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   401 – 559 of 559
donthuis said...

Ultimate Outsider (I will call you UMO on this site from now on) may I add that I run a number of PC's with GWX control panel, on the central one I evade any KB which I find dubious, on the other ones I just let the MS updates come, the earlier most tricky 2015 one KB303... excepted. I noted that on one of those PC's GWX warned in monitor mode about a change in settings after the installation of KB312... But after opening the panel I found nothing changed. So indeed, this KB is sketchy and triggers some alarm, but seems to leave GWX control active and protecting as ever.
PS I run an imaging program after every MS-round, so at the worst I have to reset everything to one month earlier. Fortunately this action which requires renewing licenses in my video programmes was never needed in relation to this Win 10 issue.

possum said...

It would be really helpful if GWX Control Panel would identify its version number somewhere on screen

Ultimate Outsider said...

@possum - It's not clear whether you've noticed this, but the current program version is listed in the "About GWX Control Panel" and "Check for updates" screens options which are available from the right-click menus of both the main program window's title bar and the Monitor Mode icon.

--- said...

It is demand.
Multilingual
(Such as gwxcp_ja.lang)

Mark said...

WoW!
I've always stayed on top of WU-verifying what it wants to download-but its getting harder to manually maintain MY computer, Want to donate even though I haven't downloaded GWX cp. Simply awesome reading through all the info!

However probably will shortly (install GWX cp), at least for other 7 machine that I maintain. When updates noted as available Im asked to verify which to allow. I recently realized this hadn't occurred in a while. I checked -no notifications, manually opened WU-oh my. Apparently somewhere in the last few months, windows update is somehow affected and no longer notifies of updates available. Checking this is the case now on all variations of 7 machines? Somehow seems tied to winX updates and not allowing.

I have no WX issues whatsoever yet (other than disallowing), but I guess I sacrificed being notified of availability of updates, though not intentionally. I suppose a solve would be to turn on automatic updates to ensure I get security updates...Oh and Win10...gosh-a paranoid person might think intentional.

Searching for fix is how I found GWX cp. Its even pointed to a coupl of other forums. But Ive poured through the blogs here and didn't see that WU notification would actually function again, or even mentioned.

So thats my question, for those that have installed GWX and windows update wasn't notifying did it start working again?

Suzan Ragan said...

I've been using your GWX Control Panel over the last several months and it's been working great. Luckily, I never had the problem of having reserved Windows 10 and going through the hassle of popup screens and the multiple gigabytes of data that Microsoft had secretly downloaded for so many unsuspecting people. But I did have the annoying GWX popup icon, because I had inadvertently installed a "Windows 10 is up & coming, and we know you can't wait" update. So, your GWX software did get rid of the GWX popup icon, but still advised me under Status and Settings Summary, that "The 'Get Windows 10' icon app is installed on your PC", and the button 'Click to Delete Windows 10 Programs' was still clickable. I continuously clicked it daily, but the same message constantly showed that the GWX icon app was still installed. Then, the most wonderful thing happened yesterday (besides Valentines Day, that is). When I turned on my computer(Windows 7 Home Edition, by the way), and went into the Task Manager processes, I saw the GWX.exe file quickly flicker on and off. So I was curious and searched for that EXE file using my Agent Ransack search engine. The search found the gwx.exe file and where it was located. I then clicked onto your GWX Control Panel while my search engine was still open showing the gwx.exe file, and lo and behold, the Status and Settings Summary showed "No traces of the Get Windows 10 app, Windows 10 upgrade settings, or Windows 10 installation files found. You appear to be safe." And not only that but the 'Click to Delete Windows 10 Programs' button is now grayed out. And running the search engine again, the gwx.exe file seems to no longer exists... I think. It's a Valentines Day miracle! I wanted you to know this whole process because by using any search engine to open that Exe file, and then using your Control Panel, maybe another way around killing off this whole Windows 10 fiasco may exist. Continued good luck to you and your wonderful software!

Todd said...

Just out of curiosity, when the free upgrade period to W-Nein, oops, W-10 expires, does anyone know if we still have all the GWX falderal to cope with? One also wonders if after the free upgrade period has expired, if the accidental upgrade user will be given a prompt to pay for W-Nein or be locked out.

Todd said...

Dear Outsider,

I have a customer with five Windows 7 Pro 64 bit computers that KB3102429 messes up their ability to send attachments with MAPI. No matter how many times you hide it and/or remove it, it keeps coming back. And it ruins their automated customer mailings.

Is this something you could write a program to block? And how much would you charge for five computer licenses?

Many thanks,
-T

Todd said...

scope creap: and INI file that allow for customer KB's to be excluded

Todd said...

Custom not customer. Stinkin' typos

jjjkl said...

Well done! Wonderful! Thank you.

garza said...

Hi, after manually uninstalling various updates and stopping the GWX.exe process over the last few days (and locking my Windows Updater down so tight I'm wondering how I will get my necessary security updates, but I'll deal with that later), I still proved unable to uninstall KB2952664 without it coming right back. So finally I downloaded your program (the installer) and ran it. It found no Windows-10 files or programs (and indeed, GWX.exe which was there a few days ago seems to have disappeared). The only new thing GWX Control Panel enabled me to do was to disallow Windows 10 upgrades (thank you!)
The thing that worries me is, KB2952664 is still in my installed updates, so why did GWX Control Panel not find it as a Windows-10-related file or program? This makes me wonder whether I can trust the relatively clean bill of health GWX Control Panel gave me. Also, I was hoping it would succeed where I have failed, and manage to uninstall this update permanently.
I was too timid to clear the Windows Update Cache; is that the next step?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Todd - Am doing some investigation to see whether an elegant and safe update blocking feature is feasible.

@garza - Like KB3035583, KB2952664 keeps getting re-issued by Microsoft, and will automatically install unless you explicitly block it. My program honors your Windows Update settings for everything except the Windows 10 Upgrade (which I explicitly block). So if you don't want KB2952664 on your PC, you need to use the "hide" feature in Windows Update any time Microsoft tries to push you a new version. Note that I am investigating the feasibility of a way to automatically block known undesirable updates. The Delete Windows 10 Programs feature is a better way to keep KB3035583 off your system than uninstalling the patch, and I will soon address KB2952664 in the same manner.

garza said...

Re KB2952664, after considering its behaviour (reinstalls even when I'm offline) I don't think it's coming from Microsoft at all now; I think it's sitting on my computer. Lots of people have been having the same trouble as I am and some of them claim to have succeeded in removing it by searching out and deleting its multiple packages (command lines provided to do this; I haven't had the guts to try yet -- one guy says he went through the registry as well, which I would find quite daunting). Someone on askwoody.com suggested that it may be running which would prevent one from uninstalling it. Whatever. I will eventually try the command to find the packages and remove them at least -- despite the clean bill of health your program gives me I feel nervous about that update being permanently on my computer.

garza said...

I don't know if this will be useful to you and it may not be the right place for it, but here goes:
In cleaning up after running GWX Control Panel, I searched my whole computer in Windows Explorer for the string "GWX". Of course the executables weren't there (although I had seen GWX.exe last week); they were already gone before I ran your program or it would have found them. What did turn up was an almost empty local data folder (with two very small files to do with the telemetry store and 70kB of unexplained space), a crash dump called GWXUX.exe.2692.dmp in AppData\Local\CrashDumps, created September 13 2015 (which seems a very long time ago; unfortunately I no longer have the date of last modification since I sent it to the recycle) and a log (Microsoft - Windows - GWX-Ins\Operational in System32\winevt\Logs) detailing the activity of GWX for February 9 to February 14 when it died.
This I can read. I haven't looked at all the over 2000 events but I see that GWX tried and failed to add the icon to the tray on several occasions; eventually there start being notes after each failed attempt saying that the icon is already installed in the tray (I don't think it was but it probably had been earlier in the year, as I saw the occasional pop-up which I just ignored). It looks like it also tried and failed to schedule an upgrade reminder time. There are also a couple mentions "showing notifications for campaign Logon-URT".
In between it monitored various things including CEIP, always returning "opted-in" status (I certainly never opted in but maybe it was an invisible default; I didn't install Windows myself). On February 14 it "launched by task" and did its usual checks. (when I turned my computer on, I think), got the message about the icon already being in the tray (which I don't think it was, although I did see popups earlier in the year). The last thing that happened was it was launched by a config update (this is a sequence that occurs from time to time), did its usual checks, suddently discovered that CEIP was not opted-in (!!) ("Ceip is not-opted in. Non-ceip setting: NonPIIMarkers") and then there are two identical error messages in the same second ("GWX Triggers: Trigger Name 'ScheduleUpgradeReminderTime' failed to be created -2147216616"), a third the next second ("GWX Detector: main
-2147024894") and the final information "GWX Detector: Checking for file" and that's it. This was February 14 at 18:28:22.
During this period I was becoming aware of the forced upgrade attempt and learning about the various files and updates associated with it. I was starting to remove and block updates and eventually found instructions on stopping the GWX process. When I followed these I started out on the wrong tab. I found GWX under the Applications tab and had already right-clicked it and selected some type of "kill" option (don't remember what the wording was) before realizing the tab was wrong; then I went to the Processes tab and stopped the process.
I'm sorry this is so long-winded; basically I want to know if these files would be useful to you or if you've already seen this stuff a million times. If they could be useful I will send them to youAnd I want to know whether GWX just died on my computer or whether I somehow killed it -- or wehther it was removed by Microsoft, given that one of the posters above also saw it disappear on February 14. (I wish I could say it was your program but it was already gone by the time I installed it.) I'm curious about why it suddenly decided I was NOT opted-in to CEIP (incidentally, I discovered in my cleanup that I was) and went into a tailspin.
Thanks for all your hard work and attention to these problems! I would gladly make a donation if there is a way other than PayPal; we do not get along.

garza said...

One last thing: when I search my computer for GWX today I find shortcuts that weren't there before but I also find the name of the file with an Internet Explorer icon next to it -- what's that about?

garza said...

(The log file, which I have open.)

John Draugr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Draugr said...

Has anything changed that might be causing GWX to have some issues? On my Win 8.1 PRO PC I got a GWX popup warning. Upon opening the GUI I saw that "Are Windows 10 Upgrades Allowed?" marked as "YES". I then clicked on the "Click to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" and it says "Restarting Service, etc..." but when it is done, it still says "Yes" and the button still says "Click to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades". Why is it no longer allowing me to set that option to "No"? I also tried reinstalling GWX and it didn't help.

Please let me know if there is a way to fix this.

Thanks,
John

Ultimate Outsider said...

@garza - I've been really sick for the past week and really haven't been on the computer much. I will try to review the info you posted soon.

@John - Are you using version 1.7.2 of the program? That fixed a similar issue that some users experienced. If you have confirmed you are using 1.7.2, would you please use the "save diagnostic info" feature and send me the resulting report?

John Draugr said...

Yes, I have the latest version 1.7.2. How do I send you the report? Is there a email or other method you prefer for me to send the report to?

Thanks,
John

Ultimate Outsider said...

@John - The email address to send the report to is at the top of the report.

John Draugr said...

report data sent. :)

Kim Kaufman said...

How do I know what version I have? I looked in Programs and didn't see it there. I don't see any icon like the one above in the 11/27 comment above. Should I just download the new version anyway? I don't know how to get rid of the old version.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Kim - Right-click the title bar of the program and pick "Check for updates." This will show you the version you're currently running. The "Save diagnostic info" report and the "about gwx control panel" options also list the currently running version.

JohnPD said...

According to Susan Bradley, who writes articles for Windows Secrets, Microsoft issued an update to the infamous GWX nagger (KB3035583) on February 23rd. Could they be attacking GWX Control Panel????

JohnD

Steve Bolio said...

I saw the nagging KB3035583 Update listed in the "Optional" downloads. Even though I right clicked on it weeks ago and selected "Hide Update", it still was showing in the list of updates I had.

I'm also sure that's what is bothering my brother-in-laws laptop. He called me this morning and said the #10 icon was flashing on his taskbar.

Ultimate Outsider....you have your hands full combating Microsoft.
Good Luck.....I'm on your side

donthuis said...

May I add some observations on the infamous KB's 3035583 and 2952664 (and in some way 302117) UMO? Indeed all try to re-install after removal, but the 2952664 is the most troublesaome afterall, it behaves like a virus you can never remove completely....

Since it re-installs after every restart, the only solution I see is to remove it under a running Windows and NEVER restart after removal, just go to hibernate instead.
Of course other KB's will come by and will require a restart and after this surely 2952664 will be back again and has to be removed once more. All the more reason NEVER to set Win update on automatic, since you only get more restarts outside your control.

What I also noted in conjunction with these tricky updates is, that the GWX Control warns against a change in setting and the button "click to delete Windows10 programs" comes up on KB-install and greys out again after removal of troublesome KB's

Last but not least: for Windows 10 one has no control what'so ever on the KB installation. In reaction to the abundance in spyware this puts in your PC tools for protecting your privacy in another way have come up ("shutup10" is the best known). Maybe this is also the road to take for Windows 7? Let the KB's come but block their reporting tools, by disabling the reporting as such..

PS I realize this statement of mine pertains to spyware and not blocking of the automatic upgrade, but I find a similarity with the Control panel, which does not block the KB's, but the mechanisms they are activating towards the Win10 upgrade

donthuis said...

Incredible but true: KB2952664 even re-installs without a restart!
This is really a MS virus and seems unblockable. :-(

Ultimate Outsider said...

@donthuis - It's possible you had a previous version of it installed so that when you remove it Windows is just rolling you back to an earlier version. Also, have you tried hiding the update in Windows Update? This will prevent the currently available version of the update from installing. If MS releases a new version though, you will have to hide the new version to prevent it from installing.

Robert Marconi said...

Hi,

Does use of this tool prevent you from getting yhe 'free Win10 upgrade' at a later date?

Thank you
Bob M

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Robert - No, it does not prevent or otherwise void your ability to upgrade to Windows 10. It just gives you control over whether and when to upgrade. There are instructions on how to upgrade to Windows 10 after using GWX Control Panel at the FAQ: http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/11/the-gwx-control-panel-faq-frequently.html

Jordan Levin said...

On two of my PCs that I have GWX running, in the last 2 days or so, I saw that windows had given me the important update of KB3035583 again. When I hid it, I see it in my list of hidden windows updates twice now (I think I did the 1st before I installed GWX).

As I have GWX monitoring on, nothing happened that would have prevented me from accidentally installing the update -- unless the preventative action only happens after I initiate the update (didn't want to test that)...is MS doing something now to break GWX effectiveness??

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jordan - Microsoft did change the Windows Update behavior of KB3035583 a little bit this week; it's now automatically selected whereas before it wasn't. Please have a look at the first topic of the GWX Control Panel FAQ for a full answer to your question.

donthuis said...

KB2952664 keeps reappearing in the list of installed programs each and every time after my removal. The installation date then is changed to the last date it was put back by MS and now this KB also comes up in parallel as an optional update in Win update overview (hiding only gets it away there).

Well UMO, to be cont'd for sure, on my PC this is surely some kind of virus behaviour...

jnrsewa said...

Have older DELL Inspiron 6000, Win 7 Home premium, latest update. Will not run Win 10 even if I wanted to due to graphics board capabilities - according to Microsoft themselves! Since the whole Win 10 campaign it has got slower and slower. Renamed the GWX folder in \windows\system32\ and it helped a little and stopped GWX.exe running. Discovered and loaded your GWX CP yesterday and it's great - gained some speed when nefarious Win 10 going on. Trouble is since the Win 10 campaign started the computer is very slow much of the time - even when task manager says CPU usage is very low and 16 instances of svhost.exe appear all the time and appear to do nothing (previous win 7 upgrade some were sucking 85 - 95 % CPU). Before only one or two would be there as one might expect. Have tried arbitrarily stopping some of them with no apparent effect(most of the time) except increased speed - even when MT says they are doing nothing!! Is this part of Microsoft's deliberate hobbling of Win 7, trying to force people into upgrading and if so can GWX CP do anything about it? I don't need a new computer or Win 10. I only do a little internet browsing, webmail, word, excel and paint on it and don't do gaming, streaming or anything like that - don't even have Flash installed. Don't have viruses, etc. I'm running Vipre.

Fred the Duck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff S said...

Hello. I was trying to run the stand-alone GWX Control Panel (GWXCP) v1.7.2.0 on an old PC running Windows 7 Home Premium that was fairly up-to-date with patches despite the fact that I rarely use it. GWXCP would crash every time immediately when starting. So, I just did a clean install using a Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 ISO I had directly from Microsoft. Before running Windows Update and applying any updates, I immediately tried running the stand-alone GWX Control Panel (GWXCP) v1.7.2.0 again and again it crashes immediately every time. I went ahead and installed GWXCP in case that would make a difference, but it didn't.

Below is a copy of the error report Windows is providing when I start GWXCP and it crashes. Please reply here in the comments and let me know what you can. Thank you in advance and for all you do!


Crash/Error report
------------------

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
Application Name: GWX_control_panel.exe
Application Version: 1.7.2.0
Application Timestamp: 56a50511
Fault Module Name: GWX_control_panel.exe
Fault Module Version: 1.7.2.0
Fault Module Timestamp: 56a50511
Exception Code: c000001d
Exception Offset: 000011ee
OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.768.3
Locale ID: 1033
Additional Information 1: 0a9e
Additional Information 2: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789
Additional Information 3: 0a9e
Additional Information 4: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789

Read our privacy statement online:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=104288&clcid=0x0409

If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:
C:\Windows\system32\en-US\erofflps.txt

garza said...

I see lots of people have been having the same problem as me with regard to KB2952664. That thing is permanently installed on my computer; I've given up on it.
What concerns me, however, is that GWX Control Panel, which is supposedly running in monitor mode at all times, has never reacted to the presence of KB2952664. It is telling me my computer is clean. How can this be? KB2952664 was on my computer when I first installed GWX Control Panel and I have never been able to get rid of it (it reinstalls immediately, without a restart, despite the fact that my Windows Update is set to never check for updates, and in fact, even when I am NOT ONLINE). GWX Control Panel has never noticed it. Why?
Does this mean GWX Control Panel is not working properly, or not working at all? Or does KB2952664 not count as a Windows 10 update? What else is slipping past?

Justin Desilva said...

Windows 7 64

1. Uninstalled KB3035583
2. Restarted
3. Selected hide KB3035583 in Windows Updates
4. Selected "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them"
5. Downloaded GWX Control Panel
6. Disabled "Click to Allow Windows 10 Upgrades"
7. Selected "Click to Delete Windows 10 Folders..."

All seems to work however when installing new updates Windows says "Downloading Windows 10" and "Preparing for Installation" but in actuality the system is only downloading basic updates, not Windows 10. Can I disable this from happening?

Here's a screen capture

http://s12.postimg.org/pt1mwqrr1/downloading_windows_10.png

Ultimate Outsider said...

Hi folks, I've been sick the past few weeks and haven't been on the computer much. Catching up with email and blog comments...

@donthuis - You might find it helpful to go into your Windows Update settings and make sure to UNCHECK the option labeled "Give me recommended updates the way I receive important updates." When that option is checked, Microsoft slips some additional stuff onto your system.

@jnrsewa - As far as performance improvements go, the only GWX Control Panel feature I can think of that might reliably help would be the Delete Windows 10 Programs one, since that makes sure some Microsoft background tasks don't run. I'm betting you're suffering the results of something else though- perhaps a failing hard drive? Do you have adequate free RAM?

@Jeff - Today I downloaded the latest version of GWX Control Panel from my site directly onto a freshly-installed instance of Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit) and both the stand-alone version and the installed version ran as expected- so I don't think there's any fundamental compatibility issue. The behavior you're describing is making me think perhaps your downloaded file is corrupt, or maybe you have some kind of aggressive anti-virus installed that might be interfering with the program? Could you possibly zip up your copy of gwx_control_panel.exe and send it to me at reports@ultimateoutsider.com?

@garza - Please read the first topic at the GWX Control Panel FAQ. All is explained there.

@Justin - Will you please use the program's "Save Diagnostic Info" feature and send me the report? (Instructions are in the report itself, and you can look up "Save Diagnostic Info" on this page to find instructions on how to save the report.)

JohnPD said...

Microsoft has now raised the stakes. I am seeing a number of posts on the MS Community Forums about people now getting a "schedule" for them to select a date and time for installing Windows 10. There apparently is no opt out.

JohnD

garza said...

OK, thanks, I get it about the updates now. I really appreciate the work you are putting into allowing us to choose whether to upgrade or not.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@JohnPD - The "Disable Windows 10 Upgrades" feature of GWX Control Panel should stop that behavior. Sounds like another wave of people are getting that notification who weren't before.

@garza - No sweat. I'm hoping my next update has some helpful stuff in this area.

Unknown said...

Suggestion: since it's currently advisable that we disable the "Give me recommended updates the same way..." option, how about adding that option to your Change Windows Update Settings dialog box?

Robert Thaden said...

Thanks so much! Windows was trying so hard to download and install WIN 10 that I couldn't update appropriate updates. You solved my problem!

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Unknown - I was sidelined for a few weeks due to illness, but that feature is in the upcoming update. :)

@Robert - Glad I could help!

Harold Justice said...

Ultimate, is it possible or convenient for you to include the post you are responding to in the emails we receive? This would put your answer in context. Sometimes it is not clear what you are referring to. Thanks for the great work in keeping Windows 10 at bay.

SSSS said...

How can I get rid of this message that reappears in Windows Update after every reboot?

http://i.imgur.com/eM1SHdq.png

GWX Control Panel states "No traces of the Get Windows 10 app, upgrade settings, or installation files found" but apparently there are still remnants from months ago when I spent a week trying to upgrade, finally got it to work, and then reverted the upgrade.

Hitting "Try Again" makes Windows Update work normally, no trace of any Windows 10 stuff anywhere, but the message comes back after reboot.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@SSSS - Please try both the "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" and "Disable non-critical Windows 10 Settings" features (if available), then restart Windows and check your Windows Update control panel again.

If that still doesn't work, you may have some left-over garbage in your Windows Update cache that you can remedy with the "Clear Windows Update Cache" feature. It does happen sometimes, and is the reason I added that feature.

Jack N. Orlando said...

RE: Your Header "Using GWX Control Panel to Permanently Remove the ...": From Harold Justice - Is it possible or convenient for you to include the post you are responding to in the emails we receive? This would put your answer in context. Sometimes it is not clear what you are referring to. Thanks for the great work in keeping Windows 10 at bay.

Jack N. Orlando: I have wished for this, myself, to sort through what might apply to me. And I heartily concur with .....

"Thanks for the great work in keeping Windows 10 at bay."

Jack

donthuis said...

Today, March 9th installed all the latest MS updates from this month on 2 PC's, both advised and optional (KB2952664 no longer appears there, since it is lodged in my systems already). There were no warnings from UMO's Control Panel this time, but on the second PC the Panel did NOT start automatically after the mandatory restart in the update procedure. Spurious occurance or yet another trick by MS, time will tell?! I unchecked the update option on treating both kind of updates in the same way as per UMO advice. PS I still do a full image backup of the system before any major update and delay its following one until I'm sure nothing is damaged by MS in the mean time...

Mark said...

Have you tried the new KB3139929 ? It's supposed to be a security update for Internet Explorer, but Infoworld says it could include 'Get Windows 10' elements.

Linda said...

I first used this program yesterday, but now the dreaded "Schedule Your Upgrade" window is back on my home screen. I thought I got rid of the Icon and blocked everything! Arrrgh!

What does this mean?
"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."

Do I need to run that as well?

Thanks,
Isla Chica Linda

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Linda - In addition to "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades", please try the "Disable non-critical Windows 10 Settings" feature, then restart Windows and check your Windows Update control panel again.

If that still doesn't work, you may have some left-over garbage in your Windows Update cache that you can remedy with the "Clear Windows Update Cache" feature. It does happen sometimes, and is the reason I added that feature.

If you're still having problems after that, please search this post for info on the "Save Diagnostic Info" feature and send me the report.

Benjamin said...

You should now also block these updates with GWX:
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/16/03/10/1524238/patch-tuesday-brought-windows-10-ad-generator

SSSS said...

@Ultimate Outsider - thank you for the reply concerning my persistent "Windows 10 couldn't be installed" message, but I've already had "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" and "Disable non-critical Windows 10 Settings" enabled for months, I've also cleared the Windows Update cache 6 times, blocked Windows 10 upgrades in Group Policy, uninstalled/hidden a number of upgrade-related updates, and run Microsoft's FixIt for Windows Update 8 times, and run Microsoft's Windows Update Diagnostic Troubleshooting Wizard 7 times. The message always comes back after reboot. Any other ideas?

RMD said...

Thank you for your program! I sat down at my Wife's computer and saw the Windows 10 automatic download was going to happen within 59 minutes. I downloaded your program after searching for a way to disable this automatic download. I was able to delete most of the folder that Windows Update created except for 298 MB, and the notifications for automatic download for Windows 10 were still happening. I decided to RESTORE my wife's computer to a time/date prior to the 3 GIG automatic update that Microsoft graciously donated. Your program was not showing after the Restore, so I reloaded your program and VOILA, I was able to get rid of the last bit of folder that Windows had embedded. These guys are as bad as virus hackers!

Len said...

Great Tool. Only suggestion I could possibly have is to implement command line switches for deployment through GPO, PDQDeploy, etc.

Imagine that! said...

Over the last couple of days, I'm seeing reports that the March 2016 Microsoft Patch Day security update for IE11 (KB3139929) installs new “Get Windows 10” functionality. Will GWX prevent this? Thanks.

Jimbob said...

After downloading and running all references to win 10 seemed to have gone, very pleased.
However even though it is in monitor mode the next time I checked for updates KB3035583 appeared to be downloaded and installed.
This download was marked as hidden but the next time a check for updates occurred the same KB3035583 appeared again.
I would have thought that in monitor mode this download should be intercepted.
Still quite pleased though that the previous win 10 problems have gone.

Ultimate Outsider said...

Hi folks, I've had virtually no personal time in the past week due to work, so haven't been able to respond to emails or blog comments much.

I am aware of the new Microsoft updates (KB3139929 and KB3146449) that infect Internet Explorer with Windows 10 ads and I am actually putting several other GWX Control Panel features on hold in order to study and hopefully fix and/or prevent those patches. Keep an eye on the "News and Hot Tips" section of this post over the next few days; I will update once I know more and have a fix.

If you have questions about other Windows Update patches, please read the first topic of the GWX Control Panel FAQ.

If you're looking for other assistance with the program, please read about the "Save Diagnostic Info" feature at this post and contact me with details, with the understanding that I might be rather slow to respond, due to having very little personal time outside of work in recent weeks.

SSSS said...

Followup to my previous message: I've (sort of) solved my issue with the persistent "Windows 10 couldn't be installed" message (http://i.imgur.com/eM1SHdq.png) that comes back after reboot.

I figured out that there's a long chain of updates to Windows Update that supersede each other, and the problem is present in a rather old update and all subsequent updates.

1. kb3138612 is the latest update to Windows update
2. kb3135445 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
3. kb3112343 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
4. kb3102810 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
5. kb3083710 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
6. kb3083324 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
7. kb3075851 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
8. kb3065987 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed
9. kb3050265 only appears if the above update is hidden & not installed

Turns out that kb3050265 (the oldest one on the list) is safe to install, and a good idea to do so as it drastically improves Windows Update performance and memory footprint.

kb3065987 (the second oldest) also seems safe to install, although I didn't notice any tangible benefit from doing so.

kb3075851, kb3083324, kb3083710, kb3102810, kb3112343, kb3135445, and kb3138612 all cause the "Windows 10 couldn't be installed" message to reappear if installed on my system.

So if anyone else is having my problem, the solution is to make sure that kb3075851, kb3083324, kb3083710, kb3102810, kb3112343, kb3135445, and kb3138612 are NOT installed, then install ONLY kb3050265 or kb3065987. They will only appear as available updates once the seven mentioned updates are HIDDEN, although you can manually download and install them (as long as the seven mentioned updates are not installed).

John Woodman said...

The curse of Windows 10: I finally cracked, switched off the Control Panel and followed your clear instructions. A couple of hours later, with no problems, I had a perfectly functioning machine (my old back-up) with Windows 10. Shut down, went to switch it on a little later - the power-on switch fell to pieces and disappeared into the bowels of the machine! A moral somewhere.

Mohd Ariffin Bin Pa'Wan said...

At least I have no more worries. The program works more than I expected. You have done a good job to the community. Thank you very much and god bless you.

Max Parker said...

As these Windows 10 enforcement attacks by Microsoft are now getting really frequent & very oppressive, and you seem to be saying you've no more time to do much about it, I'm suggesting you put your latest source code for GWX Control Panel out into the public domain so others can work on it.

I realize you'll lose donations, but its now getting urgent that we as a PC community try to stay one step ahead of Microsoft programmers. Rapidly developing 'viral' sneak attacks are now being committed by a major US corporation. Clever people, if there are enough of them, could be empowered to do their utmost to stop it.

Publishing your GWX CP source code would give them a head start, and would relieve you of the imminent threats to you personally, legal or otherwise, which I'm sure are either now pending or already being delivered. Charge an affordable fee for it if you wish, and perhaps qualify as much as you can those who are buying copies.

PLEASE DON'T LET MICROSOFT SABOTAGE ALL YOUR GOOD WORK, NOR LET THEM BUY YOU OUT TO SUPPRESS IT. Just give it away as a good-value gift to Windows 7 PC buffs worldwide.

Otherwise gift it to SourceForge & let them take it from there.

Chaa006 said...



Max Parker wrote:

> PLEASE DON'T LET MICROSOFT SABOTAGE ALL YOUR GOOD WORK,

Is there not a risk that if the source code were placed in the public domain, that would make it even easier for Microsoft to sabotage it ?

Philip Taylor

Dreama Dove said...

I plan to stay with Windows 7 so getting rid of that annoying icon was a must. Thank you!

Brob said...

Mr. Outsider,

Thanks for creating an independent tool for retaining some control in the face of us tiny little people being bullied by You Know Who. I'm lucky, in that I started to take control of the WU process some time ago. Not lucky enough to have evaded the infamous 2952664 (it hasn't shown up since un-installation more than once). Still, gwxCP says I'm still clean of the newer cruft. But I've started checking 'Installed Updates' every time I boot up.

Stick with it as long as you can. I'm too old to want to switch to Linux Mint unless I have no other choice.

Best of luck and I'll send some support your way.

Brob

Tom the Programmer said...

I'm using Windows 7 SP1 and the GWX Control Panel. Everything with the GWX Control Panel seems to be working so far. I have a new update in Windows Update, kb3138612. Is it safe to install this? Will it trigger more Windows 10 updates if installed?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Max - I have a lot less time to respond to emails and blog comments, but I have absolutely not stopped working on GWX Control Panel. As I mentioned earlier (don't remember if it was on this post's comments), I was actually in the middle of some big updates which I am putting on hold to investigate and fix some of the recent stuff Microsoft's been doing.

I wouldn't open source my tool anyway, though, because it makes liberal use of my personal utility class library which does a lot of really hard-to-do Windows magic that I'd rather keep to myself. My binaries are free, my code is not.

Joyce Mcdonald said...

37joycemcdonald37@gmail.com. SSS I'm so glad u posted youre comment about the win 10 update screen as I had the same prob. The one I was working with was win7 pro. My other win 7 were no problem. Love the Gwx tool. I was doing this for a friend since I had such good luck with it. Then the red screen. Your info was right on time for me. I uninstalled the ones u said then restarted and it was taking forever so turned it off with the off button. It came back up pretty fast but the red screen was still there but the Gwx tool put a big balloon up so used it again and went in to view updates sure enough there were the 3 bad ones KP 3035583,KP2952664 & the latest kp3138612. I uninstalled them again did the restart.It came up right but had the last one ready to install again. I hid it and will have to watch for the other 2 so I can hide them AGAIN!! Thanks again and to you Josh you are a blessing.

sherry sloove said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to create this program and offer it to the public as a donation offer.

You saved my computer from possible threats because I could not figure out how to get windows 10 enable from downloading with my important security updates for my computer, as it did not give me any options out.

I made the mistake of downloading it once and it screwed up my computer when it downloaded and when I deleted it, so now with it clung to life with all my other downloads I needed to secure my computer I tried everything and could not get rid of it, I found you at first google and I am so glad, you fixed my problem, it was so east also and I was able to download my important downloads without worrying about 10 downloading with it.

Not to brag but to let let others know, I love this program so much I have left a donation so you can keep helping people like me from invasive programs from our own so called friendly internet updates.

Keep up the good work.

sincerely
sherry from Canada

Robert Murphy said...

Hello,

I would like to know if your software will remove the annoying Windows 10 Update notifications that are seen in Internet Explorer? If so, that'd be awesome. Either way great idea on the software.

Robert Murphy said...

Hello,

I would like to know if your software will remove the annoying Windows 10 Update notifications that are seen in Internet Explorer? If so, that'd be awesome. Either way great idea on the software.

Hoocheeman Savage said...

What a fantastic program, makes managing the Windows 10 Bomb a breeze thank you very much.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Robert - I can't fix the notifications and banners you see when you visit Microsoft-owned sites like MSN.com (which is the default site for Internet Explorer) because that content is delivered directly to your PC from Microsoft's servers. There isn't a setting you can turn off to block that. It's possible that a browser ad blocker might work, though- haven't tried it.

There has been talk of a new potential way for Microsoft to give you Windows 10 ads in Internet Explorer (when you open a new tab), but I have not been able to reproduce those ads yet. I have a potential plan for fixing it, but I need to be able to repro the problem in order to test/develop a fix.

@Everyone else - Thanks!

Minra said...

Just discovered this software here sounds great but I've no need for it as I've locked down my windows 7 pc using zone alarm free firewall by setting the applications control on auto kill settings and anything related to windows 10 GWX and I also went in manually and remove all of windows 10 crimeware and turned off my auto updates for windows 7 and by doing this I've hopefully isolated my self from microsoft auto downloads and update for windows 10. Done this way back in Aug. 2015 and so far no problems with the way windows 7 runs and no intrusions from windows 10. Wished this program of yours was available back in Aug. when I did all of the work on my pc and laptop because it would have saved me a lot of time and work but I'm going to bookmark this site because who knows I might need it in the near future to rid my computer or someones else computer of GWX windows 10 download.

Ron_Ellis said...

Thank you... I knew someone smarter than me was going to do this and our clients and I are grateful. I now have it on several machines and could not wait to make a donation earlier today!

Personally I consider this the antidote to a way-too-overly-aggressive, and even a bit arrogant, effort by Microsoft's part to have it's way. As purchasers of Windows 7/8 we should be able to optimize our investment without being dragged into a new environment that offers us little value added in day-to-day productivity.

Thanks again!

Mauro Lembert said...

greta app! I ve used "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" and "Disable non-critical Windows 10 Settings" features and afterwads the "Clear Windows Update Cache".

after hitting the "Clear Windows Update Cache" I ran WUpdate again, but it just keeps runnig for ever (WUpdate was behaving very strange before installing GWX control panel).

any hints,is WUpadte still hijacked by the GWX ,eventhough GWX cp shows I m clean?

tks&rgds

Mauro Lembert said...

quick update: Manually downloaded KB3050265 - as discussed in a couple of posts above -actually just to check if everything was back to normal w/ WUpadte , when I proceed to install it , I get stuck at an installer pop up: SEARCHING FOR UPDATES IN THIS COMPUTER...
any hints on whats going on w WUpdate?

Phil Forster said...

Hi UO,

Does your tool remove all the reg keys as per this article?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/17/microsoft_windows_10_upgrade_gwx_vs_humanity/

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Mauro - Make sure to use not just the "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" but also "Disable non-critical Windows 10 Settings" feature to clear up Windows Update problems related to Windows 10. Also, please check out the "I USED GWX CONTROL PANEL AND NOW I GET HANGS OR ERRORS WHEN I TRY TO CHECK FOR WINDOWS UPDATES" topic at the troubleshooting guide.

@Phil - If you use GWX Control Panel you don't have to worry about any of those registry keys. What they're talking about is only about trying to uninstall KB3035583. GWX Control Panel neutralizes the Get Windows 10 app and can optionally blow it off your PC (the Delete Windows 10 Programs button) without having to mess about with any of the stuff they mentioned.

amy said...

I just downloaded your Windows 10 control panel. I'ma screen reader user, and I can't tell you how many installers/programs have really been unusable because they're not made for screen reader accdess, so I was extremely gratified about how easy the installation was for me. So many other product manufacturers need to take a page from your playbook! There were a few minor annoyances, like having to press esc. out of a date/time menu to return to the settings to click on, but it was generally a breeze! I would like you to add some info about accessability to your user's manual and to the installation process itself so we can be prompted more fully about what to expect or what to do as we proceed with the installation/use of the program. I complement you, still, on setting up something so "blind-friendly"--about 50-70% of the time, that doesn't happen! Thank you.

amy said...

I am a screen reader uyser who found your Windows 10 control panel installation extremely easy to use. Other manufacturers of programs should take a page from your playbook. While there were a few minor annoyances--having to press esc. to get out of a date/time section and return to checkbox items--I found your program extremely "blind-friendly". I would like to see a section of your user's manual address concerns of folks who use adaptive tech, whether in the installation process, or use of the control panel with time. Thanks!

Ultimate Outsider said...

@amy - I am glad you were able to use the program with screen reading software. That's not something I'm able to test for, but I do try to keep things simple and clear. If you have specific suggestions for me you can email them to: reports@ultimateoutsider.com

Thank you!

Stan Silverman said...

I have GWX installed, and have had it remove the upgrade icon. I was just about to click on "delete Windows 10 folders", but stopped because this is a dual boot system with Windows 7 and Windows 10 - and I want to make sure that deleting these folders won't mess up the Windows 10 end of things. I worry that the search for hidden Windows 10 folders might actually find the Windows 10 on this system.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Stan - As long as Windows 10 is installed on a separate partition or on a separate drive, anything you do in GWX Control Panel will only affect Windows 7. I don't even know if it's possible to have two Windows OSes installed on the same partition anymore (it used to be), but I wouldn't recommend it in that case.

The great majority of people dual boot on separate partitions and/or drives though, and in that case it's definitely safe.

BeGolden said...

Thank you so much! I've just installed and tweaked. Wonderful, powerful program.
Every good wish,
Beth
Decatur, GA

Jez said...

Question: why is that GWX "Doesn't block or hide any specific Windows Update patches."? I consider this one of the most effective tools in blocking Windows 10. Before updating any new install of Windows 7 I make sure I unselect the following (and check after to make sure I didn't install them):
get-hotfix -id KB3035583,KB2952664,KB2976978,KB3021917,KB3044374,KB2990214,KB3083711,KB3083710,KB3068708,KB3022345,KB3075249,KB3080149,KB3112343

So why is GWX Control Panel allowing them?

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jez - Please see the topic labeled "WILL GWX CONTROL PANEL BLOCK WINDOWS UPDATE FROM INSTALLING SPECIFIC PATCHES LIKE KB2952664, KB2976978, KB3035583, KB3123862, ETC?" at the GWX Control Panel FAQ.

Jez said...

@Ultimate Outsider - I see. I still think it would be cool if the GWX control panel had an option to block these updates for good measure, though, even if it didn't warn if they weren't blocked.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jez - Keep an eye out for version 1.8. ;)

Lucy McGillicuddy said...

You made another updated one? Should i download it too? Should i delete the other 3 ones?

Lucy McGillicuddy said...

The new GWX Control Panel seems to be working fine. Everytime i go to check my hotmail accounts. On the MSN page it keeps telling me i should upgrade to windows 10. I just hope this will keep holding off my computer holding off it.

Chuck said...

Hi Josh,

RE/ the Registry locks detected by 1.7.4.0, could you explain a bit what your tool does to circumvent them? Does it permanently changing those registry permissions? If so, are there any negative consequences of doing so? And what sort of third-party tools/scripts are responsible for those locks, and why? Many thanks for your excellent work.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Lucy - You seem to have it figured out, but if you use the installer versus the stand-alone, that will keep you from accumulating multiple copies of the program on your hard drive. You'll only ever have the one installed copy, and the "check for updates" feature will download/install new versions for you.

Also, unfortunately, I can't control what Microsoft-owned sites like MSN deliver to your browser. You'd need some kind of browser add-on for that. I can take care of anything that happens outside the browser though.

@Chuck - My workaround for the registry problem was actually to restore the default Windows registry permissions that other tools were blowing away. (NOTE: I never do this unless I detect the permissions have been altered, and I'm actually trying to write to those keys.) I don't want to speak publicly about other specific tools, however you can contact me by sending me a message at the Ultimate Outsider facebook page, or by emailing the email address listed in the "save diagnostic info" reports generated by GWX Control Panel.

George Cassimatis said...

Bloody beautiful! I had lost control of my Windows 7 updates on one of my computers. Took forever to search for updates but then, instead the windows 10 upgrade screen appeared. I installed this utility and the Windows 10 upgrade notices have all gone and I my Windows updates are working properly again. YES!

Jez said...

I'm not sure whether this is something GWX control panel did ("disable windows 10 upgrades"?), but a while after using it my CPU is maxing out with svchost running netsvcs, and the service taking up the CPU time seems to be the Windows Update service wuauserv. The only way I've been able to stop the high CPU usage is by actually disabling that service.

SSSS said...

@Jez -- Windows Update is a huge CPU/RAM hog, but Microsoft has made some major performance improvements. If you've uninstalled/hidden a bunch of Updates (which GWX Control Panel does NOT do, but you might have done it on your own or used another tool that did it) you might be back on an old version of Windows Update.

The performance improvements were first introduced in kb3050265, which was then superseded by kb3065987. From there, there's a long chain of newer updates to the Windows Update clients that supersede the previous ones, however, I don't recommend installing any of the updates to Windows Update beyond kb3065987 (example, I don't recommend kb3075851, kb3083324, kb3083710, kb3102810, kb3112343, kb3135445, or kb3138612) because on my system they result in Windows 10 crap appearing in Windows Update, even with GWX Control Panel fully locking everything down.

Even with one of the performance-improvement updates, a small handful of people still report runaway CPU usage with Windows Update. If that happens to you, I don't think there's any known solution; they best you can do is disable automatic scanning for updates.

Unknown said...

Something is totally wacky. I set the 'let safe windows updates' to 'on' and still had to manually do it in windows, which peeved me. The reason I would want to let GWX do it is because I'm not capable of determining which updates are safe. If I can't rely on GWX to override windows, then why have the option?

I was experiencing sluggishness and so I thought that maybe I needed to update windows. I have windows 7 professional on a 64 bit Toshiba Satellite laptop. The first thing (when I had a chance) I did after my security updates for windows was check GWX. It will not close. And the 'open help' button is highlighted, bringing me here. Soon as the page loads it scrolls to the bottom. What the hell?!!

I thought that as long as I was here, I'd leave a comment. The cursor in the box/field was going on it's own, until I started typing. Very bizarre. Is this a Microslop hack?

John Woodman said...

I'm very grateful that I have been able to put it off with the Control Panel, but I am now ready to make the move to Windows 10. Is this as good a time as any to do it? To make the move, do I have to do anything other than select the "Enable the Get Windows 10 App" in the Control Panel?

Hoocheeman Savage said...

If updating to Windows 10 be aware that any software already existing working on platforms before windows 10 may not work properly or might not work at all making an upgrade or replacement of that software necessary.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jez - My program doesn't have any interaction with the Windows Update service other than stopping/starting it when it needs to apply certain settings. I personally have noticed the Windows Update service hitting my computer HARD whenever it's doing background download of updates. There could be another issue you're seeing. My own first step would be running one of Microsoft's Windows Update troubleshooters. I've got links to a couple in the topic about Windows Update in my troubleshooting guide.

@Unknown - I could not understand the circumstances you were describing in your post. (What does "'let safe windows updates' to 'on'" mean?) If you could be a little more specific about what you were trying to do and what you were experiencing I can explain. It sounds like at least SOME of your concerns might be addressed by the topic labeled "WILL GWX CONTROL PANEL BLOCK WINDOWS UPDATE FROM INSTALLING SPECIFIC PATCHES LIKE KB2952664, KB2976978, KB3035583, KB3123862, ETC?" at the GWX Control Panel FAQ. Please take a look at that and let me know if that clarifies anything.

@John - Please see the topic labeled "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?" at the FAQ (linked above). That should point you in the right direction.

@SSSS and @Hoocheeman - Thanks for your tips.

Josh91 said...

For some reason even if I delete all traces of Windows 10, after I run "sfc /scannow", the files reappear? Why is this? Can this be fixed? PGP-key: 0x77918010

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Josh91 - I should probably add a topic for this in the FAQ or troubleshooting guide (if I haven't already), but basically, once KB3035583 is installed on your PC, Windows considers it part of the operating system. Once that happens, SFC will try to restore its files when you remove them.

For that reason, the "Delete Windows 10 Programs" feature of my program and System File Checker are mutually exclusive. There are numerous reasons for this, and while all the little bits and pieces are covered in one way or another, it's probably not all tied together in a single topic.

Josh91 said...

How would I go about deleting the system files so it is no longer part of the operating system?

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

I wasn't thinking when I clicked to allow non critical windows 10 updates. I have windows 7, so that was dumb. Anyway, I installed a bunch of security updates and checked right after. GWX said I'm okay. The strange initial effects I reported, as having occurred right after the windows updates were intalled (directed here, automatic scrolling, flying cursor) were one time. I restarted my laptop and all was well.

I am Arby.

Thanks!

Kevin said...

First, thanks for your work on this utility. Like you I produce music on my Windows 7 PC and can't have my OS upgrading at-will. Thanks Microsoft. :-/

My reason for posting - are you planning on nay commend line integration? With IE security patch KB3139929 now pushing the app tray notification, I'd like the ability to run your app via a script on multiple machines (I'm a MSP). I could probably get it to load with the /tray switch but I also need to be able to tell it "disable Win 10 apps" and "disable auto OS upgrade". I can't possible login to every PC to click those buttons by hand.

It's a tragedy we have to go through any of this. Microsoft really needs to pay for this, I'm hoping the inevitable class action suit is in the trillions.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Kevin - I think you'll be happy with the next one or two major updates. Keep an eye on this post in the coming weeks.

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

@UOutsider,

W7 SP1 x64

Thanks for the great work. Just a question, after running your previous version on Monitor Mode and having a "clean machine" I then installed the newest version 1.7.4.1. Immediately after install it announced ten W10 items were found. That was a surprise because the previous version of GWX CP did not give any indication of W10 issues. So, V 1.7.4.1 seemd to do some important things the previous version didn't do...

That said, after the install I noticed that my auto "check" for updates became lightening fast with no CPU or fan spikes (I am on Check for updates and Notify but do not download and Recommended updates is UNchecked). I'm curious if the 1.7.4.1 version goes into a Windows Update "folder" and deletes old update files tht are left behind thus clearing the way for smoother update checks? An AskWoody commenter had indicated that doing a "Disk Cleanup" and including "Cleanup System Files" seemed to get rid of a couple of gigs of old update leftovers and had thus created a very quick check for updates.

All I know is after 1.7.4.1 my "auto check" for updates every day is as "smooth as dolphin skin". Did you facilitate this improvement or is this somehow a coincidence with the new version installation?

Harold Justice said...

Please disregard my last post about which version you are running. I now know to right click to find out. If you ever update the control panel please put a button for checking for updates. Thanks for your great program.

Phil said...

I downloaded Win10, but did not install it. I expect that sometime in the future, I will have to use it, so I downloaded the free version. But now, when I try to update my Win7, the update page says it is downloading setup files for Win10. Is there a way, with your program, to update my Win7 without downloading any more Win10 stuff, yet still keep the Win10 stuff that has already been downloaded, for future use?

Lorne Goodman said...

I have always been a windows user but now I am going to buy my next computer with the android operating system because I hate being told I have to use something I do not like. I did not like anything after windows 7. Microsoft has screwed up.

Lorne Goodman said...

I have always been a windows user but now I am going to buy my next computer with the android operating system because I hate being told I have to use something I do not like. I did not like anything after windows 7. Microsoft has screwed up.

Gregory Wilson said...

This definitely did the job in removing Windows 10 upgrade material from my two Windows 7 systems, but I do have a remaining problem--ever since I used it, Windows Update has broken on both computers. It hangs at "Checking for updates..." and does nothing, even after waiting six hours or more, and even after multiple reboots, uninstalling GWX Control Panel, and so on. Can you help? I'm glad not to have to deal with the Windows 10 nonsense, but I'd really like to be able to update Windows 7 in other areas.

Thanks!

J Peterson said...

we still need a solution for KB2952664 and the like. they do use up resources, send information back to Microsoft (spy on us), etc.(google them for lots more stories). the goal of not blocking windows updates in admirable but, I think, misplaced. all of these updates are junkware, associated with windows 10 and should, therefore, fall under your purview. so here is a please reconsider and help us all out. add an option to removed these and hide them; thus improving our non-windows 10 experience. thanks, jon

Ultimate Outsider said...

I have been really heads-down on the next major update. Catching up on comments now...

@studiophototrope - Hmm, that's something I should probably mention in the release notes or FAQ. There was a subtle change in the logic in 1.7.4 that actually detects more stuff than previous versions did, depending on your particular configuration- and this can result in an alert. This is good news (as far as I'm concerned) because it gives you the chance to (permanently) fix the problem. I can understand that it would be a surprise after upgrading though.

The "Clear Windows Update Cache" feature can free up several gigs of data, but there are some one-time side-effects (which the program warns you about before proceeding).

I do tweak the auto-check logic with every recent release, so yes, there have been some incremental improvements there.

@Phil - The "prevent windows 10 upgrades" combined with "disable non-critical windows 10 settings" feature combo should clear that problem up for you.

@Lorne - I'm not sure you can find PCs running Android (?) but I use Ubuntu Linux at work and it's really nice. It's definitely a lot more hands-on than Windows in terms of configuration, but it's really stable and rock-solid once you've got it set up the way you like.

@Gregory - I can assure you that GWX Control Panel does not break Windows Update, but since I get a lot of questions about it, I wrote a troubleshooting guide in the GWX Control Panel FAQ. Just search for "windows updates" page at this link.

@J Peterson - Check back here in the next couple of weeks. I think you'll be very pleased with my next version.




Jez said...

@Ultimate Outsider - if you are writing in functionality to block a set of updates, could I suggest you make the interface relatively configurable so we can see which updates are being blocked, and maybe have checkboxes next to each one to re-enable them if checked, and also the option to add new ones to block (you may forget to put some in!)

Gregory Wilson said...

Well, after letting Windows Update run for 24 hours on both computers with zero result when it's never taken more than ten minutes prior to installing this on either one, I'm pretty confident the issue was related. I ended up having to uninstall GWX and use the WSUOffline program to install updates; now Windows Update is working normally again. I'll reinstall GWX again, however, as it really did do the job on the Windows 10 nonsense, and I really appreciate your work in helping users decide when and if they want to upgrade to the next OS. Thanks so much for your reply!

Paul Hathaway said...

I was being forced into a Windows 10 upgrade during a very busty season in my job and GWX Control Panel stopped it from interrupting me. Now things have calmed down and I want to take the upgrade before the free offer is over and Microsoft stops doing security updates for Windows 7, but the process seems to have been broken. I reopened GWX control panel and turned off protection, allowed the update to Windows 10, but Windows Update kept telling me the upgrade failed. I purposefully sought out the KB3035583 update and re-installed it. That obnoxious icon is sitting in my system tray right now but every time I try to manually upgrade to Windows 10 it tells me it will download and install. Instead it simply reboots to windows 7 without a hint to what went wrong. I'm at my wits end. Since GWX control panel is the only thing I did (other than uninstall and hide the KB3035583 update) I'm hoping someone else has found a solution to this problem.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Gregory - Did you try everything listed in that topic about Windows Update that I linked you to? I've never heard of Windows Update not working after doing all those steps. Glad you were finally able to get your updates, though.

@Paul - There are instructions for upgrading to Windows 10 in the third topic at the GWX Control Panel FAQ.

Gregory Wilson said...

Yep, I tried everything in the list (had done much of it before posting a comment here, in fact). But as I say, the Windows Update seems to be kind of working now, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Peter said...

I installed GWX Control Panel last night and it all worked like a charm. Thank you. After I ran it, MS Security Essentials popped up and said it had detected some files that it wants to examine in detail. I clicked the Don't Send button, thinking it was trying to mess up the GWX Control Panel software. Tonight I opened the Control Panel again just to see if my machine was still safe ( which it was). Shortly afterwards, the same MS Security Essentials request to send some files (unspecified) for further examination came on. I clicked Don't Send again. I am wondering if this is related to the GWX Control Panel software or if it is entirely unrelated. Is it safe to send the files to MS Security Essentials for examination, assuming it is something else. Will this request repeat? Has anyone had this experience? I hope it does not do this every time I check to see if my machine is safe! Any response will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Peter

Benito Froso said...

Thank you so much for this really nice and so useful panel control. I would like to suggest you create a new one for Windows 10 Update, namely a panel control where we could check which updates we want to be installed automatically or not and when we want them to be installed, thus keeping the liberty we have in Windows 7.
Thanks again
Benito Froso

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Peter - That's really strange. I run MS Security Essentials here and keep my virus definitions up to date, and I have not detected any problems with my program on it. (I also scan my programs with McAfee Enterprise, and there aren't any issues there either.) I would suggest restarting your computer and trying an alternate malware scanning tool, like Malwarebytes, to see if anything else might have slipped by MSE.

@Benito - That's a good idea!

donthuis said...

I have not been able to replicate one of my Win7 PC's refusing to start up afterthe April MS update round on any of the other systems yet. I did notice though, that the faulty PC after restoring it to February state from an image file, now refuses to let Windows update flag up any updates received in March and April. Maybe because the GWX control panel interferes? I will bring it to 1.7.4 again and try again soon.
Another Win7 PC of mine had its update setting to include optional updates the same way as recommended ones and downloaded my selection of the reommended ones, but without showing any download progress. Repeated restart got the update process going on the downloaded files after all. After these were installed everything went back to normal, download progress on one extra update again excluded. So I definitely feel there is some change in interaction between GWX and Win update. To be cont'd, maybe this first, restored PC will start updating again in the May MS round?

donthuis said...

Problem solved on the failed PC: updates coming in need the windows update set to "download and let user decide on installation". The setting "just get the update information" no longer functions.

Two steps: March, April taken in updating, one never knows, but no problems found anymore...
UMO keep up the good work and all the best to you :-D on

emmanuel-damilola said...

Thanks a lot for developing this! It worked perfectly on the first try. I'm so going to recommend this to as many people like myself who find Windows 8.1 cool enough an OS and aren't interested in migrating to Windows 10

Chaa006 said...



emmanuel-damilola wrote:

> Thanks a lot for developing this! It worked perfectly on the first try.
> I'm so going to recommend this to as many people like myself who find
> Windows 8.1 cool enough an OS and aren't interested in migrating to
> Windows 10

I think (to be honest) that if you are already on Windows 8+, you have little to lose by migrating to Windows 10 other than the fact that you will be forced to relinquish all control over your updates; if, however, you have chosen to eschew Windows 8+ and are happy with Windows 7, then Windows 10 is likely to prove a complete nightmare and should be avoided like the plague. Just my EUR 0,02.

Philip Taylor

Ultimate Outsider said...

@donthuis - Glad you found a workaround. I have been doing a lot of Windows Update-related work recently and have learned a lot about its internals. It's one of those things where it's surprising it works at all...

@emmanuel - Thanks!

@Chaa006 - While I tacitly agree that someone with a perfectly-working 8.1-based system has less to worry about when it comes to upgrading to Windows 10 than someone with a rock-solid Win 7 build, I'm an if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it type. If I've got a PC that does everything I want, I really have zero reason to upgrade. At the end of the day I don't have any issues with Win 10, and think it's a fine OS for a new PC. I just have a number of computers running Win 7/Win 8 that I'd rather just use as they are.

Jez said...

"I don't have any issues with Win 10, and think it's a fine OS for a new PC"

Are you kidding? It's ugly, buggy, spams ads at you, leaks tons of personal info by design, and forces you to restart whenever MS shoves another "upgrade" down your throat.

Steve Bolio said...

"Are you kidding? It's ugly, buggy, spams ads at you, leaks tons of personal info by design, and forces you to restart whenever MS shoves another "upgrade" down your throat."

Tell us how you really feel??!!?? lololol

Windows 7 Pro 64bit user....

Peter said...

@UO, Thanks for your response. It has not happened since, so it may have been unrelated to GWX Control Panel, and just a coincidence. My system has been working fine. I will follow your suggestion and run Malwarebytes to see if something has indeed slipped past MSE.I just installed some security updates and then ran GWX Control Panel again to see if anything had changed. Nothing has. So I'll be watchful.

Peter

Jim Wick said...

I got so annoyed with Microsoft that I installed Debian Linux on an old laptop and it works really well. I plan to use it for connecting to the internet. I am able to do most of what I need to from the GNOME desktop without knowing much about the bash shell. It come setup with Libre Office, a PDF reader, and so on. I was able to install a good CAD program.

I'm still gonna need GWX because I use my Windows 7 device (and my XP device) for doing actual work. I will need to get online with Windows 7 once in a while, but by using Linux and can avoid the day-to-day hassle with Microsoft. Thanks again for this great program.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Jez - My comment was purely from a technical perspective, and based on my experiences installing Win 10 on a couple of newish computers for educational/research purposes. Everything ran pretty smoothly on my systems, and I have friends running Win 10 without complaints. I do share some of your more philosophical concerns, however, and I don't plan on using Win 10 on any of my personal/household systems for anything other than development/testing.

DoctorBrown said...

I have religiously avoided the Updates that I know to be related to Win10. But today when i ran Windows Update, it displayed the 'Upgrade to Windows 10' message on the main panel. The GWX Control panel is showing all clear.

When I first saw the 'Upgrade...' message the following information was displayed:
- icon app running = (App not found)
- Icon app allowed = Yes,
- Upgrades allowed = Yes,
- Win 10 settings enabled = Yes,

I then clicked the settings to make them all 'No'. but the 'Upgrade...' message is still displayed.

How do i get rid of this message?

godzero said...

Windows 7 Home Premium.

A couple of months ago, I re-installed Win7 on a new HD, due to a disk failure, and it was working fine. Then I installed the GWX Control Panel which got rid of the Win10 prompts, icons, etc. So far, it's good.

Then I found I couldn't do ANY Win7 updates at all. The system update app sits there for hours, not downloading anything. Turned off GWX and tried again without success.

Uninstalled GWX, rebooted - still not able to get any Win7 updates.

Decided to do a System Restore, which was about 4 days old, but that wouldn't complete successfully. Attempted to Undo System Restore and that failed too.

Now I can't get my system updated, can't go back to a previous state and will have to reinstall Win7 all over again.

Any suggestions?

chris hill said...

godzero,
I'm not a techie but there seem to be a lot of people having similar problems which do not appear to have anything to do with the GWX Control Panel. See the Infoworld article for a possible solution at:

http://www.infoworld.com/article/3058260/microsoft-windows/heres-how-to-significantly-speed-up-windows-7-scans-for-updates.html

DoctorBrown said...

Godzero,
There appears to be a general issue with Windows Updates that might be related to what you are experiencing. The symptoms are that installing or checking for updates takes hours.

Jump over to the Windows Seven Forum in the Windows Update and Activation group and you will get a lot of information on this problem.

http://www.sevenforums.com/windows-updates-activation/

Chaa006 said...

Having successfully used a combination of manual methods and GWX to rid myself of an unwanted forced upgrade to W10 ("today, tomorrow or the day after -- no other options, especially not never"), I decided to remove GWX and watch MS insidiously infiltrate my system once again. When it reached the point of pretending that there were no updates available other than W10, I again downloaded and installed GWX which did everything expected and required. However, I now have this horrible white-on-blue "10" icon adjacent to my system clock, which I keep misunderstanding as yet another attempt by MS to force me to upgrade. Could the GWX icon not be more mnemonic and more pleasing by being styled on (e.g.,) the "No U-turns allowed" sign, with "10" in black and a great big red diagonal stripe across it diagonally to indicate "No Windows 10 upgrades allowed" ?!

Ultimate Outsider said...

@DoctorBrown - Sometimes Windows Update doesn't clean up after itself when you disable the Windows 10 upgrade. I have never seen these steps not work: 1. Disable Windows 10 Upgrades, 2. Disable non-critical Windows 10 settings, 3. If step 2 didn't do the job, clear Windows Update cache (noting the one-time side-effects this has, which are displayed in the program before you choose to proceed.) If you do all of that and Windows Update STILL tries to push Windows 10, Microsoft might have done something new I'm not aware of yet.

@godzero - Windows 7 can have a number of potential Windows Update issues that have nothing to do with GWX Control Panel. In fact I have a Lenovo laptop that has never had my program installed on it that has never been able to check for Windows 7 Windows Updates successfully; it's literally the fresh-off-the-disc Windows 7 SP-1 and can't be updated. If the troubleshooting steps in the Windows Update section of my troubleshooting guide didn't help, some others here have posted some links you should check out.

@Chaa006 - Graphic design obviously isn't my strong suit. There might be new icons in the future, but it isn't a high priority. You can customize your notification area settings to only show my icon when there's an alert for you. (Or just disable Monitor Mode for now.)

Chaa006 said...

If you can tell me what the specifications are for an icon to appear on the notifications area, I will happily design a "No Windows 10" icon for you !

Sarah Kuchar said...

Hoping this works! I did everything as said and haven't seen any changes yet, but if they show up (or rather, WX does NOT show up anymore) then I definitely intend on donating as soon as possible! It'll be more than worth it!

Katherine Villiers said...

Thanks Josh, just one thing, will this REALLY block the automatic update that is supposed to happen tonight?

Katherine Villiers said...

Thanks Josh, just one thing, will this REALLY block the automatic update that is supposed to happen tonight?

Mike Christie said...

Thanks for this -- this solved my problems with Windows 10 masking the "Install updates" button in the control panel. Much appreciated.

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Sarah - "Disable Get Windows 10 App" and "Disable Windows 10 Upgrade" are enough for probably 99% of people who use the tool. Some folks also need to use the "Disable non-critical Windows 10 Settings" feature or "Clear Windows Udpdate Cache" features to clean up some left-over Win 10 symptoms after disabling the upgrades and the app.

@Katherine - The current version of GWX Control Panel absolutely does disable the Get Windows 10 app and prevent automatic Windows 10 Upgrades. It also alerts you if any new Win 10 symptoms/settings are discovered. It does NOT prevent Windows Update from installing updates on your machine (you control that through your Windows Update preferences), although the version coming out in a couple of weeks will change that.

@Mike - Glad it helped!

Wendy C said...

Thank you for this, I tried all the other recommended ways to get rid of Windows 10 but this is the only method that works. Sharing on Twitter, discussing on my own blog. Thanks again!

Cndi Private said...

after running GWX control panel, my windows update control panel still indicates "Restart your PC to fininsh installing updates"...what updates? is it still Window 10? Also when I tried to see the "installed update list" , it wouldn't let me unless I Restart and install updates... can someone help me please??

Ultimate Outsider said...

@Cndi - Many people had this weird symptom where for months their Windows Update control panels were "hijacked" by Windows 10- if you opened the panel you would only see the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 and you didn't have access to your other updates. When you use my program to disable the Windows 10 upgrade, this frees up your regular Windows Update patches, and you can get a whole ton of them if your control panel was hijacked for a long time.

You are safe from Windows 10 upgrades if GWX Control Panel reports No, No, No, No (or "app not found" for a couple entries). If it doesn't, use the various "Disable" and "Prevent" buttons to block Windows 10. I also recommend looking at your "Change Windows Update Preferences" and unchecking the "recommended updates" option, which will keep Microsoft from slipping some non-essential annoyances onto your PC without your permission.

Ultimate Outsider said...

Hey folks, I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond to comments as quickly as I used to. For the past three weeks, nearly every hour of my free time has gone into research, development, and testing of the next major GWX Control Panel feature.

I still read and respond to comments here, but I'm only able to do it in batches every few days. The great majority of questions I receive are already answered in this post, in the troubleshooting guide, or the FAQ.

I tend to respond to email more quickly (see the "Save Diagnostic Info" feature), but even then there's still a potential turnaround time, because I am "heads-down" in code at the moment.

siderio orion said...

Thank you very much for creating and sharing this great tool. I ran it and it worked perfectly. thanks again.

Dave Lennon-Copeland said...

This is a great piece of software!
That GWX app was so annoying, I tried to delete the damn thing from the system folder (it was in), but the permissions were locked.
Thank you so much for your work on this tiresome Microsoft bug program... Free at last.

SuperCheeseUs said...

Ever since I installed your program on Windows 7, I haven't got ANY updates at all. When I manually check for updates, it just hangs and hangs for hours. Now what? Thanks

Ultimate Outsider said...

@SuperCheeseUs - It's not me, I promise! Please have a look at my new post about how to speed up Windows 7 updates, in addition to topic #17 at the GWX Control Panel Troubleshooting Guide.

CeCe813 said...

Thank you for this nice, lean program. I am 'semi-technical', meaning I've been able to go through many of the annoying steps to delay the lovely upgrade - but it's a pain to have to be that vigilant. Also, I can't rely on all users to make informed decisions on my computer. Your tool relieves the hassle at my end, the User Guide is well-written, and I am grateful!

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