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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.

Broken window

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.


I bought what I consider an expensive HP Omni 27 All in One PC in June 2013 for £1289.
Core i7 processor, 6GB RAM, 2TB HDD a 27″ built in monitor, Webcam, Built in TV Tuner and Windows7 Premium OS. Very happy with the PC. Then along comes arrogant Microsoft constantly trying to trash my PC in forcing a downgrade to Windows10. This OS would render my TV Tuner useless. I use it all the time. How dare Microsoft attempt to break my expensive PC, totally unacceptable bullying conduct.



Robert says:
23 September 2016

Haha! What a laugh! You’re not entitled to compensation! So some users experienced some issues… big deal! Every Operating System ever released has caused some issues in some situations. Nobody is entitled to compensation over their inconveniences. Get over yourself. If you cry and demand to be compensated because your computer caused you frustration, then you don’t need to own a computer. Done! Case Closed!

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I hope you are being sarcastic. Inconvenience (and expense, loss of earnings and time) is damage, and when it is caused by arrogant or negligent behaviour, it’s criminal damage

When windows crashed, we spend over $400 to recover our files.

I am currently using Windows 8.1 and have no plans to upgrade to Windows 10:

* Forced updates, with some updates re-installing the whole system, forced uninstalling of software, such as Classic Shell.
* Metro everywhere, even in calculator and UAC prompt
* The taskbar does not respect the theming
* Ugly icons

I think that Windows 10 is the worst MS operationg system ever, even worse than Win7, possibly.
The best one was Windows 2000. The Windows 95 was the greatest improvement over previous version. Vista was the greatest disaster compared the previous version. Win7 is the worst OS before Win10 arrival.

I will possibly install Windows 2000 on my next computer granted that computer enthusiasts on the net mod and update it to support never software.

Hi Anixx,

I like Windows 2000 too – but I think XP is nicer (e.g. it has better support for USB devices and high capacity disc drives).

Since XP, I’ve not found that any of the later versions of Windows really add any features that are either necessary or useful for the way I use a PC.

In my case, I have to use Red Hat Linux at work, so I now also run most of my family PCs under Linux too.

Re-installing W2K, XP, Vista or W7 and then adding all the patches and updates is a long and tedious process – modern Linux installs are much quicker to perform.

I like it best when I can just wipe the whole disc and make a “pure Linux” PC. however, I do keep a few dual boot machines in case I might find I need to run a Windows application.

For home use, I think many people could now manage without needing Windows at all. For those not inclined towards “computers as hobby items”, Google’s operating systems (Andriod and ChromeOS) are use for the majority of Tablets and some nice basic laptops.

Apple also provides similar alternatives for the premium end of the market.
Q: How do you milk sheep? A: Simple – release a new iPhone 😉 [Sorry – off topic but couldn’t resist that one.]

I repeatedly resisted Microsoft`s invitation to `upgrade` to W 10, but one day, Lo and behold! there it was, grinning at me from my screen.
Since then, my PC has become noticeably slower and slower.
I didn`t ask for this monster and I am not at all impressed with its performance.
What can an average PC-ignoramus do???

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Sorry to spoil the party but I have had no problems with Windows 10. When I purchased my laptop it run on Windows 8.1, then I installed 10 and recently upgraded the anniversary update, all gone smooth and all working ok.

Hi valleypieman01,

No one’s saying that W10 doesn’t work some of the time, or even quite a lot of the time.

The key issue is that M$ have pushed these so-called-upgrades onto everyone and that they haven’t worked enough of the time.

I installed W10 Anniversary upgrade. (1) my printer was wiped out entirely. I had to go to the manufacturer’s website to get the driver and re-install it. (2)some Microsoft programs, e.g. Photos, can see the default printer but refuse to use it with error message “We couldn’t use this printer. Make sure it’s switched on”
Searching the web shows other people have had the same problem but so far Microsoft refuses to acknowledge it as a software error.

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This Friday (23/9/2016) I was prompted to carry out a Windows 10 Upgrade (“Anniversary”). 5 Hours later the upgrade had not completed and after a text conversation with Microsoft was advised to switch off machine and re-boot it. The PC then started up but with numerous problems and after more advise from MS went to one of their web pages to carry out a further download. During this installation the machine then failed completely, would boot into BIOS and then fail. I now contacted MS by phone and after numerous attempts to recover the software was advised to carry out a complete re-install of Win 10 from a DVD created from a downloaded ISO file, (This I did from another laptop). The result of all this is that a whole day was wasted and all programs and files on machine were lost, thankfully I had a backup of the Documents folder. A further morning was now spent reloading user software.
Despite no published warnings I have been advised that all Anti-Virus software should be disabled before this upgrade is carried out.

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I have had problems with Windows 10 and didn’t realise that many other people have also. I bought some tablets which have dual operating systems on them. They do not have enough spare “disc” space to upgrade but it didn’t stop one of them from trying. It said it couldn’t continue and that it would roll back and then hung. The Android bit still works though so not all is lost. Another one with Windows 10 already on it cannot update due to lack of space but at least it tells you this before it tries so I just disregard the notification.

You could say that this is a problem with tablets but MS should know that tablets exist and should cater for them.

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i have had no problems with windows until the latest update a few days ago and it was a doozy, the update managed to delete a folder that contained about 50 gb of movies/videos etc from my C: drive but it did not stop there. it totally wiped my D: drive of several hundred gb’s of video files along with photos/documents/pdfs everything. i used a free recovery program and got maybe a tenth of my stuff back but even then hundreds of the files were corrupted, incorrect title or no title at all. i am still trying to sort it out over 20 hours later, my parents laptop that got the same update had ccleaner and malwarebytes deleted from their pc which left them wide open to attack. the customer service site is a waste of time if you have a fault or question then you maybe get 1 or 2 answers, if these don’t work then the replies just peter out and you end up going to your local pc repair person.

Last year I updated my computer to Lenovo touch screen.I am not very good on computers so my son-in-law set it up for me to easily use for very basic computing.(Internet,writing letters and email).I stupidly updated to Windows 10 recently and everything was wiped.Luckily he has reset the computer to work as it did BEFORE downloading Windows
10. it took him over two hours.

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If you know how to use the Windows Registry you can add two subkeys:
(1) to disable updating the Operating System and
(2) to disable the annoying ‘Get Windows 10’ notifications as follows:
(1) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdate
Set DWORD value DisableOSUpgrade = 1
(2) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsGwx
Set DWORD value DisableGwx = 1
If you are not familiar with the Registry DON’T DO IT YOURSELF but get someone with the knowledge to do it for you, as you could corrupt your computer. I have protected several computers in this way, and none has suffered an update to Win10 and none has had any more reminders from Microsoft. Having also avoided Win8, I am happily continuing with Windows 7, which is due to be supported until 2020.
This advice is amplified at https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/3080351 (where HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE).

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Problems arise with older software too, such as Vista which remains supported until April 2017. My Vista desktop and my Vista laptop have been affected by an update that has appeared during the past few weeks. It has caused both machines to update continuously, placing a 50% burden on the CPUs. The only solution has been to turn the updating off.

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My comment ealier today has had all the backslashes omitted in the Registry keys. Those who know how to use the Registry will no doubt be able to work it out.

I made the mistake of upgrading my iMac to the latest version of the iOS – ElCapitan. I lost my saved email folders (although some have reappeared) and lost all my contacts and calendar data. I have not checked anything else, but I am really disappointed that the upgrade had these effects, without any warning from Apple

There is a lot of helpful information on the Apple website and elsewhere on the web, so you may find a solution easily. If that does not help, give Apple a ring or call in at an Apple Centre. I suggested that a friend should contact Apple a few days ago and he had his problem with sharing data between devices sorted out.

El Capitan is a version of the OS X, the operating system used by Apple computers. iOS is the operating system for iPhones and iPads.

Everything will still be there Peter: El Capitan simply changed a few things, but overall it’s a much faster system.

Problem 1
The March cumulative update to WIN 10 made several features inoperative. The update was compulsory but since the uninstall didn’t work, it was too late anway. to judge from the posts to the cummunity website, this affected many 100’s of people, some much more severely than me, in many cases update loops that could not be broken. The standard WIN 10 recovery actions didn’t work either.
As I had only just installed a new Win 10 an a new machine, it was not too onerous form me to start again from scratch. (I always ensure that I have an MS operating system installation disk rather than relying on a manufacturer’s inatallation, just in case).
Now I always make a full operating system disk backup as soon as I see the ‘Update and Shutdowk’ message. Again, it helps if the operating system is on a separate disk or partition, I have a separate SSD.
Microsoft didn’t seem to be at all sympathetic and had offered no solution when I stopped following the posts.

Problem 2
My USB powered external disk stopped working (probably with the update). However, it DID work if a used the Acronis rescue disk (Linux?). It seems that the problem is related to using the USB ports on the front of the PC.
I used a USB extension to bring a rear port into view and all is well. I assume that the problem is that the driver is not providing sufficient current.

Problem 3
I upgraded my laptop from 7 to 10. The DELL USB mouse drivers were replaced so that the touchpad is no longer disconnected when a mouse is plugged in. I suppose that I COULD use the old DELL drivers but there is no guarantee that they will work.

Problem 4
With the latest update last week, the Start menu has changed without any notification.
The Accout, File Explorer, Settings and Power are now just icons, all right if you are a reasonably proficient user.

I installed Windows 10 on my old laptop, hated it for several reasons, and reinstalled my old version of Windows the next day. I now have a new laptop with Windows 10 already on it and it works a bit better, but I still thinks it’s rubbish. It looks awkward, it’s counterintuitive, a lot of features don’t work, and it seems to be aimed at a moronic public. I haven’t checked yet whether I can put an older version of Windows on my laptop, but if I can, I will.

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I think “moronic” is absolutely the right word for a lot of what is happening to our internet experiences these days. I now have to put up with a new version of Outlook which is far less efficient for someone like me who sends and receives lots of e-mails and sorts them into many different folders. The functions are all there, and I can rub along with it, but I thought I had left the computer nursery twenty five years ago. I want grown-up tools and applications please!