Microsoft Hit with $5 Million Class Action Suit on Windows 10 Installs
A class action lawsuit filed in Illinois last week alleges that Microsoft did not do enough to ensure that its Windows 10 operating system wouldn't cause problems for users who downloaded it.
The suit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, names three plaintiffs and seeks more than $5 million in damages. It was filed on behalf of all Microsoft users in the U.S. who lost data or whose devices were damaged after installing Windows 10.
Released in July 2015, Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade for one year to any Microsoft users running previous versions of the company's operating system. While Microsoft touted the cloud-focused Windows 10, now installed on more than 400 million devices, as its most advanced and secure OS to date, many customers have complained about the company's aggressive efforts to get people to upgrade.
Prompts and Upgrade Hard To Dismiss
In the lawsuit, filed by the Chicago law firm of Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, plaintiffs Stephanie Watson, Robert Saiger, and Howard Goldberg allege that Windows 10 caused their computers to lose data and stop functioning properly. While Saiger and Goldberg said they voluntarily installed the new OS, Watson claimed her computer was upgraded to Windows 10 without her permission.
All three plaintiffs said they lost time and money trying to recover lost data and resolve other problems caused by the upgrade. Watson said she eventually bought a new computer because her old one could not be successfully repaired.
The lawsuit also noted that Microsoft's prompts and upgrade offers for Windows 10 were difficult to dismiss and remove, and the operating system itself was not easy to uninstall if users found the upgrade caused problems.
"A great number of people have installed the Windows 10 system inadvertently or without full realization of the extent of the download," the complaint stated. "Once downloaded, the Windows 10 system does not have an option for its deletion. The program can be deleted but it takes a significant effort to find out how to do so; a typical user will not have the expertise to remove the system without professional IT help."
Next Update Promises 'More Choice and Control'
"The Windows 10 free upgrade program was a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows. Customers had the option not to upgrade to Windows 10," a Microsoft spokesperson told Courthouse News Service. "If a customer who upgraded during the one year program needed help with the upgrade experience, we had numerous options including free customer support and 31 days to roll back to their old operating system. We believe the plaintiffs' claims are without merit."
Numerous Windows users complained about compatibility and reliability problems after upgrading to Windows 10, and since then Microsoft appears to have adopted a somewhat less aggressive push with subsequent upgrades. For instance, it phased in last year's Anniversary Update over a period of three months.
Microsoft has since noted it plans to provide users with "more choice and control" when it rolls out its next big Windows 10 upgrade, the Creators Update, sometime this spring.
"Since we released the first version of Windows 10 we've received a lot of great feedback from customers about the way we deliver and install updates," Windows and Devices Group vice president Michael Fortin wrote in a blog post early this month. He said that the Creators Update will give users "considerably more flexibility when specifying the best time to install updates on your devices."
Image credit: Product shots by Microsoft; iStock Artist's concept.
Posted: 2018-03-04 @ 10:39pm PT
Moving to Oz nearly 5 years ago, we changed to Windows 10. All was going well until about a year or so ago, and then the machine was running slow, and all sorts of serious irritating problems began. In the end we had to call in an expert, obviously costing us money for his advice and help. This expert has switched us over to a more compatible system to cope with Windows 10. I certainly hope the Class Action succeeds against Microsoft, whose arrogance is beyond belief and how they have deceived so many computer users without any compunction. They seem to think for the moment that their size and wealth will protect them, but even Microsoft are not that safe. Remember the tale of Goliath.... a little human found his vulnerable spot.
Posted: 2017-03-30 @ 7:56am PT
Microsoft needs to be sued in my opinion! They have cost me more time and money than I care to admit to. I have lost one computer and am trying to recover data from a second one now. They continue to use immoral and illegal practices in gaining what they desire, with no concern to whom it harms or effects. Where does it end? I personally wish the best of luck to the plaintiffs aforementioned in their efforts for some justice. Where can the rest of us sign up!!!! Do I need to move to Illinois to join in?
Posted: 2017-03-30 @ 5:55am PT
As a highly technical user (Computer Technician by Trade) my income revolves around Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, updates and upgrades. When it came time for me to upgrade at home I did all I could to ensure that the Windows 7 - 10 transition went smoothly. I ran the compatibility check tool, verified that my hardware manufacturers had Windows 10 drivers for my devices, then did a full system backup.
Microsoft advised me that the upgrade process completed successfully then the headaches started. Drivers were missing or non-functional, Windows would freeze / force programs to close, my wireless network settings & passwords were lost between boots. When I tried the roll back to Windows 7 option as well as the data safe reset Windows 10 reported that it experienced an error. Talking to the experts on the user forum it was discovered that foundation level programs and files were corrupted, but the system file checker was unable to repair them. I ended up having to erase my hard drive, manually install Windows 10, and manually restore my data.
In summary, Windows 10 was not ready for widespread distribution and the support teams were not equipped to help when things went south.
Posted: 2017-03-29 @ 12:23pm PT
I think a customer has a right to decide if he/she accepts the upgrade. Microsoft should not be making or sneaking upgrades, like happened to me. Microsoft put the upgrade to my computer while I was on vacation and when I came back it has been a problem that I can not fix. I am thinking of buying a computer from Apple and not buy anything from Microsoft any more.