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Microsoft pays woman $10K after ‘unauthorized’ Windows 10 update

A California woman says she never authorized the update, which left her work PC "unusable" for days.

A California woman has successfully sued Microsoft for $10,000 after claiming an unauthorized Windows 10 update caused her work computer to slow to a crawl, crash frequently and be unusable for days at a time.

The woman, Teri Goldstein, uses that computer to run a travel agency in the California town of Sausalito.

The Seattle Times quotes her:

I had never heard of Windows 10. Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.

Goldstein had reached out to Microsoft customer support, but whatever they told her to do didn’t fix the problem, she said. So she took the company to court, seeking to recoup lost wages and the cost of a new computer.

According to the Seattle Times, she won. Microsoft dropped an appeal last month, and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.

The company denies wrongdoing. A spokeswoman told the newspaper that Microsoft threw in the towel on its appeal in order to avoid the expense of further litigation.

How has it come to this?

Well, Microsoft apparently doesn’t believe the saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. If you’re Microsoft, you can shove your Windows 10 operating system down users’ throats – at least, that’s what some users feel like after some clunky Windows 10 update moves.

Things like “pre-downloading” Windows 10 onto many people’s computers to make it easier to upgrade later on, because the 3GB of needed data would already be there, ready to install with a simple click…

…or having invitations to a free update pop up in less than ideal situations – say, in the middle of a live weather broadcast or just in time to ruin a gamer’s livestream

…or presenting an update notification that confused some users into thinking they’d cancelled it when they hadn’t.

Microsoft’s tactics may be less than convincing when it comes to talking people into upgrading to Windows 10, but users who turn off updates altogether are setting themselves up for trouble.

SophosLabs research has found that cybercrooks using maliciously crafted Microsoft Office documents to spread malware are primarily exploiting security holes that have had fixes available for a very long time.

Even worse than refusing prompt security updates are the millions of people who are still running Windows XP, which has been out of support for two years and hence leaves XP users vulnerable forever.

Unfortunately, these out-of-date PCs are not only a security risk to the users themselves: they pose a threat to the rest of us, as well.

No matter how clunky Microsoft has been when it comes to communicating about the better security Windows 10 ushers in, it really is a good idea for everyone to have auto-updates turned on by default.

Come 29 July, Microsoft will officially stop offering free upgrades to Windows 10. After that, a copy of Windows 10 will run $119, while Windows 10 Pro will cost $199.


Roll on July 29th when I no longer have to manually check all updates to make sure Windows 10 is not being smuggled through!

Mind you the various varieties of the new Ubuntu 16.04 (released 04/16) seem to be behaving themselves!


Lisa Vaas wrote “Even worse than refusing prompt security updates are the millions of people who are still running Windows XP, which has been out of support for two years and hence leaves XP users vulnerable to zero days forever.”

Uhhh, Lisa, even Windows 10 is vulnerable to zero-days forever. By definition those are in the wild zero days before the patch is available.

A lot of users of XP and Vista are wondering why the free upgrade to Windows 10 wasn’t made available to them, too.


You misquoted her. She didn’t say ‘zero days’ in that paragraph. Second XP and Vista are no longer supported by Microsoft so why would they send them an update to software they do support?


About time too! Microsoft have been doing many dodgy things in their attempts to get people to upgrade to W10, like misleading people to think that closing a dialog in the normal way will not install W10 – but it did!!!

I feel Microsoft have lost the plot and the senior management don’t seem to understand that they can’t just do what they want with other peoples’ property.


I have had several complaints about 10 installing itself. I have been told that the roll back does work, but I haven’t tried it. I installed 10 on a new drive from a clean install of 7, and I like it, generally…, for a version of Windows. I used GRC’s Never 10 utility to block the install on my 7 computer and tell anyone who asks to use it. I tell my staying safe online classes that updates should be turned on and that Microsoft is usually very good at fixing updates that cause trouble. For Apple updates I usually recommend waiting a week to give Apple time to fix any problems. This may be the only thing that Msft does better than Apple, i.e. fix updates


I upgraded from W-7 to W-10 right away, disregarding numerous doomsayers, and, for the most part it’s been an OK experience, though W-10 did anything but make tasks easier to accomplish; e.g., just trying to print a document is now a 3-4 step process instead of one click.

The worst thing is that, despite MS saying that update downloads can be scheduled to non-metered periods, they apparently cannot be unless someone has a non-metered period in the middle of the afternoon. I don’t. My “free time” is between 2A and 7A and try what I might, MS dumps updates in mid-day.

Installing the update, THAT can be delayed until dead time, but the damage has already been done. Several times, I’ve lit off the PC to find that my entire 1.1GB download bankroll (2 days allowance) was G O N E and I was in “creep mode.” And every time that happens I have a choice of just shutting down and waiting for the scheduled “reload” at 7A, or paying $10 to get out of snail-trail “speed.”

If I had income dependent on my PC, I’d be suing MS, too.


I did not want windows 10, I had no need for it, I did not approve or authorize the installation of this in my PC. My computer went to a blue screen and I was unable to use my computer until I allowed it to be installed in to my computer. This was forced upon me and I did not appreciate it. Now every time I use my computer it is trying to sell me something. I hate it.


So now some clever team of shyster lawyers can go after the class action bounty, winning millions for themselves so that the rest of us can score a “$1 off” coupon for whichever version of Windows is on the way by the time the case makes its way through the system.


How can I get on the law suit to teach these bastards not to impose their will on the public?


Microsoft are putting themselves between a rock and hard place by forcing users to use windows!!!


I’m cynically inclined to agree with Steve.

Microsoft certainly abuse their market dominance–far more than is justified IMO. However no one is *forced* to use Windows, and certainly not specifically by MS. Many games run only on Windows since the market share is larger and developing for other platforms (i.e. Linux) historically isn’t cost effective. I’m pleased to see that changing, but it’s been slow.

My employer uses lots of software that only runs on Windows, so I as a systems administrator must maintain the WinBoxen to retain my job. Many folks are likewise relegated to checking their email through Outlook, composing documents in Word, et cetera.

At home I use Linux almost exclusively and feel no need to confine myself to Microsoft Bleargh or Adobe Blah. There are alternatives for WinEverything (nearly at least), but sometimes the environment must change in order to take advantage of it…up to losing/quitting one’s job.

Lastly, Microsoft are not as “sitting pretty” as they once were, though “rock and a hard place” is overstating it–I more envision an elephant stepping on a mousetrap. They *do* put themselves in a minor bind of sorts by continuing to disregard (or mis-anticipate) public opinion and trample both web standards and small competitors with quality products. However a recent story (/2016/06/29/windows-10-now-asks-nicely-if-you-want-your-free-upgrade) indicates even they could eventually adapt and learn from this.


I restarted my computer today and my PC deleted 600GBs of files. That’s 3 years of work I’ve done for projects that, in the span of 10 minutes, ceased to exist….. Can I get 10k dollars now to? Windows Tech Advisors told me it’s not Windows’ fault but mine.


No backup for three years? What if you had dropped your laptop? Spilled coffee on it? Had it stolen? Or just heard the dreaded hard disk “click of death”?


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