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Microsoft literally counting the seconds until free Windows 10 upgrade expires

Jon Martindale
If you haven't already installed Windows 10 at this point, there's a good chance you don't want it. Here's how to stop it from installing, and bugging you with notifications. You can even remove the tray icon!

In a last-ditch effort to get those running older versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 before the free-upgrade deadline on July 29, Microsoft has added a countdown timer to the Windows 10 update panel. It’s even popped a yellow exclamation point by the update icon in the system tray.

If you merrily breezed by the repeated attempts Microsoft has made in the past to try and encourage to upgrade, it’s hoping one last final nag will get the job done. If you’re still running Windows 7 or 8.1, look down at the bottom right-hand corner where your icons are: You’ll likely see the familiar upgrade icon, though it’s now highlighted with a yellow marker.

Opening up the upgrade panels greets you with a revamped interface — how exciting! There’s now a countdown timer, acting as if some sort of catastrophe will take place in just over a week’s time. There’s even a handy bullet-pointed list of great reasons to upgrade to Windows 10. It’s free, “familiar and easy,” and “designed for speed,” we’re told (via InfoWorld).

Related: Don’t want anything to do with Windows 10? Here’s how to banish it for good

Microsoft’s efforts aren’t stopping there, though. It’s also pushed out a patch which pops up a purple, full-screen advert for Windows 10. “Sorry to interrupt,” it begins, before reminding you that you have until July 29 to register your free copy of Windows 10.

“Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10,” it says, as if that should be a surprise at this point.

Although Microsoft received a lot of praise for its initial release of Windows 10 for free to those with valid Windows 7 and 8.1 licenses, it’s taken a lot of flak in recent months for its pushy upgrade tactics. At one stage it made the update “recommended,” without telling anyone, which meant that simply closing the upgrade box would actually begin the download and install; something that caught a lot of users off guard.

For those looking to avoid both of these nagging messages, they are considered recommended updates in their own right, and should download automatically on a lot of machines. Look out for and block KB 317304 if you want to dodge them.

Still, if you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10, Digital Trends has a number of good reasons why you should.