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Woman Wins $10,000 Judgment Against Microsoft Over Unauthorized Windows 10 Upgrade

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Microsoft is eager to get 1 billion of its users to the Windows 10 platform by mid-2018. But this early in the game, the company has already been slammed for the way the latest software is being promoted.

Just last month, a travel agent in Sausalito, California, claimed $10,000 from Microsoft after she took the company to court: an unauthorized update of her operating system to Windows 10 debilitated her computer, which at the time was operating on Windows 7.

The complainant Teri Goldstein said that the forced update in August 2015 affected her business computer. It caused her travel agency to lose some $17,000, especially around the last quarter of the year, when the holiday season rolls in and bookings are at their peak.

Unwanted And Unauthorized Updates

Goldstein could not attend to her clients' needs because all the files and emails she needed remained inaccessible. All throughout her ordeal, she reached out to Microsoft's customer support and scoured forums to find a way to remedy her computer, which just "limped along," she recounts.

Microsoft, believing it did nothing wrong, would have filed an appeal but decided to cut further expenses should the litigation continue, The Seattle Times reports.

When Goldstein's complaint was heard at the small claims court, Microsoft was represented not by a lawyer but an employee from the local retail store.

"Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update," says Goldstein who, at the time of the automatic installation, had never even heard of Windows 10.

Other Microsoft Users Had Their Devices Bricked

Complaints from other users — who, like Goldstein, also encounter Microsoft's popup notifications for the Windows 10 — have been piling up in forums and social media.

Redditors, for instance, have posted how automatic updates led to some devices being bricked. Others on Twitter have complained of the same automatic updates rolling in and rendering their devices, or some functionalities, useless after the supposed upgrade.

In May, industry expert Paul Thurrott complained that clicking the red "X" button on the upper right-hand corner of the upgrade notification did not actually result in "closing" the dialog box, but instead signaled that the user agreed to the update. Thurrott openly called Microsoft's tactic a "deception."

Windows 10 Is A 'Recommended Update'

"We understand you care deeply about what happens with your device," writes Terry Myerson, EVP for Windows and Devices, on the Windows blog. "This is why — regardless of your upgrade path — you can choose to upgrade or decline the offer."

Still, Microsoft is labeling the Windows 10 as a "Recommended Update," which means, depending on the user's Windows Update preferences, the update "may cause the upgrade process to automatically initiate on your device."

By July 29 this year, the offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 will have lapsed.

Microsoft is urging other Windows users to make the most of the free offer to enjoy what it touts as the "best, most secure Windows ever." If anyone runs into trouble, Microsoft says, the user can just roll back to their previous OS.

While some 300 million users have made the switch to the latest OS, cases of devices being bricked or crippled should still raise a red flag to Microsoft before it continues to push out the update on a more massive scale.

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