After Multi-Month Tone Deaf Shitshow, Microsoft Finally Lets Users Control Obnoxious Windows 10 Upgrade
from the lack-of-control dept
Microsoft’s decision to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 made sense on its surface. It was a nice freebie for users happy to upgrade, and an effective way to herd customers on older Windows iterations onto the latest platform to help consolidate support expense. But Microsoft’s upgrade in practice has seen no shortage of criticism from users annoyed by a total lack of control over the update, and Microsoft’s violent tone deafness in response to the complaints.
For example a Reddit post from an anti-poaching organization made the rounds earlier this year after the 17 GB automatic Windows 10 update resulted in huge per megabyte charges from their satellite broadband ISP. Microsoft’s response to these complaints? Ignore them. As complaints grew, Microsoft finally provided a way to fully disable the forced upgrade, but made sure it involved forcing users to modify the registry, something Microsoft knew full well less technical users wouldn’t be comfortable attempting to hurdle.
But Microsoft made the problem worse in other ways, too. The Redmond giant also came under fire for upgrade popups that misleadingly shoved users toward the upgrade. For example, closing an update notification dialogue box by clicking “X” automatically began the update process, much like malware:
“Last week, Microsoft silently changed Get Windows 10 yet again. And this time, it has gone beyond the social engineering scheme that has been fooling people into inadvertently upgrading to Windows 10 for months. This time, it actually changed the behavior of the window that appears so that if you click the ?Close? window box, you are actually agreeing to the upgrade. Without you knowing what just happened.”
Things have been escalating ever since, often to comedic effect. But this week things changed somewhat with the news that Microsoft has struck a $10,000 settlement with a California woman who sued the company after an ill-timed Windows 10 upgrade brought her office computers to a crawl. The woman took Microsoft to court after support failed to help resolve the issue, a spokesman saying Microsoft halted its appeal of the ruling “to avoid the expense of further litigation.”
And while Microsoft was sure to avoid admitting error of any kind, the company this week announced it will finally give users actual control over the Windows 10 upgrade experience. A new notification window will let users update now, schedule the upgrade for a later date, or (gasp) decline the free offer entirely:
“Since we introduced a new upgrade experience for Windows 10, we’ve received feedback that some of our valued customers found it confusing,” admits Windows chief Terry Myerson, in a statement to The Verge. “We’ve been working hard to incorporate their feedback and this week, we’ll roll out a new upgrade experience with clear options to upgrade now, schedule a time, or decline the free offer.”
Aren’t you a bunch of sweethearts, actually listening to “valued customers” screaming for months about how you’re acting like a malware vendor! As of now, this is what the Windows 10 upgrade notification will look like:
And to think: it only took months of public kicking and screaming, a repeated, vicious beating in the media (even from historical supporters of the company) and this latest settlement for Microsoft to do the right thing. It’s particularly absurd given that (assuming you like operating systems that send uncontrollable chatter over the network) Windows 10 is generally well reviewed and liked by people. All Microsoft really had to do was offer the free upgrade, let the OS sell itself, then give consumers some control over the process and this entire absurd saga would have been avoided.