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Microsoft hit with $5 million lawsuit over Windows 10 upgrades

A group of Windows 10 users in Illinois are now suing Microsoft over claims that the move to Microsoft's latest OS caused data loss and other damages to their PCs after forced upgrades. According to the filing (via Courthouse News), the 3 plaintiffs bringing the case against Microsoft are also attempting to gain class status, covering anyone who experienced data loss or damage within 30 days of updating to Windows 10.

Referring to Microsoft, the complaint reads:

It failed to contain adequate warnings or instructions, warning the consumer that installation of the upgrade may result in loss of data or damage to hardware.Absent a warning or instruction, a reasonable consumer would not be aware that the upgrade could result in loss of data or damage to hardware. Furthermore, warnings would permit consumers to take action to mitigate the potential harm, such as making a backup before installing the upgrade.

For its part, Microsoft dismissed the complaint in a statement to Courthouse News:

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.

Though it's been several months since Microsoft ceased offering its free upgrade to Windows 10 for anyone running Windows 7 or 8.1, this isn't the first bit of backlash that the company has faced over what was seen as an aggressive push to get users to upgrade. As is claimed by the plaintiffs in this case, the frequent upgrade offer popups frustrated some, and the dialog box itself didn't make it clear that the upgrade was optional.

Claims of forced upgrades have already led to a few lawsuits, with one even leading to a $10,000 settlement just last year. In that particular case, the complaints were similar, with the plaintiff claiming her PC downloaded and installed Windows 10 without her permission, leading to frequent crashes.

There's no telling if this case will see the same success, or even how far it will go. The plaintiffs are seeking a total of $5 million in damages.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

113 Comments
  • All American's know is sue.
  • I think everyone knows the word, it's just goes by a different word: blame.
  • You don't know the half of it. You can be sued if you are being robbed and the person injures themself on your property in the process. In most places, they would probably win.
  • Yup. Lawyers. They're one of the big problems in America.
  • exactly. Why don't you hear people from other parts of the world suing MSFT for the upgrade? Cause everyone else is way more educated to understand the risks associated, and unlike the dumb americans, we actually know what to do when something goes wrong.
  • Whoah...relax. I'm American, and i know the risks. Most do. These people are just greedy. Not the sum of our country. Watch what you say, pal. Lumping all Americans in under the umbrella of "dumb" is not only rude and ignorant, but just plain bigoted.
  • Exactly. This generalisation based on nationality is bizarre and deplorable !
  • Based con continentality
  • No, we are, and we deserve it. Look at out leader. =P
  • Trump will probability sue himself soon.
  • Hahaha....
  • Trump is such a moron really. Wonder why ppl elected him.
  • I don't deserve it...I didn't vote for him...Speak for yourself.
  • Relax indeed, just have a laugh.
  • I disagree with your opinion, it true we know the risks; but there are a lot of people who dont know and probably wont care. They are just trying to get their work done. if someone is working on their personal research and has his/her data stored on the computer and this upgrade messes with it. They have all the right to sue Microsoft. just saying, not everyone has the needed knowledge of everything. Peace
  • Actually they are just sue-ing cause they saw a source of money. That's about it.
  • If you dont know about Windows , dont use Windows !
  • For real?
    You mean if someone is trying to learn computer, like my grandfather; who doesn't know much about technology, doesn't have the right to complain?
    I agree that there are a lot of people trying to be greedy and get money out of microsoft. Though I am a fan of them I cant defend them for forcing the updates/upgrades down the throat. I personally didn't have issues, but I know people who had a lot of trouble because of the upgrade.
    Saying one shouldn't complain if they dont have kbowledge is kind if being ignorant. It is because of this criticism that microsoft has allowed delaying the updates in creaters update. So never try to stop people from complaining.
  • For real?
    You mean if someone is trying to learn computer, like my grandfather; who doesn't know much about technology, doesn't have the right to complain?
    I agree that there are a lot of people trying to be greedy and get money out of microsoft. Though I am a fan of them I cant defend them for forcing the updates/upgrades down the throat. I personally didn't have issues, but I know people who had a lot of trouble because of the upgrade.
    Saying one shouldn't complain if they dont have kbowledge is kind if being ignorant. It is because of this criticism that microsoft has allowed delaying the updates in creaters update. So never try to stop people from complaining.
  • For real?
    You mean if someone is trying to learn computer, like my grandfather; who doesn't know much about technology, doesn't have the right to complain?
    I agree that there are a lot of people trying to be greedy and get money out of microsoft. Though I am a fan of them I cant defend them for forcing the updates/upgrades down the throat. I personally didn't have issues, but I know people who had a lot of trouble because of the upgrade.
    Saying one shouldn't complain if they dont have kbowledge is kind if being ignorant. It is because of this criticism that microsoft has allowed delaying the updates in creaters update. So never try to stop people from complaining.
  • Complain all you want. Just don't sue for not being knowledgeable. That's not Microsoft's fault. They shouldn't have to hold anybody's hand. We're all big boys and girls.
  • And I'll have to disagree with your opinion...In 2017 people should know better. Tech isn't a novelty it's a way of life. That excuse was ok in 2003, but not now. And frivolous lawsuits are one of the things ruining this country. Peace.
  • Easy killer. No need to insult the intelligence or education of an entire country of people to make your point. Besides, I think empirical data would negate your insult masked as a theory.
  • Agree 101%, the only pcs that gave me problems upgrading were the ones with virus or hardware problems
    No reasons to blame the upgrade to w10
  • Sorry, but big corporations get hit with lawsuits from the EU, too. MS had to add the browser ballot, because...people can't download Firefox witohout it? Lawyers will argue anything.
  • whooa Rohan calm down even the EU commission is suing Micrsoft for their update policy but the process takes some time. Microsoft violated not one or two user policies with the W10 update and the spyware crap instaled on them is just another big topic to deal with http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/21/14682256/microsoft-windows-10-eu-privacy-concerns
  • I don't take the verge seriously...It's a biased click bait site.
  • Umm...what exactly has the EU done to MS?  Sue, sue, sue...
  • Limit that to the u.s.
  • Actually limit it to the vocal minoraty.
  • Hahaha that's what I was just gone comment. And that B who said her computer kept crashing is a liar
  • What I wonder is, how did these 'businesses' NOT have *backups*???????
  • Yes its almost most of the time.  Sometimes American behaviour does not make sense.  I would like it to be settled via fist fight but PPV.
  • Why didn't they have back ups in first place? I would say they are to blame as 50:50
  • Before installing the upgrade, it did state at the bottom to make sure you have copies of your files.
  • What about when you left with 7 you coming back finding 10 is finishing installation? Sue
  • You accepted the installation before leaving
  • If you click on an X to close a window when an update message pops up that's not accepting. Microsoft admitted that was a mistake on their part but to claim everyone that got updated to Win 10 agreed to that installation and accepted it "before leaving" is wrong.
  • Not when I left my machine with no pop up or whatever when leaving? The invader just came in and did a self upgrading mudafada wiping my projects
  • These people are 100 pc to blame.
  • It's understandable if it destroys hardware, but if have a company or or an individual has data that is priceless, why on earth did they not make a backup of it? That was a disaster waiting to happen, regardless of OS. Sure, if I lost everything data-wise, I'd be mad, but it's all recoverable or backed up to the cloud. It sounds like they probably didn't back up their data....
  • Destroy? I would be interested to know what constitutes"destroy" in this law suit. Most people should know by know that you should backup your PC, before updating. I would wager that much of the data lost could be found in the old Windows old file. The only hardware that could be "destroyed" would be the hard drive, and that isn't truly destroyed from a software update. If there was a physical issue with the drive, that could cause problems, but not because of the update. I've experienced this with an old laptop. I didn't realize my drive had issues and when i tried to update it, it got stuck and wouldn't allow me to update.
  • yes again dumb people suing MSFT "without merit".
    Truly US people are terrible. The entire US country will fall if us educated Europeans and Asians stop work for 1 day
  • You, my friend, are a bigot and a piece of.....
  • And if someone said "All RohanRonQms should die"...what then? I'm surprised someone hasn't flagged you for that statement.
  • Ouch, that stings a little, dude. Remember the human.
  • I think it's time some of these utter crap comments get moderated. You just don't say stuff like that.
  • Those comments don't really make any party feel good, I agree.
  • RohanRonQM - your comments are clearly saying more about you than your intended target. You would be better served to refrain from attacking a subset of humanity in such a way. It's not a good look, but then again if a dumb, uneducated American like me can see that, it should be crystal clear to your superior mind.
  • You are an idiot. And as clueless as Trump. Off we go now.
  • I feel like I'm the only one reading this as sarcasm.
  • There's a fine line between sarcasm or satire, and actually being hurtful. In this case, many felt it was the latter. It's usually in poor taste to use such harsh language.
  • Pretty vague about what data was actually lost and how much that was worth, and it appears that none of the plaintiffs had a backup. I fail to see how that is Microsoft's fault.
  • They will have to specify these things in court to prove damages. Microsoft was too agressive with force upgrades (and admitted some mistakes there) so they may be able to prove it's Microsoft's fault that they lost some data but they still have to prove the value and that it wasn't their own negligence that caused the data loss (would a loss of power or hardware failure cause the same data loss?).
  • Here in italy if you have a business and you don't bkup your data you can be sent into jail and you pay a bill of 30000-120000 eur USA should get in the modern age and introduce a similar law (196/2003 law)
  • Somehow I feel like there's more to that law than you're stating. 
  • I've upgraded a couple dozen systems and never had any issue. These litigious idiots obviously did something wrong...
  • yeah they clicked the upgrade button and then immediately unplugged their computer and elected Trump. Worst mistake ever.
  • And what does Trump have to do with this? (totally not a Trump supporter...just don't see the logic in the statement)
  • He seems to just want to stir up trouble.
  • He's not very bright
  • He's not but he's still the president 
  • He's a Putin puppet. Aren't ya Romeo.
  • Look at the initials, Ro Ro Q 😁 In India that means a cry baby 😁😁
  • Obama was president during the free upgrade and won the vote twice. What does this mean? Nothing.
  • Okay great
  • So ridiculous. Some of these people probably also told it to do a fresh install as well.
  • This is merely a smack on the wrist for such unacceptable move. Even though I love my Surface Pro 2, I won't defend such customer screwing move from Microsoft. A friend, being mislead by the claims that windows 10 is fit for her HP laptop, got the windows 10 update on Windows 7. Next thing you know, it began misbehaving on every resume from sleep. On every resume, she'll get a BSOD error, making her completely lose track of what she was doing. If microshaft has the audacity to send such stupidly half-assed software to consumers main system, they very well deserve to be sued, left, right and center. Only then will they come back to their senses and realize majority of their users aren't sheep they can be dictating nonsense to...
  • the BSOD is likely caused by the crap the HP, Dell, etc. used to have on their computers many years ago. Most of these OEMs have actually improved and care about the end users now so that kind of thing will not happen on new computers.
  • That's not Microsoft...That's HP....Her drivers need to be updated.
  • I've never had this issue. I've upgraded at least 20 or more pcs to Windows 10 and not one of the users complained about data loss and their hardware didn't blow up.
  • Windows 10 upgrade bkup your profiles data into "windows.old" directory
    So you can go into that dir and take back your data
  • Teach Mr Nutella the hard lesson if MS loses at court.
  • You should teach yourself on how to spell names right.
  • Nadella = Nutella. You're definitely newbie in this forum. That's what mobile fans call him. So you're out off context, dude!
  • I'm a mobile fan and I don't call slang like "Nutella". Man's everything but nuts - MS has never done so well in years thanks to him. Everybody thats telling themselves that Windows Phone did great in the "good old days" needs to grab some coffee and check the internet. It always struggled. Mobile 6.5 was good though, they just missed the boat because of Ballmer. So if you want to complain about Windows Mobile, you're angry at the wrong man.
  • Ballmer did a lot of technical mistakes, but he is an honest man! Can't say the same... Nadella for what did with band2 should be sent into jail
    .
  • And what law can you state he broke?
  • Fraud ppl with a highly defective device
  • Considering Nadella is the only reason windows mobile isn't already *truly* dead and gone, I fail to see your point.
  • This people should move to Linux or mac or something else cause they are ruining ms
  • MS should counter sue for negligence...
  • I can understand a lawsuit in this case as the "forced upgrade" was controversial. But I find it mindboggling how the lawsuit price could inflate 150 fold per plaintiff, compared to the first case. I think that is fishy.
  • Greed. Wish their 'case' is public, so that we could read their claims... After doing many upgrades, I know there is little to no chance that upgrade could cause real data loss.
  • Its clearly obvious that the reason behind this sue its more about money....5 millions in damages....yeah right.
  • This will be settled out of court, I assume. Microsoft most likely have some of the best lawyers in the world and know better than to make this more public than it already is. With that, I doubt they get five hundred thousand let alone five million.
  • Give them a lollypop each and restrict them from buying any MS product in the future. How can you sue a company that practically runs each and every office computer in the world ?
  • User error as always.
  • Ha ha ha.. This should happen to this useless Microsoft company... The updates corrupt the device.. This stupid filthy people corrupted my Lumia 930 mic .. They are not capable of correcting it or to service it... USELESS CRAP.. And these comments are coming from windows fan... Am ashamed of saying this.... Stupid crap company fit for nothing ....
  • I think you should leave all things Windows and never come back !
  • Sounds like a Nokia's QA problem.
  • Muppets is as Muppets does... It seems paying for stupid is a thing. After all we are now aware that if you order a coffee it could be hot, phew! Such a relief we have that small message on the side of the cup letting the stupid know (or in this case prevent from sueing you, obviously they are still stupid so don't read the message).
  • i can imagine the conversation going on in these guys heads " so here is what im gonna do, Im gonna sue you for offering me a free upgrade from my ****** windows 7/8.1 to (probably) the best windows version ever created. But ill still enjoy windows 10 as im suing you. you dig?"
  • LOL "best windows version ever created" nice one :D :D :D
  • most of the people i personally know that hates these updates are those on windows 7 and using loaders instead of having legit copies.
  • None of these people had any system image backups or backups of their files? No one to blame but themselves
  • The fact these people didn't have some kind of data backup shows you something. Take from it what you like. Sounds to me like there treating MS like a free lotto ticket.
  • All Windows users has to understand, that there is no longer different versions of Windows. All is Windows 10. All old versions will not be supporte anymore of Microsoft. But Microsoft will activ try to make any older versions un-usabale. (The reason for this is not that Microsoft is greedy, but that they don't want to spend resources on old mistakes like Vista, but rather make Windows 10 better for everyone and everything.)  
  • Haha what to blame is the company IT guy, who doesn't read the instructions all they do is click next next next and then next and boom blame ms for giving free OS to upgrade lol...
    I went from Windows 7 to Windows 10 without losing anything because all of my data were stored in my backup drives and Cloud ☁, now everyone happy using Windows 10 and they love it..
  • 500mil devices, 5mil lawsuits.
    Atleast the figures are proportionate
  • I don't think you understand the word proportionate.
  • I'll check all the dictionaries on the windows store. Thanks for checking in
  • Microsoft forces to update that's true, but I never had any issues with it, non of my computers broke, or lost any data.. I mean I set my active hours, and non of my computers restarted during that hours, If people are too lazy to configure their systems its their fault rather than microsoft's.
  • I think the problem was between the keyboard and the chair like it always is. User error is what this boils down to. You can't blame a software company for your neglect on using their software.
  • Sounds like people that just want some money. I haven't met anyone that lost data during an update. Also, why did they wait so long to sue Microsoft if what they're saying is true? It has almost been a year since the free upgrade ended.
  • After reading a few comments. It seem to me most ppl here are MS fanboys. I know of a friend that runs a private clinic. They bought a specialist application that assist with their day to day operation from patient registration, retrieval and updating of patient medical record to dispersing their medication. When Microsoft upgrade their Windows 8 PCs to Windows 10 overnight, their clinic application fail to start the next day. When they call their application support hotline, they are aware of the problem and state that their application is not ceritfy to run on Windows 10. I will charge the clinic to restore the system back to Windows 8 and some data recovery effort. Those folky are not IT suvvy so they have to take the losses of losing their patient's business and footing the bill for application recovery. Microsoft management are idiot and deserve to be sued for such uncaring business practise.
  • I will sue MS for a gazillion dollars, because Windows 10 ate my sandwich, and shoot my dog with a shotgun... /s Seriously, f*cktards?...
  • These people should have used SkyDrive or backed up there data in some other manner. If not, losing your precious data is inevitable and only yourself is to blame.
  • XD. There we go. Let's enjoy another public drama!
  • I didn't loose any data sounds like user error to me or lawyer abuse of the courts and loopholes
  • I am more interested as to how OS software can damage PC hardware. (We're not talking about centrifuges here. Lol!)
  • This is basically ridiculous.
    Or maybe some of these are encouraged by rival companies.
  • Good, I would also welcome a European Commission investigation into this issue, as we also had one laptop that seemingly upgraded from Win8.1 to Win10 without our permission or authorization. Plus the incessant adware Microsoft contaminated all Windows PC's with was just unacceptable and disgusting practice to force users to upgrade to the data mining Windows 10.