Microsoft says Windows 10 a hit but many disagree

Microsoft has aggressively attempted to get Windows 10 installed on consumers' machines, making it difficult for them to decline the upgrade and even going so far as to upgrade their computers without their explicit permission.
Microsoft has aggressively attempted to get Windows 10 installed on consumers' machines, making it difficult for them to decline the upgrade and even going so far as to upgrade their computers without their explicit permission.

Microsoft says Windows 10 is a hit with its customers, but many Windows users beg to differ.

The company announced that less than a year after it launched, Windows 10 is running on 350 million devices, and that customer satisfaction with it is higher than for any previous version of the operating system.

That may be, but it's not hard to find customers who aren't happy with the new software.

A Sausalito, California, woman made headlines recently after she sued Microsoft and won a $US10,000 judgment because an unauthorised Windows 10 upgrade basically made her PC unusable.

A simple Google search will turn up numerous other disgruntled users.

I've heard from plenty of upset Windows customers recently after writing several columns about Windows 10. Some lost crucial data or features when their computers made the jump to the new Windows version. Some paid hundreds of dollars to computer support companies to restore their computers to earlier versions of Windows.

Many were simply disgusted at the tactics Microsoft has used to push users to upgrade to Windows 10 or frustrated that their computers were updated without their consent.

Chris Wood, 61, was among those upset with Microsoft after his 91-year-old father was "tricked" by the company into upgrading and couldn't figure out how to use his computer afterward.

"It is very disturbing Microsoft would treat paying customers with such disrespect and disregard for what they want," Wood, a software salesman who lives in Pleasanton, California, said in an email. "Not giving customers a way to say no is in fact deceitful and an inappropriate business practice."

Microsoft has said it would soon change the upgrade process, making it easier for Windows 7 and 8 users to opt out of Windows 10 permanently.

"Our most important priority for Windows 10 is for everyone to love Windows," Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, said recently in a statement. "We'll continue to be led by your feedback and always, earning and maintaining your trust is our commitment and priority."

Microsoft released Windows 10 last summer. I gave it a positive review because it addresses many of the complaints that I and others had with Windows 8.

The operating system is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users until July 29. Microsoft has been heavily promoting it as the most secure version of Windows ever. It has also aggressively attempted to get it installed on consumers' machines, making it difficult for them to decline the upgrade and even going so far as to upgrade their computers without their explicit permission.

But many users have been reluctant to make the jump to Windows 10 or have seen things in it they didn't like. For example, many Windows programmes haven't been updated to support Windows 10. And drivers for many peripherals like printers aren't yet available for the new operating system - and may never be.

That's what Hartmut Wiesenthal found when he decided to accept the upgrade offer. Although Microsoft told the 54-year-old engineer his computer was 100 percent compatible with Windows 10, he quickly found that some of his equipment wasn't.

Wiesenthal couldn't print documents on his several-year-old printer after he upgraded. And his Kensington docking station no longer worked with his computer. In both cases, the Fremont, California, resident found there were no drivers - the software used by the computer to communicate with particular peripherals - for the devices and none were in development.

What's more, when he returned his PC to Windows 7, he found that the old drivers had been wiped out in the upgrade and he needed to find and download them again.

"I searched (for) them online and was lucky to find them," Wiesenthal said in an email. "I share all of this as a warning."

Features missing

Windows 10 also ditched some features that some users relied on. Most notably, it doesn't include Media Centre. So Windows no longer has the built-in ability to play DVDs or tune in or record television programmes. Microsoft is offering a separate app to play DVDs for free to some users who upgrade to Windows 10, but others have to pay $US15 for it.

Being forced to pay for a feature previously included with his computer - along with all the pop-up messages pushing him to upgrade - irked Terry Grant, 74, who often watches DVDs on his computer.

"It just irritated me," said the Cupertino, California, resident who retired from NASA after a long career there. "It seems to me, as per usual, I can expect Windows will not be putting their customers first."

Some people have faced even bigger problems after upgrading to Windows 10. After her company upgraded her computer to Windows 10, one reader said that some 600 files in her My Documents folder had been deleted. Unfortunately, her computer hadn't been set to back up the files and the tech support person at her company couldn't restore the files even after downloading a file recovery programme.

Microsoft does offer a relatively easy way to restore PCs that have been upgraded to Windows 10 to the previous version they were running. But users have to take advantage of that method within 30 days of being upgraded or they lose that easy option.

When his computer was upgraded to Windows 10, Tony Daniels found that it no longer worked with his printer and had other, more minor glitches. The 65-year-old retired sales manager ended up paying US$150 to a computer repair company to rid his machine of Windows 10.

"Microsoft was doing every underhanded trick possible to get me to accept (Windows) 10," the Antioch, Calif., resident said in an email. "I don't remember where I screwed up and let these guys do this to me."

Daniels added: "If they get a class-action suit against them, count me in."

- by Troy Wolverton of The Mercury News/TNZ

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