After yesterday’s post, I’ve had several questions on how the Windows 10 upgrade is done and what the logistics are. Here’s the skinny on the nuts and bolts of the upgrade and what you can look forward to. I’ve personally upgraded almost a dozen PCs, varying from high-end tablets, to low-end tablets to laptops and desktops. I’ve yet to have an upgrade go really south, but that’s always a possibility, so always have a good backup.
If you absolutely do not want to upgrade to Windows 10, scroll to the bottom of this post for instructions on how to delay the inevitable for as long as possible.
Windows 10 Upgrade Paths
From Windows 7 and 8/8.1
Microsoft made it clear from the beginning that the Windows 10 upgrade would be free (for the first year) to all Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users who have a valid and activated license. If you are in this camp (which most of you should be), here are the options:
- Say “Yes” to the nag screens. By now, you should have gotten a wealth of pop-ups and notifications offering you your free Windows 10 upgrade. If you haven’t, I would bet that it’s been a long while since you’ve done any updates to your PC. You’re presented with two options, one to do the upgrade “now” and one to “remind me later” or “upgrade tonight” or “schedule a time” (the language on the second button varies). If you schedule a time, Windows will begin the download of the installation files (a few gigabytes worth of stuff) and begin the install at whatever time you pick (it usually suggests a time during the middle of the night, but I’ve seen occasions where it picks a time right in the middle of a work day – yikes). If you select “upgrade now,” Windows will begin downloading the files and will start the install as soon as that download is done. If you select this option, you can use your computer while the files download, but be prepared to get interrupted as soon as that download wraps up. If you’re working on your next best-selling novel during this time, save often.
- Click the icon. If you haven’t gotten the nag screens, you should still be able to find an ever present Windows icon in your System Tray (lower right-hand side of your Taskbar). Double-click this and you should get the handy “two option” screen detailed above.
- Use Windows Update. Since Microsoft has made Windows 10 a recommended update, there’s a good chance that it has already downloaded the files and is waiting for you to hit “Install.” Just open Windows Update (Control Panel > Windows Update) and see the status. It may be ready to install or waiting to download. Once you hit install, get ready for the ride.
- Use the Media Creation Tool. If for some bizarre reason your PC presents you with non of these options, and you’re ready to upgrade, you can download the Microsoft Media Creation Tool (on the same page there will be a button to “Upgrade Now,” which will also start the upgrade process). The Media Creation Tool will allow you to upgrade your PC to Windows 10 using a software wizard. It also allows you to create a bootable USB or CD to upgrade someone else’s eligible PC.
Once the upgrade begins you will be unable to use your PC and while the upgrade screen encourages you to “Sit back and relax,” it should say something like, “Go watch a movie.” The upgrade process will probably take about an hour, although this varies A LOT based on hardware specifications and how fast your internet connection is for downloading files.
For Windows XP & Vista
If you’re running XP or Vista, head to newegg.com and get yourself a new PC. Seriously, though, you’ve got two options and both of them will (probably) cost you money:
- Buy a copy of Windows 10 and do a clean install on your PC. To find out if your PC can upgrade to Windows 10, here is a great article. This method means a complete wipe of your PC (backup first!!) and the necessity of reinstalling all your programs and files.
- Upgrade to Windows 7 first. If you have a copy of Windows 7 lying around, perfect. If not, you’ll have to buy a copy and upgrade your PC to Windows 7 first, then either do a whole bunch of updates until you get prompted to upgrade to Windows 10 (yuck, don’t actually do this) or download the Media Creation Tool in Option 4 above and upgrade manually.
Don’t Make Me Upgrade!
If you are really sure that you never, ever want to do the Windows 10 upgrade and want to get rid of all the annoying popups, do the following:
- The simplest is to go into Windows Update (Control Panel > Windows Update) and view installed updates (you can also click ‘Start’ and type “view installed updates”). Scroll through and look for KB3035583 and KB2976978 and uninstall those two updates.
- For a more comprehensive (and technical) explanation direct from Microsoft, click here.
Again, Windows 10 is a great upgrade and is the future of where Microsoft is headed. If you choose to opt-out, it’s only going to be a matter of time before you’re using it on a new PC or at your place of work. I’d encourage you to try it while it’s free. If you absolutely hate it and it’s been less than a month, you can always roll back.