Software giant Microsoft has agreed to pay a computer owner $10,000 to avoid a court showdown after a Windows 10 automatic update left her machine unusable.
The out-of-court settlement was agreed after Teri Goldstein, from California, threatened the company with a law suit for ruining her computer.
An automatic update replaced her Windows 7 operating system with the Windows 10 update without her permission, leaving her computer running so slow she could no longer run her business.
Lawyers for Microsoft announced the company would pay the claim as the cost of defending the challenge in court outweighed settling.
Windows 10 is a free download that updates registered copies of previous Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.
Tracking and security concerns
Until February, computer users could choose to update or carry on with their old software. Microsoft changed the update status to recommended, which allowed machines to automatically update to Windows 10 unless the user blocked the download.
Goldstein claimed she had never heard of Windows 10 and that the download made her machine ‘slowed to a crawl’, while Microsoft support failed to fix the issue.
Many users refuse to update to Windows 10 over concerns about data tracking and security.
Microsoft has revealed statistics that show the software tracks how long users spend on the internet, details of web searches, how images are accessed and how long people play on games.
The company says the data is anonymous and collected to help improve privacy.
Free upgrade offer ends
However, technology experts argue that Microsoft sends the data out of the UK and beyond the reach of data protection laws.
“Outside the UK, the data is not protected, we don’t know where it is stored and how secure the facility and network is,” said Professor Alan Woodward.
The free Windows 10 upgrade offer to existing Windows users ends on July 29, 2016.
Microsoft says if the new software is downloaded and the user does not like the update, they have 31 days to roll back to their older version. The company also offers free technical support to users who need help with the update.
Find out more about upgrading to Windows 10 on the Microsoft web site