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Which? calls for user compensation over Windows 10 upgrade issues

Consumer rights champion’s research shows 12% of Windows 10 users have downgraded to an older version of the software because of troublesome updates

Microsoft’s Windows 10 update strategy has incurred the wrath of Which?, which is calling on the software giant to compensate users whose machines were adversely affected by the operating system upgrade.

The consumer rights champion claims to have received hundreds of complaints from disgruntled Windows 10 users about how upgrading from older versions of the operating system wreaked havoc on their PCs.

In some cases, upgrading to Windows 10 stopped users’ printers, Wi-Fi cards and speakers from working, while others reported losing files and having to pay to have their PC repaired as a result.

The complaints came to light after Which? conducted a survey, involving 5,500 of its members, in June 2016.

A total of 2,500 said they had upgraded to Windows 10, with more than one in 10 (12%) claiming they had ended up rolling back to an older version of the operating system because of the update’s negative impact on their PCs.

Users also reported feeling “nagged” by Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10, after being inundated with notifications to install it. Some claimed the update process took place without them allowing it.

On the back of its findings, Which? reminded Windows 10 users that the rules governing the use of digital content contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 should cover them for any inconvenience caused by upgrading their systems.

For example, the Act states that digital content must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described by the supplier. If that is not the case, users may be entitled to a replacement, repair or refund.

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Alex Neill, director of campaigns and policy at Which?, said Microsoft had a duty of care to Windows 10 users.

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

In a statement to Computer Weekly, a Microsoft spokesperson defended the Windows 10 upgrade, declaring that the “vast majority” of users had experienced no problems.

“With more than 350 million monthly active devices now running Windows 10, the vast majority of customers who have upgraded to Windows 10 over the past year have had a seamless, positive experience,” the spokesperson said.

“That said, for the relatively small number of users who may have issues with their upgrade experience, Microsoft offers a variety of options to get assistance, including free customer support.”

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