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Software TuesdayTutorial MondayWindows

How to upgrade to Windows 10 – A step by step Walkthrough

8th September 2015 — by That IT Guy0

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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.

How to upgrade to Windows 10 - A step by step Walkthrough

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.

Download “Windows 10 Media Creation Toolkit (32Bit)” Windows_10_MediaCreationToolkit_x86_1_0_scrapebyitguy.zip – Downloaded 926 times – 7 MB

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.

Software TuesdayTutorial MondayWindows

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

7th September 2015 — by That IT Guy0

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Windows 10 has now been on the market for over a month. It has received several patches since and millions now have it installed. That’s all well and good but your question remains, “Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?” The answer is not as simple as Yes or No but hopefully, by the end of this article it will be for you. I will be explaining who should upgrade to WIndows 10 plus things to consider if you’re at work or home, older hardware and software and general daily use.

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

The first thing (and a very important one at that) to have in mind is that, despite some confusion, Windows 10 is free. Yes, free. What are the conditions of this deal?

  • Windows 10 is free for anyone that acquires is within the first year since release. This does not mean at the end of the year you’ll get a message that says you now have to pay, it literally means that if you get it before the first year is over, it’s free, for life.
  • Windows 10 is free as long as you have a licence for Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. Most prebuilt computers such as those from HP, Dell, Packard Bell, Acer, etc have a stick on the side (Desktops) or underneath (Laptops) with your Windows license. You will not need this to upgrade as long as your current Windows Install is already activated. If you bought a custom-built PC and you can’t find the sticker anywhere, check inside the DVD box you received from where you bought it. If you have neither, ask them. In any case, as mentioned, if your Windows shows as “Activated”, you’re good to go.

Windows Activated

  • Windows 10 is free both to upgrade current installs or to install fresh installs but, the device must have been upgraded once for activation before any sort of fresh installs through a bootable USB or DVD.
  • Once Windows 10 is activated. You can reinstall as many times as you like and it will automatically reactivate as long as no major components on your PC are changed (for example, a replacement motherboard and, potentially, processor (and even RAM) constitutes a new device at which point a new license will be required. Replacing something like a hard drive will not affect auto-activation with the new install.

If I don’t like Windows 10, can I go back?

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked is (due to the fiasco that was the Windows 8 interface) “If I don’t like it, can I go back?”. The answer is YES, and it’s also surprisingly easy. Microsoft has built-in a process that requires just a few clicks to roll back to your previously installed version of Windows (which is kept in the “windows.old” folder, so don’t delete that if you think at some point you’d like to go back). I will be publishing a tutorial on how to go back to your previous version of WIndows if you don’t like Windows 10 next Monday.

When I tested this functionality, it successfully took files and installed programs with it so by the time my test computer was back on Windows 7, it had everything and it was ready to go. Of course, as with any big PC operation, it would be careless to attempt this process without first making a backup of all your important files (you never know).

So, it doesn’t look like it was meant for tablets anymore?

Amazingly (and thankfully), no! I would find it hard to imagine that Windows 8 will be fondly remembered by many people. While its engine is considerably faster than Windows 7, the awful “Metro” interface that seemed that belonged on your tablet rather than your PC made everyday use a clumsy and slower process than the traditional interface that allows you to use your keyboard and mouse efficiently. Windows 10 avoids all this by returning to the classic interface that we all know and love from Windows 7, or rather, a very similar one of course (it’s not going to be exactly the same). That said, when we click start and our little start menu pops up from the start button, a slight metro-like column has been added to the right of it. Personally I don’t mind it, but users can make it smaller, large or even fully disable it if they wish. I do not find it intrusive but everyone has their own taste and thankfully Microsoft has accounted for that this time round.

Windows 10 Start Menu

What’s all this Cortana I’ve been hearing about?

Assistants are already helping you out on phones such as Google Now on Android and Siri on Apple. Microsoft intends to provide a similar experience on Desktops and Laptops with Cortana in Windows 10.

It will not allow you to control your PC by using your voice however. We can open up Cortana by clicking on the search section of the Taskbar and from there we can make web queries thanks to the universal search functionality that searches through your PC and the internet. You can also do other things like schedule appointments in your calendar, dictate notes and reminders, control your media (though this will only work with Windows Media Player and not other software such as VideoLan Player (or VLC) or audio players such as Winamp or iTunes. What is pretty interesting is that Microsoft is releasing a version of Cortana for your Android or iPhone devices so no matter what you’re using at any given time, you can still sync up your data.

What about the nonsense account requirement?

Unlike with Windows 8, Microsoft will not require you to have a Microsoft account (such as Hotmail, Live, Outlook, etc). On Windows 10 you can choose to create and use a standard Windows Account such as what we’ve done with every other Windows, ever, using whatever email address you want. That said, if you want the Microsoft-embedded features that work with OneDrive you’ll still need to sign up, so again we see Microsoft giving the power of choice back to the users.

Anything else that’s new and interesting?

An interesting feature Windows 10 adds (though by no means new, it’s existed in what I call “The people’s choice of Linux”, Ubuntu for years now) is Virtual Dekstops. With this feature you can use the Task View mode to create multiple workspaces on your PC and switch between them as if you where using several screens. This is specially useful for people like me that are used to using 2-3 screens and feel a bit lost on a Laptop due to having many windows open. You can also arrange Windows on your desktop using the “Snap Assist Feature” so that they take equivalent space around your usable work area.

I use my PC for games, should I upgrade to Windows 10?

Short answer, YES. Windows 10 comes with DirectX 12 and while no games or applications use DX12 yet, they will soon enough and the improvements are, if what they say and show is true, astronomical. Microsoft is also adding features to enhance the experience on Windows 10 such as the ability to stream games from your Xbox One (yawn) to your PC (which admittedly is very useful if someone else is watching the TV and you have no access to it), a new gameplay recording system called “PC Game DVR” and more to come.

Will my games work on Windows 10?

Aside from that, Microsoft has a list on their website on games that have been tested and their results in Windows 10 (including emulators for those retro-gamers out there) that you can view here. If your favourite game isn’t on the list, don’t panic. A quick google search of “Game Name Windows 10” will most likely show that someone has already tried it and will let you know if it’ll work straight up or if there’s a fix in the case it doesn’t. Alternatively, if you’re in to your classic old games, but simply can’t get them to run on modern systems (let alone Windows 10) Good Old Games (gog.com) is a website that makes these games fully compatible and DRM-free (software copyright protection) with the newest operating system, in this case, WIndows 10.

My PC is old and/or I have old software I need

One of the main concerns I’ve been asked about is about users upgrading their old PCs to Windows 10 with the fear that their hardware will not be compatible. Thankfully this is something we can find out about relatively easy. The first thing we need to do is find out if, in the case of our computer being made by HP, Acer, Dell, and the likes, they are releasing drivers for Windows 10. We can do this by going to the relevant manufacturer website, going to driver downloads (generally found within the support tabs), finding our model through the search box and seeing if drivers are available. Chances are that they are not and this is because unless the computer is relatively new, they will want you to upgrade your computer and not provide drivers in order to make you think you have no other choice. Thankfully however, these companies simply put computers together, they don’t manufacture the components. So, what we need to do is find out what motherboard we have as that contains the main chipset, processor (for integrated graphic drivers), audio, and data management drivers (for stability and speed). We can do this by downloading HWiNFO from the Downloads section and opening it.

What Chipset and GPU do I have?Within it we will find what Motherboard and Graphics card we have. For Graphics cards, you have a 90% chance of there being a Windows 10 driver available so that’s fine. For motherboards, it’s slightly more complex, thankfully the guys at MaximumPC have composed a continuously updated list of motherboards that have seen Windows 10 driver releases for them from which you find yours. Just go down to the manufacturer and look for your model. If it’s there you’re good to go, simply go to the manufacturer’s website, be it MSI, ASRock, Gigabyte, ASUS, ECS, etc and go to their downloads section, search for your motherboard model, choose Windows 10 as the operating system and download away.

For laptops it’s different as motherboards are a complete different picture and really we should be focusing on what chipset we have, also indicated under Motherboard in the HWiNFO application. Now that we have the information we need, we just need to go to their websites. So, if you have an Intel Chipset, you can install an auto-updater from Intel here. If you have an AMD Chipset you can do the very same here which, incidentally will also update your Graphics card if you have an AMD or ATI graphics card as it’s part of the same company. If you have an NVIDIA Graphics card you can do the same here.

Is my software compatible with Windows 10

In terms of having a program that you need to use constantly and fearing whether it will work fine in Windows 10, the only thing you can do is go to the program’s website and seeing if the developer has released a patch or a new version all together that’s compatible on Windows 10. However do not be fooled with payed-for software as while they may advertise their new version as Windows 10 compatible, there’s a huge chance yours is too if it worked fine on Windows 7 or 8.

Should I wait till the bugs are fixed?

Like any new Operating System, Windows 10 has its bugs but have in mind that if you have Windows 7 or 8 currently, you do only have 11 months left to upgrade for free. While this may now sound like a long time, it’s something that we could simply put in the back of our heads and then forget about it. The fact is that Windows 10 has had an extensive beta period that’s been tested by thousands of users in the Microsoft Insiders program which means most of the issues have been ironed out and therefore Windows 10 is quite stable at the moment (and I agree with this statement based on the fact that I’ve been using it on my daily pc for the last 4 weeks).

That said, there’s nothing wrong with waiting for a few weeks or even months if that will give make you feel safer. Just remember not to wait too long!

once you’re ready to proceed with the upgrade, click here for a full step by step walkt-though on how to upgrade to windows 10