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article imageMicrosoft finally lets you opt-out of Windows 10 after being sued

By James Walker     Jun 28, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has announced it will update its Get Windows 10 app for Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs to make it much easier for customers to opt-out of the upgrade entirely. The announcement comes after months of criticism and a $10,000 lawsuit settlement with a user.
Yesterday, Microsoft dropped its appeal against a Californian business owner seeking $10,000 from the company. Teri Goldstein said an automatic Windows 10 upgrade left her computer unusable and "slowed it to a crawl." The plaintiff said she never requested the update and its forced installation left her unable to run her business for several days.
"I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein said to The Seattle Times. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update."
Microsoft originally brought an appeal against the case but has since dropped it to avoid legal fees. It will need to pay Goldstein the $10,000 requested, compensating her for her loss of business and the cost of a new computer. It could open the door to similar cases being brought against Microsoft in the future.
Microsoft has denied it is directly responsible for the automatic upgrade. It has now announced an update for its Get Windows 10 app that should make it easier to stay on Windows 7 or 8.1 though. Unveiled yesterday, Microsoft said the change has been made "in response to customer feedback." The lawsuit may well have been a trigger for the change.
The redesigned dialog now has three buttons, "Upgrade now" to immediately install Windows 10, "Choose time" to defer it and "Decline free offer" to permanently decline the update. The latter button is exactly what many users of older Windows versions have been wanting for months.
Since its launch last July, Microsoft has become increasingly aggressive in its promotion of Windows 10 to current customers. More recently, it has begun to use deceptive techniques likened by industry experts to malware installers, pushing Windows 10 to as many users as possible. There have been several reported cases of machines automatically installing Windows 10, even after users have declined the offer.
In a statement to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft said some people have found the current prompt "confusing," although that may be an understatement. Foley, a noted technology journalist and Microsoft follower, recently described opting-out of Windows 10 is "nearly impossible to implement" for people who aren't technically savvy.
"Since we introduced a new upgrade experience for Windows 10, we've received feedback that some of our valued customers found it confusing," said Microsoft. "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."
Microsoft will also roll back another controversial change to the Get Windows 10 app. Recently, it changed the behaviour of the red "Close" button to install the update rather than the expected action of cancelling it. Microsoft indirectly admitted this was a step too far, claiming "earning and maintaining your trust is our commitment and priority."
There's now only a month to go until the free Windows 10 upgrade offer expires on July 29th. When that time comes, Microsoft will slowly phase out the Get Windows 10 app, finally removing it from users' machines
Microsoft recommends everyone upgrade to Windows 10 to obtain performance and security improvements and new features. Its offer still doesn’t appeal to every user though. Many are happy to stay on their current OS. The new upgrade prompt should make it easier for users to express their own choice, even if it likely is too little too late.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Operating systems, Upgrade
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