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Is Microsoft being too pushy with Windows 10?

Windows 10 hard sell

Microsoft is keen for you to upgrade to Windows 10, but at what point does this cross the line into pressuring its customers?

I’d challenge you to name which version of iOS or Android your phone is running without checking the specs. When Apple or Google release a software update, it just happens. You tap ‘Yes’, you install it, and you may not notice much change.

Upgrading to Windows 10

Now, take a look at the effect Windows 10 has had. Microsoft is supposedly fighting for relevance in a world that loves touchscreens more than spreadsheets. But when it drops an update like Windows 10, this crusty old brand shows it can still make an impact.

We’ve had thousands of queries from our readers about whether to update their PCs or not. That’s because when Microsoft gets it wrong (which it can – see Vista or 8!), it affects millions of us. We stay in touch via our PCs; we work, we shop, we bank with them. A poor software update can make these everyday things harder to do.

The Windows 10 hard sell

Microsoft is ramping up the pressure on its customers to install Windows 10. One tactic sees Windows 10 being automatically downloaded on to people’s PCs due to a simple change of wording. Microsoft changed the Windows 10 update from ‘optional’ to ‘recommended’, which means it’ll download automatically if you have Windows Update enabled (which most users do).

We’ve explored a number of other tactics in the latest issue of Which? Computing, including locking newer processors to Windows 10 and setting a time limit for the free upgrade (it’s 29 July 2016 in case you’re interested).

There’s lots to like about the new OS, but you should still have a choice over upgrading or not. Windows still matters in the age of tablets, but it will matter to you even more if you end up with a version you don’t like.

Have you felt pressured into upgrading your computer to Windows 10?

Comments

Hi, we’ve just published a new guide to help ensure Windows 10 doesn’t install against your will: http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/laptops-2/has-windows-10-installed-itself-without-asking-you/

I followed your instructions and deleted the update. This meant re-starting the computer and a five minute windows update. Having found this update now in the “important” section of updates, I hid it, as instructed, only to find it re-ticked when I checked back on updates available. I’ve told my computer not to download updates without permission. I wonder if this will be something else that is ignored?

Ps. Windows knows I’ve done this. They immediately flashed up a pop up telling me to update before July 29th. Different wording this time to the usual “we recommend.”

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

Needed a new laptop, and chose a quad core Intel i7 from HP which should be s*** off a shovel.

Not only is it seemingly slower overall than my old i5, but has continuing graphics driver problems.

HP say m/c won’t support W7 which I would have preferred, so may need to invoke ‘not fit for purpose’ to return it for something else???

Bromley61a,

Sorry to hear about your laptop problems.

At the bottom end of the i7 range, there seem to be some i7 CPUs that are slower than some of the i5’s. In car terms, expecting all i7’s to be faster than all i5’s is a bit like expecting all Renaults to be faster than all Citroens, even when they are both stuck in the same traffic jam.

Also, one of the problems with running “bleeding edge” hardware and software is that such things may not be fully debugged when first released for sale.

I note also that PC sales droids (and PC enthusiasts) love to “quote the numbers” and then “upsell” home buyers into buying much more capable machines than they actually need. Although some home applications, like 3D gaming, can really push PCs to the limit my personal experience has been that most home apps run fine on adequate middle of the road hardware.

W10 is supposed to be faster than W7; nonetheless one might expect that OSX (i.e. “unix”) and Linux systems can be faster still. Hence, if speed is important to you, you may want to “re-purpose” your i7 with a genuine upgrade to a faster OS.

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I’m aged, with minimal understanding of computers. BUT I’m dependent on my 6 year old Dell laptop, for shopping, browsing, e-mails and letter-writing. I struggle to adjust to new processes, spending as much time figuring how to do stuff as doing it, having no easy access to support. Now I’m intimidated by Microsoft/Windows 10! Firstly their bullying to update from 7; I’d be like my friend , so deskilled by the change she’s given up e-mailing and other tasks she was accustomed to, barely using her computer now. Then I was worried by the Microsoft’s multiple ‘updates’, taking 30 – 45 minutes daily, for several weeks. I feared they were imposing Windows 10 by stealth – I signed up for an option. My lap-top became slower and slower until virtually paralysed and crashing frequently – I was loath to use it. Yesterday I employed expertise, who spent an hour deleting superfluous programmes. He explained my machine was not built to operate with the quantity of data microsoft takes up, hence its deterioration. He deleted a lot of stuff, my laptop is useable, but he warned me it will soon be overburdened again! I could buy a new laptop with more memory, but that doesn’t solve the problem – I would be unable to master all the new processes, and give up, with all the consequences of growing more out of touch, isolated and lonely. I’ve browsed alternatives but they all require a degree of tech knowhow beyond my capacity. Microsoft has a lot to answer for!

It’s amazing they can be so destructive without being held to account.

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Selims, I have been convinced for a while now that Microsoft are doing exactly as you describe, installing software to slow down your computer. Presumably, when it gets too bad, everyone will go out and buy a nice new Windows 10 computer.

But we don’t all want a new computer or Windows 10. Many of us are happy with what we have. If our computers do what we want them to do, why should we be forced into upgrading?

Not everyone can afford to keep replacing their technology. The chances are with Windows 10 you might find your software no longer works or your printer no longer works then more expense.

Then there are people like yourself who struggle to adapt and like your friend who give up altogether.

It is time Microsoft were held to account to let people upgrade when they want to not when Microsoft force them to.

I think a lot of people who only really need a laptop for internet based things like email and browsing should be thinking about “upgrading” to ChromeBooks not W10.

Essentially, a ChromeBook is an “appliance” that will lets one access Google’s internet services and others too. Because they run a stripped down a version of Linux, managed by Google, they ought to offer reasonably trouble free performance.

Microsoft are getting worse. You already can’t run Outlook unless an MS automatic update program is always running. Now they are getting rid of Windows Live Mail 2012.

An email sent 20th May:

Dear User,

Earlier this year we introduced a new Outlook.com that provides enhanced performance, security and reliability.

It appears that you are currently using Windows Live Mail 2012 to connect to your Outlook.com account. Windows Live Mail 2012 does not support the synchronisation technologies used by the new Outlook.com. When account upgrades begin at the end of June, you will no longer be able to send or receive email sent to your Outlook.com account in Windows Live Mail 2012. Rest assured, you can always access your Outlook.com account via any web browser at any time, and you will continue to have access to all your data that is currently in Windows Live Mail 2012.

If you currently use Windows Live Mail 2012, we recommend that you switch to the Mail app in Windows today. The Mail app is built in to Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. To begin using it, simply launch the app and add your Outlook.com account.

If you are using Windows 7, you can upgrade to a newer version of Windows to use the Mail app. If you do not wish to upgrade, you can access your account via a web browser, or you can take advantage of a free one-year subscription of Office 365 Personal and use Outlook 2016 to connect to your account.* Outlook 2016 works on Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10.

Please take action before 30 June 2016, which is when we’ll begin upgrading accounts that currently use Windows Live Mail 2012.

We recognise that changes like this can be difficult, and apologise for any inconvenience this causes you. If you have more questions, please find answers to common FAQs in this help article, or you can contact Microsoft support.

Yours sincerely,
Outlook.com team

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David says:
26 May 2016

Has anyone in particular lost a printer driver for a Dell S2810dn (laser printer) after a forced update from W 7->10?

I came down one morning and at 8.00 h found that W.10 had installed itself overnight.

I downloaded & reinstalled the printer driver – so I thought – but I still can’t print.

A friend told me several years ago that many US employers were using older versions of Windows to spy on their employees. This was declared lawful I think, on the basis that in your working hours you ‘belong’ to your employer.

Well now, it seems that M’soft itself wants to spy on the whole world, just as Google does. I don’t use Google much, I use duckduckgo.com when possible as it searches the internet and doesn’t track you.

This disgraceful episode will I foresee lead me to Linux and away from M’soft for good.

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David says:
27 May 2016

Thanks. I’ve now at last got a working printer again. I now have to revert to W.7 if I want a PC more under my control. ‘Only’ 3.5 wasted hours of my life so far.

This matter was on BBC R4 You and Yours today. Lots of listeners have been affected.

I have limited legal knowledge, but enough to think that Microsoft has gone way beyond what ‘permission’ it had (under ‘security updates’) to put new files on peoples’ PCs.

Under EU Directives (and UK law based on them) we have rights against ‘merely’ for instance having unwanted files placed on our PCs (as Microsoft has done to me). If these rights are infringed, it means a right to substantial damages.

Anyone else interested in taking legal advice re a class (‘group’ in the UK) action lawsuit?

David.

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I think a class action would come down to the T’s & C’s that we all accept (but never bother to read and understand?) each time we start to use a new Windows PC (or a fresh installation of Windows).

Also, any class action might be a long and tedious process, with no guarantee of success.

Meanwhile, tech savvy consumers can choose to pursue other “anti-Microsoft” options:

For instance, one can exercise customer choices that favour Apple and/or Google instead of Microsoft.

Personally I’d rather be “spied on” by Google than by Microsoft, and I don’t want to be milked by Apple. Hence, for those just needing a simple life, I advocate home computers running either Android or ChromeOS over those running Windows or OSX.

Others may opt to pursue a truly free solution, like a full GNU version of Linux, or something approximating to that, like one of the more polished free versions of Linux.

Since I have to use both Linux and Unix in my day job, I now also use them at home too. That means I can buy “new”(*) PCs for as little as £9.99. (*new as in new to me – but running 2nd-hand hardware.)

Microsoft might have rights to their software, but do they have the right to change that software to the detriment of other software or hardware you have bought and paid for?

Many manufacturers keep drivers available for older graphic cards & printers, even older versions of Google Earth still work on older computers.

I once had to replace a Radeon graphics card in an old computer. I found a new older Radeon graphics card but the latest drivers would not work. But older drivers were available on the manufacturer’s websit, I could carry on using my computer in the way I wanted and I was not being forced into replacing my computer.

When I bought a new pc with Win7, it was with the knowledge some of my older software and hardware might not work. That was my choice.

But does Microsoft have the right to force you to replace hardware and software that they make unusable?

Does Microsoft have the right to run updates on your computer any time it wants?

Doesn’t anyone have the legal clout to stop Microsoft forcing Win10 on us without our permission?

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I expect we grant these rights to M$ each time we fire up each new instance of Windoze.

I still remember being somewhat miffed when I paid £90 to upgrade from Windows Me (me! me! me!) to XP only to find my Microsoft Gaming Joystick was not supported. [No joy there then 🙁 ]

Anyway, que the “we need a hero” music and bring on Richard Stallman… 🙂

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

I see Linux can no longer be installed on some Lenova laptops. Full story:

bbc.co.uk / news/ technology – 37431299

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