As part of a series of updates delivered through the Windows Update mechanism, Microsoft pushed out a mysterious patch. The description for KB3035583 says only…
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).
Additionally, when sifting through the update history on a computer, the description doesn't get much better…
Patch administrators were left to speculate the intent of the update and wonder if it is actually necessary.
After digging through the installation rubble, according to myce.com this update is simply a notification mechanism for Windows 10 upgrades. When Windows 10 becomes available later this year, this component will notify users of its obtainability, and being the upgrade process.
The patch creates a new directory in C:\Windows\System32\GWX and installs some files. And, if you dig through the directory full of files, locate and view the config.xml file, it reveals clues to possibly confirm that KB3035583 is a Windows 10 upgrade preparatory package. The file's structure contains 'phase' headers showing: RTM, GA, UpgradeDetected, UpgradeDownloadInProgress, UpgradeDownloaded, UpgradeReadyToInstall, UpgradeReadySetupInProgress, UpgradeSetupCompatBlock, UpgradeSetupRolledBack, UPgradeSetupFailed, UpgradeSetupComplete
So, it's possible that Microsoft has already set the stage for the Windows 10 upgrade – at least for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 users.
Microsoft has promised that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade in certain situations. Consumers will get the free upgrade, but business users will still have to work through normal licensing channels to obtain it.