Microsoft must help consumers affected by Windows 10 PC pain

Half of Windows 10 users have experienced computer problems and issues almost three years after the PC software launched, according to new research by Which?.

The consumer champion has challenged the US computer giant to help people left frustrated and out of pocket due to the Windows 10 update.

Software updates are vital for our devices, particularly when it comes to security, but the consumer champion believes all too often consumers are being left picking up the pieces of a botched update of their device.

In October 2016 Which? criticised Microsoft after more than 1,000 members got in touch with complaints about Windows 10 updates. Almost two years later it has found that consumers are still struggling with Windows 10.

Windows 10 is now estimated to run on more than 600 million computers worldwide. But new research from the consumer champion found that users are still plagued with problems, ranging from minor quirks to complete PC failure that resulted in costly repairs.

A new survey of more than 1,100 Which? members found the most common complaints following the update to Windows 10 included software compatibility issues, such as programmes not working properly, or at all (21%), followed by hardware problems, such as printers and speakers no longer working (16%).

Users experienced issues with email accounts no longer syncing and personal files being inadvertently deleted. Some consumers suffered PC slowdown and, in some cases, members reported complete PC failure. Of those in the survey who experienced this, 46% said they had paid someone to fix it, at an average cost of £67 each.

More users have contacted Which?’s Computing Helpdesk about issues with Windows 10 over the past three years than all other computer and mobile operating systems combined.

Which? is now calling for Microsoft to honour users’ consumer rights and, if appropriate, pay compensation to those who have experienced loss as a result of Windows 10. Consumer rights dictate that digital content, like other goods, must be of satisfactory quality and if faulty should be repaired or replaced. Users can ask for their money back, if the retailer is unable to repair or replace the product after one attempt.

Microsoft also needs to be clear about the possible downsides of updates, as well as the benefits, in its regular requests to users to update software to Windows 10. Users must have more choice about whether or not to accept updates, and critical security updates should be split out from less vital updates to ensure users’ devices are always protected.

In addition, Microsoft must offer effective and free customer support so users can get issues easily fixed. This needs to be promoted clearly as an official Microsoft service to distinguish from potential scammers looking to take advantage of the software failings.

Microsoft has agreed to consider Which?’s proposals.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

“Two years on from raising this issue with Microsoft, customers are still frustrated by this software and the poor customer service they are getting. What started out as a tech problem has become a huge customer service fail.

“Microsoft needs to finally engage with its customers, do more to fix the problem and pay out compensation, where appropriate.”

In response to Which?’s research Microsoft said:

“We want to make sure our customers receive the right support they need to get the best Windows update experience and we will continue to review customer enquiries and issues on a case-by-case basis to ensure individual help and resolution where possible. In addition, Which? members are very important to us so we are currently exploring ways in which we can work together in the future to ensure they have the support that they need in a way that is easy and quick.”


  • Always give Microsoft the chance to address any issues believed to have been caused by Windows 10. Head to, where users can schedule an appointment or connect immediately to a Microsoft expert, either via online chat or on the phone.
  • Make sure you know you’re actually talking to a Microsoft employee – type in the web address directly and don’t just Google ‘Microsoft support’ as this could bring up links to other companies that may want to charge you for help you can actually get for free. Also, Microsoft won’t just contact someone out of the blue and offer help – this is most likely going to be a scammer.
  • Users hit by Windows 10 PC pain do have legal rights. If their bought their laptop or PC after 1 October 2015 and had problems following a Windows 10 update, they could potentially be covered under the Consumer Rights Act. These include:
    • Just like other goods, digital content must be of satisfactory quality, fit for a particular purpose and as described by the seller. If the content is faulty you’re entitled to a repair or replacement
    • You can also ask for your money back, up to 100% of the cost of the product
  • In many cases, if the faulty digital content damages your device or other digital content, you can have these repaired or be compensated.

Consumers rights – for more information on your consumers rights relating to digital content, visit

Press Release