Disabling Windows 10 Upgrade Notifications in Earlier Windows Versions

Be aware, should your Windows 7 computer offer you to upgrade to Windows 10, that its assurance that your PC is compatible may not always be true.  We found this out on a Dell Inspiron N5110 laptop machine.

Upon upgrade to Windows 10, the machine hung during booting, with the hard drive light glowing constantly.  Unable to get to the recovery options, we wiped the hard drive and reinstalled the Windows 7 Home Premium original operating system that came with the customer’s 2011 purchase.  Further research on Dell’s web site revealed that Dell does not support Windows 10 on this particular device.  While it’s true that we might have been able to troubleshoot the problem down to some driver that was malfunctioning on Windows 10, the customer advised that she really doesn’t need, “the latest and greatest,” operating system to complete her work, and said that Windows 7 on her laptop would be fine.

The problem: Once we reapplied all outstanding Windows 7 updates, her machine began prompting us to upgrade to Windows 10, and displayed that little 4-windows icon constantly in the task bar.  Not wanting her to inadvertently upgrade to Windows 10, we determined that this icon as well as its notification messages can be disabled by following the procedure below.

  1. On the Windows 7 laptop, go to the desktop.
  2. Open Control Panel by clicking the Windows icon (usually on the left end of the horizontally oriented task bar.
  3. Then, locate the “Notification Area Icons” app and run that by left clicking.
  4. In the resulting window that comes up, find the GWX (Get Windows 10) icon.
  5. In the Behaviors drop down list menu, change the value from “Show icons and notifications” to “Hide icons and notifications”.
  6. Then, click the OK button.
  7. Verify that the GWX icon (white window pane set) in the task bar has disappeared.

This procedure should not only mask the GWX icon, but also eliminate those pesky popups that appear after mostly every boot up that offer you to upgrade.  If you don’t want to risk people using the laptop to upgrade it to Windows 10, then a good first measure to prevent it is to disable this icon as described above.

Hope this helps.

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Revision History

  • 2015-11-09: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-29: Originally published.