Expect Long Waits to Get Microsoft's Help With Windows 10 Upgrade

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-08-31 Print this article Print
Windows 10 Help Wait 2

Of the five Windows computers that I've tried to upgrade in my office, I was able to upgrade the two Windows 8.1 machines without a hitch. Of the two that were running Windows 7, one was upgraded without incident. The other one had that "Error Correction Mode" report, and one couldn't be upgraded because a processor instruction in the Xeon CPU doesn't work with Windows 10.

The computer that has the incompatible processor simply would not attempt the upgrade, so there was no mystery there. I received a descriptive error message and went in search of a version of Linux that will work well on that machine. That left one that nominally worked with Windows 10, but had the slightly problematic login issue.

Overall, this is really not a very large set of problems, and none of the problems caused any significant downtime—certainly not as much downtime as was caused by an UPS battery that failed while all of this was going on.

So I asked a Microsoft spokesperson just how bad the problem actually is. "We have seen incredibly strong interest in Windows 10 with over 75 million devices already running Windows 10," the spokesperson said in an email. "High demand for Windows 10 may sometimes cause longer-than-usual wait times for customer service. We are working as quickly as we can to address all customers' questions."

So, clearly, Microsoft is aware of the long waits for Windows 10 tech support, and it's going to take time for it to work through all of them.

So what should you do to help ensure that your business isn't brought to a halt because of a balky Windows 10 upgrade? In a word, if you haven't upgraded already, then wait until the worst of the rush is over. This is especially the case if the computer you're planning to upgrade is not really new.

If you have upgraded, and you're having problems, then it will pay to call Microsoft as early in the day as possible when the queues are shorter. I found that waits are very short around 8 a.m. Eastern Time. However, having a paid support contract doesn't really help any. There are only so many Microsoft technicians, and apparently they're all fully occupied with the task at hand.

Meanwhile, start with computers that are less essential to learn how to do the Windows 10 upgrade. The learning curve really isn't bad, but it does exist. And if you have to choose, it's best to work with less essential computers that are relatively new.

It really shouldn't be a surprise given the enormity of the task that Microsoft is dealing with that there are a few problems. What is a surprise is that, at least in my experience, problems are relatively rare. But that may not be the experience of many of those people who are trying Microsoft tech support. So if possible, just wait.



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