If you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend you read the “Should I Upgrade to Windows 10” before you read this article.
Once you’ve read the previous WIndows 10 article and are sure you want to go ahead and upgrade your current system to Windows 10 and take advantage of the “free” offer, the next logical step is “How to upgrade to Windows 10”.
While the process is provably the easiest update from one Windows version to another ever made by Microsoft, it still poses several questions that you may not even know you had if you just blindly press “next” on every step of the process and cross your fingers for it to go well. Having this in mind, the following article (and video!) is a series of things we should take in to account when upgrading and the actual step by step walk-through video on how to upgrade to Windows 10. If you have any questions about Windows 10 itself, I recommend you read the previous article “Should I Upgrade to Windows 10” in which I talk about the pros and cons on upgrading to Windows 10 and, of course, what to expect from the change.
Steps to take before we start
There’s two steps that we should really take before upgrading, one is 100% needed and the other is a recommendation that will simply make your life easier.
1: spring cleanup
One of the options we’ll get during the upgrade process is whether we want to keep our current programs or start fresh. If you choose the latter then you can ignore this step and go right to step 2. If you choose to keep your current programs and settings you should really cleanup before you start the upgrade process. Over time we can accumulate a ton of files and programs we don’t need or no longer use. During the upgrade process, Windows 10 will check compatibility with all your currently installed programs and will stop to let you know if some are not compatible at which point you’ll have to go through another couple of menus deciding what’s what and what you want to do with it. By uninstalling the programs we no longer use or simply don’t want we don’t just simply speed up the process but prevent potential issues down the line. In order to make this easier we can simply go to control panel and the “Programs and Features” option and uninstall programs from there or we can use Revo Uninstaller (which I’ve uploaded to the downloads section for your convenience).
Once this is done we want to make sure all temporary files left on our computer are deleted, for this we can use CCleaner (but please, just use the standard function, do not use the Registry Cleaner, that’s just asking for trouble) in which you can choose what you’ll like to delete (anything from temp files which is an obvious yes, to outdated cached files, browser cookies, etc). I’ve also uploaded this to the downloads section for your convenience.
2: Backup your files
It’s provably the most used phrase (after “have you tried turning it off and on again?”) by every IT guy out there and in 99% of cases, the person on the receiving end of that phrase does not listen. If you do not have a secondary drive (be it within your PC or external), buy one. Hard drive are one of the first things to go wrong in a PC over time and once it does, if you’re lucky, it’ll give you signs like for example, a ticking noise coming from it which will allow you to save your files to another drive. Unfortunately in many cases (in my experience, at least 50%) drives will completely stop working from one day to next with no obvious warning before hand. At this point there are a few things we can try to salvage data but the fact is you shouldn’t have to go through that stress and time-wasting if you’d just kept your backups up to date.
If you’re too lazy to do it manually or simply worry you’ll forget, there’s automated applications out there which you can schedule to do it for you on certain days at certain hours but this also implies that your PC will be on at those times so these applications are only mostly used in offices with a central backup destination server and not so much at home. The point is, nothing replaces a good old manual backup, getting used to doing it, even if you have a redundancy based RAID system in place (remember, this do not protect you from software failure or human error).
The Upgrade to Windows 10
Assuming you’ve followed the previous steps both here and the ones mentioned in the first article on our Windows 10 upgrade series, you are now ready to perform the actual upgrade. Before you continue however, you will need the Windows 10 Media Creation Toolkit which, as with all needed and recommended software, I’ve uploaded to the downloads section.
I’ve taken the time to do the upgrade to Windows 10 myself on a test machine and record the whole process while doing a voiceover explaining how you should proceed on each step of the way. Before you start, have in mind that while the video has been edited to fast forward through the “waiting with your arms crossed” parts down to a mere 5 minutes, the actual process can take up to 5 hours depending on your computer, your connection speed and the amount of software and files you have on your computer even after cleaning it by following the previous steps. So, make sure you choose to do this knowing full well that you’ll be there for the next few hours.
At this point your computer has now been fully upgraded to Windows 10 and activated. You should now go back to the first part of this 2-part article and scroll down to the hardware and software section where you’ll find instructions on how to acquire Windows 10 drivers for your computer if you haven’t done so yet.
Have any remaining questions or issues on How to upgrade to Windows 10 or with the upgrade process itself? Drop me a comment underneath and I will do my best to answer and/or help.