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article imageMicrosoft hit with lawsuit as Windows 10 'destroyed data'

By James Walker     Mar 27, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has been hit with a class action lawsuit instigated by a group of Windows 10 users who claim the operating system "destroyed" their data and caused damage to their PCs. It stems from Microsoft's aggressive attempts to get people to upgrade.
With Windows 10 coming close to its second birthday, Microsoft's pushy, deceptive and underhanded tactics used in its "Upgrade Assistant" app for Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs have been well documented. Users are still starting lawsuits against the company, claiming it forced the new OS onto them and failed to provide adequate safeguards to prevent data loss.
The latest case was filed by three users who claim Microsoft "failed to exercise reasonable care" while developing and promoting Windows 10. As a consequence, the release version of the operating system "was liable to cause loss of data or damage to hardware."
The complaint pivots on the same fundamental points as before. At various times during the Windows 10 upgrade campaign, Microsoft used questionable mechanisms to get the new software onto as many machines as possible. The company was slammed for using techniques normally relied on by malware and scam websites.
The  Get Windows 10  dialog is appearing in the system tray of Windows computers  prompting users to...
The "Get Windows 10" dialog is appearing in the system tray of Windows computers, prompting users to reserve their free upgrade
Microsoft's malpractice culminated when it changed the red "X" close button on its upgrade assistant app to approve the installation instead of cancelling it. Since Windows users commonly associate closing a window with the "cancel" action, this led many customers to inadvertently install Windows 10. Microsoft faced a backlash over the "dirty trick" and was widely criticised for failing to provide a way to cancel the upgrade altogether.
In September, UK consumer rights group Which? ordered Microsoft to compensate Windows 10 users who felt their computers had been left unusable by the update. Digital rights group the Electronic Frontiers Foundation later slammed the company for a "blatant disregard" to user privacy.
The  Get Windows 10  dialog is appearing in the system tray of Windows computers  prompting users to...
The "Get Windows 10" dialog is appearing in the system tray of Windows computers, prompting users to reserve their free upgrade
The complainants in the new case consented to the Windows 10 installation. However, they claim to have felt pressured to do so and say they were left with "non-functional" computers and destroyed data. One of the plaintiffs, Howard Goldberg, conceded to the upgrade after closing a pop-up prompt every day for six months.
In response to the filing, Microsoft has issued its usual statement, claiming Windows 10 is the "most secure and most productive" Windows yet. It insisted that it's easy to restore your old OS after upgrading.
Microsoft Edge features in the Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft Edge features in the Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft
"The Windows 10 free upgrade program was a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows," the company said to The Register. "Customers had the option not to upgrade to Windows 10. If a customer who upgraded during the one year program needed help with the upgrade experience, we had numerous options including free customer support and 31-days to roll back to their old operating system. We believe the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit."
Although it hasn't responded kindly to this case, Microsoft is at least now recognising some of its missteps since Windows 10's launch. In the face of a lawsuit last June, the company admitted users were finding the upgrade experience "confusing" and indirectly conceded that the close button scandal cost it user trust.
The company is now promising more granular control of Windows Update with the next major release of Windows 10. With the upgrade campaign over, it has also removed the Upgrade Assistant from Windows 7 and 8.1 users, finally giving people who don't want to make the jump a break from the taskbar messages and pop-up ads. It now has a new class action lawsuit to fight though and the attorneys representing the case say hundreds of thousands of users could be affected.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Lawsuit, Cybersecurity
 
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