How to avoid upgrading to Windows 10 and stay on Windows 7 or 8.1

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If you still did not upgrade your PC to Windows 10, Microsoft warned us back in October that it wanted to make the upgrade process easier, and so Windows Update would soon list the update as a “Recommended Update" instead of an "Optional" one.

Starting this week, the change has finally occurred in Windows Update, but that doesn't mean you'll be forced to do the upgrade. You can still choose when or if you want to install Windows 10, but it may be a good idea to check your Windows update settings if you want to avoid any surprises.

If you have configured Windows Update to automatically install recommended updates, then the upgrade process will soon start automatically on your machine. Don't worry, however: you will still see a prompt asking you if you're ready to perform the upgrade or not. We hope this warning prompt is clearly visible for users, but if you accidentally start the update process, relax--you will still have 30 days to revert back to your old Windows version without losing any personal data.

If you really don't want to perform the upgrade, don't worry either. Here's how to to check your Windows Update settings and turn off the option to automatically install these recommended updates.

  • If you're running Windows 7, open the Control panel and go to the Windows Update section. Then select "change settings" on the left menu, and make sure to uncheck the box below "recommended updates". Now, click OK at the bottom of the window, and you're set!
  • On Windows 8.1, you can either use the Control panel and then follow the same process we described above on Windows 7, or you can use the "modern" Settings app. If you do that, just go to PC settings > Update and recovery > Windows update, and then select Choose how updates get installed. Now, please uncheck the Recommended updates box, then click on Apply below, and you're good!

If you follow each of these processes correctly, the Windows 10 update will still be listed in the Windows Update panel, but it won't install automatically on your machine and you won't be annoyed by prompts asking you to do it either. Keep in mind that you'll need to check for updates periodically to ensure that you don't miss any important security updates.

And so, Microsoft made sure that you're still in control of your Windows 7 or 8.1 machine, while nevertheless pushing more users to finally try the company's brand new operating system. We really think you should give it a shot as it's a free upgrade with cool new features, and you can still revert back to your previous version if you're not happy with Windows 10.

The company has big plans for Windows 10, as it's hoping to get a billion users on the platform in the next three years. The OS is currently running on more than 200 million devices, and as we also wait for the release of Windows 10 Mobile for older Lumia devices, we will follow closely how Windows 10 market share evolves.

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