donation (see the "Support GWX Control Panel" section above), you can use the "Send a note to Ultimate Outsider" field on the "Review your information" page to include a personal note. I read and respond to all of those.
     

FOR MORE INFORMATION

There's a lot more information about the program at these other posts:

559 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 400 of 559   Newer›   Newest»
Ultimate Outsider said...

@Warthog Fan - That's obviously not supposed to happen. Do you have any 3rd-party antivirus installed? GWX Control Panel does NOT contain any malware or viruses, but there's possibility of a false positive with some anti-virus or security programs depending on their detection algorithms and signature databases.

When GWX Control Panel Monitor Mode is enabled, you should find an entry called GwxControlPanelMonitor in the following registry subkey: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Also, the default installation folder on 64-bit Windows for GWX Control Panel (assuming you used the installer) is C:\Program Files (x86)\UltimateOutsider\GWX Control Panel. Are the files still there? And if so, are you able to launch GWX Control Panel and re-toggle Monitor Mode?

Barry said...

I have always said no to any upgrade to W10, preferring to wait until all the bugs have been ironed out before upgrading.

With Window Updates my setting is that I will select the updates I want.

Last week on shutting down I received a message (the usual one) that my W7 was being updated and not to turn the comport off. An update not conveyed to me, yet alone selected.

A few days later I got the Windows Screen "It's almost time for your upgrade" with no other option to opt out other than to extend the upgrade for a few days which I did to the maximum.

In Control Panel > Windows Update the screen was "Your update to Windows 10 is ready" with the only option being to restart the computer.

I immediately went to System Restore and restored the system to before the unselected update was installed which was described as a "Critical Update".

I left doing anything for a few days to see what would happened,the W10 Upgrade was being shown on the Windows Update screen as optional.

I then ran GWX Control Panel, the Option to upgrade had been removed from the Windows Update screen, the Task Bar Ikon had been removed and running Windows Update results in the message Windows is up to date.

Bob said...

Suggestion for another way to move the GWX window when it's title bar s too high to click. (as mentioned in the FAQ section).

1) select the GWX window to make it active
2) press "alt and spacebar" - this will open the control window in the top left corner
3) press the "M" key - this selects the Move option
4) Press the down arrow multiple times. - this will move the window down
5) when the title bar is visible, press the "Enter" key to stop the move process.

Warthog Fan said...

Well, I downloaded the stand-alone version of the GWX program and ran it. It seems like this did the trick. As part of boot-up, I get a window asking me if I want to run the GWX program and when I answer "Yes", it starts. I now have an icon on my desktop and the GWX icon in the System Tray. I do not have a GWX icon in the Start Menu, but if I type GWX at the bottom of the Start Menu, I see the program listed. I'm not sure why the Installer version of the program did not seem to work, but I've got the program running now and that's the bottom line. Thanks for a great utility...!!!

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Bob - Thanks for the tip.

@Warthog Fan - Do you have an antivirus running, and if so, what kind is it? (Still wondering if your install issue was related to a misbehaving antivirus.) Also that's interesting that you were asked whether to run GWX Control Panel after startup. Monitor Mode does not require admin permissions. Did you by chance set your downloaded copy of GWX_control_panel to require admin permissions? As far as I know that's the only way Windows would ask you that for monitor mode on startup. Not harmful behavior (monitor mode doesn't change any settings), just unexpected.

Frank Morales III said...

I am not a computer guru, but I read up on how to take control of the windows 10 "Virus." I removed everything from my computer related to Windows 10 upgrade including all folders, the GWX.exe and related GWX files. I also deleted GWX related stuff from the Registry.

I downloaded this program next and ran it. It cannot find any Windows 10 files on my computer. I am hoping this program alerts me if Windows 10 ever attempt to control my computer again.

Thanks for this neat software program.

Matija_R said...

Just wanted to say thank you, this is the epitomy of useful!

Bethy said...

I have never installed anything GWX. I was looking to uninstall a "GWT" file, supposedly standing for get win. 10. It is not in my files, but a bunch of windows GWX files were downloaded to my computer on 11/25. I cannot tell how much space they take up, because the size of the files is not listed. I was looking for the 6gb files, but to no avail. I have uninstalled the kb3035583 file, but it keeps returning automatically even after re-booting.

What is going on and what can I do?

I do not want the win 10 pop-ups anymore, nor do I want win 10 to show up on my computer, but I think micrsft is messing with my computer anyway. I want to stay with win 7, doggonit.

Oki Hati said...

Wow, Thank you very much for this useful tool. i was really annoyed about this windows 10 updates and secret downloads.. i tried so many different things, but it always found its way back on my Pc.. But your tool really helped me out! Thanks agian =)

Donald B said...

HELP!
My Windows 8.1 started claiming I had reserved a copy of Windows 10 (I hadn't).
I found this blog and decided to try GWX control panel.
I used GWX control panel to disable the GWX app and disable OS updates in windows update.
I also uninstalled KB3035583.
I then closed other windows and rebooted.
DISASTER!
WIndows (8.1) now does not boot. It just hangs.
The windows is installed as a partition on a MacBook Pro. I can still boot into Mac OS which is how I can post this.
Any ideas - for example, is it possible to boot into Windows safe mode using by holding some magic key combination on a MacBook Pro keyboard?
Any other help short of re-install everything?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Donald B- Yikes, what a mess! None of the changes GWX Control Panel makes can result in problems like that, but it's possible Windows Update left things in an unfinished state (the KB3035583 thing is a real mess, because Microsoft has pushed several versions of it, one overwriting the next, and it doesn't uninstall cleanly anymore). As for recovery, I'm not a Mac owner, but on most Windows PCs you can bring up Windows recovery mode or safe mode by tapping the F8 key while your computer is powering up (the timing of when to hit F8 varies by computer, and computers with UEFI "bios" might not listen for F8, unfortunately). If you have Windows 8 boot media, there should be a repair option if you boot from the disc.

Donald B said...

@ultimateoutsider
Many thanks for your reply. I did try F8 during boot, but it didn't seem to result in a "safe mode". However, after an exceptionally looong time it did boot!
Everything seems to be in order. The GWX icon is gone, kb3035583 is no longer in the "installed" list, and my option change to "check but ask..." in WindowsUpdate is in place. Baffling, but perhaps there was just delay while W8.1 was conferring with HQ. GWX control panel seems to have done its job - many thanks.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Donald B - Oh, that's good to hear! Sometimes installing/removing Windows Update patches can result in some additional activity upon the next Windows startup, so that may have been what was going on there. Glad to hear you're back up and running!

Ken W said...

Thank You Ultimate Outsider!
Your GWX Control Panel is a Godsend!
It is working perfectly on my Widows 7 machine.
You are making the world a better place.
Thanks again.

Twirlip said...

My PC shows the BT folder with about 3 GB. Most of the stuff is dated July or August 2015. If I decide that I want to upgrade to Win 10, but I want the latest release (as of now v1511 build 10586 I think) can I control this by deleting all of the BT folder and let it start over, or what? I have the 1511 media creation iso disk and an option is to go fro this. I may also want to wait until later for some future release. Any suggestions?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Twirlip - If you delete the ~BT folder (if it's only 3GB it's probably not complete anyway), then your best bet for installing the latest version of Win 10 would be to use their latest Media Creation tool when you're ready to proceed. I believe it uses the ~WS folder instead of the ~BT one. This is what I'll be doing, too, once I'm ready to upgrade... it's quicker and more predictable that way.

studiophototrope said...

@UltimateOutsider

W7 x64 IE9

Have you received any reports of V1.6.0.1 "Enable Monitor Mode" causing error 80244019 when manually checking for Windows Updates?

Some attribute that error code to a virus [not found on my machine or others who had the same error and concern].
After I disabled "monitor mode" today, patch Tuesday, I was able to check for and download updates.
This 80244019 seems to have started after I enabled monitor mode and after installing V1.6.0.1, I also noticed I was no longer "auto" checking for updates on boot up each morning. However, I was still getting the "updates are available" balloon.

Trying to figure this all out. I'm from woody leonhard's site and have never installed any W10 adware "patches", never had any W10 adds, never been offered to reserve a copy, and upon running your GWX CP was completely clean.

Any thoughts?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@studiophototrope - Hmm, this is strange- this morning one other person reported that same error code to me, and it was the first time I had ever heard of that symptom. Woody told me about you and I actually thought you were the same person who had already contacted me directly. None of the settings GWX Control Panel touches are supposed to have any effect on your ability to check for updates. And the "monitor mode" doesn't change any settings at all. It purely is just a read-only monitor.

The 80244019 message can actually mean a lot of things. The first thing I'd do would be to just restart Windows and attempt to check for updates again. If that doesn't work, I'd try these following Microsoft Windows Update troubleshooters, one at a time (reboot and try checking for updates after each one):

First, look at this article (there is a troubleshooter at the bottom).

If that doesn't work, please try this one and let me know if that fixes it.

Like I said, no one has ever reported this problem before, and I am really puzzled as to why I'd get two identical reports of it on the same day!

studiophototrope said...

@UltimatOutsider

Allow me to present an alternative...If GWC CP doesn't change any settings and is only a read-only monitor could MSFT now be detecting GWX CP causing the 80244019 error? There has been a lot of attention being paid to GWX CP lately and I believe that even on Woody's site we had a brief discussion about when MFT might try to disrupt it.

I'll keep you posted as I investigate. The second "fix" you linked me to is way above my pay scale to attempt.

Thanks for you response.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@studiophototrope - One of the links I posted lists a lot of manual steps, but if you scroll to the bottom there's an "automatic troubleshooter" link you can click that performs all the steps for you. (Probably wanna do this in Internet Explorer.)

Honestly, though, I'm half wondering whether this is really just an intermittent server issue on Microsoft's part due to the incredibly massive number of updates being pushed out around the globe at the moment. I'm wondering whether the problem will actually resolve itself in the next day or two.

And for what it's worth, I have a Windows 7 test system with me here, and it just installed all of today's updates. Monitor Mode is enabled, and it didn't detect any reverted Windows 10 settings, which is a comfort.

William LaLima said...

Love it so much I donated. This is the best thing I've ever found on the internet!

SockMikey said...

Hi,

Just donated $15 to GWX Control Panel, keep up the great work!

I have one question about a recent Windows update for Windows Malicious Software Removal tool (KB890830).

I noticed in November this KB listed an agreement prior to installing and don't remember it doing it prior - so I hid it until I could get more info.

It just showed up again as a December update with same KB890830, including agreement prior to installing.

Is this just something I didn't remember or is this a new agreement.

Just concerned that agreement *might* be giving Microsoft permission to view certain third party progams (such as GWX Control Panel) as software it *deems* malacious.

It even includes some detail about MS limited responsibility for third party software in the agreement.

I may just be being paranoid with all the MS updates, withdrawals, reissues, lack of KB detail and push to Windows 10.

Should I go ahead & install it?

Thanks!

Mike

John G in Fl. said...

Uninstalled KB3035583 then HID KB3035583 the next time it showed up in the list of available updates and finally I get no more Win10 upgrade/update attempts nor changes to your control panel. Both my Win7 PCs were being reset to get Win10 after installing your vers 1.6.0.1 S/W until I made those changes about a week ago.
20+ updates this AM and no sign of Win10 nags. Thanks for your work. I also got an error code 80244019 when requesting an update check on one PC at the time I doing the uninstall and hide KB3035583, but this has ceased.
John G.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@SockMikey - I think Microsoft has tried different approaches with how the malicious software removal tool is presented. It has definitely required approval/acceptance in the past, but it used to be a real hassle because sometimes it would pop up half-way through your upgrades while you weren't necessarily by your computer. It is indeed there because they might delete software they deem dangerous. As far as I know I'm not on their list, though. :)

@Dave N'Shicode - I haven't used the tool you mentioned, but from what I know of it, and from what people have told me, our programs have very different perspectives and approaches. One of my initial goals was to only make changes that could easily be reversed by the user without having to re-install any updates or even alter your default Windows Update settings. As time has gone on, Microsoft has stepped up their efforts, and I've also had to build up my own program's defenses. My next version will offer a more permanent solution for those that want it. Other goals of GWX Control Panel were to not bundle any crapware, not include advertising, not collect or report user metrics, and to leave as light a footprint on the user's PC as possible. Use what works for you, though.

@John G - Microsoft sometimes re-issues KB3035583, so stay alert. The next version of GWX Control Panel will offer another way to deal with that update. A number of people were getting that 80244019 error yesterday, but I think it was a temporary/intermittent problem with Microsoft's update servers.

studiophototrope said...

@UltimateOutsider

Hey, just wanted to post an uodate.

I'm no longer getting the Update error 80244019.
MSFT did resume their "auto update check" today without a problem, which had been mysteriously missing for the past 3-4 days. I've re-enabled "Monitor Mode" with no apparent issue.
I think you were correct yesterday when you indicated this may have been a MSFT server issue.
Really appreciate your help and input. Keep up the good work. I'll be checking back to read and learn from the exchanges in the comments section.
Hey, you've helped a lot of people.
Very Best Regards...

Mike Firestein said...

MikeF before I found your program I uninstalled all KB's related to W 10. Deleted all registry entries related to these KB's. Deleted all files and folders related to W 10 including files and folders in users, windows/gwx bt, ws, sxs, catroot2 and software distribution. rebooted with no issues. installed GWX control panel and ran it. program can't find any W 10 download folders as should be the case. Monitor mode is enabled and running. The one issue I have is that it notes that some settings related to W 10 upgrades were found. Do you have an idea as to what settings it found? Maybe in the next release, you can specify which new KB's related to W 10 are being dealt with by the program. Great program. I told a friend about it. he was really po'd by the nags and the worry that his win 7 would someday be automatically updated to w 10 without any input by him. After installing he was a very happy camper. Thanks again.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Mike F - The "Save Diagnostic Info" feature (available from the program's system menu) includes some flags that can indicate exactly which settings triggered that alert. (If you tell me the code I can tell you which settings they refer to.) In some cases the ABSENCE of a setting can trigger the alert as well. This is the most likely cause in your case. Probably the DisableOSUpgrades reg value, which is not set by default in a fresh copy of Windows.

At some point I'm going to make the diagnostic info more human readable. Don't know whether it will be in the upcoming release or not.

Lawrence said...

Hello,

Thanks for this excellent program, which has been working like a charm.

I'm running the latest version and have it set in monitor mode. This morning it alerted me with a change: "Are Windows Update OS upgrades enabled" is now set to "Yes" (everything else remains "No or (not found)".) I click on the Disable button and reboot, but the system (and the alert) remains the same. I am guessing it has something to do with the latest Windows updates this week...?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Lawrence - Several people have reported similar behavior and I have plans for the next update to help prevent Windows from flipping things back on you. But for research purposes I'd like to know exactly which Windows setting(s) is changing. Would you please use the "Save Diagnostic Info" feature and send your report to me? See the "Using Monitor Mode" or "System Menu Options" sections of the user guide for how to save the report. Thanks!

Lawrence said...

Done.

Do said...

Just now I had a Windows Defender update of 144K attempt to enable the Windows 10 update. Is there any way to enable automatic correction of the state since Micorsoft is getting more aggressive about forcing the change? I don't want to have an overnight update a choice that I have made for the system and my non-admin users.

Thx

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Do - The upcoming version will be able to prevent some (most?) of these unwanted settings reversions; keep most of them from occurring in the first place. The ability to automatically correct reversions would require admin privileges (or running as a service) in addition to some more robust configuration abilities for me to be comfortable with it. It's not out of the question (and is something I've considered) but if I do it, it will be some time after the next update I have planned.

John G in Fl. said...

Still not getting unwanted GWX Control Panel settings reversions even after Win Defender update this AM and 20+ other recent Win7 & Office updates.... after I uninstalled KB3035583 then HID KB3035583 the next time it showed up in the list of available updates......per my 12/9 post.
R/ John G

Werkversuch said...

Dear Ultimate Outsider, thank you for the grat tool I found yesterday in the intenet at least. It could switch off the last windows key that I didn't find before. So far so good. I also deleted the update cache with your tool and restarted windows 7 ultimate. After opening "windows update" it showed to me in German and red colored "Windows 10 could not be installed - unknown error...". I have to state, that I unfortunately tryed once to upgrade to windows 10. But the process failed because my old graphics card is no more supported by the new system. After several blue screens the good old windows 7 reappeared well again. I switched off manually every update toggle I could find and of course deinstalled KB3035583 and KB2952664. But every time I start windows update I get remembered of the aborted windows 10 upgrade. Do you know where microsoft is hiding that information, even after I ran your update cache deleter?

thanks, Juergen Wichmann

John G in Fl. said...

Juergen,
If you don't also "hide" KB3035583, Win Update will reassign it to your PC - ie, to be updated/installed again...After you hide that KB, Windows assumes you have it installed and will not try to download it again...even though you de-installed it previously...At least that is my experience....(PS I/m no PC whiz/guru...just a long time user)...Also, while one of my PCs (Win7 Home) has no Win10 files identified, the other one (Win Pro) does have some 160MB of Win10 file(s)...
I did not try to remove these file(s) and the Win7 Pro PC also does not get
GWX Control Panel settings reversions.......google "hide and unhide Windows updates"
to see the simple procedure.

Unknown said...

OMG you are awesome! Microsoft must hate you as much as we love you! Rock on and Happy Holidays!!

Fogmoose

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Werkversuch/Juergen - I'm not sure that I've personally seen the specific symptoms you're seeing, but I wanted to ask: Have you tried the "Disable OS Upgrades in Windows Update" feature of GWX Control Panel? That does clean up some Windows 10 upgrade-related stuff, and is supposed to fix problems like you're seeing. If you have indeed used "Disable OS Upgrades" and "Clear Windows Update Cache", it sounds like something outside of Windows Update is happening; some part of the actual Windows 10 installation.

QUESTION: Does GWX Control Panel detect any Windows 10 download folders on your PC? (And which ones, the ~BT or ~WS folder?) If so, I wonder (but am not sure) if deleting those folders will stop this behavior?

SUGGESTION: Have you ever used the free tool CCleaner? It has a feature under Tools > Startup where you can disable programs and tasks that start up with Windows. I'm curious whether you see any suspicious entries there that might account for the constant reminders you're seeing.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John G & @Fogmoose - Thanks to both of you!

Iain said...

GWX Control Panel is working well for me but I've been having a problem with the latest crop of Updates to Windows 7 and had to install one or two by downloading the update manually and installing - the Windows Update process was stalling at 45% and despite running the Microsoft Automatic Fix Tool, no joy with auto update. I've now installed all the latest crop of important updates except kb 3112343 and I wonder if this has been the cause of the failures - it is stated that:-

"This update enables support for additional upgrade scenarios from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and provides a smoother experience when you have to retry an operating system upgrade because of certain failure conditions. This update also improves the ability of Microsoft to monitor the quality of the upgrade experience".

Is this update perhaps being blocked by GWX CP - if so, should I just hide it? Doesn't seem to be the sort of thing I'd want!

chris hill said...

Just installed the latest version of your great program on a PC running Windows 7, from a standard user account, inputting the admin password when requested. All other programs were closed. Clicking on the "Display the User Guide" button immediately afterwards opened my Firefox browser automatically. So far, so good. But most of my bookmarks had gone and only a few remained. Panic! Closed the browser, reopened it and the usual ones were all there again. Relief! Later realised that the bookmarks I had first seen looked familiar - they were the bookmarks that I have if I'd logged on using the admin account. Closing the browser and reopening shows the user account bookmarks again.
No big deal but not good for the heart!
Best wishes for the festive season.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Iain - GWX Control Panel does not block or otherwise interfere with any Windows updates. It only enables/disables specific settings that affect whether you get notifications or other unwanted behavior related to Windows 10. Microsoft has actually developed a number of automatic troubleshooters that fix different kinds of Windows Update problems. There's also a popular third-party tool that many people swear by (I haven't used it) for fixing general Windows Update problems, at Tweaking.com called "Windows Repair Free."

@Chris - I've had a handful of people report this unexpected behavior of having to type in a password in order to run the program. GWX Control Panel does not require admin permissions in order to run; only if you use one of its features that changes system settings. Can you confirm that you're running on a "limited" user account? That's something I don't think I've experimented with, and I wonder if it's the reason some users are seeing this behavior. Glad you figured out the bookmarks thing... but I do not yet understand why it was running with admin permissions to begin with.

chris hill said...

Yes. I installed it and ran it from a "limited user" account. Just tried to run it again and again it asked for an admin password. The usual "Do you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer?" box.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@chris - Thanks for confirming. I'm working on version 1.7 right now. I will see if I can sneak anything in that might make life easier for people with limited accounts. (Still not sure why you're being prompted, since nothing the program does at startup should need admin rights; will have to do some debugging on a local limited account.)

chris hill said...

FYI, Micros**t has a new nag screen when I sign out of Hotmail. A blue square comes up with "Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10."
What a bunch of wankers.

Iain said...

Re my earlier post on difficulties in carrying out some Windows Updates, I suspect they are actually caused by my flaky satellite broadband service. I used the Microsoft Windows Update automatic fix and that provided some help but occasional problems persist. I have run Tweaking.com's Windows Repair Pro (even better than the free version) for a few months now and wouldn't be without it. It is an extremely useful piece of software and the included Registry Backup also invaluable

I managed to install kb 3112343 by downloading it manually without problems and this update didn't seem to affect GWX Control Panel's blocking of W10 installation - I had feared that it might.

Thanks again for a useful utility - I'll be buying you a virtual beer shortly!

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Iain - Yes, I was relieved that last week's updates didn't seem too bad. (There was one slightly suspicious change I noticed related to the KB3035583 package, but still not sure of the specifics. Am working on v1.7 now and problems related to KB3035583- which is a lot more than just the 'Get Windows 10' icon- should be fully addressed here.)

John G in Fl. said...

Ultimate Outsider, It appears to me that you don't hide KB3035583 since you are working towards offsetting issues it causes to users not wanting Win10 at this time.
Noted before, I hid KB3035583 and I still get other updates, and your program does a wonderful job of keeping Win10 upgrade from bugging me. But I wonder is there any reason why I should not have hid KB3035583? Simply hiding that KB after installing your neat S/W has totally stopped Win10 upgrade activity on my two PCs.
V/R John G

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John G - I'm not sure whether you're commenting on what GWX Control Panel does or what I do in my day-to-day PC use, so I'll cover both. GWX Control Panel doesn't do anything to hide or block any Windows Update patches; I want to leave your Windows Update settings up to you. On my own Windows PCs, I have some set to automatically install important updates and others set to download and notify, but I don't hide any updates. (I want to experience what the average non-technical Windows user would experience.)

I am curious though... if you hid the original KB3035583 update from back in June or July, would that protect you from getting the various re-issues Microsoft has pushed of that update, or do you have to keep re-hiding it whenever they publish a new one?

Mark said...

I'm quite surprised that MS proposes me W10 : I've only got 5Gb of free space on my disk ! Not enough for W10.
Can't they check that ?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Mark - Oh yeah. They wanted to upgrade my Dell Venue Pro tablet (only 32GB total storage, less than 5GB free) to Windows 10 as well, hah!

John G in Fl. said...

Ultimate Outsider My Win7 PCs are set up to tell me of available Win & Office updates, but not download and install them until I authorize that. I learned of your program from Susan Bradley's column in Windows Secrets - 26 Nov issue. Thus that's when I installed your GWX Control Panel.
Another blog (I now can't find) also recommended deleting KB3035583 from the list of installed updates. During the days following installing GWX Control Panel and uninstalling KB3035583 , both my Win7 PCs were modified by something Microsoft initiated. The GWX "blue 10" icon warned me there were changes, and sure enough the GWX Control Panel showed settings reversions. And KB3035583 popped back onto the list of recommended updates (with a check mark to perform the install). I then, about 2 weeks ago, decided to "hide" KB3035583 to keep Microsoft from putting it back into their list of recommended updates. Since that time, I allowed more than 20 Win7, Office & Win Defender updates, but had NO GWX Control Panel settings reversions. Though 2 weeks is a relatively short time period, other GWX Control Panel users have complained about settings reversions, but I have had none. And I have not had to re- hide KB3035583.

John G in Fl. said...

Ultimate Outsider, re: "the various re-issues Microsoft has pushed of" KB3035583..
I would think that Microsoft doesn't re-issue an update unless it is missing from a users list of installed updates or it didn't install properly ie, failed. Then the next time Microsoft has updates ready for general distro, or when the user requests a "check for available updates", Microsoft compares the users list of installed updates to their master list and determines what updates that user needs. While I think the terminology of "hide and unhide" an update is strange, Microsoft web site explains that if you hide an update, Microsoft will not try to install that update in the future....until the user "unhides" that update. If any of the Win gurus out there think I'm all wet, please correct my thinking. I'd appreciate that. ( PS, That capability is removed from most Win10 versions I understand)

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John G - You would think it worked like that, but KB3035583 is a special case. As I mentioned, I don't block or hide or uninstall Windows updates; I install them all. KB3035583 will re-install every time Microsoft re-issues it (the re-issues are actually updates with new binary versions and timestamps, etc). And it has a really nasty side-effect as a result: If a new version installs on top of an existing version, you can no longer fully uninstall that patch. Using the uninstaller for KB3035583 once more than one version has successfully installed will simply roll you back to the version you had before, still fully functional/active. It's pretty bad. But this is why I was wondering if hiding once protects you from all the future re-issues. I just don't know since I've never hidden an update.

Bud Meyers said...

Just so there's no confusion --- this doesn't disable regular automatic updates for my current operating system (WIn7) --- is that correct? Thanks.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Bud - That's right; GWX Control Panel does not alter your Windows Update preferences or interfere with your ability to download updates. I am actually renaming that feature in the next version of the program to reduce confusion.

Spokey said...


I have a problem with windows update that has occurred since installing GWX.

I have my windows update set to download but not install. So I go in once a month, do system image then let the updates roll.

Maybe I don't understand how this is supposed to work:

Disable/Enable Operating System Upgrades in Windows Update

but all of the sudden windows is automatically updating. My setting is still

Download updates but let me choose whether to install them


Ultimate Outsider said...

@Spokey - GWX Control Panel doesn't touch any Windows Update settings except for a few that are directly related to Windows 10. I have heard one other report of someone who is not configured to automatically install updates that recently got updates by surprise as well. I don't know what's going on there, but it's not related to my program. Might want to try changing to a different setting (like "never check for updates") and then restart Windows, and then change it back to "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them" and see if that sticks. MS has pushed several updates to Windows Update itself over the past few months, and I wonder if some peoples' settings are just getting screwed up over time.

Dean Alexander said...

Any chance of getting command line ability to run silently with pre-set options already selected? This way it can be dispatched to all workstations.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Dean - That's probably the most common feature request I receive. It will probably happen, but not in the release I'm currently working on. Unlike the normal(UI) mode, which only requests permissions when needed, a silent/command-line mode would have to be launched with admin privileges in order to do its thing. So as long as the user account and/or IT infrastructure was correct, it should be feasible.

John G in Fl. said...

This AM, both my Win7 PCs were notified to download an important KB: KB3035583; which was previously deleted and hid two weeks ago. I re-hid KB3035583 and then deleted KB2952664 on both PCs. Interestingly, checking for missing updates after that I got two different responses: On the PC w/ 160MB of BT folder installed, the response was "an important update is needed" (KB2952664); while on the PC with no BT (or WS) folders, the response was: "an optional update" (KB2952664)is recommended. I subsequently hid KB2952664 on both PCs. Now re: hidden KBs; I would think that even though MS does/did reissue KB3035583 and perhaps does change the binaries for various reasons (eg for betterment, fixes etc), when I unhide that KB I'll get a cumulative version downloaded and won't have to worry about the original/previous versions. Many laptops are off for months and would not necessarily have original or any KB3035583 versions. I don't believe MS would go to the trouble to download the various versions of KB3035583 onto a machine that was offline for a long period of time.
R/ John G

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John G - Yes that's my understanding as well: If the PC hasn't been on for a while, it won't get outdated versions of the same update. Most of my test systems are either on all the time or on frequently, which is why they've each received multiple iterations of KB3035583. Still unsure whether hiding that update once protects you from future re-pushes...

John G in Fl. said...

The reason or my last blurb was to inform you that indeed hiding KB3035583 did not stop MS from a re-push....I uninstalled and hid that KB 2 weeks ago, and this AM it showed up as a needed update on both my active Win7 PCs. I re-hid KB3035583 again this AM. Additionally, I also uninstalled KB2952664 and subsequently hid that as well this AM to see if that makes any difference. Bottom line is: users - stay on your toes and review all suggested/recommended KB updates prior to allowing installation - even with the nifty GWX Control Panel S/W activated....

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John G - Yeah, used to be that configuring Windows Update for automatic downloads was the equivalent of locking your doors at night, but in some sense now it's the equivalent of leaving them wide open. You don't know what you're gonna wake up to in the morning.

chris hill said...

FWIW, same here, KB3035583 reappeared even though previously hidden. It says "Published 12/15/2015"

Chris said...

Does GWX Control Panel block the "updates" to Windows 7 and 8 that cause the OS to send some sort of reports to Microsoft using ipsec? Nobody seems to know what the data being sent to Microsoft is, and they employ a host of web addresses to sent it to.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Chris - GWX Control Panel doesn't block any updates (although that's under consideration for a future release), however the next version I put out will actually neutralize some Windows 10-related processes if they make it onto your computer, which will stop most (all?) of that nonsense. The only way to truly block these things right now is to put Windows Update into "download and notify" mode and only install updates you know aren't going to give you more Windows 10 garbage.

Minoa on NationStates said...

I feel a bit sad that Microsoft is pushing an upgrade so intensely like this, while I have not seen that kind of notifications for El Capitan. Those nagging tactics just makes me want to stay with Windows 7.

The only thing that keeps me from dropping Windows is 3ds Max, which does not have native Mac support yet.

Joyce Mcdonald said...

Hi! Just wanted let you know my pc also offered the update kb3035583 again yesterday. I hid again. Still there from last time. Sure is agravating to have to watch the thing so close. Can't we form a class action suite against windows for all this agravation? Anyway thank God for you. Do I need to reinstall when you have the new version of GWX finished? I'm not a real savvy person with these things. Mammy37

bigjoet said...

Hello Mr. Ultimate Outsider,
I just downloaded and used your program so far AWSOME, not sure though how long this will last for me, as I have had some very very strange things going on that I thought were taken care of. I have a very long (to type out story) strange set of goings on including win 10 actually installing and making my computer useless to use. After being extremely pissed off I had to bring my puter to a MS store for a fix I could not do it. I may have a story you may want to hear as you are doing what you are ( and I am grateful will be making donation very soon after I know windows 10 headless horseman is no longer waiting for me over the bridge lol) and may be of value at least from a research point of view, I seriously doubt ANYONE ELSE
has had happen to them what has to me. I may be wrong it has been known to happen, though not often(please note the sarcasm) at this point laughter is all I have, I have been so angry at MS that I am past being mad anymore(hope that makes sense) anyhow thank you again for this program I do not have a facebook page to contact so if you would like more info pls let me know how to get it to you.
best wishes
Joe Trusas

P.S I just had to make a google acct to leave a post so not sure yet as to how this
google thing works and where replys go (gmail? or my outlook mail) sorry. I will check back here I guess for now.

Iain said...

Yes, KB3035583 reappeared this morning and tried to install, despite being hidden - i've hidden it again. I had returned Windows Updates to the default "automatic download and install" - BIG MISTAKE - so have reverted to "check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them".

I would probably download W10 were it not that I have two computers that I'm pretty sure won't cope with it because the drivers I need are not available.

John G in Fl. said...

This AM got a GWX Control Panel setting reversion after yesterday uninstalling and hiding KB2952664 (KB3035583 had been uninstalled and hidden previously)...The revision allowed for "OS upgrades in Windows Update". Reset GWX Control Panel to disallow the OS Upgrade. Happened on both Win7 Home & Pro PCs. So apparently, something other than KB2952664 & KB3035583 is still lurking within to initiate the upgrade process.

John G in Fl. said...

Ultimate Outsider: This morning, "Make Use Of" recommends (A) using your GWX Display Panel, setting registry value DisableGWX to 1, and (B) "Take Control Over GWX Folder in System 32"..by changing write permissions. "Briefly, open File Explorer, head to C:\Windows\System32, find the GWX folder, take ownership, delete everything in it, and Deny any users all of the security settings. Restart your computer and be done."
I've previously done (A)as well as uninstalling KB2952664 & KB303558, but would like to know your position on item (B). Thx.

jeff1951 said...

MS delivered KB3035883 again today (Dec 18 2015). The Dec 11 version of the GWX Control Panel caught it...thanks. Anyway to be notified when the next GWX Control panel is released?

John G in Fl. said...

Re: "So apparently, something other than KB2952664 & KB3035583 is still lurking within to initiate the upgrade process". NOPE!!! Rechecked my installed KBs and there they both were this AM even though they were previously uninstalled and hidden, AND updates are not to be installed unless I allow that. So, now MS has even clobbered their own rules. Maybe it's time to refuse ALL updates and periodically review the list for reasonable security updates...Wonder if MS will override that as well????

John G in Fl. said...

Ult Outsider: Sorry for so much banter this AM, but did your S/W cause the "Enable Get Win10 App (permanently restore icon)" to get greyed out as well as change "Is Get Win10 App running/enabled" lines to now say (App not found)? I'm suspicious of changes in your neat S/W monitor.......maybe paranoid is better term....

Peter Marsh said...

Suddenly Josh, Windows has started to re-enable my settings (3 times today)and I've had to manually change them back..... what is it with this company, can't they just accept that some of us don't want windows 10. It's my computer, which cost me good money and I'm starting to seriously resent them pushing this down our throats.
Looking forward to any further updates that will prevent them from forcing 10 on me. Thanks again,
Peter Marsh

bigjoet said...

I am starting to really think about a mac for next one. MS is really making me resent them to the point of a good bye tantrum, maybe when they lose millions of people they will understand and wake up, I really can't believe what they are doing, as it bricked this computer once already and they are trying there asses off to brick me again, I had to bring it to them twice already to fix it as I am not that experienced to do myself, I know a little and took ALL precautions I could. yet they still bricked it , 40 miles ea direction. if this happens again im done with them. time and aggravation alone makes me nuts then add the hijack factor, and they STILL persist like a mosquito in the summer NO THANKS MS.
on a brighter note GWX Control Panel is doing great for the first 18 hours or so.
yet still they are sending the same updates over and over like ww2 bombers. this really is insane.
bigjoet

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John G - The current version of GWX Control Panel doesn't do anything to your installed Windows update patches and cannot remove any of the KB3035583 files. (That's going to change in 1.7.) In order for that button to gray out and for it to report "App not found" that means the KB3035583 files were removed from your system. (But not by me.)

@Peter and @bigjoet - There is one specific thing that several people have reported to me that keeps getting reset which is not worthy of concern. I'm going to write this up formally when I have some time, but here's an explanation I wrote at the AskWoody blog. Anyway, see if this is the same thing you're seeing; if it is, you can just double-click the monitor mode icon to dismiss the alert and safely ignore it. Monitor mode will tell you if it sees anything important change:

"There’s a GWX Control Panel feature called “Save Diagnostic Info” in the system menu (click the little icon in the upper-right of the program window, or right-click the Monitor Mode icon). If you use “Save Diagnostic Info” while GWX Control Panel is still telling you that settings are enabled, the report includes some information that indicates which specific settings are found (or missing) that might leave you vulnerable to Windows 10.

The most important field there is “UpgradeFlags.” In version 1.6, the report just gives you a single hexadecimal value that means something to me, but no one else. Version 1.7 (work in progress) actually tells you exactly what GWX Control Panel found in human-readable format.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that if you see this (and only this):

Upgrade Flags=0x00000010

I’ve determined that this is actually not cause for concern, and in fact, version 1.7 will no longer warn you about that setting. Basically it’s a Windows Update setting that I had observed getting set during actual Windows 10 upgrade attempts… when it changes along with a few other things it IS a bad sign. But if it is the ONLY thing that changes (code 0x00000010), that appears to be safe, and you can ignore that alarm."

clocutron said...

Thanks for this fantastic little program. The annoying upgrade icon managed to weasel it's way back onto my 8.1 machine again - I've uninstalled and hidden the update several times. Hopefully this ridiculous garbage will stop now.

The funny thing is that I may still decide to upgrade but I just hate the way Microsoft is trying to push Windows 10 so hard on everyone. Anyway, thanks again for the GWX Control Panel. I plan to share with with a few friends who have had the same issues with the upgrade push.

Peter Marsh said...

Thanks for your reply and advice Josh,

Version 1.6

Following yet again the Windows update OS upgrades keep getting enabled (4th time in less than 24 hours), I've copied and pasted the diagnostic info as follows….

Monitor Mode Flags=0x00000003
Folder Flags=0x00000000
Upgrade Flags=0x00000001
Icon Flags=0x00000001
Size of Download Folders=(not found)
Files in Download Folders=(not found)

I'm hoping that the most important field “upgrade flags” shown above confirms that all is still well (your post above says … Upgrade Flags=0x00000010 and not 0x00000001 which I hope indicates a typing error and nothing more sinister).

Looking forward to version 1.7 and have to thank you again for your dedication and efforts.

Peter Marsh

Bill Thomas said...

Love the GWX Control Panel - THANK YOU!
Suggestion: Could you add the version of GWX to the Control Panel window? I cannot easily figure out if I am up to date.
Bill Thomas
New York City

Wings over Earth said...

Many thanks for the tool that helps me to salvage my clients computers that show that MS wants us all on Windows 10 - now!

A great tool to place MS back in the low regions of good support to their past clients for "Windows"

Why would MS resort top these simple and primitive market methods?

I would suggest we all go back to Apple and Linux, for MS lost it when they sanctioned their own plot for "futures"!

cnl said...

is this the source of the new troubles with keeping the win 10 settings disabled? kb 3112343
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3112343

This update enables support for additional upgrade scenarios from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and provides a smoother experience when you have to retry an operating system upgrade because of certain failure conditions. This update also improves the ability of Microsoft to monitor the quality of the upgrade experience.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Peter - Okay, you're seeing the AllowOSUpgrades switch flip back, and that's actually the doing of recent versions of the KB3035583 update. Hang tight, I'll have a fix for that soon.

@Bill - While I do have plans for enhancements to the GWX Control Panel upgrade process, you can see the program's version by clicking the icon in the upper-left corner of the GWX Control Panel window to bring up the system menu, and then clicking "Check For Updates." This will tell you your current version and let you open my downloads page to see if something newer is available.

@Wings - Thanks for your support. Microsoft is just gearing up to compete with Facebook, Google, Samsung, and Apple on different fronts and Windows 10 is their platform for getting there. Like with those other companies, Microsoft's customers are becoming part of the product.

@cnl - I don't think I've seen any new suspicious behavior from that particular update. It's an update for Windows Update itself, which does of course play a large role in the Windows 10 upgrade process, but here on my test systems, I didn't see anything new after installing that one. Recent versions of KB3035583 seem to be the biggest offender, but there may be others I haven't pinpointed yet.

cnl said...

since i've hidden KB3035583 how is it showing up again to install?m are they (M$) somehow countermanding my hiding it?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@cnl - I will be writing this up more formally soon (next week maybe?) but here's the thing with KB3035583- every time MS pushes a new version you have to re-hide the new version. It has the same name, but Windows treats each re-issue like a new update.

Peter Marsh said...

Top tip.... Didn't realise you had to keep "swatting" the same fly (KB3035583). Just found December 18th's.... Splat!
Thanks, Peter.

navmse said...

Installed ver 1.5 in early Nov & since then, every time I reboot, it takes several minutes for my desktop to appear. Until it does, all I get is the mouse pointer & colored background. Safe mode is the same except I get a black background.I don't remember what I changed with GWX, so I'm a bit reluctant to start pushing buttons. Any suggestions? Also, maybe in a future version you can include a "revert to original settings" button or "default settings for your computer" button. I'm mentally preparing to reinstall my OS (non-destructive).

Jack N. Orlando said...

Has anyone tested this in a domain environment?

bigjoet said...

Hello again, Merry Christmas.
update (kb3035583) showed again, the way the page used to look (where I went to check for and get update's from search in the charms section) has changed it looks
completely different. Also I can NO LONGER hide ANY update's even though that's the way it is still set up, I choose what/where/and when to install so it seems they MS took that over and are changing things as well as installing whatever they want to
even though it IS SET TO let me choose. It appears these little people will stop at nothing to make us get 10. even though my computer does not like it. like I said before it bricked it, then bricked again when they installed a second time without me knowing after I tried to revert back to previous edition of win 8.1 it told me
restoring now to your previous version of win 7, I NEVER HAD WIN 7 and when it was over half of stuff on puter gone and I had to put in license numbers for software
(or I should say it asked) that came with it or I no longer could find (lost # for outlook 2010) and then drivers gone etc etc. then BSOD then fading to black.
BOOM, it was BRICKED. SO I wish I could ask the suits over at MS. WTF? this it whats happening even after it was fixed once you did it again; fixed it A 2nd time. And YET STILL MS wants to put it on my PC without my knowledge or permission so you can BRICK it a 3rd time. THIS IS JUST NUTS
NO WAY. if that happens I don't now what to do. they really know how to screw it up.
Joe

Ken Lucas said...

Is it okay to put this info on Care 2 so that other members can see this programme.
I love it.
Merry Xmas and a Happy New year to you.
Kind regards from the Rock of Gibraltar.
Ken

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Ken - That should be fine. Pass it on!

BeenThereDoneThat said...

I had a $20 question so I donated $20 (Confirmation number: 7WR192727S109841X)before asking. However, I just now stumbled onto the answer from a November 29 comment as I was about to link to the newest comment, from today. I had a red, flashing GWX tray icon and GWX showed that OS Upgrades were enabled. I clicked the "Disable Operating System Upgrade..." button and rebooted, but the flashing icon and Enabled status remained after reboot. I then read that "Restart Monitor Mode" might resolve the issue, and it did. Kudos! Let's see how v1.7 goes (I keep expecting Microsoft to squish GWX Control Panel, like a bug...) and I'll start donating on a monthly basis. Great work, Josh!

bigjoet said...

thank you BTDT, for mentioning a donation and my apologies to
Sir ultimate,as I too will be making a donation as this program has proven to be
invaluable to me. so far working flawless I TRUST it will continue to do so.
It is MS that has blown any trust (which has always been a look over shoulder approach anyway)due to it being the run-up to the holidays and having twin 8 yr olds
I have misplaced some of time/priority's.
I will hit the donate box very soon, hopefully later today/night.
Thank you again sir, you have given those who have/are using this and those who have yet to find it a very very nice gift. I just hope all who do use donate SOON
for you to take the time to do this. (for a donation)has given me more than a clean
PC, it has given me back a feeling most of us prob had 20-25 years ago, that sense of people helping others (strangers) and not the me me me "you can't do that it offends me" attitude of today.
Merry Christmas Sir, and a HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR for you and your family.
regard's
Joe T.

Ken Lucas said...

Posted on Care 2 . This is the Link to the Story below.
http://www.care2.com/news/member/628847762/3940625
Hoping the link works and takes you to it .
Ken

Ultimate Outsider said...

@BeenThereDoneThat - There are some other minor things that Windows does that can trigger an alarm in GWX Control Panel and I've tightened that logic up a bit in version 1.7. If it pops up unexpectedly again, use the "Save Diagnostic Logs" feature and send me the results. I can tell you exactly what GWX Control Panel is detecting. Version 1.7 will actually provide you this detail directly in the diagnostic info logs. (It is out for beta testing right now.)

@bigjoet - You are right about the trust issue. Windows Update can no longer be trusted to protect your computer, unfortunately. In fact the next version of my program will notify you if you're configured to automatically install Windows updates. At least if you set it for "download only" or "check for updates only" you can pick and choose which updates you want to install.

@Ken - Thanks for the link!

Lawrence Wood said...

I just changed my Windows Update settings to only notify me when updates are available and that I will decide when to download and install them. The problem with the Windows OS upgrade toggling on in GWX control panel after turning it off appears to have stopped. I was having the toggle coming on just about every time I looked at the control panel after turning if off.

Jaywalker RO said...

Just stop by to say that it worked smooth and great. Downloaded the stand-alone file have run it and voila...all back to normal. Now I can update W7 without that annoying Get W10 upgrade. Thanx a lot for that, worked like magic.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Lawrence - That's a good data point. For what it's worth, version 1.7 of my program notifies you if it detects that you've got Windows Update in "automatically install" mode, mainly because it's no longer safe to just install any update Microsoft categorizes as important. We really have to pick and choose now. You can also change back to download-only or check-only from within GWX Control Panel 1.7. (Should be ready for public download in a few daysv.)

@Jaywalker - Glad I could help!

Yoshimizu said...

Thank you so much. This tool is great. I did already remove the Windows 10 Update before by deleting all the required KB´s and hiding them in Windows Update, but after some months this annoying win10-update thing returned, but the KB´s I deleted before were still not present, so I did not downlaod them again. Guess MS is using several updates now to distribute win10 faster....

So this tool fixed it withing seconds! Thanks one more time! Looking forward to the next vesion.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Yoshimizu - I'm glad the tool worked for you. And yes, Microsoft is definitely pushing Windows 10 programs using a number of different Windows Update patches, and sometimes even re-installing patches you already have installed on your computer. Disabling "automatically install" in the Windows Update control panel is the only way to truly protect yourself. The next version of my program will notify you if Microsoft changes your Windows Update settings to automatically install (because some people have had that happen to them recently).

Tom the Programmer said...

Hi, I installed GWX Control Panel a few days ago and disabled the "Get Windows 10 App" and disabled Windows 10 Operating System

Upgrades.

I did Windows 7 updates yesterday and de-selected KB112343 since it was a Windows 10 related, then re-started my PC. Everything

was OK.

Then today I manually did Windows Update (I have it set to not download or install automatically) and installed KB 112343.

When Windows 7 re-started It gave me an error window saying it couldn't find the Desktop location, the Desktop was in classic

display mode, all of my Desktop icons were gone, and I couldn't find Windows Explorer in All Programs Accessories.

To troubleshoot, I manually found the GWX Control Panel .exe, launched it, and toggled the options I had selected previously. I

then rebooted. Everything was back to normal. I then launched GWX Control Panel using the desktop icon and re-toggled the

selections again, re-started and everything was OK.

Just a weird occurrence that I thought you and other users should be aware of.

This may be a duplicate comment...I'm not sure. Please delete it if so.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Tom - Hi, yeah that sounds like a temporary profile-related issue. Windows is weird sometimes. :)

One thing to be aware of- if you make use of Standard/Child accounts in Windows (vs. Administrator accounts), if you do anything in GWX Control Panel that prompts you for an administrator password, your changes/actions operate in the admin user's profile, not the current Standard/Child user's profile. (Making some changes to account for this in version 1.7.)

Todd said...

This message showed up in Cim Trak (File Integrity Monitoring software) on a Windows 7 pro machine:

12/24/2015 23:46:24
Error
*
File Modified Event Data
NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM
xxxxxxxxxx->Windows Operating System
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\Setup\GWXTriggers


"Error" means it was not suppose to be there (something got added).

HHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMM

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Todd - Did that error show up after using "Delete Windows 10 Program Files" in version 1.7 in GWX Control Panel? If so, that's because we removed the GWXTriggers tasks as part of that operation (that path that you posted is exactly where they reside). I think the error just means it was looking for those tasks and they're not there anymore.

Todd said...

> @Todd - Did that error show up after using "Delete Windows 10 Program Files" in version 1.7 in GWX Control Panel?

I download script is still catching the latest version at 1.6.0.1. I will have to troubleshoot the issue.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Todd - I double-checked my server and all files are 1.7.0.2 (except for the beta versions which are 1.7.0.0, but those aren't accessible from the downloads page). Are you pulling from a different place?

Todd said...

> @Todd - I double-checked my server and all files are 1.7.0.2 (except for the beta versions which are 1.7.0.0, but those aren't accessible from the downloads page). Are you pulling from a different place?

I am transitioning my download code from BASH to PERL. Now will be a good time for me move GWX Control Panel over to Perl. I am probably not doing a sort properly on. This my current debugging output:

GetNewRev GetGWXControlpanel:
1 (wget cmd) curl --header 'Host: codeload.github.com' --header 'User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/38.0' --header 'Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8' --header 'Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5' --header 'Referer: https://github.com/wine-compholio/wine-patched/releases' --header 'Cookie: logged_in=no; _ga=GA1.2.525942533.1431372666; _octo=GH1.1.209011191.1431372667' --header 'Connection: keep-alive' --location --max-time 720 http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/GWX_control_panel.exe --output /home/CDs/Windows/SystemTools/GWX_ControlPanel/GWX_control_panel-1.0.0.0.exe

2 (old rev) 1.6.0.1
3 (Latest rev) 1.0.0.0
4 (old file name) /home/CDs/Windows/SystemTools/GWX_ControlPanel/GWX_control_panel-1.6.0.1.exe
5 (new file name) /home/CDs/Windows/SystemTools/GWX_ControlPanel/GWX_control_panel-1.0.0.0.exe
6 (calling name) GetGWXControlpanel

Show me thinking the latest version is 1.0.0.0, so that does sound like I am doing a bad sort.

The software is never finished! Tears! :'(

Ken Lucas said...

Happy New Year to you .
I installed the new version , do I need to uninstall the older version , Thanks.
Ken

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Ken - If you used the GwxControlPanelSetup installer, then no- it replaces your old version with the new one. And Happy New Year to you too!

Steve Bolio said...

Hi. What a great program you've created. Thank you for your work and efforts.

I have been using the stand alone version for about a month now and decided to upgrade to the newest version: 1.7.0.2.
I also decided to install the Download Installer for that version instead of the stand alone version. I successfully removed the stand alone version 1.7.0.1. before installing the Download Installer version, in case you were wondering

What happens now when I click on Display the User Guide..., it sends me to this Web page: http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/08/using-gwx-stopper-to-permanently-remove.html

I used to go to that page with the older 1.6.0.(?) version but shouldn't this newer version, 1.7.0.2, take me to the new version 1.7 User Guide?
The older stand alone version 1.7.0.1 also took me to that link I posted above.

Now, I too would like to donate some money, but I'm on a fixed and limited income so that is not possible.
What might be possible is I received a $25 Amazon.com Gift card for Christmas. If there's a way to donate that, I gladly will do so.

Thanks again for a terrific program.....
Steve in Central Vermont

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Steve - You're a sweetheart, but I want you to hang on to that Amazon gift card.

You're right about the "Display user guide" button. The blog platform I use is surprisingly archaic, and I had to compose the new user guide in a separate post for some dumb technical reasons. Sometime this weekend I will update the original user guide (the one the program still links to) so that it's up-to-date with 1.7.

I apologize for the confusion; I'm hoping to get all the documentation stuff squared away before I have to go back to work on Monday.

JBlogger said...

I uninstalled an earlier version of GWX Control Panel (one that did not succeed in blocking the Windows 10 ads), and installed version 1.7.0.2. However, the ads continue to appear at least once daily. The ads say, "Windows 10 Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10 GET YOUR FREE UPGRADE Learn More". I have to "x" out of the ad each time. My current GWX Control Panel says, "No traces of the Get Windows 10 app, Windows 10 upgrade settings, or Windows 10 installed files found." My current operating system is Windows 7 Professional on a Dell PC. Is there anything else I can do to block the Windows 10 ads?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@JBlogger - Where are you seeing these ads? Are you talking about the things that pop up inside Internet Explorer? Because I don't know how to fix those yet (I think that is something that's actually delivered from Microsoft's servers, not something you can switch off on your PC, but I'm still looking into it.)

GWX Control Panel is for removing the Get Windows 10 icon, deleting unwanted Windows 10 files, and recovering the Windows Update control panel from being hijacked by Windows 10. It doesn't control what you can see inside web browsers.

But if you're seeing something different, please let me know.

JBlogger said...

I use Firefox to work on the Internet. Perhaps the ad is embedded there? Or could my Norton Security Program be invisibly installing or restoring something that I don't want restored? I will try to pay more attention to the circumstances and environment that the ad is appearing in. Thank you very much for your program. I know you have helped many people avoid the Windows 10 hassle.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@JBlogger- Yeah, if you can capture a screenshot the next time you encounter it, I'm really curious to see what's going on there. As a (possibly related) note, last week I was helping someone set up a brand new computer that came with Windows 10 pre-installed. I installed Firefox for her, and the first time I launched it there was a huge Microsoft Edge browser ad covering the whole viewable area of Firefox; Microsoft actually injected an Edge ad into a third-party browser. So bad.

I'm actively looking for new Windows 10 symptoms to squash on Win 7 and Win 8 though.

JBlogger said...

It looks like the culprit is the MSN web page. When I sign out of Hotmail, I am sent to the MSN page and the "Get Windows 10" ad pops up (once a day for each Hotmail account). AdBlocker Plus has not been able to block the Windows 10 ad on the MSN page. I guess my solution will be to close out of Firefox when I am done with my email, rather than signing out of Hotmail normally. It will actually require fewer key strokes. Is there any reason I should not do that?

JBlogger said...

I have succeeded in capturing a screenshot, but do not know how to attach it to this message. For the time being, I have copied it onto a Word document. If you can send me a message on my Google Account, I will reply with the Word document attached. (Sorry, my knowledge of these things is limited.)

Ultimate Outsider said...

@JBlogger - Done. Thanks!

Harold Justice said...

I installed your program and now Microsoft says I'm not running genuine windows on my 5 yr old Dell. Neither Microsoft nor Dell can fix it without reinstalling Windows 7 but if I do I lose all my applications. Do you have a fix since your program caused it?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Harold - That sounds like a frustrating problem, but I assure you my program cannot affect your computer's genuine/activated status. You can reverse any system settings changes GWX Control Panel made by following the steps under "I USED GWX CONTROL PANEL AND NOW MY (INSERT APPLICATION OR FEATURE HERE) DOESN'T WORK!" in the troubleshooting guide

From searching around it sounds like there are a number of potential causes and fixes to this problem you're having, but it seems like this thread might be a good place to start.

Bruce Gavin said...

Please consider adding command line switches to GWX so it can be auto-run at system restart.

GWX /disable /clean

I'm not one that wants ever-more processes running constantly on my machines and servers. I much prefer a manual launch at system restart time.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Bruce - A command-line version is a frequent request. I am considering it for a future release.

Cazman said...

Thanks for this sharing this tremendous tool!!!

In my Status and settings summary window I get this message:
At least one instance of 'Get Windows 10' icon app is installed on your PC. (Additional 32-bit version detected.)

Is this what the 'Delete Windows 10 Programs...' is for before I run it?

Much appreciated!
Greg

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Cazman - Yes, that's exactly what the Delete Windows 10 Programs feature is for!

Todd said...

This is just feedback on 1.7.0.2 and it is good news.

This is from CimTrak (File Integrity Monitoring software) from one of my customer sites that I monitor. "Directory Removed"! Happy days!:

01/08/2016 15:20:26 Error Directory Removed Owner: Unknown xxxxxxxxx->xx->Windows Operating System Baseline Updated C:\Windows\System32\GWX


Ultimate Outsider said...

@Todd - Yep! The "Delete Windows 10 Programs" feature will kill the GWX folder (and the related Tasks folders) if it manages to delete all the files.

vssimo said...

Hi, I installed GWX control panel, and updated it once, but the Windows 10 invitation is still appearing, and GWX says app is not running, not enabled, not allowed, not installed, folders not found, but GWX monitor mode is on and running. The Win 10 invitation appears not always but about half the times I boot up. I am on win7 professional.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@vssimo - Can you please take a screenshot of the invitation you're seeing? You can post it to a free image host like imgur or email it to me at the address you see when you use my program's "save diagnostic info" feature. It might be something new or different. Also, note that if the invitation you're seeing looks like this, that's not something my program can fix because that's sent from Microsoft's servers into your web browser.

Steve Bolio said...

Hi Josh. I'm just checking back to remind you that the link to the User Guide for GWX Control Panel, posted here: http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/, still directs people to the August 30, 2015 User's Guide and not to the newer December 29, 2015 1.7 User Guide.

Of course, the link inside the 1.7 GWX Control Panel software also directs us to the August 30, 2015 User Guide, but I realize that can't get fixed until a new version is released.

No need to reply, unless you want to.
Thanks for all your efforts in staying on top of the Pesky Windows 10 Upgrade.

Best regards,
Steve in Central Vermont

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Steve - That's actually by design. Last week I finally updated the main post (the August-dated one) with all the latest info. I had various technical and editorial reasons for drafting the 1.7 docs in a separate post, but I have since merged all the 1.7 info into the master post, which serves as the overall GWX Control Panel landing page. Thanks for keeping an eye out though!

bigjoet said...

Hi, I was just wondering (and afraid) I know answer.
how does one know what updates to install? and which to ignore? as a person who knows nothing of such things as updates ) I have read the descriptions on them, and might as well be in another language on some of them.
prob to complicated for a productive answer.
most likely just stuck either install and pray or don't update at all (prob not a good choice)however I have not asked that if I do install the updates will GWX catch
anything they are trying to do with win 10? upto this newest gwx version of course.

Thank you again.
Joe T

Ultimate Outsider said...

@bigjoet - GWX Control Panel will catch all known traces of Windows 10 and give you ways to neutralize the threat. If Microsoft changes their approach I might have to push updates to deal with them in the future.

As for specific updates that are good to avoid, these are the ones I'd definitely block: 2952664, 2976978, 3035583 (the first two are Win 7 and Win 8 versions of the same thing, so you won't see both offered on the same OS).

bigjoet said...

Thank you for your fast reply :)
great to know gwx will catch em, I will def look for those you mentioned.
I have win 8.1 and everything has been great so far, two machines Lenovo A730
and a yoga pro 3. oh and wifes OLD win 7 HP forgot model. so old keyboards hammer and chisel has been replaced twice. LOL

As usual Many Thanks.
Joe T

bigjoet said...

I also just noticed an update that is "windows malicious software removal tool for windows8,8.1 10 and windows server 2012,2012R2 x64 edition January 2016 (KB890830)"
published 1/12/2016.
not sure if you knew/know this. or if important or not.
just wasn't sure if should stay away as it has win 10 in description.
but aren't malicious removal tools important? it is also a larger file size 50.5MB
at least compared to most others.

Joe T

Ultimate Outsider said...

@bigjoet- That just means the same patch can install/work on both operating systems. The patch itself is good; it's part of their anti-malware approach. (There is some controversy over what they consider "malware" but I haven't experienced problems with it.)

Steve Bolio said...

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Steve - That's actually by design. Last week I finally updated the main post (the August-dated one) with all the latest info. I had various technical and editorial reasons for drafting the 1.7 docs in a separate post, but I have since merged all the 1.7 info into the master post, which serves as the overall GWX Control Panel landing page. Thanks for keeping an eye out though!

I see that now.....If I had just scrolled down a bit, i would have seen this myself.
You're busy enough....... Sorry 'bout that!

bigjoet said...

Thank you Josh, you are truly a life saver.
OK now to the really important stuff I have been saying I am going to make a donation a few times now, due to twin 8 year olds interrupting at the most opportune time's and re-directing my attention elsewhere, frying the few cells I have left upstairs so I forget what I was doing/going to do.
I want to make a donation TONIGHT the little guys are going to Zzz land soon, can you tell me where I make the donation I do not have facebook/paypal.
Is there a way I can donate via a CC somewhere? It is probably pretty obvious if I look around but have to put the chaos ninjas to bed. thank you for EVERYTHING
and I LOOK FORWORD TO DONATING for your most generous efforts and time put in to helping all of us suffer a little/lot less.
Bless you my good man Bless you.

Joe T

Chaa006 said...

Looks good, but clicking on "Display the User Guide" results in only "Error 31 attempting to launch your browser. isit blog.ultimateoutsider.com for help."

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Chaa006 - That means the program couldn't figure out what your default browser was. Depending on how your computer's set up this could actually be a permissions issue. If you quit any instances of the program and re-launch it WITHOUT using "run as administrator" it should work. If that doesn't work, it might be something non-typical about your PC's browser setup.

(For what it's worth that button simply takes you to this blog post, which contains the full user guide.)

Chaa006 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaa006 said...

Yes, "run normally" (as opposed to "Run as Administrator") does indeed allow the "Display the User Guide" button to function correctly; how odd !

Lie Lim said...

Excellent ideas . Apropos , if people is requiring to merge two images , my kids encountered a tool here http://www.AltoMerge.com.

LexBlogger said...

I know it is a cat and mouse game with Microsoft and their ways to get users to update to Win 10.

On or about Jan. 12, Microsoft released KB2952664, entitled "Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7". If you go to: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2952664 , the Introduction will say this: "This update helps Microsoft make improvements to the current operating system in order to ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows".

I did NOT download this, but I assume that it is another trick to get folks to upgrade to Windows 10.

I post this in case Ultimate Outside, and readers of this blog, have not seen it.


Harry

Ultimate Outsider said...

@LexBlogger - That's another one of Microsoft's sneaky updates where they keep pushing new versions of it with the same name every few months that you have to keep hiding individually every time a new one pops up. It's also one I will be targeting in my next major release. ;)

Todd said...

1.7.1.0 just hit

Todd said...

Love the new working on the Enable Updates, etc (Click to ...). I got messed up a few times on the old way and so did one of my customers.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Todd - I had a eureka moment a couple weeks ago when I got a couple confusing emails from users, and I finally realized- "Oh man! Some people think the button text is a status rather than a command!" No idea how many people might have been confused by that. The "Click to" seemed like a simple way to reduce ambiguity. I'm glad it's helped!

Mari Lonovo said...

Hi!

A friend has installed your program on my notebook. Now I want to upgrade to Windows 10 and chose the close the display option to disable it. The GWT logo reappeared but nothing happens when I try to install it.
My friend is out of town and I´d really like to get it solved.
Thank you for your help!
Maria

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Mari - I've got instructions on how to upgrade to Windows 10 at the FAQ, under "I HAVE USED GWX CONTROL PANEL IN THE PAST BUT NOW I'M READY TO UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?"

Todd said...

> @Todd - I had a eureka moment a couple weeks ago when I got a couple confusing emails from users, and I finally realized- "Oh man! Some people think the button text is a status rather than a command!" No idea how many people might have been confused by that. The "Click to" seemed like a simple way to reduce ambiguity. I'm glad it's helped!

I was thinking of writing you about the issue, but could not think of any better way of stating it not not just be a complainer. What you came up with was elegant/inspired. I am may steel it from you if I ever get Tcl figured out in Perl!

Damn You Micro$oft said...

Could you explain what the preferred changes are that will be made when one "Click(s) to prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" ? The output file from "Save diagnostic info" and user guide aren't really clear about this.

I have BITS running (manual), Cryptographic running (Started Automatic), Windows Update not running (disabled by my choice), Software Protection not running (Automatic Delayed Start). Windows update prefs "check but let me choose" and DisableOSUpgrade "missing or disabled". I think there's an update required for the DisableOSUpgrade to work (under Win 7) but I could be wrong.

So if I "Click to prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" what exactly is going to change?

Thank you so much for your effort. It is greatly appreciated.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@D*mn You - The "prevent upgrades" feature sets the DisableOsUpgrades value and also sets AllowOsUpgrades to 0 (which affects how the GWX/GWXUX tools behave), although some PCs have background tasks that will quietly reset the latter to 1 unless you do something to stop it. There's more information about these settings here. All versions of GWX Control Panel from 1.3 have used these settings (among others) but in 1.7.1 I broke it out so that the "prevent upgrades" button only deals with things directly related to the upgrade, and moved some of the peripheral Windows 10 settings to the "disable non-critical settings" realm. Some folks might have to disable those settings to resolve stubborn Win 10 issues.

Damn You Micro$oft said...

Thank you so much for the response. I read your link. So "Click to prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" just adds/changes those two registry values.

Are there desired settings for the BITS, Cryptographic and Software Protection services? I wasn't sure why they were in the diagnostic info.

For those of us willing to forego Windows Updates, am I wrong to think disabling the Windows Updates service offers more security re: this Win 10 threat?

Microsoft is the greatest threat to my otherwise stable & locked down system (firewall, antivirus, AdBlock Plus, spywareblaster). I can't remember the last time I had an issue from the outside. Windows ME maybe.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@D*mn You - I include the status of those various services listed in the diagnostic info report to help me if someone reports a problem with Windows Update. They're services that my program sometimes has to stop or start in order to apply some settings for different operations. If you do use Windows Update, all three of those services (in addition to the Windows Update service) must be enabled and running in order for Windows Update to function across the board. If you choose not to use Windows Update, then disabling them is probably okay. I've noticed that the Windows Update and Software Protection services are pretty poorly behaved... in a fresh Windows Install they're both supposed to start automatically with Windows startup (although they are "delayed-start" services, so they start after most other services load), but they sometimes just don't bother starting at all, resulting in errors or hangs in Windows Update. My program doesn't cause this to happen; it's just helpful to know the current state so I can advise people what they can do to fix it. I would only advise fully disabling Windows Update if you have a fully locked-down system like you apparently do.

Jan Maat said...

Thanks for your good work.

I have been using your tool (standalone version) but now I have another lite blue icon with a orange circle. This gives the message that there are important updates available. When I look into this it concerns KB 3035583 which is off course the get Windows 10 app.

So microsoft is still pushing us.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jan - That icon you're describing is not something I've seen or heard about before. Can you please capture a screenshot of that and also send me your "Save Diagnostic Info" report? (My email address is in the report output.) I'd like to know more about what you're experiencing.

Fritz Jörn (Fritz@Joern.De) said...

Fantastisch! It really works. I downloaded the January version installer and used it right away, thus circumventing the older version that I had stored but never used. Perhaps it might be nice to mention the version somewhere on the resulting panel. Or better ask to overwrite an existing older version (which however might not be at an apparent place).
Personally I’d love to have a main button for dummies: Clear all nuisances (and monitor future attempts?), set updates to manual install.
Do you have someone translating to German? In case pls. write to me directly.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Fritz - Unfortunately I didn't really design the program to be easily translated into other languages. (I never imagined so many people from around the world would want to use it.) I may do another version/variation of the program and if that happens I will make sure to design it so that other languages can be dropped in.

Regarding version number and upgrading, etc, you can see the current program version by selecting "About GWX Control Panel" or "Check for Updates" in the right-click pop-up menus of both the main program window (right-click the title bar) or the Monitor Mode icon.

If you use the installer (GwxControlPanelSetup.exe) that will automatically upgrade you to the latest version of the program.

Regarding the "main button for dummies" I agree and I do have plans for something similar to that.

Thanks for your feedback!

Chuck said...

I just noticed that GWX Control Panel is now creating a text file (GwxControlPanelErrors.txt) in my AppData\Local\Temp directory each time it is run. Here's an sample entry from that file:

12:38:26 PM, tid: 3304, ERR, code: 5, Failed to open key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\GWX

Is this normal behavior? I didn't see it on previous versions of GWX Control Panel.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Chuck - This file is new with version 1.7.2. Only the "normal mode" of GWX Control Panel writes to that file (not Monitor Mode), so it's only written to when you have a visible instance of the program open. Its contents are included in the "Save Diagnostic Info" reports.

The logic might need some tweaking; if you see anything you think is problematic, please send me a "Save Diagnostic Info" report with your concerns. That specific message there is an "insufficient privileges" warning, which may be normal if you haven't clicked any of the functions that require admin privileges yet.

Chuck said...

Thanks for your quick reply. I checked my Registry with regedit, and noted that no GWX key exists under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\. I assume that that's good news. And it's not surprising that GWX Control Panel would be unable to open a key that doesn't exist.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Chuck - I would have expected an error 2 ("file not found") but I just deleted that key on my computer here and I see an error 5 for that too. Interesting.

Since you seem to be on top of things, if you do use any of the GWX CP features that require elevation, you might find that the "GWX" key magically appears on your system. Worry not though; I actually have to create the key in order to be able to monitor it (but doing this is impossible when the app doesn't have admin rights, which is why you see the errors now), and the "disable get windows 10 app" feature needs that key in order to prevent the GWX icon from displaying if you have it installed.

Chuck said...

@Josh - So far, I haven't encountered any GWX CP features that require admin privileges (I don't need to disable the 'Get Windows 10' app, since it isn't active on my computer -- hence, that option is grayed out).

Nonetheless, even with the absence of the GWX key, and without allowing GWX CP any elevated privileges, I assume that I can still trust its report that no signs of Win10 are detected on my system. Right?

Thanks again.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Chuck - Yep, you're in good shape!

Andrzej Szadkowski said...

(Sorry, if this is obvious for computer specialists):
After using "GWX control panel" I am told that there are no traces of GWX, and I am safe. But looking into the computer with "Everything" I see many GWX related files (usually in various "stores"). The most important observation is that System File Checker "sfc.exe" treats GWX as an integral part of Windows, and using sfc.exe /scannow "repairs Windows" i.e. - brings GWX back! Maybe - this remark can be useful for somebody. A.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Andrzej - The "Delete Windows 10 Programs" feature removes the entire System32\GWX folder that contains all of the program files associated with KB3035583, and it also deletes the associated scheduled tasks, but it might leave some insignificant files around.

The SFC issue you mention is because if you let more than one version of KB3035583 install on your system, Windows begins to think of it as an OS component. The GWX Control Panel approach to handling this is to alert you (via Monitor Mode) if it detects the program files/tasks that actually cause Windows 10 problems and give you the chance to delete them. There is more detail about the KB3035583 patch and how it behaves at the troubleshooting guide.

Unknown said...

I read today that Microsoft is now going to start pushing Windows 10 as a Recommended Update. Several sources have suggested deselecting the "Give me recommmend updates..." check box in Windows Update to avoid this.

Is this necessary if I'm running GWX Control Panel?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Unknown - From my own experimentation (and some experimenting some acquaintances have done this morning) it looks like clicking "Click to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" is all you have to do. Deselecting the "Give me recommended updates" option can't hurt, I guesss? But no, it doesn't seem to be necessary if you use "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades."

I added a new section to this post, "How do I block Windows 10?" that lists the only required steps and things to check for.

Mark said...

Hi,
I'm on W7 and have received 2 updates today : KB2952664, which is well known, and a new one, KB3135445.
Do you have informations about this last one ?

Woody said...

Mark - We're discussing those patches now at AskWoody.com. I'll have an article up on InfoWorld in a few hours. Bottom line is that you don't want them.

Chris R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris R said...

If I purchase a new Windows 7 Pro based PC and run Windows Update several times as I normally do on a new machine to get all the applicable updates is there a list of Windows Updates that I should avoid installing in the first place?

I'm fearful that this recent push of "recommended" will cause the machine to upgrade to Windows 10 before I even get it fully updated with other issue related patches.

I guess I'm asking if there is a mode in GWX Control Panel I can use to let Windows Update install everything but those updates known to be related to Get Windows 10, is there such a mode in your program? I'd like to have your took keep a new PC free of GWX related updates.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Mark - KB2952664 is a patch of zero end-user value, which collects information for Microsoft to use in their Windows 10 campaign. KB3135445 is a tougher call; it's an update to the Windows Update system itself. While it may contain code that facilitates Windows 10 upgrades (since Windows Update is one of Microsoft's install vectors for Win 10), it can also potentially contain required fixes or updates necessary to keep Windows Update working properly in the future. You might not need it today, but there's a chance that it (or updates that replace it) might be mandatory in future. Note that if you have any of the Windows Update options other than "never check for updates" selected, Microsoft reserves the right to push Windows Update client patches (like this one) automatically if they feel it's required for the system to keep working. I do not know if this particular patch meets that requirement in MSs' eyes.

@Chris R - Windows Update is terribly complicated (and terribly brittle!) and you really don't want me (or anyone else) poking around in your update infrastructure deciding what to install. As a result, GWX Control Panel takes an "install first, notify and fix later" approach. If you're set up to automatically install updates, GWX Control Panel won't/can't block any known bad updates from installing. What it DOES do is notify you if certain bad files or tasks are found and gives you the ability to neutralize them. At the moment this activity is focused around some specific Windows Update settings and files around the KB3035583 patch, but the next major update will expand the detection/neutralization policy to some other known-bad Windows 10-related updates.

Chris R said...

So essentially this means to me that a brand new out of the box Windows 7 Pro machine could be turned into a Windows 10 Pro machine before it ever gets fully up to date via Windows Update.

I was hoping I could install the GWX Control Panel on that brand new machine and have it block the Windows 10 related stuff from getting on the machine while allowing other updates not related to Windows 10 to install without issue.

It sounds like I should not bother with that new Windows 7 Pro machine purchase.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Chris R- The Windows 10 operating system upgrade is a different story- I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. If you run GWX Control Panel on your fresh Windows 7 system right now (before applying any updates) and use the "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" you will be protected from Windows 10. What I was talking about were things like KB3035583, which present Win 10 annoyances but don't actually upgrade you.

Anyway, yes, GWX CP does protect you from unwanted upgrades if you run it before applying all your updates. You may have to disable the Get Windows 10 icon once all your updates are installed, but you won't get an accidental OS upgrade if you use the "prevent upgrades" option first.

Ultimate Outsider said...

Also @Chris R- If you do end up getting that system, be prepared for a long update cycle. If you take a fresh install of Win 7 or Win 8 it is impossible to successfully update them to all the latest patches if you just let Windows Update automatically install all available updates. You will get stuck in an infinite rollback loop if you try that. I always deselect all available updates, then only pick 10-20 at a time when setting up a new system, rebooting in between. It takes several hours, but it always works when you do it that way. (Also gives you the chance to exclude updates you know you don't want.)

captvidio said...

Thanks Josh it worked great.I downloaded windows 10 on a refurbished Dell 755 and it first locked me out of windows then out of my hard drive. Since it was under warranty I got my 2nd one and knew better this time. The GWX Control panel has solved that. Jerry S.

Max Parker said...

For Josh; So far this is a GREAT Win10 Upgrade Blocker, I've already installed it on 5 machines. But I'm very certain that Microsoft are already trying to circumnavigate it, and they will NEVER stop. Are you really prepared for these attacks? Directed at you personally as well as at GWX??

Its going to take hourly vigilance on your part to keep up with all the ways they'll try to disable it or work around it, often silently & almost undetectably. It will LOOK as if GWX is working well while it is being invisibly bypassed.

If you can protect it against all that, then you'll have earned a good donation from me. I'm watching daily to see how often you update GWX. That'll tell me you're responding to attacks pretty much as they happen.

Problem is, if Microsoft just once gets past it, they're IN; so how would you then remove that infection without damaging Windows 7/8 functionally? Because I wouldn't put it past them to sneak in some malware that embeds itself into Windows such that it cannot be removed or disabled without disabling Windows itself.

A LOT to think about, but you already have lots of support. I'm adding to that today. Donation follows shortly. RSVP: Max Parker aka

Ultimate Outsider said...

@captvidio - Thanks! I'm glad you're up and running again!

@Max - Part of GWX Control Panel's logic relies on settings Microsoft has put in place in order to give IT administrators the ability to block unwanted upgrades and notifications about Windows 10. There is indeed always a chance that they will decide to stop honoring those settings, but if they do it's not really an attack on my program but rather an attack on all remaining Windows 7 and Windows 8 users- many of whom are business people who rely on their computers in order to earn a living. Only time will tell if Microsoft is bold enough to flat-out betray their remaining customer base by removing the safeguards that Microsoft themselves had once provided. (GWX Control Panel already has more tricks up its sleeve though, and future versions will too.)

Max Parker said...

OK, Josh; That's very reassuring, and you're obviously lying in wait for any & all attacks. I've got Monitor Mode enabled, so will GWX updates/upgrades automatically install, or how does that work? RSVP: Max

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Max - At the moment upgrades are not automatic; you can use the "check for updates" feature of the right-click pop-up menus for the Monitor Mode icon to see if a newer version is available. Future releases might have a more automatic system.

Max Parker said...

OK, Josh; So is there a way to get onto an email alert list when a new version is published? I'd not want to be using an older version for very long if the fix in the new version is needed to better thwart workaround attacks. RSVP: Max

Max Parker said...

Hi, Josh; Just stumbled across this:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2016/02/05/free-windows-10-true-cost/

but I'm expecting you've already seen it. How powerless are we all, really, to stop this Microsoft Monster before it engulfs us all? RSVP: Max

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Max - I probably won't do an email list, but hopefully that won't be necessary, since I'm beginning work on an automatic update notification this weekend. Regarding the Forbes story, trust me- I identify more closely with Don Quixote than I do with King David. Microsoft owns the ecosystem and at the end of the day they're gonna do what they want. But for as long as I can I will do everything in my power to make sure that any decisions about what runs on my computer are my own.

Max Parker said...

Thanks, Josh, We can't ask more than that. Just a thought, though, that might get you looking in another direction: Windows Activation 'expires' from time-to-time (is it 30 or 60 days?) and has to be renewed by them at some point, or nags start about "illegal copies if Windows" at the bottom right of the screen. They could, if they wish, simply stop re-activating all Windows 7/8 to try to force the issue. That's a different & more secure area of their Windows code than for Windows Updates. RSVP: Max - BTW I sent you $20.00 via PayPal!

Bertus said...

I just updated to the latest version (1.7.2.0)and installed the new MS update KB3123862 on a Win 8.1 system to do a test. This update was installed, the system was rebooted but GWXControlPanel didn't detect the installed KB and stated I seemed to be safe.

What is the reason that this KB escapes the control?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Bertus - KB3123862 does not (as far as I know) cause any Windows 10-related symptoms or behaviors that are actually visible to end users. The purpose of GWX Control Panel was to let users control and fix visible Windows 10 problems like removing the "Get Windows 10" icon, blocking Windows 10 upgrades, deleting hidden Win 10 download folders, restoring the Windows Update control panel to normal behavior, etc. So at least for the moment, the program doesn't think in terms of "which Windows Update patches are currently installed?" as it does "which settings and files that cause known Windows 10 problems are present?"

You can check out the "What it does and how it works" section of the user guide (this post) for a detailed list of everything my program does and doesn't do. If either of the two KB patches you mention is found to actually cause real user-facing problems, then I'll update my program will deal with them.

All of the above said, the next version of GWX Control Panel will include optional logic that addresses some of the more nebulous updates like KB3213862, but I will continue to honor end user Windows Update settings.

Bertus said...

This is what MS says about KB3123862: "The update adds capabilities to some computers that lets users easily learn about Windows 10 or start an upgrade to Windows 10." When I search Google for it I only see warnings not to install it because it is part of MS's policy to push Windows 10 Upgrade.

If I correctly understand your reply this KB means no risk?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Bertus - I analyzed that update the day it came out (and so did a couple of my friends) and we couldn't find any actual signs that it does anything bad. We're keeping an eye on it. You almost certainly don't need the patch, so it's likely safe to uninstall/block. But I haven't spotted any bad behaviors from it yet.

Bertus said...

OK. One more question: can a new version be installed over an existing previous one or should the previous version be uninstalled first?

Thanks for keeping our software choice free.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Bertus - If you use the installer (versus the stand-alone) the setup program automatically upgrades you; you don't have to uninstall first. Best to make sure no other users are currently logged in to the PC though. There are some manual steps to look out for if you're running stand-alone. The "a note about upgrading" section of this post covers that.

Jim Wick said...

Hello,

I just installed the app and it appears to work great! Thanks!

Do you know WHY Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 so hard? After all, it's free.

Chaa006 said...

Jim Wick asked : "Do you know WHY Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 so hard? After all, it's free.".

Obviously I don't know (and I suspect that no-one outside the inner circle at Microsoft knows for sure) but I /suspect/ that they have become a victim of their own success, and are finding that no matter how many update servers they deploy, demand continues to outstrip capacity. And Windows 10 supports peer-to-peer updates, which once ubiquitous will result in an enormous reduction in load on the primary update servers. That's my theory, but of course I may be completely mistaken.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jim - Microsoft is going head-to-head with Facebook, Google, Samsung, and Apple on many fronts, and Windows 10 is the key to that. The operating system has a built-in search engine which they can use to harvest user data, and their increasingly onerous development guidelines (which third-party developers need to follow in order to get various certifications) are pushing users to their Windows Store ecosystem.

Their Windows Phone play isn't panning out very well, which is all the more reason for them to double down on Windows 10.

Windows 10 is "free" to users because the data they collect from users is going to be their ammunition in the information war against Facebook and Google. (I'll honestly be slightly surprised if they ever end up actually charging end users for Windows 10... it's the user data they're after this time, not so much the licensing fees.)

donthuis said...

Just checked the MS February 2nd Tuesday patch list: IMO KB3123862 may be a tricky one.
MS indicates it "modifies" upgrade facilities for Win7 and 8.1 systems.

I will not install this one and hide it just to be on the safe side... :-D on

PS Is this a new version of tricks MS once pulled inside KB3035583 ?

D. C.G. said...

I HATE WINDOWS 10 THANK YOU THANK YOU

I was given a brand new pc for Christmas which had window 10 and it was nothing but HELL! It ruined the computer and conflicted with the AMD chip. Nothing worked right on it. I returned it and gave my father the full refund. He fully understood since he wasnt so fond of 10 either. He then informed me I could still get a laptop if I wanted.

I just spent over a month since Christmas to be exact trying to find the best windows 7 laptop out there in a reasonable budget frame. My newly bought PC was less than 16hrs old when I saw that damn windows 10 icon hunting me. It was on my pc for a total of 3 mins when I wasted no time hunting the net for ways to remove it.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@donthuis - I know that KB3123862 patch sounds sketchy but so far we haven't found any bad behaviors or programs associated with it.

@D.C.G. - Glad to hear your new PC is up and running (and nag free)!

John Mason said...

I am using GWX Control Panel , not to prevent Windows 10 loading, but to prevent the November update to build 1511 loading because that update, which I have loaded on 5 separate occasions, always stops me from controlling the brightness of the screen and I can find no other remedy than to revert to the position before trying to install the November update, which I do by using a recent disk image. Since I started doing this in November 2015, it seems to have worked well, but I am wondering if I am still getting other essential Windows system updates. I seem, subjectively, to have had very few recently. Can you advise me?
Regards
JohnM

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John - GWX Control Panel honors your desired Windows Update settings. If you can generate a "Save Diagnostic Info" report for me and send it my way (instructions in the report) that would help. There are instructions on how to do this in the above post.

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