You might be in the process of acquiring Windows 10—whether you want the free upgrade or not. Microsoft has confirmed that it is “helping upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they need” in the event that owners decide to migrate to the new OS, even if they have heretofore passed up on "reserving" their free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.
The issue seems to revolve around the Microsoft update KB3035583, and as such it appears to only afflict individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates. As far as we can tell, if you have automatic updates turned off, Windows 10 won't be pre-loaded onto your PC.
According to The Inquirer, the situation was first reported by an anonymous reader who claimed to have discovered a hidden directory called
$Windows.~BT on his computer, despite not opting in for a free upgrade to Windows 10. The directory weighed in at "3.5GB to 6GB," according to the 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?” he told the outlet.
His concerns are mirrored by numerous people across the Internet, who have been reporting similar revelations sinceas early as July. Getting rid of the unwanted files isn’t as quite as simple as clicking the delete button, unfortunately. But it doesn’t require any significant computer knowledge, either. Addictive Tips has a concise solution for the dilemma, which involves uninstalling the KB3035583 update prior to removing the actual folder.
While potentially disconcerting at first blush, the news isn’t exactly a shocker. Microsoft has been aggressive about promoting Windows 10, bombarding Windows 7 & 8 users with pop-ups suggesting the change. More crucially, by opting for automatic upgrades, a user is essentially agreeing to allow software developers to do as they will—in this case, proactively downloading Windows 10 in preparation for any changes of heart.
Here's Microsoft's statement to The Inquirer, in full:
There will be many people very excited about the prospect of upgrading to Windows 10 on the 29th of July.
At the same time there are other users on Windows 7 and 8.1 who do not want any part of the upgrade for a variety of reasons.
Microsoft has confirmed that the new OS, currently in its final stages of development, will be made available for download/install on eligible systems on 29 July 2015.
In preparation for that, back in April, Microsoft released an update (KB3035583) for Windows 7 (Optional) and 8.1 (Recommended) that is called the Get Windows 10 app. It provides the prompt that started appearing on users systems (Windows 7 and 8.1) yesterday and gives you the option to reserve your copy of Windows 10.
But what if you are one of those users with zero interest in the Windows 10 upgrade?
Since KB3035583 was released as an Optional or Recommended update based on your OS it might not be installed if you avoid those types of updates. If that is the case then you have no further action to take.
If however, you did install that update then it can be uninstalled through Windows Update.
Open up Windows Update and click on View update history.
Click on Installed Updates.
In the search box in the upper right corner type in kb3035583. If the update is on your system it will show up in the results.
Click on the KB3035583 entry in the search results and you will be asked if you are sure you want to uninstall it. Click Yes to remove it.
The system may need to be restarted to complete the removal.
If you do not want to see the update any more be sure to hide it by right clicking on the KB3035583 listing in Windows Update and selecting Hide this update.
H/T to @EdBott who clarified the updates status between Windows 7 and 8.1 for me.