Microsoft's Windows 10 has been widely praised for all the innovations it introduced. But while techies have nothing but love for the new operating system, countless other users are complaining of numerous things.
There's a steady stream of complaints coming in from customers who have limited internet options – those with either slow connections or those living in remote areas – who have a data cap in place.
One example is Maureen Hilyard from the Cook Islands. The unlucky lady was shocked when she received her internet bill and found that it came to about US $400 for just one month, even though she was mostly away on a trip. As it turns out, the culprit was the automatic updates for Windows 10.
Despite the iffy details, the situation has raised red flags, and the consumer group EFA is gearing up for the concerns and complaints that they predict will follow.
According to Jon Lawrence, EFA Executive Officer, in situations where "internet access is both painfully slow and seriously expensive, these forced updates are almost literally forcing people off the internet and are resulting in massive excess data charges."
It's easy to see why Microsoft has made the updates automatic, as that makes for better online security. On one hand, if users are given the option to disable updates, they might fall victim to bots and security holes that can easily be hacked and exploited, making it dangerous for everybody. On the other, internet access and plan rates differ across countries, so consumers in specific countries might not be able to keep up with the updates or will have to shell out more money for it.
What most consumers are unaware of is that, aside from the automatic OS patches, Windows 10 apps are also updated automatically and users have no option for stopping the patches. This means that users will be downloading fixes and updates for each and every software that they have installed from the Windows Store.
Alarmingly, Microsoft has confirmed it piggybacks on users' internet connection to upload software to other users via the "peer-to-peer" technology. This practice will help lighten the load shouldered by Microsoft's servers but it's a load that will then be carried by consumers with slow internet connections or data caps.
To be fair, Microsoft has placed a "metered connection" option that informs Windows 10 that the user's connection is capped. When there's an update, the user is notified and can then choose whether to delay the upgrade or to continue with it.
[Image via YouTube, edited by Val Powell]