Payout for Windows 10 update
Microsoft is paying a California woman $10,000 after an automatic Windows 10 installation left her computer unusable. In this picture, a display for the Windows 10 operating system is seen in a store window at a Microsoft store at Roosevelt Field, New York, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON

Tech giant Microsoft Corp. is paying a California woman $10,000 after an automatic Windows 10 installation left her computer unusable.

Travel agent Teri Goldstein testified that the new operating system had automatically downloaded and started to install. When the installation failed, it left her Windows 7 computer running painfully slowly, often crashing and leaving it unusable for days.

“I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein told the Seattle Times. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”

When she contacted Microsoft’s customer support and they didn’t fix the issue, Goldstein took the company to court seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer.

The company denied any wrongdoing. A spokeswoman reportedly said that Microsoft halted its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation.

Microsoft has reportedly been aggressively pushing its Windows 10 update on consumers. Launched in July 2015, it is currently available for free download for users with Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems. The free-download period ends on July 29.

But many people have chosen not to upgrade, for a variety of reasons. Some are running old hardware, some have software that does not run on Windows 10, some are concerned about the software's tracking features, and some simply do not want it.

In February, the company pushed the Windows 10 update along with its security updates and classified it a “recommended update,” meaning it will be automatically downloaded and installed unless blocked by the user.

However, Microsoft said the update is a choice not a requirement. People have to acknowledge a dialogue box before the installation and agree to a license agreement to download and install Windows 10, the company said.

Those who don’t like the new software have a 31-day period to go back to the previous version. Free customer support is also available to those who run into trouble, the company said.