Directly after the July 29 launch of the Windows 10 upgrade, much to-do was made about Microsoft automatically delivering upgrade bits to Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. It was pretty much a non-issue then as it is now, though some news outlets have picked it up as new based on a just recently released article from a web site called The Inquirer on the matter.
The real news at the time was when those computers that weren't supposed to be getting the upgrade bits were getting them. Or, at least it seemed like it. That led to some research that concluded with an article entitled Reasons Why Windows 10 Might be Downloading on Domain-Joined Computers. In essence, IT folks were finding the upgrade bits were also showing up on Pro and Enterprise computers that were supposedly properly managed. In every instance, this wasn't the case. Either end users had local admin rights (a no-no), the blocking tools hadn't been deployed, updates were being delivered through Automatic Updates instead of a centrally managed system, or the PC was being used in multiple environments that were differently managed.
Here's some specifics on the upgrade files:
The size of the downloaded files are 3GB. (this is NOT the full upgrade package despite misleading headlines)
The files can be removed using the Windows 10 Disk Cleanup utility.
Those who remove the Windows 10 upgrade files can still upgrade later.
Microsoft's official statement on this is the same now as it was then (yes, I re-requested this):
"For those who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help customers prepare their devices for Windows 10 by downloading the files necessary for future installation. This results in a better upgrade experience and ensures the customer’s device has the latest software. This is an industry practice that reduces time for installation and ensures device readiness." – a Microsoft spokesperson
So, as you can see, this is an old issue and nothing has really changed. If you choose automatic updates through Windows Update, 3GB of preparatory files are downloaded to the computer. Why the issue is being raised again now, almost 2 months after the public launch, really makes you question the source.
If anything new comes from this, I'll be the first to write it up. If Microsoft needs a kick in the pants, my pointy boots are always polished and ready. Just consider this a reminder.