The war with the Windows 10 icon in the corner of everyone's screen took a turn for the worse this week, when it began an apocalyptic countdown timer, administering one last threat to all remaining dissenters: join us now or be forever exiled to whatever version of Windows you were using before. With the resistance lacking any kind of coherent command structure, the icon seems to be upping its rhetoric. As we all know, the icon has been with us since before we can remember. We have always been at war with the icon.
The conflict with Microsoft's upgrade notification has been dramatic. The icon snuck onto people's desktops last summer. In September, innocent civilians discovered that their machines were downloading Windows 10 without even asking, eating up between 3.5GB and 6GB of hard drive space. By March this year, the operating system was even auto-installing itself on some people's computers. The war was underway. Many, like me, joined the resistance and disabled the icon by uninstalling the precise update file that housed the enemy (the dreaded battle of KB3035583). But as our laptops were freed, so our PCs fell. Attempts to uninstall the update on my own desktop computer failed and the icon remained, ever-watchful.
Finally, in May, our Alec reported that Microsoft had decided to finally retract the icon along with the offer of a free install. On July 29th, a year since the operating system's release, the war will end. But not without one last mega-pester. The icon now has... a warning symbol. Click to find out what this means and you get the countdown. So, for 7 more days from time of writing, you can still get Windows 10 for free. After that, you will have to pay $119, claims Microsoft. It is hard to see how the resistance will, er, resist this last offensive. Even I am preparing to jump ship. Because even after all this brouhaha, Windows 10 is reportedly one of the good ones. Then again, Microsoft might simply repeat the offer at some later time.
If you're a fellow Windows 7 or 8 refugee, be sure to review the privacy options which have been reported as awful, and remember to back-up everything before the upgrade. I'm not sure if the new OS is still sharing users' WiFi passwords, like an idiot, or if this has long ago been fixed. But if not you should probably disable that too.
If, on the other hand, you are remaining to fight the good fight, then good luck. The wall is going up, we may never see one another again. But take solace in the knowledge that soon you will be free of the icon and its dead, square eye in the dark glow of your screen, biding you, lulling you, whispering...
"Get Windows 10"