Microsoft is quietly auto-downloading huge 6GB file to PCs

Many people were desperate to get their hands on Windows 10, and that’s okay. But a good chunk of users won’t want to upgrade to the new operating system.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has already started downloading huge Windows 10 image files onto users’ machines, even if they haven’t opted into the upgrade.

The software giant has admitted that it is automatically downloaded the OS upgrade – that’s a file sized between 3.5GB and 6GB – to any computer that has opted into Windows Updates’ automatic updates.

The revelation comes courtesy of The Inquirer, which was tipped off to the sneaky download by one of its readers.

“The symptoms are repeated failed ‘Upgrade to Windows 10’ in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled ‘$Windows.~BT’,” explains a TI reader. “I thought Microsoft [said] this ‘upgrade’ was optional. If so, why is it being pushed out to so many computers where it wasn’t reserved, and why does it try to install over and over again?”

The reader continues: “I know of two instances where people on metered connections went over their data cap for August because of this unwanted download. My own internet (slow DSL) was crawling for a week or so until I discovered this problem. In fact, that’s what led me to it. Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted.”

So even if a user hasn’t opted in for the Windows 10 installation, the huge file will still be installed on their system.

Related: Windows 10 vs Windows 8: Should you upgrade?

The Inquirer contacted Microsoft for a comment on the matter, to which the firm responded:

“For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they device to upgrade.”

Microsoft adds: “When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

Users might want automatic updates for minor software changes, but Microsoft shouldn’t assume its customers want a major new software version sucking up space on their machines.

Has Microsoft surreptitiously installed Windows 10 on your machine? Let us know in the comments.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor