Windows 10 may still be a few months off, but that is not stopping Microsoft from laying the groundwork for the new operating system and deploying a few tools.

Tools like the ones that remind users to upgrade to the new OS once it launches later this year.

Evidence has been [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] of a silent update to prepare machines for the new operating system. Redmond has pushed a ‘Recommended’ patch recently via Windows Update that enables some new options for notifications in Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1.

As shown here:

Neat way to pave the way for Microsoft to display ads and notifications to users letting them know that the new operating system is available.

The update in question is [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], which is described as enabling additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications when new updates are available to the user — basically it checks the version number of the OS installed on a computer and looks for availability of Windows 10.

Users will get notifications to upgrade to the new operating system, clicking which should start the download and installation of Windows 10 automatically.

For some reason Microsoft labels them as advertisements, so there may be more to this. Not ads, but basically some banners or visuals that promote the features of Windows 10.

Windows Update [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]doesn’t reveal much about itself, only that it adds additional capabilities to Windows Update and applies to computers running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1. The update is offered as a recommended update since March 28th and because it’s a recommended update users have to manually put a checkmark next to the update in order to receive it.

Once the update is downloaded it adds a folder to System32 called “GWX” which contains 9 files and a folder called “Download”. One of the four .EXE files reveals what the update really is, the description of GWXUXWorker.EXE states, “Download Windows 10″. This explains the X in the name, the X is the Romanian number 10.

The folder also contains “[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]” which contains some URLs that at the moment of writing didn’t work. The config file mentions “OnlineAdURL” that points to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and Telemetry BaseURL pointing to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

The section “Phases” describes how the downloader should behave when the Windows 10 release date nears. Initially, during phase “None”, all features are disabled, then during phase “AnticipationUX” advertising banners will be shown, presumably on a homescreen tile and additionally a tray icon will appear.

The next phase is called “Reservation” which according to the config file will show the advertisement tile, the tray icon but also a reservation page. Further phases are the first publication of the final RTM (release to manufacturing), version the general availability (GA) as well as various phases of the upgrade process such as UpgradeDownloadInProgress, UpgradeDownloaded, UpgradeReadyToInstall, UpgradeSetupCompatBlock, UpgradeSetupRolledBack and UpgradeSetupComplete.

It appears Microsoft is serious when it comes to upgrading Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to Windows 10. The upgrade will be free in the first year and it appears Microsoft will take that time to convince users to upgrade. Users that don’t want to receive the upgrade “advertisements” should simply not install the recommend update. If Microsoft however decides to make KB3035583 an important update it will install automatically with other Windows update.

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]