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Microsoft just force restarted my Windows PC again to install more unwanted apps

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I stepped away from my computer for dinner, halfway through writing a story for The Verge. When I got back, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Windows 10 had restarted my computer without permission yet again — to install yet another forced OS update onto my solid state drive.

The craziest part: When my machine finished rebooting, it now contained the exact thing I’d been writing about before I was rudely interrupted. Microsoft had installed unsolicited, unwanted web app versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook onto my computer.

A screenshot of the web apps that Microsoft force-installed on my PC.
Seriously, the story you’re reading right now started off as a news post about this happening to other people.
Screenshot: Sean Hollister/The Verge

OK, it’s not as bad as when my entire computer screen got taken over by an unwanted copy of Microsoft Edge. That was truly egregious.

No, this time Microsoft is merely sneaking unwanted web apps onto my PC — and using my Windows 10 Start Menu as free advertising space. Did I mention that icons for Microsoft Office apps have magically appeared in my Start Menu, even though I’ve never once installed Office on this computer?

My new Start Menu contains shortcuts to Microsoft apps I’ve never installed
Screenshot: Sean Hollister/The Verge

These aren’t full free copies of Office, by the way. They’re just shortcuts to the web version you could already access in any web browser of your choice, which double as advertisements to pay for a more fully featured copy.

Because they’re web apps, it’s not like they take up any space on my computer, and I don’t really mind them in my Start Menu. They’re among the least offensive bloatware I’ve seen, and I never really look at the Start Menu anyhow — my taskbar and search bar have long been enough for me.

Nonetheless, they’re the latest proof that Microsoft doesn’t respect your ownership of your own PC, the latest example of Microsoft installing anything it likes in a Windows update up to and including bloatware, and the latest example of Microsoft caring more about the bottom line than whether a few people might lose their work when Windows suddenly shuts down their PC. Luckily, I didn’t lose any work today, but a friend of mine recently did:

Microsoft seems to think our computers are free advertising space, a place where it can selfishly promote its other products — even though they were told roundly in the ‘90s that even bundling a web browser was not OK. Now, they’re bundling a browser you can’t install, and a set of PWA web apps that launch in that same browser. (Yes, they fire up Edge even if you’ve set a different browser as default.)

As I’ve argued previously, decisions like this undermine the one good argument Microsoft actually has for mandatory updates — that they provide important security patches that keep computers (yours and others) safe. That’s a harder argument when the most visible difference after a new update is an attempt to make more money!

Like ZDNet veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley notes, this isn’t just an experiment happening to some Windows Insiders. I’m not signed up with the Windows Insider program on this PC. The company hasn’t deigned to respond to Foley’s requests for comment yet, but let’s see if that changes next week.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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