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Microsoft Sued (Again) for $5 Million Over Alleged Data Loss and Damaged Hardware

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Mar 27, 2017

It’s been nearly two years since Microsoft launched Windows 10, and the company is still stuck in a never-ending limbo of user complaints over forced Windows 10 updates. Three Illinois residents are now leading a class action lawsuit against the Redmond software maker over data loss and damage to their computers that they blame on the Windows 10 upgrade.

In the first year of its launch, Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This is when most of the users experienced forced downloads or compatibility problems that broke their older computers. From forced downloads to automatic installations – we have heard about these issues so many times that they no longer need to be detailed.

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“Windows 10 destroyed our data” – Microsoft back in the court

In the latest case, the complaint filed in Chicago’s US District Court claims that the Windows 10 update destroyed user data and damaged their computers because it was a defective product.

Microsoft “failed to exercise reasonable care in designing, formulating, and manufacturing the Windows 10 upgrade and placing it into the stream of commerce,” the complaint reads. “As a result of its failure to exercise reasonable care, [the company] distributed an operating system that was liable to cause loss of data or damage to hardware.”

Over a hundred members of this suit are seeking more than $5 million in damages (exclusive of interest and costs), accusing Microsoft of costing users time, money and pain by making them deal with broken software and replacement hardware after the Windows 10 upgrade.

The company has previously paid a businesswoman in California $10,000 over similar charges. When we reached out to Microsoft to ask if the company would be willing to pay the complainants this time too, it said the suit is “without merit”. Here’s the complete statement that Microsoft spokesperson sent to Wccftech in an email:

The Windows 10 free upgrade program was a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows. Customers had the option not to upgrade to Windows 10. If a customer who upgraded during the one year program needed help with the upgrade experience, we had numerous options including free customer support and 31-days to roll back to their old operating system. We believe the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit.

However, Windows 10 users seem to disagree. Stephanie Watson – one of the complainants – said she never chose to download the Windows 10 upgrade and lost data related to her job following its installation. After hiring Geek Squad to repair her machine, she had to buy a replacement because they couldn’t fix the issue with “complete success”. The suit reads:

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Plaintiff Watson suffered the following adverse consequences as a result of the installation of Windows 10 on her computer:

  • Plaintiff lost data, some of which was related to her job;
  • Plaintiff hired Geek Squad and paid them in order to try to repair the machine, without complete success;
  • Plaintiff had to purchase a replacement machine in order to have a fully functioning computer.

While the company didn’t help itself in any way by mostly staying tight-lipped over these complaints in the first year, it has definitely been improving Windows 10 upgrade experience for the past several months. With the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update, users will have better and clearer control over how updates are installed on their computers. “With the Creators Update you will have several new options for scheduling the timing of when updates install,” the company wrote in a recent blogpost.

“For example, you can specify exactly when you want an update to occur (including the ability to reschedule an update if your original choice ends up being less convenient than expected), or hit the snooze button. The “snooze” capability allows you to pause the update process completely for three days when you need uninterrupted time on your device.”