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Windows 10 Automatic Upgrade Tactics Could Potentially Cost Lives

win10Just about everyone that uses a Windows 7 or 8 computer has seen the pop-up notifications about the availability of a free upgrade to Windows 10. While some may find this to be a great opportunity to  update their computer to the latest operating system from Microsoft without the usual $120 price tag, others are having to repeatedly dodge an automatic update that will break the compatibility and functionality of some of their programs.

Some specially designed programs for business, or older applications that haven’t been updated, but are still heavily relied upon don’t play well with Windows 10. But that’s not stopping MS from seemingly forcing the new OS down everyone’s throat. Nearly every day, a new notification alerts users of the impending upgrade. There are options to postpone the automatic changes, but they are hidden deep within system settings, out of sight for most users.

Even so, those options don’t address some of the bigger issues. While there may be an option to delay the update from installing, there seems to be no way of preventing it from downloading in the first place. This is a huge issue for anyone on an internet connection that has a limited amount of data bandwidth allowed. Many areas in the US are only able to download a few gigabytes a month, and are charges heavily for any overages. Suddenly finding out that your month’s data budget has been used in only a few days by a large Windows update that wasn’t ever approved is not only frustrating, it’s expensive.

However, there are some whose lives are put in danger by the update. The Chinko Project is a wildlife protection effort in the Central African Republic (CAR). They work in very remote areas, and their internet services are billed by the megabyte. Limiting the amount of information that is transmitted to and from their computers is critical if they intent to keep functioning. But when just one computer sneaks a 6,000 megabyte update by without warning, the men and women that keep Chicko Project operational run into a massive problem.

After such a massive data transfer, far beyond what is normally handled by their ISP, Chinko Project was disconnected from service, leaving dozens of wildlife rangers in the field without the ability to communicate with their headquarters. These rangers put their lives on the line by going toe-to-toe with armed poachers, looking to kill rare and endangered animals, as well as anyone who might stand in their way. Should any of them find themselves in conflict with these criminals, they would not be able to call in for reinforcements or rescue.

This is likely the most terrifying example of Microsoft’s Windows 10 update program, and should anything happen to one of the brave wildlife rangers while working to protect some of the most endangered animals on earth, their blood could be on Microsoft’s hands.