Forced Windows 10 Upgrade Cost Microsoft $10,000

Microsoft reportedly paid out the money to settle a lawsuit involving an unwanted upgrade to Windows 10 that the plaintiff claimed caused slowdowns and crashes to her work computer.

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Not everyone is thrilled with the free Windows 10 upgrade, as Microsoft discovered after paying $10,000 in a lawsuit.

Teri Goldstein, a Sausalito, Calif., travel agent, suffered some of the negative and unintended effects of an unwanted operating system upgrade and filed a lawsuit against Microsoft. Last month, she won, and Microsoft dropped an appeal of the verdict and paid Goldstein $10,000, reported The Seattle Times on June 25.

Goldstein claims that she did not authorize the upgrade to Windows 10. After the upgrade, the computer she used to run her travel business would slow down and crash. Contacting Microsoft's customer support failed to resolve the issue.

To avoid further litigation, the software giant paid her $10,000 for the cost of a new computer and the loss of wages caused by the unwanted OS.

Last year, Microsoft kicked off the Windows 10 launch festivities by offering the then-new OS as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users. The promotion, which is set to expire on July 29, is generally considered a good deal for users with aging PCs who want access to the latest version of the system software. After July 29, interested buyers will need to fork over $119 for Windows 10 Home.

Naturally, many users are perfectly content with their current Windows setups. According to the latest data from Web analytics specialist Net Applications, Windows 7 still holds nearly half (48.57 percent) of the PC OS market, followed by Windows 10 at 17.43 percent.

For several months, a new taskbar icon in Windows 7 and 8.1 has been recommending that users "Get Windows 10." Occasionally, users would discover that their PCs took it upon themselves to install Windows 10, a forced upgrade of sorts that caught users by surprise, blew past download limits on metered Internet connections and, in some cases, rendered their machines or the applications they rely upon unusable.

Since Windows 10's release, Microsoft has been criticized for the tactics it has employed to spur adoption. The company offers ways of deactivating the upgrade by manually making changes to Windows Update settings, but average and novice users are unlikely to dig into their advanced OS options.

Sometimes, even being an expert user doesn't help. While the OS is often touted as the best of Windows 7 and 8, suggesting that in-place upgrades and the subsequent experience are seamless, many PC owners quickly discover that their trusty old tech was left behind.

In March, eWEEK's own Wayne Rash encountered an engineer whose software-defined radio was rendered inoperable under Windows 10. Driver incompatibilities are forcing some users to ditch otherwise perfectly functional peripherals behind, particularly specialized equipment and accessories.

Despite the controversy and a slowing PC market, Windows 10 adoption is brisk according to Microsoft. Last month, the company announced that 300 million devices were running the OS, nearly a third of the way toward achieving its lofty goal of 1 billion Windows 10 devices by mid-2018

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...