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Which? finds half of Windows 10 users have encountered problems, calls for Microsoft to pay compensation



It’s fair to say Windows 10 hasn’t had the smoothest of rides. Users were slow to adopt it, and Microsoft’s response to this -- forcing the OS on to users against their will -- didn’t go down at all well. As you’d expect.


Are you one of the few to have had a problem with Windows 10 ? You may be able to claim compensation.



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I say a lot those "problems" many of those people reported are not at all the fault of Microsoft, but people just love to blame them anyway.


First, while I admit Microsoft's pressure to upgrade was, at time, intense, the vast majority of users who claimed they were given no choice and were forced to upgrade, really did have a choice - if they only looked a little harder. I am not excusing Microsoft on this, I am just saying most users really did have a choice.


As for software compatibility, again, in the vast majority of cases, the fault does not lie with Microsoft. Instead the software developers failed to release updates that supported W10. It is important to note developers had over a year lead time to develop and push out updates. Many simply didn't. Some however, developed new versions that required users to pay for the new versions - which many users refused to do. I note even some old Microsoft products are not supported in W10 - like old Office versions for example. But again, developers had lots of lead time.


Same with device drivers. Hardware has always been OS version specific. Why should users expect W10 to be any different? If older hardware fails to run with W10, blame the hardware makers for failing to create W10 drivers. Microsoft is not responsible for driver development. They published the necessary protocols well in advance. If HP decided they didn't want to develop drivers for their legacy printers, that's not Microsoft's fault. But who got blamed? Microsoft.


I note many of those complaining about "significant slowdowns" were actually due to drivers that were not optimized for W10 - again not Microsoft's fault.


I am NOT letting Microsoft off the hook completely. They should have done a better job of promoting W10 and "encouraging" hardware makers and software developers ensure their products were compatible.


But we have to understand there is no profit for those legacy software developers and legacy hardware makers to invest time and money to retrofit their legacy products so they will run on W10. They would much rather you buy all new - again not Microsoft's fault.


So I say, come on now! Windows 10 has been out for almost 3 years now. It is time to stop whining about it. It really is a great OS, if only given the chance. W7 is almost 9 years old. It is time to let it go too.


Edit add: Fixed a couple typos.

Edited by Digerati
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I have successfully upgraded a 2012 Acer desktop from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro and a 2014 Lenovo laptop from Windows 8.1 Home to Windows 10 Home. Both upgrades went fine and I even migrated the desktop O/S to an SSD.

I haven't had any performance issues and all my peripherals work very well.

I use mostly non-Microsoft apps like Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, Libre Office and these have integrated well with Windows 10.

So as far as I am concerned it's a non-issue.

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Very few people had problems migrating from W8.1 to W10 as the hardware for most of those systems was newer and W8.1 has more common DNA with W10 than W7 has.


We found here that older hardware that was designed to support XP or Vista had the most problems, even if they came new with W7 installed. And worst were those older design systems that initially had an older OS installed and were at some point in the past upgraded to Windows 7. IMO, the Windows 10 upgrade compatibility checker should have tagged more of those systems as incompatible and not allowed them to be upgraded.


Hardware designed specifically for Windows 7 fared better. Of my personal systems, the most troublesome was my old 2010 Toshiba notebook that came with W7. Toshiba only released (and has still only released) W8 drivers for it. But all it took was a couple extra reboots and the problems sorted themselves out.


I use mostly non-Microsoft apps like Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, Libre Office and these have integrated well with Windows 10.
Actually, most users have more non-Microsoft apps than Microsoft apps installed. But that's a good thing as it demonstrates just how flexible Windows is.
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In my (admittedly limited) experience with XP and Vista users, I found very few who had upgraded to Windows 7. Most held on to XP till the bitter end. At that point, most had a very old 32-bit machine so I advised a new one - especially if it was a 2005 era laptop. Some desktops with decent hardware I switched to Linux and the "client" had it as a second machine.

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A lot of the Windows Error Reporting fault buckets that get filled at Microsoft are from third-party code. I think at one point during Windows Vista's heyday Microsoft reported that the largest percentage of all bug checks (aka BSoDs) came from video card device drivers¹. When systemic problems like that occur, Microsoft usually does a good job of identifying the affected industry and working with them to resolve it. You don't typically hear about that, though; oftentimes the companies take credit for making faster and more stable software without mentioning that Microsoft basically came to them and forced them to use their assessment and code profiling tools to identify system impact and work with them to remediate it.


But these days, Microsoft's rapid release cycle mean an increasing number of compatibility errors are showing up in Windows itself. In the June 12, 2018 kernel update, Microsoft fixed a bug in their operating system which affected a popular accounting package--note that the software company could not fix this because it was a flaw in the operating system itself. There were also a couple of issues with games (and Windows is the largest gaming platform out there by far) and with screen brightness controls on laptops (which are a more popular form-factor by far than desktops right now). Third-party vendors are still to blame for some things, though: The KB article for the update also notes people ending up with black screens due to certain PC Tune-Up programs--which are largely superfluous these days, as Windows does a much better job of dynamically tuning itself now then it did in the XP days. Going back a month to the May 23, 2018 kernel update shows that Microsoft had to fix incompatibilities with SSDs, from large tier-one SSD manufacturers that are generally well-regarded for shipping stable products². Some of the the fixes were for preserving settings and regression errors--which are the kinds of things you really should be catching in your internal quality control process.


I have to say that Microsoft does try quite hard, though. There have various engineering access programs where developers, manufacturers and large customers sometimes get multiple builds a week, often with debug symbols. But sometimes even that's not enough. For example, one Windows 10 version had an issue that impacted some of my employer's customers. And that issue did not show up in any of the pre-release builds--it occurred due to changes between the final release candidate and the RTM³ version. And no matter how good your coding is and your testing is, you really can't anticipate it when an operating system vendor makes changes after everything is supposed to be locked down.


When Windows 10 originally shipped, Microsoft had a concept of phased distributions for various releases like Current Branch, Current Branch for Business, Long-Term Servicing Branch, Insider's Branch and so forth. with the idea that some of this could be ameliorated by giving consumers the latest build and only releasing it to enterprise customers after it had been tested by them. But that model has been tweaked a little, with the idea of various channels, and businesses running various percentages of their users on various channels, including the Insider's builds, which are a kind of public beta. Maybe Microsoft needs to refactor things again and have a concept of a "consumer stable" channel: The user doesn't stay on a previous version, they get the current version, but it only gets kernel updates when they have passed through some kind of quality gating mechanism,e.g., no sev-1, pri-1 defects. I think that would be a good way for Microsoft to regain a lot of its customers' trust, and it would also incentivize third-party developers with a well-tested stable platform to run on.




Aryeh Goretsky



¹I'm looking for a reference to this, but cannot seem to find it. Does anyone recall the details?

²I'm not going to get into speculative execution errors--that was kind of a black swan that an entire industry missed; let's not forget it affected AMD, Arm, IBM and Qualcomm as well.

³Or RTW, since it seems most software is released to the web and not manufacturing these days.

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Very nice analysis and explanation, Aryeh! :).

Maybe Microsoft needs to refactor things again and have a concept of a "consumer stable" channel
Buy they have the Insider program that does just that. Maybe Microsoft needs to promote that program to more users. The problem there is not many want to beta test changes to the OS on productivity systems and risk potential downtime. Catch-22.


So excluding critical security updates, which often must be pushed out yesterday, if not before, most changes are available to consumers (including IT support people) before Windows Update pushes them out to everyone else. But I agree 100% that some of those probably should go through more extensive beta testing first.


The problem, as I see it, is Microsoft cannot anticipate every possible scenario an update to the OS will encounter.


Depending on who's doing the talking, there's somewhere between 600 and 700 million Windows 10 systems out there today. And virtually every single one became a unique system within minutes after the very first boot. Users setup their own security, network configurations, hardware configurations, desktops and installed applications. And it is important to note these systems consist of countless combinations of different motherboards, RAM, processors, graphics, drives and attached peripherals from 100s (1000s?) of different manufacturers. And users expect Windows knows how to properly communicate with each and every one of those components, and facilitate the necessary communications between all so they work harmoniously together, efficiently without degrading performance, and continuously without a single hiccup!


That's an incredible challenge and one that Microsoft does quite well with IMO. Is there room for improvement? Always. But I feel Microsoft is constantly striving for constant improvement and really does have an excellent record in that area.


Microsoft's problem there is perception. Even with a 99.9% success rate, .1% of 600 million is still 600,000 upset users. And 600,000 upset users can make a lot of noise - especially when amplified by the constant bashing of Microsoft haters and those in the IT press seeking attention with exaggerated, and often misleading or even totally false headlines which then get parroted by other bloggers, others in the IT press, and those MS bashers who love to discredit MS for everything.


There is lots to be unhappy about when it comes to some of the Microsoft's marketing tactics and executive policy decisions. But IMO, the developers at Microsoft have done a bang up job! Often with one hand tied behind their backs. :thumbup:

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