Windows 10 Upgrade Tactics Slammed By Consumer Watchdog

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Is Windows 10 a software upgrade villain? That is the suggestion from Which? as it urges Redmond to compensate users

Microsoft is under attack once again over its Windows 10 upgrade shenanigans, after consumer group Which? slammed the software giant.

Redmond has faced persistent complaints about its upgrade tactics ever since Windows 10 was officially released back in July 2015.

Upgrade Villain?

Windows 10 2The latest criticism comes from consumer group Which? after it surveyed 5,500 members over the Windows 10 upgrade process in June this year. Of that number, 2,500 users had made the jump and upgraded to Windows 10 from an older version of the operating system.

But Which? found that of those 2,500 users who upgraded to Windows 10, more than one in ten (12 percent) ended up rolling back to their previous version of the operating system.

More than half said the reason for the roll back was because the upgrade had adversely affected their PC, including causing problems with printers, Wi-Fi cards, and speakers, as well as lost files and email accounts failing to sync.

Even worse, a number of these users had to pay someone to repair the PC, leading the consumer group to call on Microsoft to compensate users where appropriate.

The consumer group also said that it had received “well over 1,000 complaints” about the operating system, including complaints about the poor customer service from Microsoft after they contacted the software giant over the problems they were experiencing.

Which? also cited the nagging nature of the Microsoft alerts to install the new operating system, and pointed out that many users had declined notifications, only to discover later that the operating system had installed itself anyway.

“We rely heavily on our computers to carry out daily activities so, when they stop working, it is frustrating and stressful,” said Alex Neill, Which? Director of Campaigns and Policy. “Many people are having issues with Windows 10 and we believe Microsoft should be doing more to fix the problem.”

Read More: 1 in 3 TechWeek readers are using Windows 10 for work

Microsoft however insisted that it had provided adequate customer support.

“The Windows 10 upgrade is designed to help people take advantage of the most secure and productive Windows,” said Microsoft in response to the study. “Should someone need help with the upgrade experience, we have numerous options, including free customer support.”

In June a Californian woman won a $10,000 (£7,600) court case after suing Microsoft for damage caused to her PC by an unwanted Windows 10 download.

And last month, millions of webcams had problems after the installation of the Anniversary Update of Windows 10. Mike M, a Microsoft engineer on the Windows Camera Team acknowledged at the time that Redmond had dropped the ball on the matter.

Mobile Confusion

windows 10 mobileOn the whole it should be remembered that Windows 10 has been well received as an operating system designed for a number of platforms including desktops, laptops and smartphones.

But the software giant has also faced criticism over its decision to effectively retreat from the consumer mobile market. This is evidenced by the sale of its feature phone business to Foxconn subsidiary FIH earlier this year, and the brutal gutting of its Nokia smartphone business.

Windows Phone (WP) also has a greatly diminished market share and is now regarded as a dead operating system, with many users of older WP handsets left stranded with no upgrade path to Windows 10.

For its part, Redmond repeatedly maintains that it is still committed to Windows 10 on mobile devices, and is reportedly working on new smartphones, but these seem to be aimed at business and not the consumer segment.

It has been suggested the first ‘Surface’ phone could make its debut in 2017, but there remains no word from Redmond on the matter.

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