Software

Forced Windows 10 upgrade leads Finnish watchdog to demand Microsoft payout

Finnish national broadcaster YLE reports that the country's consumer-protection watchdog has recommended Microsoft pay a Finnish man €1,100 for the unwanted upgrade from Windows 8.1.

Microsoft has been told to pay more than €1,000 to a man whose PC stopped working after a forced upgrade to Windows 10.

The free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10 was available for one year until July 2016, but caused controversy after multiple reports that the new OS was installing itself on PCs without the owner's consent.

The unwanted upgrades led to a number of claims for damages against Microsoft, including a multimillion dollar lawsuit in 2017 and a ruling that Microsoft should pay $10,000 payout to a Californian woman who said an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade made her PC unstable.

In the latest ruling on the Windows 10 upgrade controversy, Finnish national broadcaster YLE reports that the country's consumer-protection watchdog has recommended Microsoft pay a Finnish man more than €1,1,00 ($1,260).

The Consumer Disputes Board found that Windows 10 installed itself without permission on the man's Windows 8.1 laptop in March 2016.

After the installation, the two-year-old machine reportedly displayed an error message stating the machine needed to be repaired.

The man said multiple Microsoft customer support staff were unable to resolve the issue and that he wasted time recovering files and money buying spare parts.

The man had sought €3,000 in damages for what he called a "forced installation".

While Microsoft said the man had received the necessary help from its customer support team, it didn't deny that Windows 10 could have been installed on the system without permission, according to the report.

The Finnish Consumer Disputes Board ruled that Microsoft had no contractual right to install Windows 10 without asking for permission, and, according to the report, that Microsoft was liable for the damage caused.

While not awarding all the damages sought, the board awarded the man €1,100 for the cost of spare parts, servicing the machine and travel expenses.

SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)

During 2016, Microsoft was accused of effectively tricking people into upgrading to Windows 10, by changing the design of the user prompt for its Get Windows 10 app, the software that scheduled upgrades from Windows 7 and 8.1.

Microsoft altered the prompt so that clicking X to close it caused the user to effectively agree to a scheduled upgrade to Windows 10, rather than dismissing the upgrade as had previously been the case.

Following widespread criticism, Microsoft reversed the decision and changed the pop-up so clicking X once again dismissed the upgrade.

Microsoft and the Consumer Disputes Board had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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