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Stop your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC from forcing Windows 10 on you with GWX Control Panel

There is no doubt that Microsoft eagerly wants you to upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 machine to Windows 10. With the goal of reaching 1 billion devices running the new operating system within the first two to three years, the company began its campaign to push Windows 10 to the masses using its "Get Windows 10" app before the OS had even launched.

Initially, the prompts on older Windows machines weren't very intrusive, but over time, Microsoft has updated its "Get Windows 10" (GWX) app to be more aggressive trying to convince you to upgrade your computer to Windows 10. As such, if you're not yet on board with the Windows 10 train, you probably want to stop those nagging alerts.

Thankfully, we also have a free tool called GWX Control Panel to help you control Microsoft's approach to upgrading to Windows 10.

GWX Control Panel offers some options to help control your Windows 10 upgrade. For example, it can help you remove the "Get Windows 10" icon that sits in the notification area, and you can prevent Windows Update from downloading and installing the new operating system. It can also detect and remove the installation files if they have already been downloaded on your computer. You can activate a monitor to alert you on future Windows 10-related settings changes, and optionally, it can delete some program files that are known to cause your computer to upgrade to Windows 10.

Protecting your system from the Windows 10 upgrade

In the steps below, we'll walk you through the process to prevent the upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 while putting a stop to the "Get Windows 10" app.

Warning: Before proceeding it's important to note that while GWX Control Panel has worked for many users, it's a third-party tool that is offered "AS IS" without warranty. As such, it's always recommended that you perform a full back of your computer before modifying anything in case you need a way to recover. Download and use the software at your own risk.

  1. Visit the Ultimate Outsider web page and click GWX Control Panel link to download the tool. (Also note that site offers a stand-alone version of the tool if you don't feel comfortable installing the third-party software.)
  2. Once the download completes, double-click the GWXControlPanelSetup.exe, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation

  1. Right-click the GWX Control Panel icon sitting on the Desktop and select Run as Administrator, read carefully, accept the End User License Agreement, and click Continue to install the tool.
  1. You will now be presented with the tool. You will see that GWX Control Panel shows various pieces of useful information, including whether or not the Windows 10 installation files are already downloaded on your system, if your PC is currently set to allow the Windows 10 upgrade, and status of the "Get Windows 10" app, among other pieces of information. Then GWX Control Panel offers many different options to combat the upgrade, including:
    • Delete "Get Windows 10" app: Removes the "Get Windows 10" icon from the Taskbar in the notification area.
    • Delete Windows 10 Download Folders: Deletes any downloaded Windows 10 installation files to free-up space.
    • Prevent Automatic Windows 10 upgrades: Changes your system settings to block Windows 10 upgrades.
    • Delete Windows 10 Programs: Removes the program files that will get your computer ready for Windows 10.
    • Enable Monitor Mode: Installs a monitor process that will alert you if any settings modifications are made to your system regarding Windows 10.
    • Delete Windows 10 Programs: This is perhaps the only option you cannot undo using the free tool. If you are sure that you want to delete all Windows 10-related programs and settings, make sure to understand that you will have to download manually the Windows 10 installation files using the Media Creation Tool to do the upgrade.
    As you can see, you can configure various settings for this tool, but you only need to click and enable the Delete "Get Windows 10" app and Prevent Automatic Windows 10 upgrades to stop the annoying GWX app and protect your computer from automatically upgrading to Windows 10.

It's important to point out that once you set the new configuration settings on your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 machine, you will need to close and reopen GWX Control Panel to revert any of the changes.

In the tool, you will also notice the Clear Windows Update Cache option. This option is there to help you in case there are still some Windows Update issues after using the "Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades" feature. You can click the button to get more information about the feature and to proceed to clear the Windows Update cache.

While Microsoft has made available more information on how to opt-out the Windows 10 free upgrade, GWX Control Panel has been designed to be a simple tool that anyone can use. Furthermore, non-technical users can benefit from this tool as they can easily control the Windows 10 upgrade without having to modify manually Group Policy settings or any entry in the Windows Registry, which can go catastrophically wrong if you don't make changes correctly.

Also, GWX Control Panel allows you to revert (almost) any change you apply to your computer. This ability means that if you don't want to upgrade to Windows 10 today, in the future, when you feel the operating system is good enough, you can undo the changes and proceed to upgrade your PC. Finally, if you come across any issues using this tool, you can refer to the GWX Control Panel troubleshooting guide at the official site.

Keep in mind that we're not saying you shouldn't install the new operating system. Microsoft has done a tremendous work with Windows 10 by making it more secure than Windows 7, addressing users complaints with Windows 8.x, and adding many new features and changes. However, many users may have their own valid reasons to skip the upgrade, and they should have an easy way to stay in their current version.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft's marketing methods to push Windows 10 to the masses? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

If you don't feel comfortable installing a third-party tool to modify settings in your system, we have also published Microsoft's recommended instructions to permanently disable the "Get Windows 10" app and stop the Windows 10 upgrade through Windows Update using the Registry and Group Policy. You can find all the steps here.

More resources

For more tips and tricks on Windows 10, and get the latest news, you can visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

72 Comments
  • This is a great article! Thanks Mauro! Personally out of 3 pcs I have, only one has 10 on it and the rest run 7 fine.
  • Personally I'd use the msft tutorial, even if one has to use regedit - I am wary of using apps from unknown devs. Still, good to have a choice.
  • I am sticking with Gem running on PC DOS (Although I did sometimes run it on MS DOS).  
  • GEM was way better than Windows 2. If only they'd kept it going, just think where we would be now? The dream... sigh.
  • I would certainly love to have Windows 10, but please make it more polished first. Windows 7 and 8 seemed like a finished product when they came out in retail version, but Windows 10 is far from it. Many will argue with me that Windows 10 is meant to be sevice, continuously receiving updates and fixes. Yeah, I get that. But it's not like Microsoft is making their first OS. They have done wonderful jobs previously, and I expect them to make Windows 10 even better. But at least make it more polished when it's released for the masses. The initial July 29 release was a mess, and the November update was great for so many fixes, but still not good enough for average users. Let's see what the future unfolds with the Redstone update.
  • Same thoughts here...
  • Windows 8 felt like a finished OS upon release?!
    You are seriously sugar coating the past!!
    Even Windows 7 needed a service pack before it was truly ready
  • It's the same for almost every Windows OS. It comes out and everyone says it's terrible, years later, it was the best OS they ever made.   EDIT: Except for Windows:ME, that was the biggest **** ever lol
  • My Toshiba Satellite 1800 is still running WinME like a champ Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Excellent. I'll be running the PC OS that has a service pack to make it stable. And I'll say the same when Windows 10 can say the same.
  • Yup. Windows 8 after initial release had most of the metro apps crashing and felt almost like Windows 7 when working on desktop. Windows 8.1 update 1 and 2 gave a little more meaning to the OS. Windows 10 however still retains many ugly pieces from Windows 8 like those accent coloured settings panel sliding out from the right. I doubt if they are even aware of those slide outs.
  • Just look at the releases or WIndows 7, 8 and 10. Compared to Windows 10, 8 had a much much better feel. Maybe it didn't have all the necessary features, but it never felt like a buggy OS, like Windows 10 feels right now. And not sure what are you meaning by "truly ready", Windows 7 was (almost) perfect right after it's release. Service pack did fix many things, but most average users were unaware of those problems.
  • Windows 8 had a very nasty bug which caused a high disk usage(upto 100%)  repeatedly for long periods of time. If you don't believe me, then just use any search engine to verify.
  • There is no perfect OS for PC at release, the sheer ammount of programs and hardware configurations makes this impossible. Macs get away with it since their hardware choise is limited .. and Linux .. well ... seriously ... :)
  • Honestly its faster than 7. My old Samsung laptop couldn't run well on 7 but runs great on 10. It has better architecture, better memory management, CPU scheduling and the list goes on. I haven't had any issues on the latest one. Not sure why people won't grab the free update while they can. It let's you revert within 30 days. It has all the benefits of 7 and more. I would get it while it's free to at least test out. Because trust me a lot of people may regret it once it goes pay.
  • Ditto. Running Windows 10 on a Dell M90 laptop. It's a 9 year old, originally XP machine. New SSD and it's awesome. Boots fast, stable, secure. Very happy and happier with every update.
  • In no way was Windows 8 a finished product when it was done. If it were, they wouldn't have released the huge 8.1 update that made it significantly more useful and accessible.
  • MS brought out 8.1 mostly because 8 was totally meant for devices with touch input.
  • Well, I've updated at day first and my laptop haven't had any problems till today. Windows 10 seems really good for me :)
  • Well you wont be updateing anytime since MS said to think of windows 10 as incomplete.
  • I am sticking with Win 7 for my work machine. Thanks for the article.
  • Windows 10 is running on 100+ computers in my organization without any issues and these are domain joined computers. I think many of you are blowing things out of proportion and have a mindset that hinders technology progression. I think it's great that Microsoft gave us the ability to have input which is the complete opposite of how they were in the past. If you guys want to stay stuck in time, go right ahead.
  • Great article guys. Just what I needed. I have a Windows 7 PC, which has a graphics card for which there is no Windows 10 drivers yet. Because of that I am not upgrading at the moment, but I keep getting notifications to upgrade to Windows 10. Microsofts tactics are ridiculous..  
  • I don't know how old your computer is, but I'm running windows 10 on some latitude E6500's which are very old without issues.
  • It's about 3 years old, with an AMD graphics card. Still no drivers yet.
  • No AMD drivers? WTF, even my HP ProBook with a Mobility Radeon HD5000 has drivers for W10 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • While there are no supported drivers officially, you may actually turn out running Windows 10 just fine. Remember you have a 30 days window to revert to Windows 7, essentially there's nothing to lose in your situation.
  • Same here
    Man I thought I was the only one with this problem Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • why do you keep posting this crap? why against WIndows 10? especially when Windows Mobile, which was the first thing WindowsCentral aimed at since it was called WPcentral. Both are connected. ​If people want to stop the update, they will stop it by themselves, stop trying to brainwash people into following your views against Windows 10. I still remember you 10 crap reasons why not to upgrade. it was total BS anyway. Windows 10 is amazing OS, and it's better if most people upgrade so 1. support will be better. 2. apps for Mobile and desktop will improve... same as updates. 3. it's the best OS and the last one, so if you get it today, you will not have to get it again (since most people buy computers with preinstalled OS). Understand? why are you even a writter anyway. you have been doing this crap for years and years. and honestly if I was Microsoft I would push the updates to everyone. some people won't be able to update becuase of their hardware and usually upgrade will tell you that. Anyway, that's why Microsoft does with phones, push it insider or non insider, and don't push it to unsupported devices. and people are "happy" with latest version on their phone, so don't understand why it's so bad if they force it. I use it professionally, and Windows 10 is the best OS, amazing performace, nice new features, really nice UI that makes other apps like 3dsmax look better without Autodesk caring about it. so again, another BS post by this guy. What's next? are you going to stand outside Microsoft campus with a paper saying "No to Windows 10!"?
  • You might be saying this because your PC completely supports Windows 10 and has all the required drivers. Many PCs who are getting the upgrade notification don't even have drivers for Windows 10 from their manufacturers. This article suits them best. Why would anyone upgrade to a new OS at the cost of crashing his hardware? And media is expected to be non-biased. Windows Central isn't Microsoft's personal ad company to spread out non-existing positivity about each and everything related to Microsoft and Windows. They take care of interests of all kinds of audiences. Here, many people are appreciating this article as they need it. If you are satisfied with the product, so be. Many people aren't.
  • Lol did you even read the article? The author says this isn't saying users shouldn't upgrade to Windows 10, but is giving them an easy way to stay with their current version without feeling nagged.
  • Even by the standards of the most delusional Microsoft fanboy, your comment takes the cake as most fanboyish post ever. You sound as if you're going to cry just because someone says something negative about Windows 10. Actually questioning why he's a writer? Do you think the world begins and ends with Windows 10? My advise, put down the pipe, lay off the koolaid for a week and take a holiday, you need it. :)
  • One simple and only reason I can think of to not upgrade to Windows 10 is no Windows Media Center.  The only computers I havent upgraded are my 3 HTPC's that I use to record shows off of cable.  Other than that Windows 10 is pretty awesome and I recommend it to most people to upgrade if they can.  Some staunch supporters of Windows 7 were blown away at how easy and nice the upgrade was and how seamless Windows 10 ran on their hardware.
  • @itty bitty mex, check the forums about media centre. You will be pleasantly surprised:).
  • So you're saying we should be forced to upgrade to Win 10 whether we like it or not? Hmmm no thanks...I prefer Win 7 over Win 10, that might change over time as Win 10 evolves but so far nothing in Win 10 gives me the 'wow I must have this' factor...& besides MS's bullying tactics with these nagging prompts really puts me off, I'm almost tempted to label these prompts 'malware', so this article is very useful to me...
  • Malware? That's a little over-dramatic, don't you think? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Not overdramatic IMO.  The nag screen pops up at inopportune times and the program has been downloading files to my machine without my permission and without notifiying me.  Further, once I learned which of the MS updates was the main culprit, Windows fails to uninstall the update when I use the standard Windows uninstall utilities. And while I can't prove it, I strongly suspect that the Windows 10 ugrade apps are either responsible for or are tied to my machines continuing to install updates even after I've optioned my computer to let me choose when to install them.  It is extremely annoying to have your machine reboot overnight during an important render process because Microsoft decided that it needed an update or to have a reboot delayed because Microsoft has decided to install updates when you wanted to do a simple and quick re-boot. On one machine I even found myself backed into a corner where it seemed like I could only install updates if I clicked an install Windows 10 button.  That was quite bizzare. Yes, the label malware is apt IMO. With well behaved software, "no" means "no" and is accepted as such.  This Windows 10 udate is not accepting "no".  Installs are what they say they are, and not something else. The fact that I have to undertake detailed research and/or install third party software in order to stop my OS from nagging me, downloading unwanted software, and changing system options is enough to earn Windows Update the label of "malware."  
  • _Emi_, Windows 10 is a amazing OS but the exclusion of the SECDRV.SYS file really off put a lot of nostalgic gamers and app users that have app and game CD and DVD-ROMs with SafeDisc and SecuROM as copy-protections and they will not advocate usage of NO-CD/DVD patches as a solution. Only if Microsoft is willing to put that file back in the Redstone update then those people are willing to upgrade their PCs to Windows 10 in a heartbeat, no matter the upgrade is free or not or else they will let their PCs stay on Windows 7 or 8.1 even after all Microsft support has ceased for them. Also despite I have a PC that dual-boots Windows 10 and 7 on two separate hard disks, not many people can afford such hardware upgrades as DVD-ROMs for Windows 7 are getting rarer by the minute and DVD-ROMs for Windows 8.1 will share the same fate sooner or later. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Wow.
    As I recall, the 10 reasons not to upgrade article came after the 10 reasons you should upgrade article, in the name of unbiased journalism. Like this, its purpose was not to convince you not to upgrade, but to give you the full picture and let you make an educated decision.
    As for people stopping the upgrade themselves, there have already been reports of the upgrade going whether people wanted it or not, something that Microsoft has said will return this spring. In addition, remember that computer users vary from tech experts to grandmas and everything in between. If they are happy with what they have there's no reason they shouldn't be able to keep it, particularly since Windows 10 wasn't part of the deal when most people got their older OS.
  • I don't want to upgrade yet for a few reasons 1) My main PC is how I make my money as a programmer. Potentially extended downtime upgrading means lost revenue. Yes, everything might be seamless - but why should I take that risk when there are no advantages to me to upgrade. 2) I never, ever, upgrade within the first 6 months. As per point 1, I don't have the time to screw around with bugs and catastrophic issues. I need my PC to keep working, so I'm happy to wait until the major bugs are already squashed. 3) It takes time to get used to a new OS. I've got better things to do with my time right now.  I'm not saying I'm not going to upgrade, just that there's no compelling reason to just yet (besides free upgrade deadline) and to force users to upgrade would be the single biggest (and dumbest) mistake of their lives.
  • No need for this crap. My PCs were all updated on day one.
  • That's great and all, but not everyone has the same situation.
  • Thank you for this! Now I can stop this from being annoying on my mom's computer, but it's also good to know for my own 8.1 computer. Will try this when I get a chance to.
  • Easiest way to stop the nagging from Redmond is to....upgrade to Windows 10
  • Well, yes the nagging would stop if you got Windows 10, but if people don't want Windows 10 yet, then they should get this. I find it annoying that fanboys are posting stuff on here saying that you HAVE to get Windows 10. You don't have to get it yet. I only updated to Windows 10 because I like doing system updates. I didn't update because I wanted Windows 10, I updated because there was a system update.
  • Facetiousness is lost on the internet
  • A lot of people raining down praise for the "stability" and "polish" of Windows 7 seem to forget how long that OS has been out. When Windows 7 first came out, it needed patches, bug fixes, and service packs to get it where it is today. We're talking October 2009 for the Windows 7 release - that was 7 years ago people. 7 years of updates will make almost any OS "stable" and "polished". In time, you can expect all that from Windows 10 as all their focus is shifting toward it.
  • And that's why I waited well over a year before moving from Vista to Windows 7. And why I am now waiting a while before moving to windows 10. And I am not interested in nag screens while I wait.
  • Suddenly felt the urge to downgrade back my netbook to 7.
    Well, it was worth a try to upgrade to 10 anyway. *opens Map, and then crashes*
  • Windows central staff trying to show doe the adoption rate of windows 10.... Really!
  • This is handy if only because I have a old Windows 8.1 tablet that doesn't play nice with 10. I love Win 10 but on this particular device I had to roll back because it kept glitching. It's a shame too because they've greatly improved the touch from when Win 10 was first released. :-/
  • A much needed article. Got a gaming rig with that annoying GWX update...
  • Lol would be better just uninstalling the get w10 app which can be done
  • This is a great piece of software. I have it on all my office computers. If you are sticking with windows 7, you shoud install it. And make a donation to them for writing such a great program. Although Microsoft has released an update to allow you to do everything manually, this is much easier.
  • Highlights a big difference I see in the communities (Apple v Microsoft)
    When apple releases an update, everyone rushes to it as fast as possible, apps get updated to support new features as fast as possible, etc When MS releases an update, a large portion of people want to find all the different ways to avoid it. Don't take this statement as anything but face value. I'm not saying anything is an indication of anything, but I find it an amusing dichotomy. An example, albeit offtopic: After learning about XAML based apps (and how XAML has been around since 2008!) I cant BELIEVE that developers didn't flock to this. It's absolutely incredible the flexibility it gives you for resolution independent apps (versus the apple pixel doubling solution). You see such a limited amount of anyone taking up all the new cool stuff that MS releases, while apple devs seem ready to chomp at the bit for any cool new API.
  • I used to rush to get the latest OS, including W10. But I am disappointed with W10, I removed it the next day. Quality management used to be something MS could be proud of, now it went down the toilet. Something doesn't work? Did we damage something with the update? Never mind, manana.
  • If you have the pro OS, which is what they were offering cheaply when W8 came out, you can set a group policy with gpedit.msc for Windows Update to not offer the update to the next OS version. No hacks, no 3rd party programs.
  • Lol that & wsus is a good tool
  • People must love unsupported software.
  • Maybe if Windows 7 and 8.1 were actually no longer supported the pop-ups would make sense. But until then? This is just intrusive. I've seen antivirus apps trying to get money out of you with more sublety than this.
  • Seen the same thing with windows XP some complained like hell that support would be dropped, The ones that don't upgrade will be the first to complain that they lost support for windows 8.1. Time to move forward and get used to the new layout people or it will be even more complicated when you have to catch up later.
  • Awesome!
  • Two sides to my thoughts on why you should upgrade and get used to the operating system. First one is your computer will have greater longevity because you used the free upgrade, and second the more people on windows 10 the more chance Developers will think about doing universal app. I personally love windows 10 now that I I spent the time getting to know my way around it. And my Lumia 950 XL is sinking everything better the two just fine. I am not a heavy user though.
  • It is a Personal Computer, not a community computer.  The whole idea is to configure it to satisfy your personal needs. Heck, I ran a Windows NT 4.0 web server for over a decade and just retired it last year.  Even if something is objectively better in some important ways, it may still not make sense to upgrade.  Upgrades take time and introduce variables and potential problems that can't be known until you spend the time to do the upgrade. OS upgrades also may require re-training and/or reconfiguring of devices and software.  It is one thing to suggest. It is quite another to shove something down user's throats.  Microsoft has crossed the line on this one IMO.
  • I use this tool a lot. As a side job I do computer repair. Ive had many people ask me to get rid of "Get Windows 10" (GWX) icon for them. Microsoft needs to stop this nagging nonsense.
  • No, don't stop GWX. Just upgrade.
  • https://www.google.co.in/url?q=http://www.gsmarena.com/microsoft_lumia_8...
  • I should give this a try. I'm tired of the constant nagging. There are perfectly good reasons for not upgrading. End of story!
  • I'll just stick with how I have it on my Windows Media Center Home theater PC..... (updates normally screw things up), I just have it completely disabled. I dual boot with 7 and 8.1 using WMC on both platforms.... On my 7 machine, I dual booth with 7 and 10.... so my 7 partition will never get 10...
  • I'm staying away from Windows 10 'cause the Tablet Mode is currently a complete joke compared to Windows 8.1.1. There's a currently ongoing list of problems with the Tablet mode going on right here on their forums: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_wintp-insider_d... Hope they fix all of the above quick, especially the part that doesn't transfer your Windows 8 Start Screen layout to Windows 10 as organizing the Windows 10 start screen is currently EXTREMELY TEDIOUS compared to Windows 8.1.1.
  •   My thoughts, which you asked for: I think MS should stop forcing this on their users. Having the pop up once in a while is okay. But MS should make it easy to say "Hell no!" without a third-party tool. (and you really need to fix your buggy WYSIWYG-editor, which adds new line above the next instead of where the cursor is.)    
  •  i was perfectly willing to get win10 and STOP the horrible, nerve-wracking nagging, shortly after i first got the invite. however, after 3 "tries" where it was running most of a day each time and for some reason unable to succeed, and after my researching all i could online - AND following all the directions EXACTLY, i gave up and decided to wait until push came to shove and maybe then some of the bugs would be corrected so a smooth download could happen. then the horrible, disruptive, intrusive INTERFERENCE started where i was totally unable to download the normal updates, and this really ticked me off! it would just start downloading win10 instead of the normal updates and I COULD NOT STOP IT without closing my system down and firing it back up. WAS THAT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? and to have to do that 3+ times a day? i couldnt download the ^%#(*!@ win10, but couldnt operate normally AND SAFELY either, because i couldnt get the continual security updates! so i was taking a big risk all the time i ran my system without the updates, but there was nothing i could do about it.  i mean, this totally STEAMED MY BUTT. i could not find any solution to this problem until i stumbled onto the program being discussed here, and that was sweet relief! while searching for help i did come upon a lot of folks having similar issues as i was having, some had stumbled on workarounds, a lot didnt and were just out there begging for help from anyone (like i was). coming from such an organization as MICROSOFT, i find the whole thing not only laughable (in a sick way) but disgusting - to think, this is what microsoft has become. chasing their own tail.... cannot put out a product that WORKS... (well, that one isn't so new)... but most especially, just the idea that microsoft feels they have to, or they just WANT TO and feel they have the right, to totally ruin their customer's ability to get online and work as normal - with no consent given. it would be forgivable if after they forced one to upgrade, the whole thing worked smoothly, perfectly, and beautifully, where no one was harmed by their actions. it appeared from my searching, too, that there was basically NOTHING put "out there" by microsoft to remedy the issues people were having right off the bat. I do not know if they have done this, to this day. just the idea that this little program being discussed here has met such a wide circulation over time, suggests to me that microsoft never did address this problem head on. pathetic. so this is what microsoft has come down to. a necessary evil, as it were. something we HAVE TO use and depend upon, but at the same time, something that can't be really trusted, either. sad.