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Microsoft must act over Windows 10 woes

Windows 10 update

Software updates can be our heroes – fixing bugs, improving performance or adding new features to our gadgets. But they can be villains, too, as with the many Windows 10 problems.

We’ve received well over 1,000 complaints about Windows 10, as well as plenty of comments on Which? Conversation, with PC users telling us that this software update has brought them nothing but problems. We’re calling on Microsoft to do better.

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As reported in the October issue of Which?, consumers have told us about being ‘nagged’ by Microsoft to install the update and, despite declining its advances – sometimes on several occasions – they said that Windows 10 installed itself anyway.

Once installed, it caused various problems, including printers, wi-fi cards and speakers no longer working with their PC; or instances of lost files and email accounts no longer syncing.

In some cases, members’ computers were so badly affected that they had to pay someone to repair it.

Microsoft must do better

Microsoft is offering free support to anyone affected by Windows 10 woes (call 0344 800 2400 or visit support.microsoft.com/en-gb). However, many people have struggled to find a way to contact the company. Either that or they thought that the problems were with their PC, so contacted the manufacturer or took their own action.

But would they know if they were actually speaking to Microsoft anyway? Before going to press on the October issue, one of the Windows 10 cases we took up for our article was contacted by a scam caller pretending to be Microsoft.

Sadly, this is a common ruse we’ve seen many times before, and we’re worried that the Windows 10 problems will only give scammers more ammunition.

Have you been affected by Windows 10 problems?

Which? is calling on Microsoft to honour the rights of consumers adversely affected by the Windows 10 update. This includes paying compensation where it’s due under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

If you’ve been negatively affected by the Windows 10 update, we want to hear from you on Which? Conversation. Alternatively, send us an email at techresearch@which.co.uk.

Comments
Guest
John Leslie Sellers (me) says:
5 September 2017

I have built a custom built desktop PC. I upgraded to windows 10 because I thought it would run better than windows 8.1, but after multiple updates my pc keeps crashing, I now regret updating and can’t go back to windows 8. I wouldn’t care I spent just over £500 in December 2015 and the Microsoft had the cheek to tell me I needed a new computer!

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Guest

John-They have probably found fault with your motherboard and drivers . MS scrutinizes your whole system once you have Windows its not your computer its MS,s -I personally hate MS/Redmond . They take a note of your motherboard and stop you using a previous system after a short time of installation . But life must go on, I can try to help you if you will give me all your specs mother board/video card/ audio card / all external connected devices and installed programs as even Chrome can make it crash (intentionally ) OR blast the hell out of MS Windows and install the easiest to use LINUX – Linux Mint 18.2 its FREE and the easiest system for somebody changing from Windows I have every detail and can help you all along the way but first removing Windows from your SSD is the first action . Linux Mint can do this for you and you can even get a disc for it or you can get a disc to remove it as you cant run your system as it stands to connect to the internet . Get a friend to download the ISO from the website make sure its the OFFICIAL website ONLY NOT any download company and burn to a blank disc then install it. Either way I will help you never fear -get back please ! To help you here is the official download website : https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php remember I have every detail on how to install this from scratch its no big deal and it will save all that money you spent .

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Guest

JLS – I’d also be tempted to carefully check over all your the hardware and/or try a fresh complete download and re-installation of W10, using the install discs available from the Microsoft website. (If you have a h/w fault, no OS is going to run without crashing…)

Windows 10 has cribbed the Unix/Linux model, in which drivers are automatically spliced into the OS kernel. This doesn’t always work unaided, not least for wifi card drivers 🙁 because , if you depend on wifi, you cannot download a working wifi driver once you have a broken one.

Failing those options, you should at least be able to get some version of Linux running on your PC. As Duncan suggests, if you have newish mainstream h/w, Linux Mint is a good choice, especially if you liked the “look & feel” of Windows 7. On older or less mainstream (e.g. AMD or Apple) machines, I find that Mint does not always come with all the required device drives, in which cases the LXLE distro usually “just works”.

If your now broken PC is your only PC, you may not then be able to download anything. When faced with this dilemma a few years ago, I was able to use a bootable cover disc from Linux Format magazine (as sold in all good hypermarkets) to rescue my PC.

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Guest

Yes I back Derek,s suggestion on buying Linux Format it using comes with an installation disc for some flavour of Linux/Ubuntu/Fedora etc etc but they come with installable apps as well including resculux which will boot just about any system its one of the simpler kind to use and will boot Windows . Your problem with Windows 10 is usually 60 %/70 % drivers .Remove your video card and use the inbuilt one on the motherboard thats a big issue in this situation remove all ancillaries except your keyboard+mouse+ router/modem +screen and try again.

Guest
bishbut says:
6 September 2017

I said when windows10 first came out it was made just for computer experts and geeks not for the average computer user I still think the same now But it seems experts are having problems now

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Guest

I think it would be fair to say that Windows 10 was designed mostly for Microsoft’s benefit – i.e. to try an re-unify their customer base from the groups of folk who either did or did not like Windows 8.

An obvious additional objective was to strengthen the use of the Microsoft online equivalent of the Google Play Store (and, of course, also whatever the Apple equivalent is called). Ideally, I think Microsoft (and Google and Apple) would love to be monopoly software suppliers for their respective OSes, so they can take a nice percentage cut of all software purchases.

As far as that goes, I think W10, W8, W7, Vista and XP all pretty much do the same job. But with Microsoft (and other) software suppliers phasing out support for the likes of XP and Vista (etc…) sooner or later users of those systems may choose to move on to new, still supported OSes – but not necessarily ones from the Microsoft stable.

At least where I’ve worked, the rise of Microsoft Windows was largely driven by the demands of folk who wanted (or needed) Microsoft Excel. But, for home use, I doubt that that can still be regarded as a compelling reason for wanting to use Windows. This is especially so if continuing Windows usage comes with the penalty of a learning curve for the transition to W10 and/or the need to replace older, no longer supported hardware.

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Guest

Derek , its funny when we start talking about Windows 10 all of sudden I get emails from US tech websites of which I am a ,member, on MS,s latest “adventures ” . The “good ” news is that Win 10,s latest inbuilt protection has gone “AI” . As you know they gather every bit of intelligence from you but their new partnership with a third party AI company enhances their protection —the bad news although denying it this private company collects ALL your data its called Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) . Although it works (so far ) its not free , the company is FireEye -Ken Gonzalez VP thinks a lot of it but maybe users wont as the Telemetry collects- installed apps-crash dumps- and a complete rundown of your system and use ( all done in the best possible taste of coarse ) MS have NOT announced that that FireFly collects all your data. As for Google I have all the latest data on their data bit mining and much more, highly enlightening.

Guest
DerekP says:
6 September 2017

Duncan, as I see it, when going onto the internet one is entering a public space, just as if one takes a walk down the local high street. In either case, we can be spied upon, either by tracking software or by the likes of CCTV.

Online, we might resort to encryption software to give ourselves the illusion of privacy, but quite likely some latter-day Alan Turing will come along and crack the encryption.

If I had any computer data that I really needed to keep private and secure from prying eyes, I’d start by keeping it only on computers that were never allowed to access the internet.

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Guest

Apple, interestingly, don’t sell a lot of their own software; it’s mostly included in all of their computers when bought. What they do sell, however, tends to be extremely high quality: Final Cut Pro X, for instance, has become the de facto video and film editing software of choice for many companies. And although database packages are in decline, File Maker Pro is possibly one of the best there is.

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Guest

I have long been an enthusiast for FileMaker Pro. It’s expensive, so I’m sticking to version 10.

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Guest

While this is an old convo I have just been given some startling news about Microsoft . Since -2000 up to now ( including latest Win 10 ) there is a security fault in the Windows kernel that any security app/system cant prevent Its an old bug that blocks your super-dooper high price security. It is related to = PsSetLOadImageNotifyRoutine , on boot up it notifies MS of any drives on your system that are newly registered therefore it is quite serious as it blocks your security from detecting threats . It lets malware infected Power Point files evade any antivirus . Its a coding error and MS has no plans to fix it , to the delight of those preying on Windows systems ( any from 2000 ) . It is ironic that Windows Ps Load etc is actually there to STOP this happening , it was introduced to notify registered drivers in different parts of the kernel when a “PE image file ” is loaded to virtual memory . Thats enough technical stuff although there is much more . Basically the bad guys have “cottoned ” onto this . Although the ordinary user cant do anything about it I just want them to be aware of Windows vulnerability.

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At the very same time as I got the above info from America , I was contacted by an app maker,s website who has one of the best security apps in the business . I know I have mentioned this once before but nobody paid attention . As you know I am highly critical and dont normally endorse apps but this one is so good at detecting malware in windows that Windows isnt too happy with it as it can block all their spying , even the hidden stuff and yet the website app designers actually promote Windows so its a bit schizophrenic . I cannot install it as I have Linux although the just offered it to me (the basic version) which is free . it works on Android and they certainly need it . It has windows network monitoring /internet security/network time machine /discrete alerts /bandwidth usage monitor /remote server monitoring/internet privacy protection /ask to connect (great for blocking unknown apps /lockdown mode/mini graph (lovely colours /webcam/mile detector /who is on your wi-fi network /multiple server monitoring. I had this system on Windows and windows went to a lot of trouble trying to stop me installing it. As I say I dont lightly give my approval to any app etc mostly I criticise them its a beautiful active graphic display a delight for those wanting to know exactly what windows or anybody else is doing transmitting data etc . This is American designed and I want to say an American app I love -see I really love them . I am also a member of their website . Click on : https://www.glasswire.com/download/ you will not be disappointed , unless MS blocks you installing it.

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Guest

Here is another piece of vital security information that I am sure everybody is going to ignore and then complain when their Windows 10 system is infected with malware , ignore it at your peril ! . Have you installed the new Linux Shell in MS Windows 10 ? its their sub-system for Linux , remember I said MS has bought into 10 % of Linux ? . Well if you have REMOVE it at once , like Wine when installed in Linux MS ,as per usual, allows back-doors to gather data , well in this case this new MS app allows ALL malware/hackers to enter your system , its called Bashware and yes it bypasses ALL your security apps. I have the FULL technical data to hand if anybody is going to doubt me !!

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Guest

Duncan – thanks for that one.

I checked it out and this seems to be real if somewhat academic just now. Seemingly, Windows developers (and other Windows OS users) have the option of installing a bash-based Linux emulator, which can then run malware, e.g readily available Windows malware, if the Linux windows emulator Wine is installed. So the easiest way to exploit this vulnerability would be to install Linux inside Windows and then Windows inside that Linux. Doing that would then bypass the checks possible by any normal Windows security software…

All in all, I agree with Duncan’s advice “REMOVE it at once”. For clarity (and security), my personal take is that the “it” here should refer to “Windows” and that is generally what I do with most old PCs.

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Guest

Just to add fuel to the fire Derek , just been informed that MS has fixed EIGHTY FIVE flaws ( this week ) , one allowed Fin Fisher spy-ware – OMG ! YE gods !! somebody must be watching my posts , I have just vrecieved another email from another US tech company and this is a REAL warning – A Palo Atto based IoT,s security company has discovered critical vunerabilities in Bluetooth if exploited can carry out remote attacks on millions on ALL systems and devices with Bluetooth enabled – dubbed “Blue Borne ” without any help from a user researchers nO need to click on a malware link etc on a website just 32 feet from a user, similar to Broadcom Wi-Fi attack. .I have never enabled Bluetooth nor for that matter wi-fi on my PC.

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Guest

I don’t think MS are alone in having lots of updates and security patches – I receive an almost daily series of updates for Ubuntu LTS 16.04, also quite a few for 14.04 but very few for 12.04, although the latter is technically “out of ticket” now.

Complex modern software is hard to comprehensively test and, if written to a prescribed launch deadline, is likely to end up containing flaws and half-baked ideas. My own software certainly exhibits those features too.

Hence there is a constant battle between developers, to find and patch bugs, before hackers can find and exploit them.

All that having been said, so long as Windows continues to be the most commonly used consumer PC OS, it is likely to be the most attractive target for developers and perpetrators of malware and scams. But, at some point, this “accolade” may be passed on to Android.

I think most home users can largely (but not entirely) eliminate most threats by installing good security software, and/or by discipline on-line. Of course, Mac and Linux users can also be targeted, but at least their PCs won’t run “native Windows malware”. One Linux PC in my family once suffered a browser hijack attack – but it was comparatively easy to remedy.

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Guest

But as you know in Ubuntu Derek those updates are divided into two sections by an inbuilt app in each case so that security updates are separate from app updates and I can always refuse to install them -try that on Windows “Home ” and most of Windows ones are to cover up “back-door” exploits as I check to see WHY Windows need them ( although I have destroyed windows on my dual boot PC ) Add to that Windows “information” ( in detail ) is sadly lacking unless you check it out with a security tech company ( not MS ) . This is why I run a comparatively bare LInux system compared to some, reduces attack possibilities ( from non-government hackers ) Linux MInt reduces updates to three categories – 1-2-3 -1- top priority /security – 2- essential- 3- advised all the others are rejected to stop system instability , so MInt has very few “updates ” usually supplied by a University here or say in Germany and ,as you know MINT is crowd funded by enthusiasts so commercialism is given the boot not so Ubuntu who are going “commercial ” in a bigger sense than in the past. As a US tech website said the UK company running it is not as secure ( or they think so ) than Linux Mint which is constantly monitored by the enthusiasts unlike MS Windows who wait for a fault condition to get exploited and then “fix it “.

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Guest

Yes, there are plenty of updates for Macs. Good security software will deal with most problems but malware appears before the software is updated to deal with it, hence the importance of regular backups.

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Guest

The basic issue lies with the way code originated. Many years ago I wrote arcade games for Sinclair’s QL and, to get the speed we wanted, we had to write in Assembler.

Assembler is one step up from what was popularly called ‘Machine code’, but used Mnemonics to make the arduous chore of writing code more manageable. Because every single operation had to be coded individually, programs ran to several hundred feet in length when printed on a dot matrix printer.

This inevitably led to programmers seeking ways to extend the Mnemonic principle to make it easier still, and incorporate several actions into a single word. This led to Basic, C, C++, Fortran and many others. In that process, however, mistakes were made – inevitably, some might say – which led to fundamental weaknesses being incorporated into every type of coding language.

These commands were then baked into the firmware of processors to increase speed still further, and the legacy from all those early experiments is with us today. Some of it is being used in the fly-by-wire systems used by Airliners…

Guest
bishbut says:
14 September 2017

Windows 10 was put out by Microsoft before in was ready to be installed on any computer There were many flaws from the beginning and it seems there are many more still on it and there will be more to come I uninstalled it twice and now only use it because it was installed on every new computer or nearly every one Try to find one without A chrome book maybe

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Guest

While we are talking about Win 10 and its easily hacked system I have mentioned much earlier of a US app that has arrived in this country .It can be used with most smart-phones and computer systems ( except Linux ) I am talking about the quote- “Ultimate monitoring of software for parental control , now I see being advertised here by Mspy – which is a very approrpriate name for the company and app they are selling . You may say to me -so what ? , never having read my critical comments on it , how ” wonderful ” now I can keep an eye on my kids=- of coarse you can , and has been proved in America so can hackers . Not only accessing it BUT TALKING to young Children and asking /telling them to do things any parent wouldn’t approve of ,as well as listen in to their conversations . IF you buy it bear that in mind . Any tracking system is only as good as the system its used in – do you trust MS Windows 10 ? and Android is easily hacked , unfortunately so is iOs due to an Israeli company spy app being “requisitioned ” by hackers . On the other hand it might never happen ?? For those saying -Lucas “is at it again ” well listen up ! the company has a disclaimer saying a company can monitor all its employees calls it monitors the lot including photos etc . Cheapest version £77/year -dearest- £175/year- you didn’t think it was free -did you ?, nor can you “keep it “