For weeks, your windows 7/8 has probably been nagging you to upgrade to Windows 10, and perhaps you have been hesitant to take the plunge because of the media reports on how “buggy” windows 10 is. This article will help you prepare for this upgrade in a manner that lowers risk and makes it a good experience.
It is a normal part of the operating system new release life cycle for a major OS release to contain major bugs. Providing the ability to do an in-place upgrade of as previous version of the OS, and not having to re-install all the apps, increases the complexity of the roll out simply because the previous OS may have been patched/hacked (by OEM or the user) in ways that the new OS doesn’t know how to handle. To put it bluntly, upgrading a sick operating system often results in a sick operating system. In order to prevent issues during your upgrade experience, you need to do the following:
1) Perform due diligence that all your hardware devices are supported with either drivers for windows 7 or there are windows 7/8 specific drivers. Be very cautious of hardware that has only a driver that targets Windows XP architecture, and consider what that means to you if that device doesn’t work in windows 10.
2) You should not have to worry too much about applications from major vendors (Microsoft, Adobe, etc) but applications that are grown by individuals or indie publishers (who may not even be around anymore and the software was last built in 2008) need to be considered as a risk — what does it mean to you if those apps no longer work?
3) Make sure your storage hardware is supported in Win 10! Yes, this technically falls under item 1, but you need to be sure that your storage is expected to work in Windows 10. If you have a motherboard that supports RAID, and have a bay full of drives configured under that RAID technology, if Windows 10 does not work with that RAID technology you will face a huge issue — your disk will appear to be missing or empty, and windows 10 might assume it is a blank disk and format it!
If your storage device is external and connected via USB, then also perform due diligence that your computer or motherboard maker provides USB drivers that work in Windows 10 — or be certain the computer’s USB ports don’t need a special driver. This is mostly a concern if your computer/motherboard supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0, usually there is a proprietary driver involved which is provided by the motherboard or chipset maker.
If your storage hardware is just an internal standard SATA drive you shouldn’t have any issues.
4) Make sure you have enough disk space. The windows 10 in-place upgrade process will make a backup of your windows 7/8 configuration so that you can roll back if needed (must rollback within 30 days). Obviously this requires disk space overhead. As a general rule of thumb, you should have 50GB free before considering an OS upgrade.
5) Uninstall programs that you don’t really use much., or you can reinstall without too much hassle. Why rely on the in-place upgrade process to migrate apps that take 20 seconds to reinstall?
6) Ensure your existing OS is healthy. The details for this would be a separate long article, but suffice it to say that a sick Windows 7 or 8 might make your Windows 10 upgrade fail miserably without any way of rolling back.
7) Uninstall your antivirus. They always say to do that before installing any piece of software, and no one does, but invoking an in-place upgrade to uplift your OS isn’t something you’d want to risk your antivirus intervening and shutting down critical processes and failing the upgrade.
Also, I’ve seen cases of the antivirus not working very well after an in-place upgrade, and removing and re-installing after windows 10 upgrade fixed that.
Obviously, you should also make sure your system is free of virus and malware.
8) Backup your “My Documents” to a cloud service or backup device. The in-place upgrade should not harm your files, but why chance it?
9) Don’t forget to consider drivers from the OEM PC maker, especially on laptops, such as hotkey services or power management. If there are not windows 10 versions of your hotkey service, then once you are on Windows 10 the vendor specific buttons on your laptop or keyboard may not work. Windows 10 should handle power management, but some devices like Netbooks that rely on aggressive power management might not have the battery longevity that you had prior to upgrading to Windows 10.
10) Make sure your wireless network adapter is expected to work in Windows 10, and has a Windows 10 or Windows 7/8 specific driver. Yes, this falls under item 1, but pay particular attention here because if you upgrade to windows 10 and upon booting the wifi card does not work, Windows 10 may not handle that very well.
I saw this on a system, and the first boot into windows 10 it ran extremely slow and was unusable. Once the windows 10 drivers were installed it was fine. But achieving this was difficult because the system was bogged down so much. It literally took 2 minutes each time you click something or type a key for it to take effect, and the start menu did not function at all so it was hard to get to the “control panel” or “device manager” to remove the drivers and then reinstall.
Post install — once you have done the above and invoked the install and it has completed, your first order of business is opening device manage and making sure you have no yellow or red exclamation’s, all your devices are listed, and then checkout your system thoroughly.
If your system is not performing well, reboot it (properly) as I have seen it happen many times where the first session was very slow but a reboot fixed it.
Once you are convinced everything works, install your virus software and re-install the apps you may have removed in the process above. Invoke “Windows Update” and force it to look for updates, apply them, and reboot if needed.
If you find your Windows 10 does not work well, e.g. slow, crashing, etc. and you can’t resolve the issue then you are left with two options: reset the windows 10 or roll back to Windows 7 or 8.
Resetting windows 10 would basically blow away all the apps and the windows 10 installation (which was upgraded from a previous version) and install a clean windows 10. However, if you choose this option, you lose the ability to roll back to your previous OS. Take this option if you are confident you are to remain on Windows Otherwise, invoke the roll back and hope that works.
If you are unable to get Windows 10 working despite your best efforts, visit http://www.ubuntu.com