Windows is being updated to automatically delete software that tries to bully users into paying for upgrades.
Microsoft is targeting free programs that claim to scan computers and then try to frighten users with messages that they need a paid upgrade to fix a problem with their machine.
Barak Shein of Windows Defender Security Research said these cleaner and optimizer tools are guilty of using "alarming, coercive messages to scare customers into buying a premium version of the same program".
Beginning on Match 1st, Windows Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft security products will identify software that displays these coercive messages, and flag it to be removed.
SEE: Windows 10: Streamline your work with these power tips (free TechRepublic PDF)
Shein says these programs are problematic because they can cajole customers into buying software they don't need.
"In the future, programs that display coercive messaging will be classified as unwanted software, detected, and removed," Shein said.
Examples of software that could be classified as unwanted includes tools that "report errors in an exaggerated or alarming manner" and that require "the user to pay for fixing the errors or issues monetarily or by performing other actions such as taking a survey, downloading a file, signing up for a newsletter" says Microsoft.
Requiring the user to act within a certain time frame to correct the problem and suggesting the user has no other effective options other than paying for an upgrade could also see software designated as "unwanted" and removed.
Microsoft's decision to escalate its action against unscrupulous cleaner software follows an earlier stipulation in February 2016 that this software had to provide customers with detailed information about why fixes were necessary on their machine.
More on Windows 10
- Windows 10: Microsoft rolls out new privacy tools for telemetry data (ZDNet)
- Microsoft quietly announces end of last free Windows 10 upgrade offer (ZDNet)
- Microsoft tweaks Windows Shell, Edge and more in latest Windows 10 test build (ZDNet)
- Microsoft: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is ready for business (ZDNet)
- Microsoft's newest Windows 10 test build includes Timeline feature (ZDNet)
- What is Windows 10 Fall Creators Update? Everything you need to know about Microsoft's big upgrade
- Windows 10: Some of 2018's biggest new features are now available to try
- Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: How to use OneDrive Files On-Demand
- Gallery: What's new in Microsoft's Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
- How to throttle peer-to-peer updating bandwidth use in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
- How to protect your Windows 10 PC from ransomware with the Fall Creators Update
- How to turn on One-click Communication in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
- See Windows 10's new look: Microsoft's Fluent Design System in action
- Video: Top features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.