Microsoft Faces Class Action Suit Over Damaging, Forced Windows 10 Upgrades

Windows 10

A class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois accuses Microsoft of being too aggressive in its campaign to get Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that after upgrading, which in some cases occurred without their permission, their PCs were inoperable, forcing them to either pay for repairs or upgrade to a brand new system. The lawsuit also complains of lost data.

"The Windows 10 system often installs itself without any action being taken by the consumer. The first the consumer knows of the installation is a message on the computer screen, 'DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER WHILE WINDOWS 10 IS BEING DOWNLOADED'. In fact, the only way to stop the download is do what the message forbids and turn off your computer -- immediately," the lawsuit states.

When Microsoft released Windows 10 the public on July 29, 2015, it advertised that Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users could upgrade their PCs at no cost for the first year. Many users took advantage of the free upgrade offer, though rather than leave things to chance, Microsoft pushed the free upgrade pretty hard. Some of its methods have come under scrutiny in the class-action lawsuit.

Windows 10 Upgrade Pop-Up

One of the those methods is a pop-up message that seemingly gave users no choice but to upgrade. These pop-up boxes would advertise the free upgrade offer to Windows 10 with two buttons, "Upgrade Now" or "Upgrade tonight." This seemingly indicated that upgrading was mandatory, though clicking on the small "X" in the upper-right corner would dismiss the pop-up.

"However, even when a user clicks on the 'X', the pop-up box will appear autonomously and of its own volition during the course of the day. More recently, a new pop-up box has appeared which also expects to 'select and upgrade' -- more or less presuming the consumer wants one," the class-action lawsuit adds.

Plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit also take Microsoft to task for the way it checks the condition of a PC prior to upgrading. They allege that while the Windows 10 installer genie checks PCs for compatibility, it does not consider the condition of the system or make any attempt to see if the hard drive "can withstand the stress of the Windows 10 installation." According to the lawsuit, many consumers were stuck with a failed HDD due to installing Windows 10.

The class-action lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, both actual and punitive, along with attorney costs and any other relief a judge may deem proper.