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Levi's PC Consulting
How To: Disable the Windows 10 Upgrade Prompt
The recent news that Windows 10 is going to become a "Recommended Update" in the very near future has many of my clients concerned about their users "accidentally" upgrading their systems to Windows 10. While you can "rollback" to your previous OS once, within the first 31 days of having upgraded to Windows 10, it's not a perfect rollback presently and it leaves the machine with a few issues following the "rollback".
If your running Windows 7 or Windows 8 and you have Automatic Updates enabled, you've probably noticed an annoying pop-up offering you Windows 10 for free. I'm not going to get into a long rant about why you should or shouldn't go to Windows 10. If you're a home user and you want to experience something kinda different then sure give it a shot, businesses on the other hand should probably stick with Windows 7. Some of you may have noticed a loss of disk space recently as well, it's probably due to Windows 10 pre-installing itself.
A "Critical Update" from Microsoft back in July of 2015, KB3035583 installed GWX, the program responsible for those lovely pop-ups. At around the same time Microsoft released update KB3080351, which lets you disable both the option to upgrade to Windows 10 along with the pop-ups but most of you probably don't know what a GPO is and you probably don't want to want to go digging through your registry.
So how do you get rid of the pop-ups and stop your employees or well intentioned friends/family from upgading your computers to Windows 10?
It's pretty easy, I've created two registry files based off KB3080351.
The first one, Win-10-disable.reg to disable the Windows 10 upgrade/notifications.
The second one, Win-10-enable.reg to turn them back on, if for some reason you change your mind.
While you should read the rest of the page, in a nutshell.
  • Click on "Win-10-disable.reg" above and save the file to your computer.
  • Open your downloads folder and double-click on "Win-10-disable.reg.
  • Click Run in the "Open File - Secuity Warning".
  • Confirm the User Account Control prompt by clicking Yes. (You'll only get this prompt if you have the UAC enabled.)
  • Click Yes when prompted by the Registry Editor.
  • Click OK once you get the message "The keys and values contained in ..\Win-10-disable.reg have been succesfully added to the registry".
  • Last step, reboot for the change to take effect.
  • Depending on your browser (IE,FF or Chrome) along with your view settings in Windows Explorer, the above instructions may have to be adjusted a pinch. If the above didn't work for you, read my troubleshooting further down.
    After rebooting the computer will go through a "Configuring Windows" phase then a "Cleaning Up" phase (expect this to take 5 to 15 minutes) during which the Windows 10 pre-installation folder along with any Windows Updates for Windows 10 will be removed, freeing up 5-15GB of disk space.
    Here are the contents of each .reg file for your information.
    Win-10-disable.reg contains the following.
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate] "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx] "DisableGwx"=dword:00000001
    Win-10-enable.reg contains the following.
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate] "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000000 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx] "DisableGwx"=dword:00000000
    When you look at the two .reg files you can see that all we're doing is adding the keys and enabling the values for DisableOSUpgrade and DisableGwx, by changing them from 00000000 to 00000001 or 0 to 1. A 0 (Zero) value disables things in the registry while a 1 (one) enables them. So we enabled the registry setting to disable the upgrade. If the registry setting was EnableOSUpgrade, we'd then have to set it to a 0 value to disable it, logic sometimes...
    Should go without saying but if those registry keys and values don't already exist, the .reg file will create them and if they do exist they will take on the new values from the .reg file. These are new keys/values that have only been available since July 2015, so it's quite unlikely that they would already exist and I don't expect they would cause a GPO issue or confict with an existing policy but as always do your own testing to ensure it doesn't cause problems in your enviroment prior to rolling out the change.
    While this is a fairly minor registry change, to be perfectly safe you should backup your registry prior to making any changes, such as merging one of the above .reg files. KB article KB322756 has instructions on how to backup sections of the Windows Registry.
    FYI: You'd want to export the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows key, as both values are within that key.
    © Levi's PC Consulting 2021