Saturday, August 29, 2015

Upgrading Windows Versions for the Last Time

This has certainly been a momentous occasion as this is the last time we will be upgrading Windows from one version to the next.  From this point forward the updates will come in periodically, no more waiting for a big upgrade install every 2-3 years. I’m very excited about that.

Being such a momentous occasion there are a few things I thought I’d share to help make your upgrade process more momentous.

I’ve upgraded several machines to Windows 10 using several different methods.  Overall, I’m very pleased the last time I have to do this is going to smooth.  Granted, I’ve heard of issues, mostly with driver compatibility, but for the most part Microsoft seems to have gotten this one right – since you know, it’s the last time.

My first upgrade was my Surface Pro 2.  Yes, I still have a 2.  I’m holding out for the Pro 4 that comes with Windows 10.  This upgrade was done via the upgrade notification icon that appeared on the taskbar.  Windows downloaded the necessary files in the background and I just clicked Next a few times and bam, Windows 10.  It took less than 30 minutes and was seamless.  I don’t see any need to wipe out and start over again with a clean install as the in-place upgrade worked perfectly.  I know the purists will say otherwise.

The one thing to note here is to uncheck the box that says you will share your Wi-Fi connection with your contacts.  While the Wi-Fi sharing feature is kinda cool it has been known to disable some network adapters that don’t fully support it so to be safe just turn that off.  You will need to click Customize and not accept the default settings as you click into Windows 10.

My second upgrade as on my desktop at work.  This is a Dell Precision line computer with 2 normal spinning hard drives running in a Raid 1 configuration.  No SSD like with the Surface.  This upgrade was done using the Windows 10 Enterprise ISO downloaded through a VLSC account.  This upgrade was easy as well but it took a lot longer.  The upgrade process itself took an hour and a half followed by 3 hours of 100% disk I/O.  I can only theorize that the traditional hard disks, the RAID configuration, and the fact that my work machine has a lot more apps on it caused the upgrade to take longer.  I found that it was best to just let the disks run at 100% until Windows finished what it was doing as setting anything else up took excessively long.

Once it finished the disk, activity went back to normal and Windows 10 works great.  Another in-place upgrade that saved me a ton of time, as I didn’t have to re-install everything and re-configure everything.  Again, the purists would have done a clean install but I don’t have their kind of time.
In all these upgrades, I haven’t experienced any driver issues or had to manually install any missing drivers.  I also haven’t had any features not function properly requiring me to roll back to Windows 8.1.  I know others have had issues and had to roll back on a variety of different hardware but I don’t have enough data to know what was to blame in those situations.

One setting I did change was the Windows Update setting.  With Windows 10, either you get the updates automatically and Windows just reboots and does it for you or you can set it to prompt you to reboot.  I often leave my machines locked doing various things overnight so I set mine to prompt me.  I did leave it to Automatically Update for a while but found it was closing Outlook and all my apps and rebooting in the middle of the night on its own and I didn’t care for that.

It is great having the same OS on my desktop and my Surface.  I love the new Start Menu and enjoy that many of the features and configs sync between the 2 devices.

It is also exciting know that Windows 10 is a product that is evolving.  Unlike previous version where development stopped until the next version comes out Windows 10 is already showing its flexibility as the OS is updated with new things all the time.  This is Windows as it should be.  I also like that they are still accepting feedback via a built in app in the OS.  Anytime I stumble across something I don’t like I check to see if anyone else has already submitted the issue and if not I submit the suggestion.  I find I’m often late to the submission party, as so far all of my ideas have already been submitted by people much smarter than me.