On July 29, Microsoft started rolling out Windows 10 updates to current Windows 7 and 8.1 users. You may have seen the notices popping up on your computer and started wondering if you should upgrade to this new operating system (OS).
You may have experienced some issues in the past when updating Microsoft and other software application, however, we want to help you elevate any fears and address the core issues of updating to Windows 10.
Our initial recommendation is to hold off, don’t feel like you need to rush in right away. Microsoft has been rolling out the latest OS in batches which allows them to quickly identify problems and fix them before they reach a large group of users.
This slow release approach has allowed Microsoft to be more careful and fix bugs that might be affecting specific hardware, reducing the amount of frustration caused by past updates that were released to millions of Windows users at the same time.
What’s the benefit to this new approach and your patience in waiting to upgrade your devices?
Simple, the longer you wait, the more stable Windows 10 will be when you do upgrade your device.
Is Windows 10 Really Free?
Yes, users of current versions of the OS will get an upgrade free of charge. Be warned, there is a one year limit on the “free download” offer. After the first year, Microsoft will likely be charging for this upgrade.
Once your device has been updated to Windows 10, it will be supported by Microsoft for the life time of the device.
There has been some confusion around the issue so let me try and clarify things.
Find your current version OS in the list below, and it will show the corresponding free upgrade of Windows 10 that you are eligible for.
- Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Premium and Windows 8.1 users will be upgraded to windows 10 Home
- Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Windows 8.1 Pro users will be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro
- Windows Phone 8.1 users will be upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile
- Windows Enterprise and Windows RT Users are not eligible for a free upgrade
- Windows 8 users must first upgrade to 8.1 and then to 10
Additionally, XP and Vista users will not be eligible for the free upgrade and you wont even be able to simple upgrade if you’re willing to pay. Updating will require a clean install. And if you’re currently running XP or Vista, you have an older device with hardware that is not compatible with the new Windows 10.
Taking the Next Step
If you’ve read to this point and you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with the thought of even dealing with another software upgrade, call us 928-368-2024, we can help by:
- analyzing your devices
- making sure the device meets the requirements
- let you know which upgrade you’re qualified for
- and even take care of the upgrade for you
In our experience most software updates are completed without a problem, however, most problems arise when people fail to perform some basic house keeping or best practices before they begin.
Which is why we prepared this list of best practices.
So if you’re interested in doing it yourself, we recommend you follow these best practices to ensure a successful update.
- Remove Old Software and Clean Up a Bit
- Create a Disk Image and File Backup
- Remove Your Antivirus Software
- Check and Record Software Keys
- Run the Upgrade Assistant
When is the last time you deleted old files, removed software you haven’t used since it was installed, etc? All this stuff takes up valuable space on your hard drive and can even cause your OS to run poorly.
By cleaning your system before running the Windows upgrade, you will free up space to allow Windows to store an old copy of your OS, just incase you want or need to rollback after you upgrade to Windows 10.
Caution: Some of these cleaning software programs will remove old Windows files, which will prevent you from being able to rollback to your older version. So once you’ve installed Windows 10 do not run the cleaning program unless you are sure you wont want to return to your previous OS.
A disk image is a complete, bit-by-bit copy of your entire system. If you needed to restore your previous system, you would be able to use the disk image to get things back to the way they were before performing your upgrade.
There are several free application you can download and use to create a disk image, but you’ll also need external hard drive to store the disk image.
In addition to the disk image, we recommend creating separate file backup of your files, photos, music, etc…
The simplest way to accomplish this is to, just copy over (drag and drop, copy/past) all the files you wish to backup onto an external hard drive.
Antivirus related software is very OS-centric, which means the version of Avast you’re running on your Windows 7 wont be compatible with Windows 10.
Best practice is to download a new copy of the compatible antivirus software you prefer, save it to a flash drive or your external hard drive. Then disable and uninstall your current antivirus software. Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, install the new antivirus software you saved to your flash or external drive.
Before you do that, you might be interested in knowing that Windows 10 comes with a very robust built-in antivirus system. So you may decide you not to use third party software any longer.
Recommendation: Webroot Antivirus, which can be purchased at a discount through Sunstate Tech. Call us for the details: 928-368-2024
Paid software has what is called a software key associated with it. This information is important when calling Microsoft for support, and it can also be requested after upgrading your reinstalling different software applications.
Keep a list of your keys in a word doc or spreadsheet, but we’d recommend printing that list out and storing it somewhere safe.
This may seem like an obvious step, but running the assistant can save you from a disaster!
If your device is newer, purchased in the last couple of years, it should upgrade to Windows 10 just fine.
The Upgrade Assistant will immediately alert you if your computer does not meet the minimum requirements, and maybe more importantly, it will identify any hardware that is incompatible with Windows 10.
We have discover a couple issues that you should be aware of but that you might also need help with.
Microsoft forces you to install the latest drivers it thinks will work on your computer. There is currently no way to opt-out of this.
You will need to reinstall the correct drivers, but be warned, with every Windows 10 update, it will repeatedly install its own drivers over your custom ones.
This is an issue that will be resolved at some point, we were able to find a setting that will allow you to stop the update form installing drivers, but it’s not actually working.
The media likes to make a big deal about this, however, most of the data that is sent to Microsoft is done so anonymously and is used to improve the software and overall user experience.
There are several new features in Windows 10 that are designed to automatically send data back to Microsoft, and for many of these disabling the sharing of information can be difficult to sort out.
“I Want My Old Windows Back!”
After installing Windows 10, it’s not final. When you install Windows 10, it will store a copy of your old OS. If you decide that 10 is too buggy or you just really like your older version, you can “downgrade” which will restore your older OS.
Here’s the catch, you have to do this within 30 days of upgrading to version 10. At the end of day 30 your saved copy of the older OS will be deleted.
However, if you followed step 3 above, and created a disk image, you can still get back to the way things were before you upgraded to Windows 10.
We’re not against upgrading to Windows 10, but we understand that different users have different preferences and needs, which is why we used this article to inform you on some important issues and help you make the leap to Windows 10.
Overall, the experience of updating to Windows 10 has been excellent. And so far the feedback has been positive. “It’s familiar and easy to understand”. The new features have people excited.
Remember, if you’re not interested in doing these updates yourself, please let us know and we’ll be happy take care of it for you.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to use the comments or contact us directly.
If you’d like to learn more about the new Windows 10 features check out these links:
What’s New in Windows 10
What’s Different About Windows 10 for Windows 7 Users
What’s Different About Windows 10 for Windows 8 Users