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

Fanghawk

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

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 <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/scienceandtech/14393-Windows-10-Should-Be-the-Last-OS-You-Will-Ever-Need>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 <a href=https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3073930>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: <a href=http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/fears-windows-10-will-blow-data-caps-20150817-gj0i98.html>Sydney Morning Herald

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sonicneedslovetoo

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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.
 

nickpy

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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?
 

Callate

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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.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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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 said:
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.
 

RaikuFA

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"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.
 

EndlessSporadic

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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.
 

Fanghawk

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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.
 

Elementary - Dear Watson

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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?
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
RaikuFA said:
"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.
 

Jaeger_CDN

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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.
 

Slegiar Dryke

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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!
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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May 15, 2010
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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.
 

Denamic

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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.
 

major_chaos

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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.
 

Zacharious-khan

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