/ Technology

Have you had issues with Windows 10 updates?

We’ve just called on Microsoft to overhaul how it handles Windows 10 updates after receiving thousands of your comments. Have you experienced a botched update?

You can read more about the woes suffered by Which? members in our news story, but I want to talk about some of my own experiences with Windows 10 and then hand it over to you to see what you think would be the best way for Microsoft to handle updates.

It’s my job to understand computers, and has been for several years. Three years ago, I recommended my partner buy a computer for working on the move – I found a great model, weighing under 1kg and costing £200.

Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out. We’ve experienced many problems trying to update Windows, such as the update breaking the Wi-Fi connection, requiring a new driver (software for the Wi-Fi card) to be downloaded each time.

We became so frustrated that we’ve switched to a Chromebook. Away from Microsoft and into the arms of arch-rival Google we’ve gone, and I don’t think we’ll be looking back.

Update failures

So what’s gone wrong for Microsoft? For its part, the company says the vast majority of Windows 10 updates carry on without a hitch, but with over 600 million Windows 10 users, even a half percentage failure rate is hundreds of thousands of people.

It turns out the great strength of Windows is also its weakness: it’s so widely used on so many different types of computer, every single major ‘feature’ update has the potential to break some aspect of a laptop.

There have been plenty of examples over the last few years including touchscreens failing, fingerprint scanners no longer functioning and USB devices failing to be recognised.

More recently, serious issues involving some makes of solid-state drives rendered some computers unusable.

What’s the answer?

You can choose not to accept updates (or undo them if they cause you issues). Problem is, if you choose not to accept an update that you know might break your computer, eventually you’ll be cut off from important security updates. Microsoft says each major version of Windows 10 only has a support life of 18 months, after which point no more assistance or security updates will be provided.

So, do you think we should have more sympathy for Microsoft and just accept that it isn’t responsible for every single computer in the hands of more than half a billion people? Or can Microsoft do more to help?

Have you had problems with Windows 10 updates? Let us know your experiences.


The Register picked up on it:

Champion of consumer rights and closer of customer email services Which? has taken a hobnailed boot to Microsoft’s beleaguered Windows 10 operating system with research that will make for unpleasant reading at Redmond.

That email closure might haunt Which? for quite a while…

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Best thing you can do in windows

Colin says:
9 July 2018

Your comment about the windows club being Microsoft’s is about as accurate as the rest of your comments. Have been using W10 since it was launched. One corruption of windows update service experienced in that time which was fixed with windows utility and no other problems. Not everyone has the problems that you guys claim. Also, Chromebook is not a lot of use when your home broadband speed is slower than a snail. I can visit a friends house for updates but not spend my whole life there.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I agree with Michael that a Chromebook can provide a very inexpensive and woe free alternative to a Windows 10 laptop.

Personally, I’ve not suffered any major problems with W10 updates, other than the world wide wait that is the agonizingly slow process of downloading and installing updates. However, I only suffer that on very odd occasions, when I have a W10 box powered on for long enough to get round to thinking about updates. Usually, I never run W10 and even my old MacBook and XP boxes see more use.

in common with Duncan, I find that Linux now meets my home computing needs much more readily than Windows. I love to restore, upgrade and re-purpose old PCs; on most common hardware configurations Linux “just works” and is very quick to install and upgrade.

I even have an old Pentium 3 and 256MB RAM with Puppy linux and its surprisingly usable for basic tasks

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

…obviously no shortage of LOTR fans at M$/NSA/GCHQ: One OS to rule them all, one OS to find them, one OS to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them…

But, seriously, as Windows is still the predominant home and office PC OS, it shouldn’t be surprising that it is the most attractive target for anyone who either wants to develop – or exploit – system vulnerabilities. That said, as Android (and ChromeOS and linux) grow in popularity, they are also likely to become favored targets.

That was written a long time before Windows 10, Derek: http://wiki.c2.com/?LordOfTheOses

It doesn’t surprise me that software engineering and mythology are inextricably intertwined; I expect there is a commonality of mindset. Both arts are lost on me however.

I have had no problems with my desktop computer (originally Windows 8, but updated regularly to the latest version of Windows 10). I am sure I am not the only trouble-free user!

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Tony, I’m sure you’re not alone.

I recently gave away three old PC’s to a friend who is a Windows user. I was able to get W10 working OK on two of them, but it wouldn’t work well on the 3rd one, so that had to be shipped out with something else (XP or Linux or both) on it.

Like a lot of people I’ve had numerous problems with windows 10 updates. Every thing from broken drivers to programs not supported by the latest updates so will no longer work. Stopping updates can cause other problems. I’ve used all versions of windows from 95 onwards some were dogs, 10 was good but now it’s one of the worst windows ever trying to be all things to all men ( and women ) and falling badly. We need a slimmed down version with no extras, and not being forced to use microsoft products we don’t want, like edge and internet explorer jus two examples. I don’t like or use but can’t delete, as they are built into windows. Take a look at all the apps windows has put on your computer without asking if you wanted them or not, filling your hard drive and slowing your computer.
Enough is Enough. Microsoft stop filling our machine with rubbish and stuff we don’t want.

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Andrew says:
19 June 2018

Windows 10 update locked me out of my PC. It would not recognise my password. Having a reasonable degree of computer knowledge I was able to get back to basics, use a recovery disc and retrieve data from the cloud. However, it was a few evenings work.
Not many alternatives as most people work with Windows and associated products.

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I’ve never used a Microsoft connected user, theres no advantage to it

I’ve had no trouble with updates, but I have had to reset my laptop to factory settings twice because of Trusteer’s Rapport, which the RBS led me to believe was essential. Thanks to your good selves I realised that it was Rapport that was giving me jip and I stopped using it. I have had no trouble since. Until something else comes along?

Windows 10 is great but the forced upgrades are ridiculous. As far as I can tell there is no known way to permanently disable the updates. If you disable the update service, there are scheduled tasks that run regularly to re-enable them. If you cancel the scheduled tasks, as soon as you reboot your computer they get added back. The possible solution is that there should be a registry key you can set to alert you that windows 10 updates are available instead of automatically installing them.


Bill, I agree that the forced updates are a real annoyance with home editions of Windows 10.

I’m beginning to really loath the “Working on updates… Don’t turn off your PC. This will take a while.” blue screen of Microsoft Windows 10 arrogance.

The majority of my home computers run a selection of Linux OSes. None of them force me to install updates and all of them can install updates as background tasks, while I carry on working. Also, almost all updates are installed without requiring a reboot.

I don’t use Windows 10 and never have, recommed everyone sticks to Windows 7 for as long as possible and then switch to a Linux distro

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Its the best plan

I am also hanging on to Win 7.


News just in via a number of YouTube channels is that some (but not all) early adopters of the Windows 10 October 2018 feature update have been losing lots or even all of their user data files and folders due to bugs in the update.

Some commentators are reporting that Microsoft has now paused pushing out this update via “automatic updates” while the problems are investigated.

With all this going on, now would be a good time for Windows 10 users to make sure that any and all precious user data is properly backed up.

As a further update to this thread, I’ve just acquired a nice cheap secondhand HP Stream 14 netbook.

This is the type of inexpensive PC that only comes with 32GB of disc, so often there can be insufficient disc space to allow Windows 10 to properly deploy and install updates. I see a lot of similar machines on the secondhand market, so I wonder if they get returned or traded in because they aren’t really adequate for running Windows 10 on.

The jury was still out on whether or not that problem was going to affect my particular machine when I hit another unusual problem with Windows 10. I wanted to create separate user and administrator accounts. However when any new accounts were created, they didn’t seem to work properly and could not access the Windows start menu.

The machine did at least work well enough to let me use HP’s Windows-based recovery software to allow me to access the start-up menu and UEFI bios settings. I was slightly tempted to try a full re-installation of Windows 10, but then I gleefully discovered that the latest release of Linux Mint would also be quick and easy to install. So I’ve installed that instead of Windows and no longer have to worry about suffering from the clunkiness of and undue complexity of Windows 10.

As overhauled, this PC does take significantly longer to boot than a Chromebook, but it does give me easier access to “grown up” apps like LibreOffice and a choice of web browsers.