A NUMBER OF OEMs have been caught discouraging the use of Microsoft Windows 10, and in some cases persuading customers to roll back to Windows 8.1.
The Dell agent told researchers that the company was getting "a ton of support calls from Windows 10 users" and recommended rolling back to 8.1, while a second agent said that there are "a lot of glitches" in the new OS.
The original query used in the support call had no relevance to Windows 10 at all, and the same answer would have applied to 10, 8, 7 or Vista, as it applied to Dell's own proprietary bloatware.
An HP agent spent an hour trying to get an HP proprietary feature working in Windows 10, took control of the researcher's computer, attempted to fix it, failed, attempted to roll back to Windows 8.1, failed again and then suggested buying a $40 rescue USB.
Lenovo was more forgiving about Windows 10, but managed to confuse how Cortana works before suggesting a $19.99 monthly support package to find out how to adjust microphone settings.
The researchers concluded that telephone support should be a last resort, although live web chat fares slightly better.
Dell responded with a statement explaining: "As Windows 10 continues to evolve, we sometimes recommend a customer revert to their previous operating system to troubleshoot a specific issue they're having.
"In addition, we have a continuous feedback loop with Microsoft in which we share insight from our customers, like the one received from this particular call, to inform further updates to the OS and ensure Windows 10 reflects the experience our customers are seeking.
"We remain committed to Windows 10 and are ready to help our customers make the transition as easy as possible."
Meanwhile HP argued: "At the end of the day, the person's job is to get the PC running. Given the scenario, it might have been the most expeditious thing to get them back to a known good space."
But the fact that OEMs are pushing back will worry Microsoft, which is trying so hard to consolidate all its customers onto Windows 10 at any cost.
Plans are afoot next year to make Windows 10 an opt-out rather than opt-in update and, given the amount of confusion over the new OS already, there will be a lot of work to do for telephone technical support, which will hopefully by then have been given the right training. µ
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