Wolverton: Windows users’ complaints offer contrast to Microsoft’s claims

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

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

That may be, but it’s not hard to find customers who aren’t happy with the new software. A Sausalito woman made headlines recently after she sued Microsoft and won a $10,000 judgement because an unauthorized Windows 10 upgrade basically made her PC unusable. Meanwhile, 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 that 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,” said Wood, a software salesman who lives in Pleasanton, in an email. “Not giving customers a way to say no is in fact deceitful and an inappropriate business practice.”

Microsoft said earlier this week that 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 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’s 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 programs 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 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.”

Windows 10 also ditched some features that some users relied on. Most notably, it doesn’t include Media Center. So Windows no longer has the built-in ability to play DVDs or tune in or record television programs. Microsoft is offering a separate app to play DVDs for free to some users who upgrade to Windows 10, but others have to pay $15 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 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, a reader named Rita found 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 program.

“He said there is nothing that can be done to get them back,” Rita said.

When her Hewlett-Packard laptop attempted upgrade itself to Windows 10 without her consent, it actually failed at first, said a reader named Elaine. She had to reboot the computer twice before the upgrade was finally installed. Now it runs so hot that its keys are warm to the touch.

“It is sitting on a baker’s cooling rack with a 10-inch fan behind it to keep it running until my new laptop arrives,” Elaine said.

And those aren’t the only costs users have faced when upgrading. Some have paid significant sums of money to return their computers to earlier versions of Windows.

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. Meanwhile, other, less sophisticated users haven’t been able to figure it out by themselves.

Several weeks ago, a reader named Shirley said, Windows 10 was installed on her two computers. The new operating system wasn’t compatible with some of her software programs, so Shirley and her husband, who are in their 80s, ended up hiring a computer professional to clean up the computers and restore them to Windows 7. The cost: $350.

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 $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 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.”

File photo: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at a 2015 event demonstrating the new features of Windows 10. (AP/Elaine Thompson)


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  • Fa

    I guarantee out of the 350 milliion users of Windows 10, 75 percent were forced to download or couldn’t stop the upgrade. And I am being generous with that figure.

  • gw2

    “We’ll continue to be led by your feedback and always, earning and maintaining your trust is our commitment and priority.”

    Complete bullshit. Microsoft is not “led by customer feedback,” nor have they earned customers’ trust. They have shown themselves to be arrogant, callous, clumsy predators who have kept customers simply because they lack alternatives. Microsoft is one of the primary reasons for the decline in the PC and the rise of Mac, Android, and other platforms. Most of us are only waiting for Android, Chrome, or Linux to advance far enough to be our next OS, with many finding these other platforms already preferable to Microsoft.

    • TrickyDickie

      Yeah, they just ignore the feedback they get from the Feedback app. And no, they can’t do every single request.

      And it’ll take a long time before other systems are on par with Windows lol

  • Stu Briggs

    “We’ll continue to be led by your feedback” especially any feedback that cost us $10,000 or more will be of highest commitment and priority.

  • hopydaddy .

    Windows 10 crashed twice on me and locked me out of my own computer as I was declared not to be admin. I had to jerry-rig it to recover part of the function. In effect, I had to trick Windows 10 to accept me as a new administrator even though I was always the only one using the computer. I still don’t have all the functions back under Win 10, so I may need to do fresh install of windows 7 (again).

  • Larry

    Windows 8.1 laptop will be two years old in August. I upgraded as an insider last fall but the laptop was then very slow and spent most of it’s time updating rather than doing what I needed to do so I rolled it back 26 days later. That time it took 7 hours to update and 30 min to revert back and after reverting back, it was 8.1 again. Six weeks ago I decided to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10. It took 11 1/2 hours this time and the laptop was even slower and unstable to boot! I reverted back again but it took 3 hours this time and it is now worthless to use. It is constantly working on something as the cursor goes in circles every few seconds and continues to do so over and over and never finishes. After 2 days of this crap, I just shut it down and pitched it on a shelf. Maybe I will mess with it when winter comes. No more Windows 10 upgrades for me EVER!!!
    Also, for any of you who do not believe me, you are welcome to screw with it yourself and see if you can get it to work correctly again!! $250 and YOU can own it!!

  • Dave

    What a bunch of crybaby weenies. My father is 86 years old and he was not duped into upgrading to Windows 10. Windows provided the necessary prompt to either accept or reject the upgrade. My father asked me if he should proceed and I said yes. The upgrade process on his 8 year old Dell was a breeze and he is now enjoying Windows 10 with no data loss of course. Totally ridiculous complaints by inept users.

    • pgm554

      You have no idea of what you are talking about.

      M$ has pushed various get W10 updates that were voluntary,but then started to push out install recommended updates to W10(which is the default setting in W7 and 8.x)and it automatically installs, no user intervention required.

      You turn on your machine and W10.

      There are many machines that require a BIOS upgrade to run W10 successfully,but unless you are a techie ,you wouldn’t know to look for them.

      3rd party software like backup ,printers and scan software quit working AND if you have a windows recovery partition (W7 or W8) it will not work if you need to run a fixit program.

      Run a Sony Vaio?
      NO frigging software drivers for the video or power settings.

      • Dave

        I upgraded my 2010 Sony Vaio model # VPCF112FX/B with absolutely no problems to report. The upgrade from Win7 Pro to Win10 Pro was effortless. I had no issues with the video drivers for my Nvidia graphics chip or the power management drivers. You don’t need any legacy drivers to run your Sony Vaio. Win10 provides all compatible drivers. Also, if did reinstall the Sony Power Management drivers then you need to uninstall this software since it contains outdated drivers and Win10 power management replaces it. As for your video drivers, you can easily use the Nvidia update tool to apply the latest drivers. I had no issues with the ones that came with the Win10 installation, but I did later upgrade to the latest drivers using the Nvidia update tool. I must comment on your initial attack on my knowledge and experience using Win10. You really do need to sit back and chill out. Don’t jump to conclusions. You need methodically work the problem. I have always been able to find a solution to all of my software conflicts. Windows is not out to make your life miserable. You are way to stressed out. Windows 10 is a wonderful operating system with the most robust kernel ever developed. I go back a long way to the days of DOS 1.0. I think you just are a frustrated person. My 2010 Sony Vaio has run better than ever before after upgrading to Win10 Pro. The system runs 50% cooler and boots about 20% faster. I’m even thinking about cloning my HDD and replacing it with an SSD given the fantastic increase in performance. Win10 has put new life in my old PC.

        • pgm554

          Yours is an exception as Sony tweaks their video and power drivers to be proprietary.
          The Nvidia chip set is what sets yours apart as most Vaios come with a modified Intel video chipset that only Sony writes the drivers for.
          Otherwise it’s a generic driver that leaves a lot to be desired (not including the wireless).