Technology & Science

Windows 10 is now a 'recommended update' that starts automatically

Operating system upgrade will download automatically if automatic updates are turned on

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As of Jan. 4, Microsoft said Windows 10 was active on over 200 million devices. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

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Microsoft is ramping up its push to get Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10.

If you haven't already downloaded Windows 10, your computer may do it for you automatically as soon as this week.

Microsoft has made Windows 10 a "recommended update," for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, the company confirmed today.

Users who had previously reserved the upgrade will be targeted first, the company said in a statement emailed to CBC News.

"The new experience has begun to roll out in a phased approach to more Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, although we do not have any information to share at this time with respect to individual regions."

Previously, the newest version of the Windows operating system was an "optional" update.

Recommended updates are typically downloaded and installed automatically if automatic updates are enabled. Because such updates are often security patches and fixes, they are enabled by default. Microsoft strongly recommends allowing automatic updates.

In the case of Windows 10, users will be "clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue," before the process completely changes the operating system of their device, Microsoft assured users in a blog post in October. That was when the company first announced that Windows 10 would become a recommended update in the new year to make it easier to upgrade.

If you're not ready to upgrade, you might want to read any box that pops up on your screen extra carefully before hitting "yes."

If you decide you don't really want Windows 10 after it's already been installed, you will still be able to roll your device back to your previous operating system for the first 31 days after the upgrade, Microsoft says.

In its October blog post, the company said users worried about exceeding their internet provider's download limits could turn off automatic updates, but the company "strongly discouraged" that for security reasons.

Free until July 2016

Microsoft made Windows 10 available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users in July 2015. It will continue to be free for those users until next July 2016.

The company aims to have Windows 10 installed on a billion devices within the next three years, Myerson said at the company's annual Build conference in San Francisco in April.

As of Jan. 4, Microsoft said Windows 10 was active on over 200 million devices. In January, Windows 10 was installed on 13.7 per cent of PCs connecting to the internet – putting it ahead of Windows 8.1's 11.7 per cent, but still far behind Windows 7's 46.7 per cent worldwide, reported the web analytics firm StatCounter Monday. The company logs the operating system of devices that visit more than three million websites that have its free visitor-counting app installed.

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