Report: Windows 10's Mandatory Updates Are Breaking Data Caps

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Report: Windows 10's Mandatory Updates Are Breaking Data Caps

Windows 10 review

Microsoft's Windows 10 might be more secure with automatic updates, but could be tearing through data caps at the same time.

Windows 10 is finally here, and most customers seem to be enjoying it - unless they live in a remote location with limited internet access. In that case, they could paying astronomical internet bills, thanks to mandatory updates which tear through data caps. Reports are already coming in from customers with limited options for internet access and given how new Windows 10 is, it's entirely possible anyone with higher caps will soon feel the sting.

For now, let's start with Maureen Hilyard, who lives in the Cook Islands. Hilyard claims her latest internet bill came to roughly $400 USD in one month, thanks largely to Windows 10's automatic updates. While the full extent of the situation is unclear, consumer group EFA is already expressing concerns and predicts more complaints to follow.

"In this context, 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," EFA Executive Officer Jon Lawrence explained.

On the one hand, Microsoft has a good reason to default to automatic updates: Online security. Allowing users to disable updates created an internet filled with bots and security holes that were fairly easy to exploit. But on an international scale, internet access and rates aren't universal enough to let consumers keep up with them.

And it's not just OS patches that are automatic. There are also reports of Windows 10 apps being automatically updated with no option to disable them. So not only are you downloading OS updates, you're also constantly downloading fixes for any Windows Store software you've installed. Which might be more secure, but the average customer is probably unaware what Windows 10 is even doing. Meanwhile, Microsoft has confirmed that it uses peer-to-peer downloads for its automatic updates, potentially eating into bandwidth even further.

The good news is Windows 10 has a "metered connection" option that can be enabled from your Wi-Fi settings, turning off the automatic download for a notification. (That said, the option doesn't work if you're running the internet from an Ethernet connection.) Windows 10 also has a temporary fix to prevent OS or driver updates from being installed. But considering most customers have barely used Windows 10 for a month, we shouldn't be surprised if this becomes a bigger issue going forward.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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You can also defer updates for months under automatic update settings.

And this is why the wise. never update to a new WIndows OS for about 3 months at least.

Can you imagine what this is like with those little portable wifi things? I mean Verizon and most carriers only give you about 1gb of bandwidth per MONTH, I'd imagine anybody who connects a windows 10 computer to one of those is going to seriously regret it when their 10,000$ phone bill comes in because windows decided to download 1.1 gigabytes of angry birds updates without your consent.

I thought that Microsoft dropped the mandatory updates on, like, the the eve of Win10's launch day? This story would imply that isn't the case - or am I missing something?

I believe it's only the Pro versions that allow you to defer the auto updates for up to 8 months, any of the free or home versions are automatic http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft-will-force-automatic-updates-to-windows-10-home-users-working/

So, best to wait for the inevitable Windows 10.1, then...?

It would be nice if Microsoft would consider, say, a DVD-by-mail service to allow people to install up-to-date patches by physical media rather than broadband. For those who pay through the nose after reaching data cap (and potentially also those who dread the idea of re-installing their OS and waiting hours or days for it to catch up to the most recent version), I suspect it might be an attractive option.

Hey, look! A forced internet resource is coming back to byte people in the ass. I might just be imagining things, but didn't MS get raked over the coals for trying something like that on a hot new product just two years ago. Oh, yeah, the Xbox Uno was gonna force an online feature (if you can DRM a feature) on it's owners. The only good news here is you could still use your PC, even if you disconnected it from the internet, but with so many common PC functions relying on a net connection, very few home users could use their PCs in a meaningful way.

MonsterCrit:
And this is why the wise. never update to a new WIndows OS for about 3 months at least.

Indeed. Who knows what other crap will spring up while they work out the kinks with real-world tests.

If you're enthusiast with a spare PC to try Win 10 out, that is fine. If you're a PC illiterate person who thinks higher numbers are better or a PC-savvy someone without a spare PC to potentially suffer major downtime to installs and roll-backs, stay away.

"It's their own fault for not knowing beforehand." -Every IT guy ever.

OT: I hope MS does something to fix this ASAP. Smells like something a lawyer might want to take MS to court over.

I like some of the aesthetic changes, but otherwise Windows 10 hasn't been worth it. My laptop runs significantly slower (with an SSD mind you), it eats away at my bandwidth, and it stripped away a lot of features that came default with Windows 8.1 (which, screw you guys, is a decent OS after installing Pokki). I'd say hold off on upgrading for about 8 months. Maybe Microsoft will do what they did with the XBox One and reverse some of their insanely batshit policies.

How the hell could anyone have thought this was a good idea?

Wow, neither the article nor any of the comments so far have worked out that this is not due to the updates being mandatory...

(Seriously, a whopping 7 updates have been released so far

and I can't imagine any of them being multi-gigabyte downloads yet)

No, the culprit is rather Windows Update's new peer-to-peer implementation which shares the updates you've downloaded with other Windows 10 users over the internet.

Just like turning one's PC into an always-on bittorrent seedbox, this can chew through one's bandwidth cap like no one's business, especially if one's ISP differentiates between upload and download bandwidth caps.

Fortunately, as my screenshot shows, you can disable this, or enable it only for other PCs on your network. Not only does the latter option not increase your bandwidth usage, if you have multiple Windows 10 devices it can actually decrease it by letting the update download only once and be shared among those devices.

What the hell is a data cap? I don't think that is anything I have heard of outside of 4G and mobile data over here!

I would also put some blame on the service providers too. As tech increases (not just windows 10, but almost everything) there is more and more of a strain of constant data flowing. Companies know that most people have broadband speeds on wireless where they are, so they make programmes and sites update themselves more and more so that you can remain connected in the world.

As this increases year on year though, do you see the service providers raising their limits to match? Or is it a case that you are now expected to pay more for the new baseline?

RaikuFA:
"It's their own fault for not knowing beforehand." -Every IT guy ever.

OT: I hope MS does something to fix this ASAP. Smells like something a lawyer might want to take MS to court over.

Hey, I'm IT and I don't say that. Mainly because it is one of those things that most users wont think about. It's actually not a bad idea, to force updates since most people turn those off if given the choice. You need updates to help plug security holes on your machine, an un-updated machine is just a security risk. But obviously microsoft didn't really take data caps into account. Which kind of makes sense, they are in a connected city.

I think the thing that is chewing up the data caps is not just the win 10 updates but also the hidden updates to apps you've downloaded through the windows store. Basically anything you've installed through their app store will auto update as well.

ya know, it's funny, people tell me sometimes I'm overly paranoid and cautious about updates and upgrades and things in ways that make no sense, but when I'm seeing on average, 5-10 reasons+ per week of reasons to give 10 the big fat middle finger, as the windows version that broke the "good bad windows cycle"...........I THINK I'M PRETTY JUSTIFIED!

To be fair this isn't a problem with Windows but a remnant of service providers overcharging for data usage. Caps are about as obsolete as cell phone minute plans and texting limitations, and it should be regulated away permanently. I'm glad for my ISP since it has no data cap but I do feel for those stuck under the thumb of greedy companies.

This might be good in the long run, as it may get the customers to lash out at the shitty bandwidth caps. On the other hand, people might just be lazy and let the ISPs get away with it, in which case the ISPs get boatloads of free money.

Really I don't blame MS for this. The people deserving of ire here are the scumfuck ISPs who have somehow managed to keep data caps alive in the year 2015.

Windows 10 Sucks? Try Ubuntu, it's the most dumbed down of the Linux flavors. It's also free, and Steam works on it!

good thing i kept my fingers of it and keep using win 7. just got a nice upgraded computer and refrained my self from using win 10. even though i have unlimited internet but i generally dont like updates. i always disable it since it takes ages for the computer to turn off or to to get started. just did it for the first few days after getting my new pc but thats it.
now reading this makes me even happier to keep win 7.

Elementary - Dear Watson:
What the hell is a data cap? I don't think that is anything I have heard of outside of 4G and mobile data over here!

I would also put some blame on the service providers too. As tech increases (not just windows 10, but almost everything) there is more and more of a strain of constant data flowing. Companies know that most people have broadband speeds on wireless where they are, so they make programmes and sites update themselves more and more so that you can remain connected in the world.

As this increases year on year though, do you see the service providers raising their limits to match? Or is it a case that you are now expected to pay more for the new baseline?

I know, right? It sounds ridiculous to have data caps for home Internet service. I would be more angry at that than the constant updates of a brand new OS.

Unable to control updates manually = im never installing that shit. I got no data caps, i just like to, you know, be in control of my own machine.

And how the hell does windows 10 updates manage to take hundreds of gygabytes of download. the entire OS does not need tenth of that space.

On the one hand, Microsoft has a good reason to default t automatic updates: Online security.

Default to - yes. Force - no.

nickpy:
I thought that Microsoft dropped the mandatory updates on, like, the the eve of Win10's launch day? This story would imply that isn't the case - or am I missing something?

They did not drop anything.

Elementary - Dear Watson:
What the hell is a data cap? I don't think that is anything I have heard of outside of 4G and mobile data over here!

Its a relic from the early 00s that was used when the network throughput was lower than user needs. Nowadays it is often used by con artists to trick people out of their money by intentionally limiting ones services to gouge money.

This wasn't even I reason I complained about auto-updates either! Once again Microsoft seems to think that everyone in the world lives with 100 TB a second internet with unlimited caps. Gives me another reason to stick with 8 when I get my new PC.

Strazdas:

Its a relic from the early 00s that was used when the network throughput was lower than user needs. Nowadays it is often used by con artists to trick people out of their money by intentionally limiting ones services to gouge money.

You know... that doesn't surprise me in the slightest. There is no need to have anything under unlimited in the developed world nowadays.

MonsterCrit:
And this is why the wise. never update to a new WIndows OS for about 3 months at least.

Three months? Try a year, it's like a Bethesda or Obsidian game only it can cock up your entire PC rather than just crashing repeatedly.

Zachary Amaranth:
How the hell could anyone have thought this was a good idea?

Easy, for the same reason they thought the Xbox one was a good idea.

Oh, and it also seems like Windows 10 keylogs you and sends it to MS, I don't have much of a confirmation on this but if I get one I'll update this post.

So, let's see here...

Windows Fantasy 7 was good.

Windows Fantasy 8 SUCKED (of course).

Windows Fantasy 9 was skipped because they couldn't give it a quirky title like Windows Boogie Nights to get around the naming issue.

And now, Windows Fantasy 10 also sucks.

Go figure!

How is this any different to older version of windows as automatic update was enabled by default anyway. You can turn off the automatic download of updates.

I hate to blow Microsofts trumpet again but this is a user incompetence issue not a windows 10 issue.

FalloutJack:
So, let's see here...

Windows Fantasy 7 was good.

Windows Fantasy 8 SUCKED (of course).

Windows Fantasy 9 was skipped because they couldn't give it a quirky title like Windows Boogie Nights to get around the naming issue.

And now, Windows Fantasy 10 also sucks.

Go figure!

lol. they really seem to have a habit of making a good OS, followed by a bad OS. so lets see how far back i can still remember of windows OSs.
3.11 = ok
95 = ok
98 = very good
2000 = very bad
millennium = very bad
XP = excellent
vista = average
7 = damn good
8 = bad
no 9 which could have been good
10 = bad

thats how i saw the OSs operating in these 2 decades i can recall from my life.

alj:
How is this any different to older version of windows as automatic update was enabled by default anyway. You can turn off the automatic download of updates.

I hate to blow Microsofts trumpet again but this is a user incompetence issue not a windows 10 issue.

Actually no you can not turn it off which is the issue. I have 10, I was even part of the preview, and there is no option to turn it off. I have checked and looked online, there is no "check but let me decide" option. You can stop it from updating by setting your connection to monitored or other work arounds but that is not giving the option, its find a way around the fucken stupid issue that has never previously been an issue because you could set it to "let ME, the owner of my bloody computer" decide.

Strazdas:
Unable to control updates manually = im never installing that shit. I got no data caps, i just like to, you know, be in control of my own machine.

I very much agree. This is MY computer, and I use it for important things, which is why I see the need to protect it from any software I deem dubious. For fuck's sake, about a year ago there was an issue with a Windows Update (on Win7 no less, so even that one still has its quirks despite years of hands-on experience) that set hundreds of thousands of PCs on tilt... and now Microsoft won't even ask me before it shoves its software onto my system?

A lot of what I've been hearing about Win10 is still part of the rumor mill, but it would appear that the OS regularly sniffs through all of your files to check if there's a possibility of any of it being unlicensed. If this turns out to be true, Microsoft is going to get dragged into court here in the EU, as EA was because of Origin when it first launched; we don't like massive violations of electronic privacy around here.

Suffice it to say, I won't be going anywhere near Win10 any time soon.

But don't they have a solution for those people living in the countryside without a proper internet connection ? Didn't call it the XBox 360 or something ?

Fanghawk:
In that case, they might could paying astronomical internet bills, thanks to mandatory updates which tear through data caps.

Just your friendly neighborhood English Major pointing out a little error in your article since I've very little else to do with my degree :3. I'm guessing that's supposed to be either "might be" or "could be". :P

OT: Personally I've been enjoying what Windows 10 has to offer thus far, it certainly "seems" much better than 8. That said, it's still incredibly new so I'd imagine we'll be seeing more news such as this as the OS gets vetted out.

Oh well, a free upgrade is a free upgrade. :P

Sonicron:

A lot of what I've been hearing about Win10 is still part of the rumor mill, but it would appear that the OS regularly sniffs through all of your files to check if there's a possibility of any of it being unlicensed. If this turns out to be true, Microsoft is going to get dragged into court here in the EU, as EA was because of Origin when it first launched; we don't like massive violations of electronic privacy around here.

Suffice it to say, I won't be going anywhere near Win10 any time soon.

According to what i read today, it seems that it is only sniffing for unlicensed software that is for sale on Windows Marketplace and not for unlicensed software overall. As in, it tries to find pirated products that Microsoft is distributing. It still shouldn't do it, but its not a blind search.

Mr.Tea:
Wow, neither the article nor any of the comments so far have worked out that this is not due to the updates being mandatory...

(Seriously, a whopping 7 updates have been released so far

and I can't imagine any of them being multi-gigabyte downloads yet)

No, the culprit is rather Windows Update's new peer-to-peer implementation which shares the updates you've downloaded with other Windows 10 users over the internet.

Just like turning one's PC into an always-on bittorrent seedbox, this can chew through one's bandwidth cap like no one's business, especially if one's ISP differentiates between upload and download bandwidth caps.

Fortunately, as my screenshot shows, you can disable this, or enable it only for other PCs on your network. Not only does the latter option not increase your bandwidth usage, if you have multiple Windows 10 devices it can actually decrease it by letting the update download only once and be shared among those devices.

I think you may not have read or heard about the part where Windows doesn't just update Windows for you anymore, but everything.

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