My time with Windows 10 has been fairly good. I haven’t had one single BSOD in the time since I’ve been evaluating it with the technical preview (I did have one on my netbook, but that was intentional on my part). It’s a great OS and I have no intention of not using it, but a lot of other people don’t feel the same way – and that’s perfectly fine and normal. Your computer is a personal device, and you make it personal by choosing how you use it and what software you install on it. That’s why you should know that today, Microsoft took the next step in pushing Windows 10 to users, by making it a recommended update.
Their next step towards assimilating you into their vision of Windows as a service will probably be to make it a critical update, most likely before the free upgrade offer expires in July 2016. If you haven’t gotten it yet, make sure you only allow Windows to check for new updates and hide or uninstall KB2952664, KB3135445, and KB3035583. This will prevent the Windows 10 upgrade notification from showing, as well as prevent your machine from downloading the upgrade files in the first place. That should save you about 3.5GB worth of your data cap. There’s also a list of Windows 7 telemetry updates that you can optionally hide or uninstall on the Wilders Security forums, though there isn’t one for Windows 8.1 (and perhaps no-one really cares what happens to it anyway).
Windows 10 is a fine operating system, and I’ve managed to minimise the extent of what information Microsoft gathers from me through my use of it, allowing them to only harvest information that is useful to the continued development of Windows 10. But Microsoft needs to know, or perhaps already knows, that there are people out there who don’t want Windows 10 and likely never will, and they need to stop suggesting that something is horribly wrong with the idea of running Windows 7 on a machine connected to the internet and in daily use.
If you’re reinstalling Windows 7 or 8.1 for whatever reason, or if you just want to do away with the hassle of hiding new updates all the time, I can recommend using the WSUS Offline Update tool to download all the patches and updates you need from Microsoft’s servers, and you can safely turn off automatic updates. If you’re installing Windows 7 on to your new Skylake hardware, I’ve also written up a short guide on how to get around the installation problems.
Windows 7 SP1 extended support ends on 14 January 2020, and Windows 8.1 extended support ends on 10 January 2023. It’s your prerogative, as it should always be, to continue using it instead of the latest and greatest software from Microsoft. That’s what having a personal computer is all about.