Microsoft reports that Windows 10 has been installed on 67 million PCs as of July 31, 2015. With that many already on board, why aren’t you? Are you one of the holdouts with Windows XP? Did you recently upgrade to Windows 8.1 and don’t want to go through another upgrade so soon? Are you intimidated by the seeming complexity of upgrading? Whatever your reason, you are not alone. There are a lot of people who have not upgraded and many are questioning why they should do it.
Windows, since version 3, has always featured the ubiquitous START button – that is until Windows 8 was introduced. Microsoft made the decision to fundamentally shift the design of the user interface (UI) to a touch screen oriented design. Gone was the beloved button and in its place were a collection of tiles on the desktop. If you had a tablet or other touch screen equipped device then you were in luck. If you had a system lacking a touch screen then you found the mouse could be used to activate the tiles but finding programs was no longer the tried and true process of clicking the START button and traversing the well-known pathways. For “some reason” there was a small faction (millions) that took exception. The uproar was sufficient for even Microsoft to hear and take heed. In my humble opinion, Microsoft made the half-hearted attempt to salve the wound with a crude shadow of the START button with their hurried release of Windows 8.1, but they knew that was a temporary fix at best. The result was the addition of a button of similar function as the START button in a new product called Windows 10. It was heralded as a reasonable compromise where both the touch screen and non-touch worlds could use a common operating system. Is a (similar but clearly not the same) START button a sufficient reason to upgrade? Probably not, but it is a good draw for those who need it or feel lost without it.
So, you have thought it through and decided the upgrade is for you. What now?
As with any upgrade process the first thing to do is take seriously the potential to lose valuable documents. Save yourself a lot of grief by backing up everything in the “Documents” hierarchy of folders. You should also save favorites or bookmarks and other data elements that would be painful to lose. A proper backup will take time. If it is too quick then you may have overlooked something important. It took about 3 hours to save all the files and settings when I upgraded my laptop. I created a set of RAR (www.winrar.com) archives on the hard drive then transferred them to offline storage. Some have dispensed with moving them off the disk without incident but my philosophy is to be prepared for mistakenly formatting the drive or something equally awful. I am an IT professional and I did indeed do a professional job of accidentally wiping a disk during an upgrade a few years back – it can happen to you too. (Fortunately, it was my PC and I was very understanding with myself.)
Once the backups have been completed, then it is time to prepare for the upgrade. You will have to download approximately 3 GB of installation files during the upgrade process. Expect that unpacking of libraries and the generation of temporary files will consume more – I allowed for up to an additional 1 GB, resulting in a required 4 GB of free space. I cannot stress it enough – be certain sufficient disk space is available. If necessary, clear it out now, moving files offline (external disk, CD or DVD, etc). There is little more frustrating than to see an upgrade fail because it ran out of disk space.
Whether you are eligible for a free upgrade (a majority of users are) or you purchase the upgrade license, the process is very similar. Download and install the required software. Do not be surprised if you are instructed to uninstall some applications. Most can be reinstalled after the upgrade but there is a small number that cannot be. They usually require an upgrade from their manufacturer to be compatible with Windows 10.
The process itself is reasonably bulletproof. Provide some needed information, accept the defaults for pretty much every option as most will already conform to the settings from the previous installation. I found my upgrade from Windows 8.1 to 10 went quickly and smoothly. It took me a couple of hours to save my data and about an hour to complete the upgrade. Although I did not lose any data and could safely discard the backups, I did retain them and made them a part of my quarterly offline backup collection of key files and settings, which I would have done anyway within a few weeks.
I have been happy with the results of the upgrade. Using a mouse-based laptop, I felt like an outsider with Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 10 is more welcoming to the touch-free like myself. Others I know who have touch screens have told me that they like the fact that they have both worlds available to them. I have noticed a remarkable improvement in the time required to put my laptop into Sleep mode and to recover from it. Also, the wireless drivers must have improved because that performance is also better. Your mileage may vary, but I predict you will be pleased too.
Do you still have questions on upgrading your PC, laptop, or other eligible device and would prefer to have a seasoned professional see it through? The information technology experts at Absolute Computer Solutions are ready to assist you with a variety of solutions for upgrading your IT infrastructure. Contact us today for more information – there is no obligation and consults are absolutely free.