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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…

I have been posting here for quite some time and commenting on computers and it was a breath of fresh air and mental relief to blow Microsoft Windows out of my computer NEVER to return . I now use Linux (Arch ) which I control not Redmond ,tried for several years with Win 7 Prof . it was a losing battle every time I removed some Redmond control it took offense -reported me and blocked me from normal working till I was left with an unworkable shell. Make no mistake MS should be prosecuted for being an monopoly in essence , IT control the system-IT takes over your computer -IT tells YOU what to do I would be better off with the NSA controlling it . YOU dont own your computer if Windows is installed on it MS OWN it. As I have posted many times before Redmond is moving to a Linux based system in the future and even now you can download and install THEIR controlled version of Linux using virtual reality . The convo heading states you can block updates BUT doesn’t tell you Windows is now a SERVICE –look up the legal definition of that so every “upgrade ” will be BLOCKED until you install the previous “updates ” – nice work corporate lawyers (not ) . Want to block it completely then get Windows BUSINESS as they cried –your not on! and won not so us plebs. How would you like it if your choice of cars was-FORD-ford-ford ? Then we have that country cottage ( not AGAIN Lucas ! ) yes again with 1-2 Mbps download and even worse Wi-Fi > hint initiate download > go to bed >wake up and look at computer not working right AND only 120GB SSD fitted ? watch out for big box telling you windows cant be installed on your itsy bitsy SSD . MS -MIS–take.

I have found a more detailed and comprehensive website that explains how you can “turn off ” Windows updates its Windows own website http://www.thewindowsclub.com/turn-off-windows-update-in-windows-10

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.

Glad you are happy Colin many arent , where did I say its run DIRECT from Redmond Colin ? -MVP running it all I was doing was quoting off it in relation to a post , if you think their advice was wrong please state in technical terms where its wrong ? Its the most controlling system on this planet and only exists because of its advertising monopoly , and , listen up, even Redmond say they are booting it into touch because it cant compete with the majority mobile systems most using Linux in one shape or another and guess what Colin ? they have taken a 12 % share in Linux so that they can offer up a MS /LInux system and no I am not talking about the VR version .

Thanks for that “thumbs down ” Colin the truth is not always palatable I would have thought more of you if you had posted a rebuttal but never mind .

And your opinion of my comment on W10 is about as accurate as your opinion of me . I don’t know what “Twilight Zone ” you exist in but I have seen , mistake after mistake by MS Redmond over many years causing blue screens /corruption -downloads that stop access to the internet -stops boot up -continual everlasting updates on a closed system full of back-doors . The WWW is full from end to end with complaints and when the usual – Microsoft so called “Tech. ” cant give an answer to the multitude of complaints he tells the posters to RE-install Windows which elicits — then I am moving to Linux . Listing all the complaints about Windows would take up several GB,s on a SSD so you dont impress me Colin.

DerekP says:
12 June 2018

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

Yes I have a version of Puppy Linux on my old second PC -Pen 4 – with just a bit under 1G of RAM. I keep it as a spare in case of a hardware failure in my main PC. It can restore bios/boot in other systems where corruption has taken place , good to keep the Puppy boot disc handy.

In case somebody thinks I am intentionally biased against Windows , the problem of updates highlighted by this convo says -“its windows great strengths ” without wondering why so many updates are constantly required while other systems dont have the same unending updates under the “keeping your system safe banner ” making out Windows is “thinking about your safety ” . The flaw in that non-engineering logic is simple – to control you its system Windows has Back-Doors so that control can occur REMOTELY – the NSA/GCHQ have access as well as other “bodies ” but in doing so makes the closed system vulnerable to attack . To give you some idea of that I have just been informed ( funny I keep getting informed when appropriate convos take place ) never mind – 4 DOZEN security flaws in Windows and Windows related software – THIS MONTH ! earned a “critical ” rating meaning hackers can have a “field day ” . Dont even think -oh thats not normal ! thats not even close to some other months patches – its “Patch Tuesday ” instead of “Patch Monday ” hackers could access the Registry WITHOUT the help of the user –think on about that ! isn’t it time the Great British Public were told the truth ?

DerekP says:
13 June 2018

…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!

You certainly arent Tony the problem is Which convo gets all the complaints about telephone scam callers knowing all their data and hackers sell their data to the highest bidder on the “Dark Web ” .

DerekP says:
14 June 2018

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.

Sean it has been determined by Redmond that their closed operating service has a future set life of 10/12 years they cant compete with mobile systems worldwide which are mostly a version of Linux so they have bought into the Linux Foundation at 12 % shares . They also realise making Windows 10 a SERVICE is going to lose them customers as it means you accept the upgrades and PAY for apps . They will bring out their own version of Linux which will not in spirit be “LInux ” but a “Ba******ed ” version of it keeping them in control. This was all planned some years ago and is part by part being brought into fruition . In other words they will cling onto Win 10 service version xxx for as long as sales are good then dump it so 15 years from now CPCW will be selling “Windows Linux ” with the same “upselling ” (not what I call it ). “Own” Windows 10 ?–only in your mind, Redmond own your computer-your system and last of all YOU ! its not going to change.

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.

Thats because Windows 10 ,well MS Redmond not only want to have complete control over your computer but to treat you like a Terminal user coming off a Network mainframe , it wants you on a Microsoft account not a local one as it will block you from accessing the Windows app store . You can use a Local Account but lose some features , check your keyboard is set to EN not US . The web is full of the same complaint and MS.s advice –yes system restore try>hold down SHIFT key while clicking >RESTART>System Restore options>ADVANCED options >See more recovery options >Restore PREVIOUS Build >click on that > Restarting (takes ages ) >Welcome back , welcome back Mr ****** >reinstall W10 . I hate Windows with a vengeance but I accept what you say Andrew >everybody uses it . Think about LInux MInt Cinnamon much like Win 7 so an easy transition , I use Arch Linux- I control it, I access it , it doesnt “phone home ” , control your computer . Own windows 10 ? no you dont Redmond does and feeds back your every move- not your computer, not your system . Dont even try to contact MS even their websites act like a bot, when they cant help they keep on repeating –was this helpful-yes/no ? Hours waiting for no help . Capt. Kirk > to Scotty > fire up the photon torpedoes > aim at Redmond , king county WA 98052> FIRE !!!!!– ah the satisfaction ! , the delight , can stop taking the tablets now > cured .

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.


DerekP says:
16 April 2019

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

Yes I will go with that Larry5.

Its the best plan

I am also hanging on to Win 7.


DerekP says:
7 October 2018

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.

DerekP says:
3 May 2019

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.