/ Technology

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.


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When I tried to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, there was no problem with the download and installation but the computer stuck at the page which said ‘Welcome to Windows 10!’ When I pressed Ctrl and Alt the computer restarted, but the computer returned to the ‘Welcome to Windows 10!’ page and stuck there again.

The solution I found on the Microsoft Community worked but then the computer would not connect to the Internet and there were a few other problems. I followed the suggestions made by a Microsoft employee on the Microsoft Community, but without success.

There was a time limit of one month in which I could roll back the computer to Windows 7, and so I rolled it back. After the roll-back, whenever I tried to copy a file from a folder on the hard disk to a folder on a USB stick, as a back-up, I received the message ‘Windows Explorer has stopped working’. I followed the suggestions made by a Microsoft employee on the Microsoft Community to try to repair Windows Explorer, but without success.

I then reinstalled Windows 7 and the computer is working again!

Peter Barnes says:
27 September 2016

I submitted a letter this week end to Which outlining the disastrous and OUTRAGOUSE impact Windows 10 has had on me and my computer equipment. Monday I turned on the computer and it immediately informed me that a major update was being installed. Five (5) restarts and over an hour later Microsoft let me back into my computer. Last week I had seen 3 updates being installed. For the umpteenth time I have to get use to changes to the screen layout and operating system. I will repeat my comments that Microsoft has failed to Plan, Manage and Control this whole project. Settings on my wife’s laptop keep changing but she has given up telling me because she claims that within a week or two another update will probably correct the current problem while introducing a new one. Except last time the internet link was disrupted, there by blocking all future updates!!! Temptation was strong to leave it as is but she needs the internet for her work.
A year into this project and there is no sign of an end to this fiasco.

I upgraded from Windows 7, somewhat reluctantly as Win 7 is very good, but support for it will end at some point. In general I am very pleased, except that my version of TurboCAD v14 repeatedly crashed, gave file load errors, and was unusable. I have had to upgrade to the latest version, which is OK, but it cost me. TurboCAD’s makers just said they hadn’t tested it for Win10 and couldn’t help.

G Harris says:
27 September 2016

I resisted the initial Windows 10 onslaught, hoping that any initial problems would be quickly resolved. However my wife accidentally fell for the Windows insistent reminders and downloaded the new operating system. Initially after managing to find a few things that had been “hidden” by Windows 10 all seemed OK. However when the Windows 10 Anniversary update took place things took a decided downturn. There was a step change in my PC performance, and what had up to then been a perfectly satisfactory system began to run slowly across the board, with many software crashes. I am unable to see what is causing this, but the update has ruined the performance of a perfectly, high spec PC.

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Jenny Chambers says:
28 September 2016

Both my mother, who is staying with me, and I have had laptop problems after ‘Windows Update Thursdays’! So called by the tech guy who we had to call in to get my mother’s laptop functioning again. He said that in his experience, people’s computers get scrambled on Thursday’s, which is Windows automatic update day.

Howard says:
28 September 2016

Further to the piece in this months “Which” (October 2016), I add my frustration with the windows 10 anniversary update. When I updated to windows 10 it went smoothly and I have had the occasional blue screen and circulating dots after the updates, which has been resolved by rebooting. Over this last weekend (24/25 Sep), on a shutdown, the computer updated to the windows 10 anniversary upgrade. On rebooting and following the system prompts, the system was re-established. However, on completion I have no access to the start menu, notifications, edge or apparently any of the MS apps. I do have access to firefox and my MS office packages.

I have trawled the net and followed the advice from various sources to try and rectify this, with no success. Luckily I can still use the computer, however, it is not fully functional and runs a lot slower.

I have gone on to the MS site, however, this is useless and having read some of the “horror” stories about reinstalling and going back to the last OS, I await the update that will fix this problem.

I had a problem with a package provided by IBM and when I contacted them their response was excellent, they sent me a link that rectified the problem and it was sorted. If MS are to continue playing with their OS they should also be made to provide physical support to rectify issues, or only release updates when they are fully proven. As highlighted within this forum, and others on the net, it is costing SME’s (who don’t have the benefit of an IT department) a lot of time and money to address the issues created by these MS upgrades.

It would be an excellent move if “Which” could, as they have in the past, bring pressure to bear so as to resolve this persistent problem that MS are creating.

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I think which can help us all by guiding us through the Consumer Protection Act complaint process. The pain of dealing with hundreds or thousands of legally valid complaints might make MS think about their policies. How about it Which, can you give us advice on how to try and get redress? Even finding a postal address for MS is difficult.

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

17 calls to Microsoft Support and 4 scheduled returned calls from Level 2 Support NOT returned. All to fix a problem with my “Wireless Network Adaptor”. I have written to Microsoft CEO but to no avail he simply ignored the letter which was registered and had to be signed for. My perfectly working hi spec notebook now has a fault which only occurred following a Thursday Update!! One frustrated Support Assistant let it be known that this was a known fault along with many others and I have the chat record to support this. Happy days, not.

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I am currently having problems with the latest Windows 10 version update. A few weeks ago I bought an
aspire One Cloudbook which has only 32GB of memory. Windows 10 was already installed, but within a couple of weeks the latest version tried to install automatically, but each time failed, saying there was not enough memory available. That was fine by me, so I ignored it. I then got a message yesterday saying my computer was having difficulty installing updates. I had a look, and it turned out the new version was still trying to update automatically, together with other cumulative updates which, for all I knew, I ought to have. I then noticed a message which said | could update using an external storage device, but I would have to make sure I kept the device, as otherwise I would not be able to rollback if I needed. As I have an external hard drive, I was able to do this, and installed the update successfully. Then I discovered I had only 4.45 GB of memory left. After searching the computer, I found a folder named ‘Windows.old’, which I assumed was the folder I needed if I wanted to rollback. I had believed this folder would be stored on my external hard drive. I decided the obvious thing was to move it there manually. It took a long time to move all the files across, but then at the end it said I didn’t have administrative rights to do this. I thought I had. It turned out, from searching the internet, that there is another layer of administrative rights, which means only the computer itself can do certain things. There is advice on several sites about ways of undoing this, but they require going into command prompt mode, which I do not feel comfortable about doing. Then I discovered that you actually have to go into elevated command prompt to do this anyway, and the computer then comes up with one of those scary boxes asking if you are prepared to allow this program to make changes to your computer. I am a seventy year old female used to dealing (successfully) with my own problems with the help of the internet (including successfully rolling back to Windows 7 on another computer, long after Microsoft had removed the files) -but this is ridiculous. Large updates should not be installed automatically, and the implications spelled out clearly to help you to decide whether to go ahead; If Microsoft implies – as it clearly did – that a folder would be externally stored, and it doesn’t, then it is being misleading in the legal sense; and it certainly should not be making it deliberately impossible for the user to correct its mistakes. I have not yet tried deleting the folder as at the moment I want to see how the present version works; but I am anticipating it won’t let me do that, either.

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I cannot reboot my PC in Windows 10 after this latest upgrade.

I took more than 10 hrs to update and I am still not able to use my PC. I see the blue window icon in the centre of the screen and the dotty wheel rotating for quite a while – then it stops. Today is Saturday the upgrade took place on Thursday. I’ve tried to reboot in Safe mode etc but NOTHING works so far. (Checked this blog and Microsoft’s site but cannot identify the issue nor how to resolve it) HELP! BTW Microsoft need taking to task over this – I’ve spoke to other people and they too are experiencing similar issues and very long upgrade time i.e. no access to their PC whilst this proceeds. (Thank goodness I also own a Mac so I can research a fix)

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Handyspanner says:
1 October 2016

Hi, I had this a couple of times when I first downloaded the initial Windows 10 upgrade. How I got over it was by hitting F12 when it started to boot up. Once the list comes up go to legacy boot and select. Did it a couple of times and the system booted up OK after that. The blue screen and circling dots only ever came back (once) after another upgrade. Good “old MS”!! Hope this helps.

Thank you very much for your reply – I’ve been trying everything under the sun but have found a new HD and started afresh.

I read the Oct 2016 article with great interest. My Windows 10, operating quite happily and doing what I wanted. Sent a monster update much of it for features that I had got rid of as they were no use. It was not possible to cancel any part of this update or use the internet while it was running. Each time I tried to cancel a component it stopped and then restarted from scratch thus annihilating my battery so had to plug the laptop in. Then a feature Windows People (?) refused to install, I found the code which refused to load (twice). The update restarted …. again and again. In the end it cost me £60 to have this sorted out. I could access the internet using IE but it was too slow to be of any real use.

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

This has been widely reported – I read about it on the BBC News website two or three days ago. This is an extract from the report:

As of Saturday 1 October 2016, ICANN will no longer be under US government oversight. Instead, it’s now a fully “multi-stakeholder” non-profit (body) that will take on board the views of companies, experts, academics and, yes, nation states, in how the naming system of the web is run. Here’s a crucial bit: as a user of the internet, you won’t notice any difference whatsoever. And that’s because ICANN isn’t a new entity. It’s been doing precisely this job since 1998 before the vast majority of us were even online. The switch ends a transition that has essentially been in the works for around two decades, removing a dominant power the US had by circumstance rather than intention, and one which was causing friction in the international community.

Some American states challenged the move but the judge in Texas over-ruled them. Representations were made to the Court (a) that the challenge was misguided and inconsistent with the founding values of the Internet, and (b) that it was an ironic endeavour because the transition would actually keep the internet an open and flourishing engine of innovation and open global communication. The judge agreed.

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The US judge was upholding the US government’s right to withdraw without having to get Congressional approval. I have always thought it was an anomaly that the USA had quasi-proprietorship of a global network of internet navigation protocols.

Do you think ICANN shut down the Russian website? There could be various explanations.

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I have no idea Duncan but it doesn’t seem to be related to category allocations and domain name management. Perhaps it depends on what you search for.

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

I have experience of three machines.
The first, and oldest, is a Dell Inspiron running Windows 7. I tried out Windows 10 as an experiment and apart from the annoying policy changes that are discussed on this site it works fine on Windows 10.
The second is a pretty new Lenovo Ideapad with touch screen running Windows8.1, my work tool. On the basis of my experience with the Dell I looked up to check it was compatible on the MS list and it “is”. However after the update the camera did not work, none of the video cables I use for various projections worked and I found this out at a client just before giving a presentation. In the detail text MS explain that although it is “compatible” various functions do not work (no camera so no Skype or facial recognition for example, there is a long list). This unsatisfactory condition lasted for a couple of days and then it crashed. I could open it in safe mode, but nothing worked. I took it to a local technician I have used for years and he could not recover it either. Even the wind back to previous the version did not work so he had to rebuild it from scratch and I had to reinstall many items of software. He said that most machines are fine but a significant minority “will not run Windows 10”. This cost me £72 (very reasonable) and about three days of lost work. I now install updates manually.
The third machine is my daughter’s Acer Aspire on Windows 7 she decided to refuse the Windows 10 updates after my experience, but it updated overnight despite her refusing at every point. With Windows 10 the machine was so slow it was unusable, and some software was wiped, but fortunately the wind back worked on hers so I only lost a few hours.
Surely it has to be illegal for MS to update software when the changes have been refused? And there must be some way of getting compensation, help us Which, please!
PS just chased my usually timely accountant for some information, he says they are rebuilding all their machines following “Windows 10 issues”.

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

I upgraded to Windows 10 from 7 last December and everything worked perfectly until I foolishly agreed to upgrade to the latest “anniversary” version. On installation it hung and eventually I had to switch off the computer. I was unable to get back to either my original version of 10 or 7. I had to carry out a full reinstallation of 7 using my original discs taking approx one full day to fully restore but losing all unbacked up files.
On contacting Microsoft they accessed my computer and downloaded the latest version of 10 into a file and asked me to extract and to try and instal again. I tried three times but each time installation hung at the second boot phase, this time I was however able to restore back to Windows 7. Microsoft then raised my complaint to the next tech level whereupon an Indian call centre Engineer called and told me my system was not suitable for Windows 10 and to stay with 7.

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In the past three weeks I have had two downloads to upgrade windows 10. After the first, intermittently the computer would not boot up. After the second it will not boot up at all. Switch lights up, fan goes on, screen blank.

Have rung Microsoft twice. As soon as I explain the problem the ring off

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A few months ago I double clicked the icon that loads Flight Simulator 2004 on my desktop computer running Windows 7 (it requires Disc 4 of the program to be in the disc drive…… for verification I guess). Anyway nothing happened, and after trawling various forums I found out that Windows update KB3086255 (that automatically installed itself) prevented the software from loading. I believe it is something to do with a security patch. I also read that there are various other games that are affected. There was absolutely no information or help from Windows, even though I believe this is a microsoft game. It also happened on my laptop running Windows 8.1. I wonder how many other people have had the same problem.

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I can only echo the extreme frustration and feelings expressed by the other folk here.
We have 2 machines. One is my wife’s Surface Pro 3 which has just gone back for an exchange for the third time, this time being because it fell foul of the Win 10 Anniversary update. It lost the ability to connect to the internet and despite several calls to KnowHow suppport it could only be coaxed online by doing a Network Reset.
My machine was built by my local Microsoft Authorised Dealer and is relatively simple as it reflects my needs.
It was working fine with the first version of Win 10 and then the Anniversary version wormed it’s way in and has been a complete disaster. It’s been back to the dealer but he is baffled by it as it is an operating system fault rather than an application.
The problem seems to centre around the Network and the Internet. If I run Diagnostics it says that my system appears to be normal but the remote website is being too slow to respond yet I can perform the same task on my phone or tablet with ease. The only way to force an internet connection is to perform a network reset but I find myself doing this several times a day and then it can only handle email or one tab with no links so it is better than nothing but only just. The frustrating thing is that you keep being invited to send Feedback……yes, you’ve guessed it!!
I keep getting messages to reconnect with the Drive History as it is some time since doing a backup yet the My Book has always been connected and should be continuously backing up.
So all in all it is incredibly frustrating and I sit and wait for an update which hopefully will be soon and which will sort this mess out. At least I now have a telephone number for Microsoft thanks to your article, so I can try this

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