Sunday, May 29, 2016

Non-Consensual Trickery

I love my laptop. I still call it my "new" computer even though I've had it a year now. It's fast and it knows what I like and we get along great.

A while back I started to get little pop-ups asking me if I wanted to upgrade to Windows 10. First of all, pop-ups? One of the most annoying things in the world. Having come of age during the time of internet dial-up, pop-ups were my nemesis. Thankfully, there are pop-up blockers now and we barely have to deal with such annoyances. But no, my brand new computer started giving me pop ups.

Did I want to upgrade to Windows 10? I don't know. My computer is new. It needs upgrades? Why? I like it the way it is.

Fearing I was doing something catastrophically wrong, I consulted my tech department (aka Mr. McKay). He assured me that I did not need to upgrade my computer if I didn't want to. Because that's what he does. He listens to me and what I want and makes sure I'm not doing anything I don't want to. Because that's called consent. Along with respect and trust and just being a decent human being.

I'm not the most technologically advanced. Not that I can't be. I just don't care to be. The less time it takes me to do things, the better. I hate being confused and not knowing how to work something. To be honest, it took me a few months to figure out where things were on my new computer using Windows 8.1. But I know now, and I don't want to learn them all over again.

Occasionally I would still get these pop-ups. I paid them no mind. Most times I didn't even remember seeing them. I'd be in the middle of typing an email or opening up my latest WIP and the pop-up would flash in front of me. I'd more than often click out of it without reading it.

I didn't think this was a problem. I decided I didn't want Windows 10. I saw it was an option. I discussed it with my tech department and I made an informed decision not to upgrade.

My husband even warned me that these messages would get more persistent and they would contain trickier wording. They would try to make me think that I needed to upgrade now or I was missing out. My upgrade will only be free for a limited time and then I will wake up one day and regret my decision because now I will suddenly want Windows 10 and it is no longer free!!!

Yeah, no. Not going to happen. I know what I want.

So I ignored the messages. In fact, Microsoft, you seemed a bit desperate.

Then I woke up one morning and opened the lid of my laptop. I hadn't had my coffee yet, I was checking on the status of the world when I got a pop-up message that looked distinctly different from all of the others.

This one informed me that my upgrade to Windows 10 would be starting in 15 minutes and I should save all of my work to prepare. 

Umm, what?

No. I said no. Even if I didn't have a direct chance to check a box that said "no", I ignored and I evaded. I certainly never ever said yes. I never consented to this!

Was this another trick? Was this particular pop-up making me think my computer would just restart and begin this upgrade whether I liked it or not? I didn't know, I couldn't tell. I hadn't had coffee yet and I just wanted to check my facebook feed and maybe a few emails before I had to deal with something being forced upon me that I not only never consented to but totally and completely did not want. At all.

With a little research (again, done by my loving husband), we've come to discover that one of the pop-ups I clicked out of without reading actually scheduled me for the upgrade.

What the actual fuck?

Also, as far as we can tell, there is no way to unschedule it. I keep delaying it. I get new messages every day alerting me to my demise... er, upgrade. And even though I have scheduled it for four days out now, to give us some time to figure this out, I just got a new one this morning warning me it was happening soon. And apparently if I restart my computer at any moment it will just begin! There is no way to actually say "No, I don't want this. Unschedule me from your stupid upgrade bullshit."

So I would like to say to you, Microsoft, you are a class act. It's as if you stalked me in a bar all night. First, you approached me and I ignored you. You were persistent and I was steadfast in my disregard. But you decided that wasn't the answer you wanted, so you made up your own rules. You decided you were going to take some kind of unspoken, not agreed upon signal as my consent. 

Whatever you need to tell yourself so you can sleep at night. But I never consented to this. I never said yes. And I really don't want your upgrade now that it's being forced on me.

You've broken my trust and I will never feel the same way about you again.



  1. You can delete Windows 10. Just Google how and detailed simple instructions come up. It only takes a few minutes.

  2. You can delete Windows 10. Just Google how and detailed simple instructions come up. It only takes a few minutes.

  3. If it does end up downloading I'll figure out how to delete it. But my point is that it shouldn't even upgrade because I never asked for it to begin with.

  4. You're much stronger than me. I ended up just upgrading. I like it, but I miss certain features of 8, but there hasn't been anything on 10 that bothered me. Some ppl hate it and I'm not sure why. I absolutely HATE how they (and just about every other company) are making new tech incompatible w/ old tech so you must update or become obsolete. That and the pop up begging is obnoxious. And it does get tricky to say no. That shouldn't even be legal. They do this to make more and more money instead of just working on making good, reliable products that are long lasting. There is a way to stop the asking, I believe. I asked my Geek Squad guy and I think (can't remember) he turned it off for me.

  5. Hi Casey, I had a very old notebook, with Windows 7 on it and then My beloved bought me a spanking new laptop. It came with Windows 10 already in situ. I don't do an awful lot on my laptop but I quite like it. It is whizzy and it didn't take long to sort my bits and pieces. You never know you might like it.
    love Jan, xx

  6. I prefer 10 to 8, it's not fundamentally different and gets rid of things I didn't like about 8. just turn off Cortana, she's a pain in the arse.

  7. That sounds awful! I haven't used a Windows computer in over a decade, so I forget how pushy Microsoft can be with this stuff. Techno-rape indeed!

  8. That sounds awful! I haven't used a Windows computer in over a decade, so I forget how pushy Microsoft can be with this stuff. Techno-rape indeed!