Windows 7 and Windows 8 users might have noticed a new Windows icon in their system trays that when clicked, will open a dialog that introduces Windows 10 and determines if you’re eligible for a free upgrade. Here is how to remove that icon and dialog permanently.
We’re all aware of Windows 10 here at How-to Geek. We can’t go a day now without hearing about its pending arrival, which it turns out is July 29. In truth, we can’t wait for Windows 10 because we feel it finally fixes most of Windows 8’s ills and we believe it is going to be a must-have upgrade for all current Windows users.
Microsoft obviously believes this is true as well because they’re offering it as a free upgrade to most qualifying current Windows owners. They’re also pulling out the stops when it comes to making you, the average everyday Windows user, aware of its existence.
The Problem: An Icon You Can’t Get Rid Of
This includes adding a “Get Windows 10” icon and dialog to user’s system trays, which has alarmed quite a few people, who aren’t sure if it is some kind of trick or malware. Let us say with no uncertainty, it is not, but it is a little underhanded and annoying on Microsoft’s part.
When you click this icon, a dialog will appear, which will determine if your PC is Windows 10 ready, if you’re eligible to upgrade for free and, of course, regale you with all the wonderful things Windows 10 will mean to you.
This new icon and its resulting dialog are actually part of an application that appeared in late April 2015 as a recommended Windows update (KB3035583).
If you read Microsoft’s description on the update’s support page, it’s apparent that this is optional:
This update enables additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications when new updates are available to the user. It applies to a computer that is running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
Basically, it simply lets Windows Update bug you about Windows 10’s impending arrival and will notify you when it is finally ready to download and install.
One of the biggest reasons many users, including us, are getting roped into installing this update is that the actual verbiage for the recommended update is a tad misleading.
This update doesn’t resolve any “issues” other than Microsoft’s own issue with getting the word out about Windows 10. Again, we don’t need help with this, and we’re pretty sure that on July 29 or shortly thereafter, we’ll upgrade one or more of our machines just as we’ve always done since Windows 9x and earlier.
What is KB3035583?
The worst thing about KB3035583 is that it is an executable that starts with your system.
The executable “GWX.exe” autostarts through the Task Scheduler. GWX.exe is the system tray icon. When you click the system tray icon, it spawns the application “GWXUX.exe”, which is the upgrade dialog discussed earlier.
To make this icon and its notifications go away, Microsoft unhelpfully recommends hiding them.
This works for the current session, but restart your system (which happens from time to time), and it reappears. In other words, it’s no simple feat to make it go away. You can’t right-click on the icon and tell it not to bug you anymore, and you could remove its entry from the Task Scheduler, but that doesn’t actually remove the GWX application from your system.
If you don’t want this item on your system, we recommend removing the update altogether because we don’t feel it is critical to upgrading to Windows 10, and even if it is, you can always go back on July 29 and reinstall it.
Hiding the Get Windows 10 Icon the Easy Way
If you want a really simple and easy way to get rid of this icon, you can download a little piece of freeware called GWX Control Panel from a developer that isn’t happy with the icon either.
Download it, run it, and then click the “Disable Get Windows 10 App (permanently remove icon)” button. And then click the “Disable Operating System Upgrades in Windows Update” button too for good measure.
You’ll have to reboot, but at the end, the icon will be gone and your computer shouldn’t get the upgrade. And luckily you can click those buttons again to put things back the way they were.
To remove KB3035583, first open Windows Update and click “Installed Updates” in the bottom-left corner.
To quickly find KB3035583, you can sort by name. Once you’ve located it, right-click and choose “Uninstall”.
When you select to uninstall this update, you’ll be asked to confirm and then you will need to restart your computer.
Once your computer restarts, the “GWX.exe” and its associated “GWXUX.exe” applications will be removed and the system tray icon and resulting dialog will go away permanently.
If the Icon Returns
Some readers have noted that KB3035583 returns if you don’t hide it. If you have Windows updates set to download and install automatically, this means that if you uninstall this update, it will be reinstalled automatically a few days later.
To hide the KB3035583 update and prevent it from being reinstalled, right-click on it in the Windows Update application and select “Hide update”.
After, the update’s selection box will be grayed out and cannot be checked. From hereon, the update will be hidden whenever you reopen Windows Update unless you decide to restore it.
Icon Still Won’t Go Away?
There’s also a registry hack that you can use to prevent the icon from showing up.
Open up regedit.exe using the Start search or by hitting WIN + R and pasting it into the field. Then browse down to the following key, creating it if it doesn’t exist:
Once you are there, create a new 32-bit DWORD value on the right-hand side named DisableGwx, and give it a value of 1.
Before we wind things up, we need to reiterate that we do believe that if you’re using any recent version of Windows (7 or 8.1), or you’ve held off and are still using Vista or even XP, that this is the time to finally take the plunge. Windows 10 should be a must-have upgrade and probably an unqualified success.
That said, installing a separate application as a recommended update is a sneaky way to go about ensuring user adoption. Add to that the fact that there’s no simple way to disable the GWX.exe application other than removing its autostart line from the Task Scheduler or uninstalling it through Windows Update, and we’re further puzzled at Microsoft’s reasoning and lack of transparency.
In the end, whether you feel this update process is helpful or whether you can make your way to upgrading to Windows 10 all by yourself will simply depend on how you’re used to doing things. If (and it looks like it will be) Windows 10 is available through Windows Update or the Windows Store, then we’re fairly certain most of us will upgrade that way.
Others may choose to do a clean install and for that, updating through Windows won’t even apply.
But now, we want to turn things over to you. Please tell us your thoughts on this matter. We encourage your questions and comments in our discussion forum.