There’s one downside to getting Windows 10 for free within the first year, and that’s that the update will be downloaded to your PC even if you don’t want it, and could take up as much as 6GB of storage space.
A report from The Inquirer explains that some Windows users have found copies of Windows 10 in the hidden update folder on their system drives despite not opting in to receive the free upgrade. What’s even more worrying is that it seems the update attempts to install all by itself.
“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’,” one reader described. “Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted.”
The update is causing some PC owners to exceed their broadband data caps, and slowing down Internet connections while it is downloaded in the background. It is also taking up storage space, which could be an issue for modern notebooks with smaller solid-state storage drives.
Microsoft has told The Inquirer that even if users do not reserve a copy of Windows 10, the update files will be downloaded anyway if the user has chosen to receive automatic system updates through Windows Update — a feature which is typically enabled by default.
This is great if you do have plans to upgrade to Windows 10, because it means the files may already be available on your machine when you’re ready to perform the installation. But for many others, the update is unsolicited and unwanted.
If you want to prevent Windows 10 from being downloaded on your machine, you can disable Windows Update. If you do that, however, it will be up to you to check for system updates manually on a regular basis.