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'Windows 10 destroyed our data!' Microsoft hauled into US court

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Unhappy

About time

This is just so overdue. I hear plenty of complaints directly from people who have been caught out by this.

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Windows

@Will

For more than one reason too. Seriously: Microsoft has made the Internet a more dangerous place to be on, and caused a lot of collateral damage with this enforced update stunt. At least that's my opinion and impression (based on what I saw around me).

Thing is: many people have been thrown offguard and are now very suspicious of the whole upgrade procedure and tons of people I know off have forcefully turned off updates in order to prevent an unwanted update to Windows 10. Thing is: it's a whole lot easier to simply turn off the update process entirely than it is to track down (and block) the updates responsible for the Windows 10 update. I know there are 3rd party tools for that, not my point.

My point is that there are now plenty of legit Windows environments out there which won't be updated any time soon because the owner is fearful of being forcefed with Windows 10. Yet that also creates a risk because they also won't be getting any more security updates either.

Considering the massive amount of stories about exploits and discovered flaws I hope that it won't be too hard to comprehend why this could become a major problem. Sure... Unless you're not on the receiving end of a DDoS attack you have nothing to complain about, right? Yah, but what if you are and you didn't use any intervention from, say, Cloudfare?

When are we going to stop fighting symptoms and instead try to tackle problems at the source, like this one?

For the record: I'm a Microsoft fan (sort off), I seriously enjoy and appreciate some of the products (like Office and Windows 7) but I'm very opposed to their <self-censored> idea of enforcing their Windows 10 crap upon us.

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Mushroom

Re: About time

and an entire SERIES of articles here on El Reg, pointing out the hypocrisy of Micro-shaft's claims.

"had a choice" to NOT upgrade. In some cases, closing the dialog box UPGRADED you WITHOUT choice. "Not now" was the only "choice".

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Re: About time

I had to re-read their weasel words several times. Utter disbelief and my jaw is hanging open at their response. Unbelievable... Even more unbelievable is that they will probably get away with it.

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Re: About time

I got lucky, the wife was away for a month taking care of family and I never thought to check her machine until a few days before she got back. According to the logs when I booted it up for what I thought was the first time in nearly a month I found that the Windows 10 upgrade had failed four times with only the first being just before she left. Mind this was on a machine that was nominally turned off, not hibernating nor sleeping, the entire time and it still managed to try upgrading three times on its own. That was the day I flipped a few registry bits so it would permanently block the upgrade. Sadly that machine is a bit old and she wants a new one - with Windows 10.

Maybe it's time to play with this ReactOS thing.

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Re: @Will

I get that it's a pain in the ass when the computer decides you don't need your data any more, but for me after a very short time all those free upgrade dialogs were just a reminder to make sure I had some recent backups. When it couldn't wait any longer and started upgrading despite me repeatedly rejecting the offer, it was very inconvenient but I didn't lose data.

As much as I hate MS's recent tictacs, can they really be accountable for the loss of someone's data? Maybe a days work but shirley they had a backup of everything else right?

This forced update philosophy wasn't limited to just the initial upgrade though, the whole Windows 10 update behaviour has been really unhelpful for me.

There have been many, many times over the last 18 months when I've needed to access my computer from work, so I do what I need to before I leave the house and by the time I get to work it's off doing it's own thing, rebooting when it wants to and I might not be able to connect to it.

And the addition of Active Hours wasn't very helpful either - Apparently I am only allowed to specify a 12-hour stretch when I am allowed to use the thing. My sleep / wake / work pattern is so fragmented that I can be awake, asleep, at work, and then back to sleep in a two hour period, repeated over and over, all day every day, so changing this every time I take a break is just not practical.

Maybe it's just my behaviour that is unique, I don't know, but it sure can be inconvenient.

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Re: About time

There should've been a Never option.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About time

"The Windows 10 free upgrade program was a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows"

Nice ignoring of context by the spokesdroid: I wonder how you can claim both "secure" and "productive" when data vanishes (i.e. not secure, and that's not mention the massive privacy risks that come along with it) and a machine doesn't even work post upgrade. It makes me wonder how Microsoft measures productivity.

That said, Brexit and Trump have now made Microsoft's approach to marketing the minor offence against reality and facts..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About time

I had to re-read their weasel words several times. Utter disbelief and my jaw is hanging open at their response. Unbelievable...

Why? It's been like that since they gamed DR-DOS as "being 'incompatible' with Windows", and that's some +25 years ago. Windows is a classic example of something of at best mediocre quality sold as gold dust through marketing, golf course bribery and bare faced market manipulation. It works better than the golf ball detectors, but if you take 75% of the claims away you start approaching reality. Anything proclaimed as "secure" should not need extra anti-virus before it goes near the Internet and anything declared as "increasing productivity" should not have to market so well and deceptively against Linux - it suggests they're very worried about it.

In short, good wine needs no bush - if it really was even half as good as Microsoft's marketing tries to imply, Microsoft marketing would be out of a job.

Even more unbelievable is that they will probably get away with it.

Ah, but hell hath no power like an ignoramus exposed. If you get to the top man and sell him Windows, there isn't a chance in hell he's going to admit afterwards that he was wrong (certainly not if he derives a benefit from it, like a much larger budget and more manpower). That's how you subvert whole governments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Will

As much as I hate MS's recent tictacs, can they really be accountable for the loss of someone's data?

If it can be proven in court that MS upgraded without permission, yes, that will be their responsibility as that is akin to hacking a machine. Microsoft had no permission to change the OS on a machine, which amounts to unauthorised access.

Maybe a days work but shirley they had a backup of everything else right?

You cannot rely on a user doing the right thing as an excuse to your actions. If I kick a ball through a window near a playing field it is still my fault for kicking the ball, you cannot blame the occupant for not installing more robust windows.

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Re: About time

@Eddy

I have tried various releases of Reactos, up to 4.4. It is still beta software at best, and is unhappy on real hardware rather than a virtual machine.

After my last attempt on real hardware I had to wipe the bios with a specialised program to restore the normal ability to manage bios settings.

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Re: @Will

@ shade82000, The 12 hour window on upgrades is for the office environment. What it's doing on the home operating system is something I don't understand. Since it has no business is being there.

As I understand it, the best way to deal with this problem with update is set Windows 10 to metered connection setting and then all updates have to be done manually.

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Re: @Will

"As I understand it, the best way to deal with this problem with update is set Windows 10 to metered connection setting and then all updates have to be done manually."

There are rumours that that option is going to be "deprecated".

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Re: @Will

Probably because of the number of people who've done it because it's the only way they know to stop it.

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Re: About time

"Nice ignoring of context by the spokesdroid"

The standard journalistic response to these sorts of statement should be "how did you manage to say that and keep a straight face?".

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Re: About time

I had bought Windows update CDs in the past, a couple of times. No big problems. Then the hard drive needed replacing, I was able to save the data, but the hardware change meant I needed to go back to the start of the stack of CDs, install and register that version, install each upgrade, and then ask myself, "Windows 10?"

I installed Linux

Six weeks later, the company responsible for some software I used announced (with a notice in the back of their cellar, behind a locked door labelled "Beware of the Tiger") that the Linux version of the software was an unsupported beta.

I found other software that worked. Last I heard, they still were not officially supporting Windows 10 users. As for 64-bit code, they have started working on it.

As for installing Windows...

Mandy Rice-Davies applies.

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Devil

Re: About time

"I have tried various releases of Reactos,..."

So it does work as well as W10!

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Re: About time

If she insists on buying a windows machine, stick a copy of virtualbox on it and have her do her online stuff in a virtual linux machine. You can run it in full-screen mode so she won't even know.

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Re: About time

They were being truthful for once. A windows machine that won't boot is probably more secure than one that does. :-)

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Re: @Will

I've already flagged my Ethernet connection as metered. If I don't download any updates, the associated functionality can't be deprecated. :)

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Re: About time

"had a choice" to NOT upgrade. In some cases, closing the dialog box UPGRADED you WITHOUT choice. "Not now" was the only "choice".

... but unfortunately this lawsuit doesn't appear to cover that!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About time

Really? "Utter disbelief and my jaw is hanging open at their response"? Really?

Their response is "the update was optional". Admittedly that's very misleading because it was hard to not install the update, but still... "Utter disbelief", wtf?

Plus I really don't see the upgrader deleting any files. My bet is it borked the computer and the woman didn't know you could recover files from a hard disk.

Ubuntu has borked my computer before but I don't blame them.

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Re: About time

And there's where you lose all credibility - "Anything proclaimed as "secure" should not need extra anti-virus before it goes near the Internet and anything declared as "increasing productivity" should not have to market so well and deceptively against Linux - it suggests they're very worried about it."

I haven't used antivirus in decades, and Linux markets against itself. In fact, Microsoft is trying to embrace Linux.

And this, the ignoramus was exposed.

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Joke

That makes sense

"You cannot rely on a user doing the right thing as an excuse to your actions. If I kick a ball through a window near a playing field it is still my fault for kicking the ball, you cannot blame the occupant for not installing more robust windows."

That makes sense. Installing windows 10 probably wouldn't help stop you or the ball, especially when it's not that robust.

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Re: @Will

Here is one alternative,

-Find "services.msc'

-Go to Windows Update

-Right-Click to stop service

-Right-Click to change Startup type to "Disabled"

-Restart

If you would like a defined schedule for windows update, you can play around with "taskschd.msc" to setup a time to run.

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Re: @Will

" but for me after a very short time all those free upgrade dialogs were just a reminder to make sure I had some recent backups. When it couldn't wait any longer and started upgrading despite me repeatedly rejecting the offer, it was very inconvenient but I didn't lose data."

WTF!!??

And you actually defend MS?

"As much as I hate MS's recent tictacs, can they really be accountable for the loss of someone's data? Maybe a days work but shirley they had a backup of everything else right?"

Sure... As if. I backup my data every now and then. When I have new data to backup. But then there are all the apps that need to be installed. And perhaps the apps won't run under Win 10. Perhaps the user isn't savvy, and must pay to get someone to reinstall 5+ years of apps?

Don't try to shrug off MS behaving like arrogant bullies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About time

I haven't used antivirus in decades,

It's a binary choice: either install anti-virus against botnets, or be part of the botnet that users need to install anti-virus for. If you ever get bandwidth problems or your machine seems more sluggish than the use of Microsoft software alone can account for, you know what to do.

In fact, Microsoft is trying to embrace Linux

The way in which they are doing it suggests it's more of the same old "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy. Not that that is surprising, after all, it worked for over 2 decades.

And this, the ignoramus was exposed.

Correct, but not in the way you think. Take it from someone who has gone through the pain of having to use Microsoft software since MS-DOS 2 that you need to learn your history.

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Re: @Will

@Wiil & @AC - This case hinges on pre-trial discovery. Once Slurp's legal beagles look that internal paper trail they may demand settle at any price. The internal paper trail is likely to show there was a significant internal debate about how to roll out Spyware-as-a-Service aka Bloat 10 on the masses. Also, it would show how close Slurp was going to the edge of obeying the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. Once this is in open court it is public record. Being public record means it accessible to anyone. Remember this is a civil case which could cost Slurp dearly in direct costs and long term.

No matter what shyterly comments the PR flacks say Slurp could have avoid this mess by letting users deliberately seek out Bloat 10 not force it on them. And all it takes is for one of these suits to stick and go to trial.

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Re: @Will

Assuming that I've somehow become the owner of a computer with Windows 10 installed for the moment (har har), if that option were removed, I'd expect Micro$ith to pay for its use of my 'net connection at peak times. (Yes, it's metered and yes, the effective cost is higher during office hours.)

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My computer is now dead because of it

Got my computer in February and have had a lot of issues once windows started updating and now my computer doesn't work and I am told that my operating system is gone thanks to the window in date. So now I wait for software that I paid for to come in and see if that gets my computer running. I would love windows owners to replace my brand new computer that I only use for college school work. So now I have no computer for at least 2 weeks and 4 papers due by next Sunday. I'm beyond irate. This is the second computer that's been ruined from the windows update. I wish someone would do another lawsuit so all of us affected got new computers. I shouldn't of had issues with a new computer.

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Big Brother

Place your bets

M$ has got away with this nonsense because governments want the sheep to use this spyware. I hope they get taken to the cleaners, but I doubt much will happen.

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Re: Place your bets

Everyone gets away with this sort of nonsense.

Seriously, when did you last hear of a software company being successfully sued on the grounds that its product failed to perform as advertised?

This is 20 years overdue, and if they can catch Apple, Google, Oracle, Sun et al in the same blast, that'll be fine with me.

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LDS
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Re: Place your bets

This time may be different because MS had employed weasel tactics to install the update without the user full and active consent. If upgrading to Windows 10 had been an action fully and explicitly initiated by the user, I guess the users would have very little chances. But when clicking on a red x in a dialog box actually starts the upgrade, or the choices shown are "now" or "later", while "don't upgrade" is hidden, mean MS put itself in dangerous waters. If a court judges there is an explicit correlation between the lost data, and the "forced" upgrade, MS may find it needs to cough up money.

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Re: Place your bets

"Seriously, when did you last hear of a software company being successfully sued on the grounds that its product failed to perform as advertised?"

The article quoted some examples relating to W10.

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Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

How many people were working on things when Microsoft sent out an update and then either

a) Forced Rebooted the machine

b) Gave them 10 minutes to save any work (which may not have been savable in 10 minutes) and then forced rebooted their machines.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

(a) has happened to me, more than once, while running VirtualBox + had scripts running on the host + doing various other stuffs, so not exactly idle at the time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

.. because there isn't enough money in the world to pay that bill, even if you include future earning for the next decade.

There is a problem with taking Microsoft down completely: it would create too many victims at once. It genuinely made itself too big to sue into the ground..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

C) failed updates due to untested or poorly tested code that results in an error or unbootable machine.

resulting in data loss, time and money for reinstall and recovery services. ETC. ETC.

D) class action for adding Telemetry to Older OS's in critical updates with NO warning what these will do. or option to stop them. (if you have automatic updates turned on) they are listed as critical security patches when in fact they reduce your personal security and privacy. and now they give little information and purposely obfuscate the full details of what the payload of each update actually contains and affects.

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Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

"There is a problem with taking Microsoft down completely: it would create too many victims at once. It genuinely made itself too big to sue into the ground.."

They should have split it up long ago.

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Big Brother

Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

"..D) class action for adding Telemetry to Older OS's in critical updates with NO warning what these will do..."

You are assuming that they (MS) were given a choice!!

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Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

I got caught by that on a machine recently. It wasn't mine, it was a 'generic lab PC' (running Win7) and obviously no one had turned off the feature (which I always did on 'my' machines) because I came in one morning and it had rebooted, proudly telling me that it had done so to install updates, totally trashing what I had it doing overnight.

I seem to have flummoxed my Win10 machine. It keeps telling me it's going to reboot to complete an update once I'm outside my safe 12-hour lockout window. Except I hibernate it while within that window and don't wake it up until the following day when I'm safely back within that window. It's managed a whole week being frustrated so far.

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Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

"It genuinely made itself too big to sue into the ground."

No excuse. If for no other reason it would discourage others from using the same tactic.

In any case, if it did get sued into the ground there'd be good money to be made supporting the victims so someone would be ready to buy up the assets at fire sale prices.

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Re: Why not include automatic updates in the class action?

Kind of screws over people who went out to lunch. An easily foreseeable situation, especially since if you're alone at home working, you have not reason to log out.

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Anonymous Coward

It's right in the EULA...

"Windows 10 update will destroy your data and damaged your computers"

It's perfectly clear to me.

"She hired Geek Squad to repair the machine, with only partial success, and ended up having to purchase a new computer [after the Geek tech stole all her nude pix and dox and told her she needed a new computer, and luckily, that Best Buy was having a sale that very day!]"

Whoops! There's a lesson to be learnt here. I'm just not sure what that would be.

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@AC

How does that apply when you were using Windows 7?

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Re: It's right in the EULA...

This paragraph bothered me as well

"According to the complaint, Windows 10 installed itself onto plaintiff Stephanie Watson's computer without her consent and then erased data, some of it related to her work. She hired Geek Squad to repair the machine, with only partial success, and ended up having to purchase a new computer."

As much as I dislike Windows 10 - how did this cause the plaintiff to need to buy a new computer (unless the new one was Windows 7 but I think this is unlikely). Are 'Geek Squad' incapable of reinstalling an OS? In fact doesn't Windows 10 make reinstalling the OS 'too' easy at times with the recovery centre options?

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Re: It's right in the EULA...

Can't reinstall 7. No new licenses. Can't use the old license either, no media and OEM Windows 7 is tied to the PC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's right in the EULA...

"how did this cause the plaintiff to need to buy a new computer" how about because changing the data storage removes any possibility of ever recovering the missing data.

Geeksquad atleast are going to be aware that changing a drive where the users is going to be seeking damages would expose them to mitigation as well.

Anyone working in data recovery knows not to the change the original if you want to avoid going to court.

If the machine was provided without an OS image then it isn't as simple as throwing a new drive and and reinstalling. My experience is that home users never create the recovery set until they have a problem so it is more than possible that to get a windows 7 machine by this time she needed to buy a "new" machine with the OS

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Re: It's right in the EULA...

@Not also known as SC - I suspect the origin of this lawsuit was that the plaintiffs managed to talk to someone socially who is reasonably computer literate who explained what likely happened well after the fact. A suggestion was possibly made to consult a shyster to see if they could find a way to shake some money out of Slurp. From the article none of the plaintiffs appear to be computer literate unless you define it as being able to turn it on and use a couple of programs. And I suspect 75%+ of all users are closer to the plaintiffs' skill level than the posters here.

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