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Tech support at Dell and HP encourages users to downgrade Windows 10

Is “Downgrade Windows 10” the new “have you tried turning it off and on again?” Call the HP or Dell phone-support lines and you might end up thinking so.

Sure, calling customer service is less-than-helpful at the best of times, but if you’ve upgraded your PC to Windows 10 you can expect some extra un-helpfulness – like being told to downgrade your operating system.

Related: Windows 10 restores the desktop to dominance, but Cortana and Edge need work

Microsoft is offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade, meaning many users are upgrading Windows 10 on devices that came with another operating system. This has probably lead to all sorts of complications for tech support agents, but some of them may be leaning on that a little too much.

LaptopMag.com has been calling tech support about various minor issues after updating to Windows 10 – the site calls tech support lines every year to compare response call times and more. They were surprised with how frequently they were told to downgrade their operating system, even in cases where that’s clearly not necessary.

For example, one call to a Dell service agent was about something completely straight-forward: switching the scrolling direction on the touchpad. Regardless of whether you’re using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, this only requires the user to right-click an option in the system tray and change a setting.

Sounds simple, right? But one agent recommended uninstalling Windows 10 to solve the problem.

“There are a lot of glitches in Windows 10”, the Dell support agent told them, before transferring them to another rep. That rep, happily, managed to solve the problem without replacing the entire operating system.

A 57-minute call to HP, about getting their CoolSense temperature control application working after an OS upgrade, prompted an agent to give the same advice: downgrade Windows 10. In this case there seemingly wasn’t another fix – the Windows 10 version of the app on the HP website didn’t work.

“At the end of the day, the person’s job is to get the PC running,” HP VP Mike Nash told LaptopMag, after being told about this situation. “Given the scenario, it might have been the most expeditious thing to get them back to a known good space.”

While phone agents weren’t helpful, LaptopMag.com reports that web-based chat and Twitter often yields better results. In multiple cases they were able to get helpful information this way that they couldn’t get over the phone.

“Even if you’re still on Windows 7 or 8, calling for support should be your last resort,” the article concludes. That’s probably good advice.