Users Claim Automatic Windows 10 Updates Are Crushing Broadband Data Caps

Amid all the praise Windows 10 is receiving around the web, there is one thing that's at the center of most complaints -- automatic updates. Windows 10 Home users generally don't have a choice in the matter, the updates are mandatory and sent out automatically. For some people with limited bandwidth, that policy is causing a problem.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Windows 10 users in remote locations are getting hit with big bills resulting from forced updates pushing them beyond their data caps. One example is a woman who lives in the Cook Islands, an autonomous region associated with New Zealand. She said her bill was $NZ600, or around $395 in U.S. currency.

"In this context, where Internet access is both painfully slow and seriously expensive, these forced updates are almost literally forcing people off the Internet and are resulting in massive excess data charges," said Jon Lawrence, executive office of EFA.

Windows 10

There's only one telco available in the Cook Islands and it charges $NZ49 (around US$32) for 3.5GB of data on its broadband service, which is mostly provided via satellite. Other remote regions are similarly expensive.

Microsoft has built in a safeguard that's supposed to prevent things like this from happening. Users on metered connections are shown a message warning them that they could be charged from their Internet service provider, and they're asked to acknowledge and agree before downloading updates.

"As with Windows 8.1, Windows 10 won't automatically download updates or apps if it detects the PC uses a metered connection," a Microsoft spokesman said.

This probably won't be the last we hear of bill shock, though it's a situation that's preventable. What's of more concern about mandatory updates is the potential for a bug fix to cause more harm than good, as was the case when users found themselves stuck in a reboot loop after applying a forced update.