Guide to Windows 10 upgrade

Free upgrade available…
Microsoft are currently offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 for anyone currently using Windows 7 or 8.
The free upgrade period started in July 2015 and will run until 29th July 2016. (after which it will cost approx £80)

It’s unusual for Microsoft to offer anything for free! Why are they doing it now?
In a nutshell, to simplify things. It’s easier for Microsoft and other manufacturers to support a single version of windows, rather than wrestling with several different older versions. It’s Microsoft’s goal to get everyone onto a single version as quickly as possible, hence the free upgrade.

I’m happy with what I have. Why should I want to change?
It’s a bit like owning a classic car; you might be very happy with it but spare parts might be hard to find, and newer cars are safer and nicer to drive.
Windows 10 will be supported for many years to come; manufacturers will make new devices that work with it, and Microsoft will continue to release bug-fixes, service packs, security updates, etc. (Installing these is an important step towards avoiding problems such as viruses/malware/adware)
If you do nothing, your computer will eventually go the same way as Windows XP and Windows Vista (both of which are no longer supported). New software won’t be compatible, the computer becomes more vulnerable to malicious attacks, and neither will you be able to buy, say, a printer that works with these old systems.
All this technical talk is a bit irrelevant, when you consider there is a free upgrade (until July) which solves the problem.

OK you’ve convinced me! Do I have anything to lose?
Windows 10 still has a few some minor bugs, though to be fair they are quickly being ironed out.
If you have unusual or complex software then it may not be compatible with Windows 10 (even Microsoft’s own “Office Starter 2010” isn’t compatible). Your computer manufacturer’s website, that of the software publishers, and those of any peripherals (e.g. printers) should be able to help here.
In theory there should be no problem with recent software or that which is regularly updated, for example Chrome, Firefox, LibreOffice, Adobe Reader, iTunes, etc

Should I do anything before upgrading?
I would advise the following:

  • Take a backup of your data (the Microsoft website suggests this, and it’s good practice anyway)
  • If you didn’t create a set of “recovery disks” when you bought the computer, then do so now.
    (This is usually 3 or 4 DVDs, probably they will say “factory recovery” or something similar). My article ‘what to do with a new computer’ may be useful if you’ve never made the recovery disks.
  • Run a full virus scan, with an updated virus definition list. If any problems are found then it would be wise to supplement the clean-up process by using utilities such as Ccleaner and AdwCleaner.
  • Un-install any software which isn’t compatible with Windows 10. Some manufacturer-supplied security/privacy products may not work, or will cause problems during the upgrade. Two examples are Toshiba’s “Device Access Control” and “Smart Data Encryption” but there are many more. You should refer to your computer manufacturer’s website for more information.
  • Check you have the installation disks [and software keys] for any additional software loaded onto the computer, just in case it need to be re-loaded after the upgrade

I’m ready to do the upgrade. How do I do it?
Visit the Microsoft website for details.

Alternatively you can contact me and I can do all of the above for £25 plus collection/delivery. Most of the time I will need to take the computer away, as the whole process can sometimes take a day or two to complete (including a full system backup before the upgrade, just in case anything goes wrong)