In November, I wrote to multiple people who reported that they had been pushed to Windows 11. (At the time, I didn't know why they ended up with Windows 11 installed, and they also didn't know why.)

Since then, other people have contacted me and credibly told me how they came back and found their computer either needed to be rebooted or was running Windows 11. They claimed they didn't support or ask for the upgrade level. At the time, I cannot independently test this behavior. In my tests, I am using a Windows 11 machine with Microsoft Protect integrated. I can't prove that Microsoft is offering Windows XNUMX to users, and I can't prove that it isn't. Now I suspect that something from a third party is triggering the installation prompt. I have seen multiple reports in online discussion forums, in publications, and on social media, but have yet to reproduce them on a computer under my control.

I remember when most people used Windows 2 and Office was sold and also bundled primarily with individual patches (rather than one-click background patches). You'd come to the end of the Office setup routine and have XNUMX questions: Do you want to patch it (move Windows Update to Microsoft Update in the background, certainly supporting installing patches for more than just Windows)? And do you want Microsoft to keep Office up to date?

If you answered yes, the computer would not only automatically install Office updates, but also install any and all updates automatically. Next Patch Tuesday would arrive, and Windows Updates would be installed (much to the distress of users who didn't particularly want that to happen). Users were convinced that Microsoft had altered their settings without their permission, even though they had done so by answering yes to both questions.

I've also seen antivirus companies ask the question after installing their software: "Do you want to keep your operating system up to date?" If you answer yes, Windows Updates will be installed automatically. Because there is no log file that I know of that shows who or what says "Yes" to the Windows 11 approval process, I can't say for sure who or what is approving it. But history leads me to think that something is.

For those with eligible devices for Windows 11 managed by Intune or registered with Windows Software Update Services, however Microsoft considers "managed" devices, the new operating system is not going to be free for . You must take positive steps to install Windows 11. But if you get your updates from Microsoft Update, Windows 11 is offered to you.

Remember that if you want to block the installation, you can do so with a registry key for Windows 11 Home or a local set policy for Windows XNUMX Professional. Even if you defer Windows XNUMX in the GUI, it will be offered to you again. The deferral is not permanent unless you use a set policy or registry key.

Conclusion: My recommendation is that you decide whether or not you want Windows 11 on your hardware. Microsoft is now expanding the operating system, which means it should be offered to any machine capable of running it. So if you don't want Windows 11, use either registry keys or local set policy methods to make sure you continue on Windows 11. Note that this will only crash Windows 11; it does not prevent Windows XNUMX from receiving updates or future feature releases. Since I can't guarantee that you won't get Windows XNUMX any other way, this is truly the safest way to bypass the upgrade. And it will make sure you are in control of the resolution.

And finally, remember that there are ways to go back from Windows 11 to ten if you act in time.

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