Just over a year ago Windows users in China found out that they would be getting a free upgrade to Windows 10, whether the current version they were using was pirated or not.

It was a bold play by Microsoft for the Chinese consumer market, but they may have undone a fair bit of that goodwill, as netizens on the mainland are now lashing out against forced upgrades.

Like their U.S. counterparts, Chinese users have been subject to ‘surprise’ reboots by the system, which spontaneously upgrades without giving users the option to opt out.

According to state media outlet Xinhua, netizens on microblogging site Weibo have mentioned the forced reboot issues or reposted stories on it over 1.2 million times.

Xinhua cites a source working for a Beijing PR firm who lost out a 3 million yuan deal when the update spontaneously started during the drafting of a business plan. Other commenters on Weibo claim they lost valuable design work and illustrations when their systems spontaneously rebooted.

“Microsoft is such a rogue, my computer was just rendering images and suddenly upgraded to Windows 10!… So irresponsible, how can I replace such valuable documents?….”
“Lousy Windows, I fear I lost most of the stuff on my computer when it automatically upgraded”
That old sl*t Microsoft just forced me to upgrade to Win10!!! Just Now!!! I totally did not agree!!

While a quick scan on Weibo shows a lot of venom toward the upgrade, it’s worth noting that Chinese netizens are known for their social media vitriol, and the stories by Xinhua have not been verified.

Windows, still the most wide-spread PC operating system in China, has struggled to monetize their consumer-facing systems due to rampant piracy. By offering the free upgrade, the company hopes to bring customers back into the official Windows fold.

The free upgrades will end on July 26, meaning those who manage to avoid the surprise reboots will have to pay for the new system after that date. Due to backlash both at home and abroad, Windows has since posted instructions on how to reinstall older versions of the operating system.

Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com

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