Microsoft has paid the relative of an Alzheimer’s patient for having to scrub his PC clean of Windows 10.
Jesse Worley said he'd received a cheque for $650 from Microsoft – seen by The Register – which he told us he'd received after threatening the giant with court action over an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade.
Tech consultant Worley sought payment from the vendor for the 10 hours it took to rebuild his grandfather’s custom-build PC, re-installing Windows 7 to resemble Windows XP, in order to banish Windows 10.
However, Worley – inspired by the case of a Californian woman over the unauthorised upgrade of her PC to Windows 10 – told The Reg he wasn’t interested in the money.
He’d wanted to Microsoft to acknowledge it had slipped up with its notorious Get Windows 10 (GWX) nagware notifications, which he branded “deliberately misleading”.
“Had Microsoft not gone out of their way to be deceptive, my grandfather pretty clearly wouldn't have been updated to Windows 10," he said.
“They interrupted the basic functions of their own software - the X button - in an attempt to fool people into updating, so any affirmative consent he or anyone else may have given for the update can't be considered valid during that period,” he said.
He believed his grandfather had accidentally upgraded around the May/June time frame.
That was when Microsoft changed the GWX so that clicking the “x” button to dismiss the dialogue box granted automatic right for the Windows 10 upgrade.
Worley had built the PC 10 years ago when his grandfather was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The build was designed to resemble Windows XP, which his relative had used while at work and was therefore familiar with.
Using the PC had become part of his grandfather's daily routine, and he would play games like Minesweeper, said Worley. Breaking that routine had caused distress in the family house.
Anybody can take action against Microsoft in a small claims court under terms of its Windows End User License Agreement (EULA).
As part of the process, Worley had to notify Microsoft in writing - which he did. He received a telephone call from Microsoft but it became obvious Microsoft had miss-understood the matter to be a simple Windows 10 support issue.
Worley recorded the exchange during which, he claimed, the Microsoftie agreed GWX had been confusing. “He said: ‘I can understand it might be a little difficult for him because we may not be getting the options immediately in front of him to decline,” Worley told us.
Worley was seeking $650 for the 10 hours he’d had to spend rebuilding the PC. He had tried a rollback but that failed, and he was forced to rebuild the installation with a boot drive as the system lacked a CD.
As part of the process, Worley has also installed software to stop any future Windows 10 upgrades.
Microsoft did make Worley an offer of $500 Visa gift card and $150 credit for the Microsoft store, but he refused. “I told them I didn’t want the gift card or credit to their store, I wanted a cheque with their name on it,” he told The Reg.
Microsoft refused Worley’s request to make a donation to an Alzheimer’s charity so, instead, Worley did it for them – donating the money to Alzheimers.org. The process never reached the court stage.
Worley has now encouraged other customers to take action through the small claims system if they, too, got Windows 10 without wanting it.
“They [Windows users] need to read up on their EULA and take Microsoft to the small claims court. Not many people do that or are prepared to take Microsoft because of the high probability of losing,” he said.
“A lot of folks complete the Windows 10 upgrade and didn’t like but they don’t realize that you can write a letter and get a couple of hundred dollars for the time it took to fix that.”
Microsoft wouldn’t comment on the details of the case.
Instead, a spokesperson said in a statement: “We were saddened to learn of the problem this family faced with our products and we are committed to working directly with our customers to address their needs.
"We will continue to listen to customer feedback and make improvements based on what we are hearing from our customers.” ®