Windows 10 FAQ

Windows 10 was released on July 29, 2015. Microsoft promotes Windows 10 as free for a limited time. However, this offer does not apply to university-owned computers with enterprise licensed copies of Windows OS. Through UM’s Microsoft Campus Agreement (MSCA), we have access to all of the latest operating systems as a part of the campus agreement program. IT will begin testing Windows 10 on university applications once it is available through our MSCA, and we will notify campus when the upgrade is supported. Departmental IT support staff who also wish to test Windows 10 will have access to the software as soon as it is available to us.

For university-owned computers with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) installations of Windows and for qualified Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices (personally purchased and non-university owned), please see the FAQ below for some common questions and answers related to the upcoming release of Windows 10. Microsoft also has a Windows 10 Q&A for additional information.

Windows 10 - Frequently Asked Questions

During June of 2015, Microsoft rolled out a “Get Windows 10″ application that prompts you to “reserve” your copy of Windows 10, and you’ll be seeing those notifications in your system tray on Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 computers. That Windows 10 pop-up in your system tray is real, legitimate, and from Microsoft. It was added to your existing Windows systems via a Windows update.

“Reserve” your copy of Windows 10, and your Windows computer will automatically download Windows 10 in bits and pieces before the release date. When Windows 10 is ready to install, you won’t download a massive installer from Microsoft at the same time everyone else does.

If you plan on upgrading when Windows 10 is released, reserve it; However, IT does not recommend that UM employees do so at this time. For your information, you don’t actually have to reserve — you’ll be able to upgrade for free for the first year. Reserving your copy will just save download time later. Microsoft will likely have a website that walks you through upgrading when Windows 10 is released.

While the upgrade process shouldn’t erase your personal files, it’s always important to have backups anyway. If you have hardware or programs that won’t work with Windows 10, the upgrade application will inform you of any possible problems you might experience.

To cancel your reservation for Windows 10 free, right-click on GWX, the white Windows icon on the Taskbar, and select “Check your upgrade status” and then “Cancel reservation.”

You can cancel and reapply, but it’s better to leave it until you’re sure you want it, as long as you do that before July 29, 2016. That’s when the free upgrade offer ends.

The point of “reserving” the upgrade is to allow Microsoft to download Windows 10 – probably 4GB or more – to your PC in the background over a longer stretch of time. Microsoft doesn’t want to upload the entire code to 400 million or so PCs on the same day. Even if you reserve Windows 10 now, you may not be invited to install it for days or weeks after the official launch on July 29.

There already is a Windows 10 upgrade advisor. Run the Get Windows 10 app, click the menu and select “Check your PC” or “Your PC is good to go”. This will warn of any compatibility problems that Microsoft has found, bearing in mind that there are millions of devices and tens of millions of Windows programs that Microsoft knows nothing about. (Anybody can write software for Windows without telling Microsoft.)

If you have any unusual hardware or software, hold off installing Windows 10 until the “early adopters” have found the major problems and Microsoft has had a chance to fix them.

Microsoft suggests that 32-bit Windows 10 will run in 1GB and the 64-bit version in 2GB. While this may be true, we’d recommend doubling each number, ie 2GB and 4GB. However, if you are running the 64-bit version of Windows 7 in 3GB, 64-bit Windows 10 should run slightly better. You need the 64-bit version to support more than 4GB.

The free upgrade offer applies to every PC that is running a “genuine” copy of Windows 7 or 8. It doesn’t matter if you have two or 20 PCs, or more; with a few exceptions. For example, the offer does not apply to corporate or education copies installed under some volume or site licensing deals (e.g. UM's Microsoft Campus Agreement).

If you have a Home version, you will get Windows 10 Home, and if it’s a Pro version, you will get Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft always does like-for-like upgrades, where possible. However, there isn’t a Windows 10 Ultimate, so people who bought Vista Ultimate or Windows 7 Ultimate will likely be downgraded to Windows 10 Pro.

While you cannot directly go from 32-bit Windows 8.1 to 64-bit Windows 10, the transition is not impossible. If you let Windows Update upgrade your system “in place”, it will always do it on a like-for-like basis: 32-bit to 32-bit; 64-bit to 64-bit. If you want to move from any 32-bit version of Windows to any 64-bit version, it always requires a “clean installation” from a DVD or USB drive. This will delete your old operating system, programs and data, so you will have to re-install everything from scratch.

From the preview versions, it looks as though Microsoft will at some point enable Windows 10 to import backups made using Windows 7’s backup program. 

You can downgrade later if you change your mind or decide you do not like the upgrade. Microsoft aims to enable you to “roll back” to your old operating system, if required. However, you shouldn’t rely on this. It’s a good idea to back up your old system before installing a new one. You should also use the option to create “recovery media” with your old system, so that you’re not totally dependent on the “roll back” working.

To remove the Windows 10 free upgrade reminder, right-click on Start and select Properties. Next, go to the Taskbar tab, click the button that says “Customize ...”, and find GWX, the Get Windows 10 app. The drop-down menu offers the option to “Hide icon and notifications”.

If you want to go further, run Windows Update and click “View update history” to see all the updates you have installed. Look for, or search for, KB3035583, select it, and then click to uninstall or change it. Windows will ask “Are you sure?” Just click “Yes”.

Is the update installed?

In order to find out whether the update is installed see the Windows 7 update installation checker, or the Windows 8 update installation checker.  If “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3035583)” is in the list with the status message “successful” then GWX is installed on your PC.

How do I remove the update?

There are two steps to remove KB3035583 from your computer. You can uninstall the update on Windows 7 or uninstall the update on Windows 8. In this case make sure that you remove the KB3035583 update and not accidently another one. After a few seconds the update is be removed and your computer doesn’t need to restart.

On some systems the file GWX.exe remains in /Windows/SysWOW64. To remove that file, you need to take ownership of the folder. If you're having trouble, try taking ownership of the folder a different way. Once you’ve taken ownership, you can delete the GWX.exe file.

How do I stop it from coming back?

In order to make sure Windows doesn’t install KB3035583 again with the next round of updates, uncheck “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates”. This will make sure the update will be listed under the “Optional” updates and no longer automatically install.

If you want the update to disappear entirely, right-click the update and choose Hide Update in the contextual menu of the KB3035583 update. Now you should be saved from the notifications.