Microsoft's latest Windows 10 upgrade tactic: Spreading fear over Windows 7

Windows 10 upgrade
Are you still mulling over your Windows 10 upgrade?

Windows 7 still powers the majority of PCs out there, but Microsoft is continuing its rather controversial push for upgrades to Windows 10, and indeed in its latest shove a company exec has come close to labelling the older version of the desktop OS as a possible security risk.

Yes, continuing to run Windows 7 is a risky proposition, at least according to Microsoft's chief marketing officer Chris Capossela, who as Forbes reports made his comments in an interview with Windows Weekly.

Capossela said that those who were choosing Windows 7 did so at their "own risk" and "peril" due to possible compatibility issues in the future, and potential security risks.

The main fear driver here, though, is the security angle, with Caposella further noting that users were at risk of "viruses and security problems", as well as potential incompatibilities with hardware or indeed games (he specifically mentioned Fallout 4 not working on older machines).

Of course, as the Forbes article points out, Fallout 4 not working on an older PC is a hardware issue, not an OS problem. And on the security front, while mainstream support may have ended, extended support for Windows 7 goes through until January 2020 – so there's still four years of support in the pipeline from Microsoft.

Turning up the heat

Redmond is quite simply turning up the heat on Windows 7 (and Windows 8) hold-outs. First of all, we had more desktop pop-ups encouraging users to take the free upgrade. Then we've had controversial tactics such as confusingly worded prompts (two options, both to upgrade) and moves such as disrupting third-party software which blocks 'Get Windows 10' prompts.

And now, here comes the fear – don't stay on Windows 7, or before long you'll face all manner of problems and potential vulnerabilities…

As we've said before, there's nothing wrong with Windows 10 as such – privacy issues aside anyway – but Microsoft is starting to make itself look desperate in its upgrade persuasion attempts.

Windows 10 has to succeed in the wake of the failure which was Windows 8, but Redmond has to shed this air of desperation or face the peril of adoption of its new OS slowing down further still as an automatic reaction and backlash to all this pushing.

And of course, this year we've got the spectre of Windows 10 becoming a recommended update to cause further controversy…

Microsoft should simply focus on making its operating system even more compelling and dealing with privacy concerns, after which greater adoption would happen organically.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).