Consumer Group Claims Win10 Problems 'Widespread'

John Lister's picture

A consumer group is demanding compensation for users who've spent time and money fixing computer problems caused by Windows 10. It also wants updates and tech support to be improved.

The call comes from "Which?", an independent organization in the United Kingdom that's similar to the US Consumer Reports group. It's brought up Windows 10 in the past: two years ago it revealed that more than 1,000 of its members had complained about the system.

Now Which? says it's continuing to receive complaints and carried out a survey of members. It questioned more than 1,100 members who use Windows 10 and found half had experienced problems with the operating system.

Software Conflicts Most Common Problem

It is fair to add a note of caution: it may well be that people who've had problems with a product are more likely to be willing to take part in a survey about that product. That said, the most common problems include compatibility problems with programs not working on Windows 10 or hardware devices no longer operating.

However, Which? says that to some extent this might be inevitable given the complexity of making an operating system work with every possible device and program. Instead it said the most serious problem was the smaller group of people who'd found that since upgrading to Windows 10, their computer works far more slowly or not at all.

$90 Average Repair Bill

Of people in this group, 46 percent said they'd had to pay somebody to fix their computer. The average cost was £67 (US$90). (Source: which.co.uk)

Which? says Microsoft needs to make it easier to find out how to get support for Windows 10. It says Microsoft should also commit to fixing all problems users have without Windows 10, with no fees.

Another demand is that Microsoft pay compensation to users who've "spent time and money" trying to fix their computer. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

The group wants Microsoft to make a big change to its update system. It wants users to more easily be able to automatically get security updates without having to install feature updates that could cause computer problems. Which? says the current system, which effectively means that the longest you can put off a feature update without compromising security is 18 months, is inadequate.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you agree Microsoft should pay compensation to people if Windows 10 has messed up their computer? Should Microsoft rethink its update policy as Which? suggests? Do users have reasonable expectations of software manufacturers?

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Comments

Dennis Faas's picture

This sword is double edged when it comes to complaints about Windows 10.

First, if you agreed to install Windows 10, then you also accept the end user license (EULA) in which Microsoft will be automatically updating the operating system, including feature updates. Those feature updates are considered major upgrades to the operating system, similar to a "service pack", though Microsoft is releasing feature updates about twice a year compared to once every 2-3 years for a service pack.

Unfortunately when the major upgrades are rolled out it causes a hiccup on some machines that have corrupted operating systems, leaving the system not working properly. I have seen this time and time again.

Now, for that double edged sword. A lot of users claim that Windows 10 was "forced" upon them. I can agree with that - it was incredibly difficult to "opt out" of the Windows 10 free upgrade program back when Windows 10 was first introduced. Third party utilities had to be created just to stop the system from upgrading.

So, if you're one of those people who never wanted Windows 10 in the first place and you are having upgrade problems, then I think you have every right to complain. But if you're someone who willingly accepted the Windows 10 free upgrade (which also extends the life of your operating system indefinitely - that is a huge plus) then you have nothing to complain about. Backup your computer on a regular basis using a disk image, and if something goes wrong, revert.

Even with backups, you may need to hire a tech to get you onto the next Windows 10 branch at some point if things aren't going smoothly. Another option is to do a clean install if the feature upgrades don't work, but most folks will fight tooth and nail before this becomes an "option".

doulosg's picture

The words I use to talk about MS's update process, you would not let me post here.

I am forced to take Win 10 by my employer, and that laptop is also what I am able to use for personal computing. EVERY update (not "upgrade") fu... messes up something internal to windows, or a browser, or a Microsoft application (Office), or another piece of software. I had to look up my password to log in to this site because cache and history were cleared. Each time I reboot, I am presented with a white-on-black color scheme because my Theme setting is erased.

The [idiots] at Microsoft have been building this OS for 40 years (and don't tell me Win 10 is just a babe). They should know how to process an update by now. If I, as a programmer/developer, treated my clients the way MS does their customers, I'd be out of a job. Yes, they need to be held accountable for the disruption they foist on industry and the public!

Unfortunately, the only reasonable options are Apple and Google, who are essentially just as bad.

jimain's picture

The new OS is an improvement in many ways over the old one, but I really would like to use the Excel features that got lost in the upgrade process. Also would like to be able to process my photos from the last 20 years as I used to, and it'd be nice to handle new ones the same straightforward way. Instead, I have to deal with a system dumbed down to work with smart phones. Nothing new -- this happened in all upgrades wince Windows 3. Adapt to it, again.

davolente_10330's picture

I've just had the screen resolution on one of my machines go west after the dreaded update, which seems to be a common complaint. Black vertical bar suddenly appeared on the right all by itself and I'm now left with only three resolution choices, none of which match my wide-screen monitor. Googled until I'm blue in the face, tried older adapter drivers and, so far, nothing doing. At the moment, running on the best choice, which at least fills the screen but everything is stretched horizontally. Intel scanner says there are no updates. Hmm. Other update settings seem to over-write personal ones with default values, like keyboard layout (mine reverted to the USA layout), reverting to password access from other machines on my network (had me fooled for a while the first time) and other little foibles. This should NOT happen on an update! Why should I have to go through the beast, changing everything back again? If a setting has been changed from default, it's been done for a specific reason and I don't want MS thinking they know better. They SHOULD give compensation, in my opinion and they are certainly NOT the flavour of the month with myself at present. This latest large update has been a bit of a farce, in my opinion.

Dennis Faas's picture

Sometimes it's easier to fork out a bit of $ for a new video card if the system you're using is old and the manufacturer is not producing any more driver updates. I suggest an Nvidia GTX 1030 if you have a small budget but the 1050ti is excellent entry level card if you want to do some gaming.

davolente_10330's picture

Thanks. Yes, I did mean to add that it looks like I might have to install a card, rather than use the on-board graphics (been there - done that!), as I have got no further with my investigations, but how can I ensure that the beast will actually work as intended with the Win 10 "update" in place? To be fair, in all the years I have been dabbling (since Win 95) this is the worst situation I have come across. Seems operating systems have got way too complicated and there's no way one size fits all with so many different manufacturers around these days.

Dennis Faas's picture

I have the EVGA 1050ti SC 4GB (half card) and the EVGA 1080ti 11GB hybrid water cooled and they work great. Nvidia has the best support for driver updates. AMD does not. Trust me, this should fix your problem. I suggest you get it from Amazon (use the link provided) as they have a return policy whereas most other places like Newegg won't take it back.

kitekrazy's picture

No shortage of those complaints on google. The evolving OS creates problems for Windows and Mac users.

I'd rather go back to buying upgrades than the mess they have created.

1803 has created plenty of problems. I'd prefer Windows Update Never.

Greg1956's picture

Yes would have to agree.

Every build resets my Network parameters and sharing.
Now have text file with the list of items to fix after each build.

No build has installed faultlessly, all have hung, so download the ISO to a DVD-RW and install.

And for my daughters laptop, write it to a USB stick and install.

Latest builds 1709 and 1804 both come with Unexpected Kernel Error Trap issue.
Since I have an all-in-one motherboard and up to date drivers, I should not see this issue but I do.

I have had to switch into Test mode so it will accept some piece of software/driver that the OS doesn't like.

Microsoft's answer of fixing the software that I haven't changed, because the OS is broken is not an acceptable excuse.

I would happily go back to a version that behaved, and I accept the improvements to security via constant updates. But really, you broke it, you fix it.

Too many hours lost trying to find an imaginary item that is causing it, because the only change I've had is a new build.

Did this hit a nerve, yep certainly did.

Greg

wysetech2000_6856's picture

I think Microsoft should be more responsible for what they put out there especially for the consumers who had Windows 10 forced on them. At the same time people are trying to get the best results on older equipment and you can't expect Microsoft to support older computers forever and that includes monitors, graphics cards,older software etc.

I have windows 10 pro installed on an 8 year old computer as a test unit. It has a solid state drive and 6 gigs on memory. I have had Windows 10 on it since day one and have had very few problems with it but i just don't like it.
The computer is faster than with Windows 7 installed. The support ended for the graphics card so the screen resolution is not perfect however.

My newer machine is still running Windows 7 pro and it will have until the bitter end.

rohnski's picture

I do support for MS products. Windows updates have been a painful subject, especially the latest one, Version 1803.

It seems to found many new ways of causing grief. It seems like MS is making some fundamental changes to the underlying systems: video, audio, printing, input (keyboards & mice). That is "nice", except MS is no longer supporting "obsolete" hardware. What is the definition of obsolete hardware, no one knows. All of a sudden a device that was perfectly acceptable in Version 1709 no longer works. In the past MS made a point of providing basic drivers that would at least allow these devices to work, bypassing additional features supported by the makers custom drivers. Now MS has abruptly stopped providing that support. They expect the makers to keep up to date with MS's 6 month update cycle. If the maker does not provide the new driver the device is suddenly dead. How about those 4 Atom CPU's that were no longer supported by Windows. They were only about 4 years old when MS pushed them off of the cliff.

At least with the 2-3 yr span between Service Packs or new Windows versions the rest of the world had a chance to keep up with MS. Now with 6 month intervals, not only can the rest of the world not keep up, MS itself cannot do adequate testing to prevent problems.

Now Windows update goes into an infinite cycle of downloading the 6GB update, trying to install it, failing, rolling back and starting over.

MS needs to change the update process. They need to do an initial scan. If there is unsupported hardware, they have to identify it BEFORE starting the update. If there is "incompatible" software present, they have to explicitly fully identify the files causing problems.

If there is an internal Windows error, always give us an error code and descriptive error message text. If they report an problem via an error code they MUST also provide instructions on how to fix the error. Too many of the errors have generic, vague "oops" messages and no publicly available trouble shooting documentation. If they can trigger an error, they know the exact cause (which they should clearly tell us) and they should know at least general if not explicit fixes for the problem!

If the update system is not able to reliably write this information to the local HD, the MS has to come up with a system of saving it to the web. If they can download update files, they can upload update logs and provide a link to the user to find them.

Since MS effectively no longer provides user support (have you tried to get useful help from "Official" MS Support phone or online chat lines?), they have to make their error reporting and related troubleshooting processes completely user friendly. They have sloughed off support to user forums and third parties. But we are just users. We don't have inside access to MS resources, we just have a little more experience and better internet search skills.

Heck even something is simple and fundamental as "version" numbers is unnecessarily complicated. Are you talking about "RS4", or "Redstone 4" or "April 2018 Update" or "Spring Consumer Update" or Version 1803? Oh, they are all names used by MS and or the media to talk about exactly the same update. Why can't MS give the major updates one name, tell everyone what that name is, and keep using it from start to finish of the development cycle!

Run the WinVer command you see something useful like Version 1709 Build 16299.431. OK, that is clear, it relates back to MS documentation (if you can find it). But why doesn't it include the non technical "common names" like RS4 or "April 2018 Update"

If you using the VER command in the CMD window you get "Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.16299.431]" Still relatively easy to translate. But where did that ".0" after "10" come from?

But if you look in the System Information applet you get "Version 10.0.16299 Build 16299". Huh? Half way there, but confusingly wrong.

Even if you find that Version information, how do you relate it to the MS update cycle? It's not easy to find lists of the released Version & build numbers, and even if you do, they are buried in the confusing mass of 3 different update streams.

The worst of it is, that in the support forums, MS doesn't even prompt the user to provide that information. Or better yet, why don't they simply capture and include that easily access "fingerprint" information that is publicly available to the browser in the posting by the user.

Why rant on about Version numbers? Why are Version and Build numbers important now? Because in Windows 10 MS is now constantly and rapidly changing. As frequently as in the monthly updates. These are minor and major changes to the way Windows works and to the User interface. BUT because of update errors, we still run into people who are stuck on the no longer supported, year and a half old, Version 1607 or any Version/Build combination in between. Before we can make trouble shooting suggestions, we have to find what Windows they are running. Some fixes and instructions simply don't apply to all versions.