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Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

We’re getting down to the wire on the free upgrade offer and, particularly given Microsoft’s excessively aggressive marketing campaign, one of the most common questions is the most basic:

Should you upgrade?

Like so many things, it depends.

Here’s my current thinking.

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Updated: July 3, 2016

Short version: yes

There are some serious caveats, which I’ll enumerate below, but my default recommendation is that, yes, Windows 10 is the way to go if it works for you.

Besides providing longer ongoing support as the latest version of the decades-old operating system, Windows 10 is, in my opinion, simply better. It’s faster, more secure, richer in features, and compatible with and able to exploit all the features of the latest hardware.

I have no hesitation using it, and no hesitation recommending it to the average computer user …

… and, a year after its release, there are certainly enough happy Windows 10 users out there to support my position.

But all is not rosy. There remain … issues. Some with Windows 10, and even more with the perception of Windows 10.

There are two — maybe three — strong cases for not upgrading to Windows 10.

Hardware and software issues

Windows 10 DesktopIf your hardware has issues with Windows 10, then upgrading isn’t the right thing to do, of course. Similarly, if applications you use and rely on won’t work in Windows 10, then, again, Windows 10 is not the way to go.

This’ll be most obvious if the Windows 10 compatibility check tells you you can’t upgrade, but unfortunately, that check is sometimes wrong. Particularly with peripheral devices, it’s not too uncommon to upgrade, only to find out that a printer, a scanner, or some other device isn’t working.

Short of replacing the hardware or upgrading your applications, rolling back to whatever you had that works is typically the only practical course of action.

Avoiding change

If you can’t stand change … well, like any upgrade, Windows 10 includes change. Most consider it a vast improvement over Windows 8, but if the thought of leaving your beloved Windows XP leaves you frustrated and angry, Windows 10 isn’t going to make you any happier.

I strongly recommend embracing the change and perhaps mitigating it with any of several add on applications, like Classic Shell, that restore some familiar functionality. I also realize not everyone is willing or able.

You may prefer to stay wherever you are for as long as you can, but in my opinion, that only works until something else forces you to make the switch at +a later date.

Privacy

The “maybe” third issue is privacy.

There is a tremendous amount of FUD relating to Windows 10’s supposed invasion of user privacy.

You can find lots of rants and discussions on the topic all over the internet. It’s an area ripe for thoughtful discussion as well as paranoid knee-jerk reaction.

My take: I’ll stick with what I’ve been saying for years: you and I just aren’t that interesting as individuals. For the vast majority of computer users, no one cares what you are doing, and no one is watching you  not Microsoft, not anyone else. To the extent data is collected from your machine (and there are even debates about if, what, and how much is being collected), it’s used primarily in two ways:

  • To understand how masses of people (not individuals) use the product.
  • To make the product better, based on aggregate (not individual) usage and failure reports.

If you disagree, then you should absolutely avoid Windows 10 altogether. In fact, you should probably avoid all versions of Windows, since there have been reports of updates to Windows 7 and 8 that increase the amount of data collected.

Upgrades based on your current version of Windows

If you’re a Windows 8 user and you’re unhappy with Windows 8, upgrade to Windows 10. As I said, most consider it an improvement over Windows 8, as it removes some of Windows 8’s more annoying or rough edges.

If you’re running Windows 7 or 8 and you’re happy, I now recommend upgrading to take advantage of the free upgrade offer. I’ll talk in a moment about steps you need to take in case you decide you don’t like Windows 10, but I’m pretty convinced that learning to accept it is the best course of action overall.

If you’re running a version of Windows prior to Windows 7, I continue to recommend that as soon as it’s convenient, back up and install Windows 10 – if your machine supports it. (You can find the Windows 10 minimum requirements here.) Unfortunately, there is no “upgrade” for those older versions; you’re looking at a clean install – and Windows 10 will not be free for you.

Everyone: back up first

This is critical.

By “back up”, I mean make a complete image backup – a backup image of the entire machine.

Operating systems are incredibly complex. There are hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of possible combinations of hardware and configurations. Even in the best of worlds, something will go wrong for someone somewhere.

Windows 10’s upgrade process has garnered a somewhat negative reputation: it doesn’t always work as it should. In fact, even the tools that tell you whether your machine will run Windows 10 are still occasionally wrong.

If, after upgrading, you find that Windows 10 fails miserably – or it’s just not your cup of tea – you can restore to that backup image.

New machines: fear not

If you purchase a new machine that comes with Windows 10, don’t panic. You’re in the best position of all, to be honest.

My recommendation: embrace Windows 10. There’s no reason to avoid it, and every reason to move ahead with it – particularly clean installs delivered on new machines.

Windows 10 is a solid operating system. By taking it on today, you’ll be guaranteed the longest life possible, as Windows 10 support will be provided for longer than any other version of Windows.

Avoiding Windows 10

For whatever reason, you may choose to avoid Windows 10.

Generally, most reasons I’ve heard are unnecessary mistakes and overreactions, but one of the wonderful things here is that it’s completely your choice.

I’d probably point you at Linux – Mint, specifically – particularly if you want to keep your existing hardware.

If you’re up for a new machine, then Macs are definitely worth looking into, or, if your needs are basic enough, something like a Chromebook may suffice. Regardless, though, be aware that you’ll want to understand as best you can the privacy ramifications of your choice. You may find that Apple or Google do many of the same things that Microsoft does, and you may not consider the switch an improvement.

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270 comments on “Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?”

  1. As I commented on this elsewhere.
    Windows 10 does nothing to fix the stuff that Windows 8 broke for Windows 7 users. Giving me back a Start Menu doesn’t really address it. And sure its a bit more secure, but as a Tech Preview user – the new Spartan browser isn’t sufficiently improved to make it worth the change in look and feel.

    Now if you have Windows 8 – its probably worth the upgrade – because its not going to get worse and you might as well take advantage of some of the newer features. But if you are on the Home Edition of Windows 8… well your ability to be “Super User” for your machine still has not been fixed. If you have the option of rebuilding your machine and going to Windows 7 – that’s probably the preferred path, but if that was an option you would have already done it.

    If you are a Windows 7 User: Do a full backup of your disk image. Do the upgrade to Windows 10. back up that image somewhere so that you get the upgrade free – – and then revert to Windows 7. There really is nothing in Windows 10 for you. Why? Because if you are using Windows 7, odds are you are on a laptop or a desktop, not a tablet. That means you don’t need the stuff that Windows 10 is selling and in fact much of it – like tying your machine to a fixed Windows Live Id (yes you can change it, but it is a huge PITA) – gets in the way of the things you do today on Windows 7.

    And while Windows 7 gadgets weren’t that great – having a clock on your desktop was nice – and all that goes away with Windows 8. More significantly you start to get forced into downloading apps from the MS App Store. And the MS App store is such a mess right now with so much junk in it, you are best avoiding it completely until MSFT fixes it.

    Remember IF you want Xbox synch you can get it on Windows 7. However if you don’t want it, you really can’t avoid it on Windows 10 (look I just want Solitare that works, Hearts, and Spider Solitaire and not tied into xBox or from some fly by night student hack project from SE Asia).

    Windows Vista and XP users? upgrade to Windows 7. And then do the backup and grab of the freebie Windows 10 (so that 3-5 years from now when you are forced to abandon Windows 7, you can do it free)..

    Most importantly, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, find a way to get a copy of Windows 10 Professional. This Home Edition crippled stuff is for the birds. Its not easier to use and it removes some very important key features. Namely Virtual Machine support. Realistically what you want is a good Desktop Virtualization environment for your Windows 7 desktop and you are good.

    REmember what the focus of Windows 10 has been: TO make the Windows Phone and Tablet relevant in the marketplace… NOT to address the needs of Windwos 7 or older users.

    • 8gadget pack re-enables windows gadgets if you want them and works just fine under Windows 8.x. I’ve got it on both 8 and 8.1 home and pro.
      As far as the MS app store, I see no need to use it. I have been using Win 8 since the developer preview and I have yet to find even one program that ran under Windows 7 that doesn’t work on 8.x.

      • Also, I’m curious about what you mean when you said “But if you are on the Home Edition of Windows 8… well your ability to be “Super User” for your machine still has not been fixed.” As a system admin, I have just as much control over my system as I have ever had if not more. 8.x under the hood is an improvement over 7 all around. MS just messed up with the UX that “super users” have been able to get around since day one if they so chose. It’s the average consumer that has had the most issues with the 8 UI, it’s more of an annoyance to power users because we have to explain to friends and family that are not power users how to deal with it. (Or set up Classic She’ll for them)
        Also, while the Home edition doesn’t have client Hyper-v accessible, virtualization support using other tools is still there provided your CPU supports it. I’ve been testing Win 10 on VirtualBox without any problems.

          • I would love to hear you expand on this! I’m IT for our small office and I’ve avoided 8.1 just because I would have to train my “old dogs” some “new tricks”. However, We’ve been on Win7 for 2 years, and we’ve migrated recently from Server2003 to Server2012 and all of the problems I hoped would go away with that move are still around (and they’ve in fact increased).

            Did you ever have network issues. Things like a public share just turning off (Network Discovery gets turned off at random on Win7 workstations and we have to turn it back on…once per month per machine on average). We scan documents and they don’t immediately appear in the “scan” folder on the public drive. They may appear after a minute or sometimes after 2 hours!

            Again, I’d love to hear some of the problems that went away for you…

          • If you install ClassicShell on those machines, the learning curve would be extremely low. ClassicShell give Windows 8 an almost identical look and feel as Windows 7.
            https://askleo.com/classic_shell_regain_your_start_menu_in_windows_8_and_much_more/
            http://ask-leo.com/theres_just_no_need_to_hate_windows_8.html

            That being said, the release date for Windows 10 is so close, in your situation, I’d probably skip 8 and go directly to 10. I don’t feel it would be worth the effort of upgrading OSes twice in such a short period.

          • Classic Shell is useful in Windows 10 also, if the stock menu layout of Win10 isn’t your cup of tea. Classic Shell lets you choose between an XP, Vista or Windows7 – type start menu. Makes the learning curve to a new OS a LOT easier. And it’s free. http://www.classicshell.net/

    • Karl, I think your advice is very good, and in line with Leo’s, but wrong in one area: “grab … the freebie Windows 10 (so that 3-5 years from now when you are forced to abandon Windows 7, you can do it free).” Installing a Microsoft Operating System always requires activating it. Since Microsoft is giving users of Windows 7 and 8 one full year to upgrade to it for free, the odds of that download still installing and activating past the one year period ending July 28, 2016 seem extremely small. They key word Microsoft uses is “upgrade.” That is definitely not the same as saying you have one year to “download” it for free. It’s pretty safe to say it has to be not just downloaded, but also installed and activated within that one year.

      • I think the approach would be to download, install it, activate, and then save an image backup of the activated windows so that you’re ready when the time comes. All this after taking an image backup of your working system, that you would then return to after performing this exercise.

        • Leo,

          I agreed with Chuck until I saw your reply. I don’t know the inner workings of MS’s licensing and their “upgrade” and “activation” protocols so I have to ask…you seem to be endorsing Karl’s imaging process (only with more clarification), true?

          To be clear, the endorsed steps would be: On Win7 (or 8), do full image backup. Upgrade it to Win10. Activate Win10. Do full image backup of Win10 (to keep for later use). Restore back to Win7 (or 8) backup.

          Yes?

          • Endorse seems to be that of a strong statement but indeed the steps that you outlined are the steps that I would take. Note that the upgrade to Windows 10 need not happen for up to a year so you need not perform all the steps for some time.

        • Karl and Chuck:
          If you do all this work (the backup of Win7 is needed anyway) to upgrade the computer to 10 and downgrade it back to 7 just to get a few more years before upgrading again to 10, why not just stop at the upgrade to 10?
          If it dies after the upgrade you will still be able to do the downgrade with the knowledge that the computer will need to be upgraded/replaced before upgrading to 10.
          If you do all that work, in a few years, you will need to determine what else has changed on your computer since the backup of the upgrade was made so you know what else needs to be added.

          Laziness is my profession, I have a degree in Industrial Engineering.

        • I did download the win 10 upgrade before the 29th, Didn’t see anything about a time limit. My question is if I installed and activated win 10, saved image no matter what, but is it possible to store the win10 image to a virtual disk I just created, and get it to work as separate os on my computer? To be able to boot with it?

          • I don’t really understand your questions, but ….
            a) the free offer period has passed, if you upgrade you will need to provide a product key
            b) sure, you can install Windows 10 in a VM, I do that all the time
            c) I don’t know of a way to boot directly into a VM. You boot the host operating system, and then fire up the VM

    • It appears that Microsoft insists that all of your data ( not just things like driver issues or bad updates) be available to them for whatever reason they state. They have also built in numerous exploits for Homeland Security to spy on users at will without warrants. I currently use Windows 7 Professional and have been able to install a highly configurable 3rd party firewall to block access from IP addresses at any level I set. I’m concerned that such firewalls won’t work anymore with Windows 10. “Windows firewall” is a joke if you’re serious about real security, it’s a “feel good” app for the uninitiated that is riddled with back doors with no real configuration possible. It also appears that good solid encryption programs will be made impossible to use in this distro. I don’t have anything to hide; criminal or otherwise. I just don’t trust Microsoft or the government with my personal data. We hear time and time again how disgruntled employees and rogue government snoops abuse the working stiff. Not many of the “progressives” or “conservatives” agree with my politics. I am very outspoken about human rights issues and corruption and the direction this country is headed. There are a number of people who would stoop to any level to shut me up. I don’t know why they can’t issue service packs instead of entirely new operating systems. I fully realize it’s all about the money. I’d be willing to bet that a good number of users would gladly pay for extended service packs. Windows 7 is the best yet. I’ve had the opportunity to do clean installs of Windows 8.1. I find it difficult to configure Windows 8.1 as a desktop OS for my customers. My customers all hate Windows 8.1. I’ve had several who requested an OEM copy of Windows 7 Professional and were willing to part with another $100.00 to make their new PC more user friendly. I have a couple of towers sitting around. I may give Windows 10 a try AFTER Service pack 1. It would be nice if Microsoft had the ability to release an OS that works right out-of-the-box; but they don’t and probably never will. These “pre-release candidates” are for suckers! I fell for it when Windows XP was in development. It’s ludicrous to work for Microsoft WITHOUT PAY to fix their blunders. they don’t even offer a discount to the testers. CORPORATE GREED is who they are!

      • Service Packs are for fixing or enhancing software. New Versions are usually a base setup where either the software is pretty much rewritten, and /or major enhancements are added and/or all the service pack fixes are combined in a fresh version – a new base to work from.

        As for your comment about never releasing an OS that works right out-of-the-box – if they waited until it worked with every piece of software in every iteration of how they can all run and interact with each other – they would never be able to release another piece of software. Windows needs to work with software that is well written as well as poorly written. This is just too complex to get it to do this right out of the box.

        I doubt very much that Microsoft will ever support Windows 7 forever and keep adding service packs. You are correct that they are a business. They can’t reasonably support old versions. Yes they are in it to make money – but just because they are in it to make money doesn’t mean they are greedy. Sounds like you run a business – does that automatically make you greedy too? We have to make decisions that don’t always make users happy. I turn down business with users that use Apple computers. Not that I couldn’t, but I can’t be all things to all people. I have a niche I support and do a better job if I stick with it. If Microsoft needs to concentrate on their current products. If they had to spend money on supporting all versions of DOS and Windows they ever produced, they wouldn’t be able to concentrate on their newest products to the degree they do now.

        Yep – they pre-release software so we can help them get out all the bugs. I run software in combinations that they don’t run and test. I selfishly want it to work well with my software, so I like to bang around with pre-released versions. I learn more about the new software that way and can better support my users. I am not greedy enough to expect to get paid for doing this. I enjoy what I do, so I do it.

        Once I spent some time with my customers and show them how Windows 8.1 works, they are fine with it. Take for instance when Microsoft changed the interface for Office products. Many of our users complained. If you asked them to go back to a earlier version of Office today, they would complain even more. Over time people get used to the new interfaces. As an IT person, I have found out that if you reinforce users reluctance to change, you are doing them a disservice. But if you guide them along and support them the best you are able – you have much happier customers.

      • “It also appears that good solid encryption programs will be made impossible to use in this distro.” – can you clarify why you say this? This is the first hint of anything along these lines that I’ve heard of. If you can point to a source that would be great.

        As for why can’t they just issue service packs: that is my understanding of what will happen after Windows 10. Is the reason they’re calling windows 10 the last version of Windows because from now on all changes and improvements will be in the form of ongoing updates and service packs.

        • I miss Service Packs beyond SP1 in Windows 7. The volume of updates makes it hard to do a clean re-install. I’m happy to hear that Windows 10 may bring back the Service Pack. I would rather keep my files backed up and be able to do a clean re-install if necessary.

  2. I’ve been an early adopter of Windows OSes since Vista, getting Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 on the first day of release. Vista wasn’t a conscious decision, but on Vista release day the local computer chain had a promotion giving a 20% discount on a Vista machine. Since I was looking for a new machine at the time, I took advantage of the offer. I soon upgraded back to XP :(. 7 & 8 I bought cheap with my academic discount and wasn’t disappointed with either. I had been using Classic Shell since Vista so the tile interface was a minor hiccup for me. I plan to get 10 on the first day also. What makes this safe is the fact that I take monthly image backups and daily incrementals so I can revert back to 8.1 if necessary.

  3. I’ve been screwing around with computers sincw the Commodore 64 (70’s). One thing I learned the hard way is …”DON’T BUY, RENT, STEAL or BORROW ANY SOFTWARE THAT IS IN IT’S FIRST EDITION!” That was true then and it is true now. Let all those folks that love to stand in line to be the first of anything be your guinea pig for you! You can wait a few months more to see if it is worth it or not. You’ll save money and most of all agony!

  4. Definitely worth listening too. Calm, rational, well thought out advice!
    Ask Leo is my go to source for keeping safe and up-to-date on all things related to my computer and internet.

    • Good advice. I remember particularly severe problems after one McAfee and one AVG upgrade. Both experiences led me to look elsewhere for security software.

      • Could you clarify a bit on that? I updated either my W7 on my laptop, or the Norton 360 I was running at the time, and still got some sort of malware. After that, I stopped paying for security programs, and went back to the free versions. AVG is one that I went back to.

  5. I have a little Samsung netbook with Windows 7 Starter. Will that be upgradeable to Windows 10 (after a while). At present I hardly use it as it is always ‘not responding!’ Just wondered if Windows 10 might be better, or if it will make no difference.

    • Windows 8.1 has worked better than Windows 7 on “limited” hardware, in my experience. I expect Windows 10 would be helpful for you.

      It should also get you away from the “Starter” edition. The lowest edition of Windows 10 is this: “Windows 10 Home: The consumer-focused desktop edition. This will include the core Windows 10 features, such as the Edge browser, Continuum tablet-mode for touch-capable devices; Cortana integration; free Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar; Music and Video apps; and Windows Hello face-recognition/iris/fingerprint log-in for devices that support those technologies. On devices with screen sizes of 10.1 inches or less, users also will get Universal Office apps for free, once they are available.”

  6. I agree with Leo and all those who recommend patience.
    I like the idea of keeping and using a disk image of Win 7 while downloading and upgrading to Win 10, then storing it for future use. However I am still not quite sure how M$ will react to that approach. Will they still allow M$ updates on your Win 7 install? 3 to 5 years down stream will they allow you to reintroduce your Win 10 install and call it Genuine?
    We here are obviously more creative than M$ expects the masses to be, but will they block our creativeness?
    3-5 years from now I will likely have updated my current 3+ year old motherboard and CPU. How will Win 10 react if it has been in cold storage, or even if I have been using it as my primary OS?
    Many interesting questions. Some I have asked of M$ over the years. There direct reps generally get flustered and avoid real answers especially if they are swamped by a group, all like me.

    • My expectation is that everything will simply work. Why do I say that? Because those scenarios with previous versions of Windows have also just worked. I see no reason for Microsoft to change the strategy now.

    • If you install 10 and revert back to 7, you should take an image backup of 10 before reverting to 7 so you can revert back to 10 when support for Windows 7 runs out. (I hope that’s not too confusing). In the case of a new CPU and motherboard, that might not work, but if you have the same computer, it should work.

      • Damn, I hope I didn’t screw up. Several months ago Windows update asks me to re-start to complete the update. Upon re-boot Windows 10 automatically installs itself. I knew that I could revert back to 8.1 if I wanted to and I did (with my image of 8.1), but what I did not do is image the 10 install before reverting back to 8.1. Am I now going to have to buy Windows 10 when time comes to upgrade or will they allow me to repeat the upgrade if done before the year runs out?

    • Your usage of the acronym “M$” indicates your prejudices. I haven’t seen this used since the days when Mac weenies used to refer to Bill Gates as the Antichrist….
      Geez- it’s now 2015. We’re not in Win 3.1 anymore, Toto…

  7. I have been running Windows 10 TP ever since the first beta version as a second boot to windows 8.1. I am very happy with it and certainly will install the final version on 29th of July. Of course there will be some problems and future fixes but show me one, just one previous OS that STILL has not to be upgraded and fixes applied to; even the great XP still has problems.
    Windows 10 is certainly better than Widows 8…anything is better than 8. Go for it !

  8. I went from Windows 7 to 8.1, thanks to buying a new computer, and after a day or so of floundering, with a lot of help from Google I got it well tamed. I figured how to make it boot up in Desktop mode and added a third party start button which cost me $5 and was worth a whole lot more for its convenience.

    I have had the new system about 3 months now and have never had an operating system crash. Once, Firefox really crashed hard – all the other programs on the computer continued to work fine, but I had to reboot the computer to kill the crashed Firefox. That is the ONLY issue I had had – and I use my computer a lot, with many different programs open at once, and 16 gigs of RAM for their playpen.

    The worst thing about going to Windows 8.1 – and to Windows 10 – is that Office 2003 will no longer work. I was able to purchase a legit new copy of Home and Student Office 2013 for about $115 on eBay, and installed that. M$ will support Office 2013 until 2023, and maybe longer since they have said that Windows 10 might be the last version. In the mean time, anyone at M$ who is counting on me to spend $100 a year renting their office suite had best polish their resume.

    I have had so little trouble with Windows 8.1, once I got through the door, that I am really hoping and indeed expecting that Windows 10 may well prove to open a golden age for Windows computers – a robust, stable and secure platform. Maybe – just maybe – we will even no longer need any product from Adobe, or three times a week of Java updates. A fellow can dream, right?

    • “The worst thing about going to Windows 8.1 – and to Windows 10 – is that Office 2003 will no longer work.”

      Thanks for pointing this out. I use Office 2003 under Windows 7, and, despite all of Office’s irritating quirks, I’m certainly not going to subscribe to Office for little less, annually, than a lifetime licence. Nor am I tempted to buy a full desktop version, which would be both expensive and, according to some, worse than Office 2003.

      Any confirmations by other users that Windows 10 won’t run Office 2003 ? Or comparative assessments of Office 2003 and the current versions ?

      • Office 2003 *does* work with Windows 8.1. I haven’t tried installing it on Windows 10 yet but I see no reason why it shouldn’t. When the scan for compatibility for Windows 10 runs it doesn’t report any problem.

  9. I am an elderly computer user & sense that with regard to Win10 upgrade…… the old adage “Look Before You Leap” applies. Add another “Patience Is A Virtue”.

  10. I have been running Windows 10 tech preview for a couple of months and found it’s an improvement on Win 8 /8.1 and will be easier to non technical people to use. I agree with others that the tech preview version should not be used for the inexperienced as I had problems with a MSI video card crashing until I changed to a different card. Being a full time Technician I installed Win 10 on a separate hard drive so that I maintained Win7 on my original disk and can boot either. Naturally I have backup images for protection.

    From my experience I think users will be OK purchasing a new machine that comes with Windows 10 straight after it is released but if your current computer is working well I have been advising my clients to wait a few months at least so that any driver or other issues will be fixed.
    If you have a Win7 machine I don’t see much reason to upgrade to Win 10 at all other than getting the free upgrade.
    Time will tell whether users will have a pain free experience doing that as many don’t get around to doing backups until it’s too late and have to learn the hard way.

    • “If you have a Win7 machine I don’t see much reason to upgrade to Win 10 at all other than getting the free upgrade.” There is a very compelling reason to upgrade within a year, at least. Windows 10 will be supported long after support for Windows 7 expires. No need to rush out and get it, but don’t wait too long.

  11. For image backup, I assume the best medium is a portable hard drive. Would it be safe to image more than one computer on the same hard drive? Is there a safe and easy way to confirm that the image is good?

  12. From a user’s perspective, Windows 10 is mostly about winning you back after the Windows 8 fiasco. The Start menu is back and if you look closely, it’s remarkably similar to the Windows 7 Start menu with the columns reversed. In Windows 7, you pinned items to the left column but not to the right column; in Windows 10 it’s the opposite. If you can get past the fact that it looks different, the new Start menu does everything the old Start menu did.

    From Microsoft’s perspective, Windows 10 is mostly about catching up to the competition. Whether or not you want a personal digital assistant, Apple’s got one, Google’s got one, so Microsoft has to have one, too. The new Edge browser is Microsoft’s attempt to catch up to Google Chrome (and Mozilla Firefox.)

    The only really ‘new’ feature in Windows 10 is Task View, which allows you to have multiple desktops (something Linux has had for years.) Beyond that, there’s no talk about improved performance or innovative technology.

    Microsoft really wants you to switch to Windows 10 – why else is it a free upgrade – because it desperately needs to catch up. But if you’re currently using Windows 7 you have no reason to upgrade, in my opinion, particularly if Chrome is your web browser. Why ‘upgrade’ to an OS that tries to re-create what you already have? If you’re currently using Windows 8 or 8.1 /without/ a third-party Start menu replacement, you’ll be much happier with Windows 10. If you /have/ a Start menu replacement, you should upgrade to Windows 10 only if you’re excited about having a busybody digital personal assistant who spills everything she knows or guesses about you to Microsoft.

    • Just a fan theory. Most of the innovative changes come with the unpopular versions of Windows (eg VIsta, 8), when Microsoft realizes they improved the system but pissed off most of their customers, they fix the user interface and everybody praises the new OS.

      So, the compelling reason for 7 users to upgrade to 10? To take advantage of all of the speed and efficiency improvements in 8. People complain about 8, but it starts up so fast, and not one question has ever come in to Ask Leo! (well maybe a couple) about slow startup in Windows 8 which was a common problem with earlier versions of Windows.

      Windows 8 is the Microsoft Edsel. (For those too young to understand the reference http://lmgtfy.com/?q=edsel)

    • I keep reading win 8 fiasco, win 8 is useless, never use win 8, etc. To be Honest I believed all that until I used it. I have been in the computer industry since 1983 and have seen a lot of changes. I remember the complaints when we left win 3.11 behind for win 95 then 98, then xp (yes there was complaints about xp ) then vista (probably justified). Lets face it some people just don’t like change and will complain about it every chance they get. I found win * different yes but not that hard to change to I still think it is better than mac I was playing around with linux in a few different “skins” before I tried win 8 and so the change over wasn’t that bad win 8.1 I agree was a great improvement especially with win explorer but that is still frustratingly slow over networks. But over all I think each OS in a small way has been an improvement over the previous version. And really as for being hard for users I have around 100 clients who as long as they can open word and write a document check their emails and use MYOB or whatever accounting package they have they couldn’t care less what the operating system is. . Some people even think that Office is the operating system. It would seem it’s the techs and the gamers who complain the loudest because they are thrown out of their comfort zone.

    • Difference between W7 and W10 start menu is that the latter is quite ugly with its flahsy and fisher-price look made for babies (hence their promotional video). Colors are awful on it and make my eyes ache.

      Windows 7 start menu is the best to me, though I like the start8 menu I use on W8.1 with its more flattened and refined look. But W10 start menu is really horrendous !

  13. I like Windows 8. It is clean and (once you get used to it) easy to navigate. You don’t really have to navigate at all… just type and you can get what you want. I think Windows 10 will be just fine. I’ve been using home computers since they first came out and it’s really truly amazing what they can do. I also have a Mac and I like that just fine. The trick on each one is to simply learn how to operate it!

  14. I agree that we should wait B4 installing Win 10, but my question/comment is: if the upgrade comes in with a MS package update as I usually get monthly, will Win10 not be offered to us if we refuse to download it in our regular security/updates package in July or what?

    • If you ‘reserve’ your copy of Windows 10 by responding to the notice you receive from Microsoft, the software will download to your computer but it will not install. You can choose when you want to install it. Meanwhile, it’s there on your computer until whenever you’re ready to install it.

      If you don’t reserve your copy of Windows 10 you will still be able to download the software from Microsoft’s website any time you like.

      Whichever way you choose to get Windows 10, as long as you install the software before July 29, 2016, it’s yours for free. If you install it after July 28, 2016, you’ll have to pay for it.

      • In light of predictions of the initial release being riddled with bugs, might it be a mistake to reserve a copy of 10? Won’t that result is Microsoft downloading the initial release to my computer, thereby nullifying the value of waiting a few months after the initial release date to give Microsoft time to work out the bugs?

        • From what I understand, when you reserve Win 10, it will automatically download to your computer, but you don’t have to install it if you don’t want. I don’t believe it will be riddled with bugs. It’s being pretty well tested. It’s expected that a few people will have problems.

  15. After many years of using Acronis Full Image Software I’m in complete agreement with the stated concept of backing up my current Win 7 working desktop or my Win 8 system before I download Win 10 but I carried the Win 7 & 8 combination a step further and install them on separate hard drives in my desktop so I can switch between the two system by switching the power connection and thereby keep both versions updated and ready to use. This lets me use my preferred OS Win 7 but keep current with changes in the other OS’s. I will add a 3rd HD for 10. I do this as I am an instructor for a large User Group and need to stay current with what the students use.
    Another choice to think about.

  16. A lot of comments here are about ‘storing’ an image of Win10 to use when support for Win7 runs out. Er. By then, won’t we be at about Win15??
    Seems remarkably pointless to me.

    David

    • True, but if you don’t upgrade to Win 10 now, it might not be possible to get the free upgrade to 15. Although, from what MS says, there won’t be new version numbers of Windows, just upgrades to 10. That doesn’t mean progress will slow down. What I take it to mean is that is is essentially a change in the upgrade pricing structure.

    • Microsoft has indicated that Windows 10 is the last new version of Windows. It may be taking many many many many updates, but it’ll still be Windows 10. At least that’s what we know today.

  17. Leo,
    I have Windows 7 on my Dell notebook and am happy with it. My understanding is Windows 7 will be supported until 2020. That will be 8 years for my current computer. Which if it lasts that long will probably need replacing. What is the problem with just staying with Windows 7 until I have to get a new computer?

    • That sounds reasonable. However, there is something a lot of people don’t realize about Windows 8 which I’m confident will also apply to 10. The boot times are so much faster, I don’t think I could ever go back. With ClassicShell, my experience is nearly identical to Windows 7. For me, the only compelling reason to stay with an older OS would be software or hardware which wouldn’t run on the newer OS.

      • Agreed, I run W8.1 very successfully but thought I would try W10. It was OK, not much different to W8.1 but then I’m not a fundi so maybe I wasn’t expecting or looking for much. My main problem, and one that made me go back to W8.1, was the fact that quite a few of my programs were not compatible with W10. I suppose at some stage I will have move but not until I really have to.

    • Actually, if you read the article, that’s pretty much what I say. You can make the decision if you want the free edition of Windows 10 or not, as long as it supported.

      • I note that the upgrade package downloads to C:\$Windows.~BT
        Does one have to actually install the upgrade prior to the July deadline to get Windows 10 free, or is the mere posession of the install package good enough? I do know it undergoes some sort of online activation, so maybe that is where they’ll get us….

  18. I have read the comments on here and many are stating to make image backups of the whole computer disk? I am dense! I don’t know how to do this, and no one really explained how to go about doing this. I have Win 7 and like it, and I use IE, Chrome and Firefox as bowsers for different reasons. My son has Win 8 and uses Firefox for his browser which works fine. I don’t need Win 10 but reserved it. I understand it will be downloaded but not installed on my computer automatically per one comment. Can I back up my whole computer to the existing hard-drive or do I need other hard-drives. I am not computer techy or savvy. Maybe I should hire someone??? The only back-up disk I have ever made are the ones you make when you buy a new computer. I have that for both of our computers. Is this enough? Not sure if I am being clear, but hope someone can answer.

      • Acronis is an excellent backup program. Leo used to use and recommend it, but has changed his recommendation to Macrium Reflect. I would say the most compelling reason to choose Macrium Reflect over Acronis is the myriad of articles and books Leo has written on its use. Those instructions make it truly simple to install and use.

  19. I keep reading “Free upgrade to Windows 10 for the first year”. Does that mean that after a year of the free upgrade we have to pay for the OS or if it’s free while it’s available for the first year and after the promotion it’ll have to be purchaed?

    • Number 2: It’s free to download, install and register during the first year and after that it’ll have to be purchased

  20. I am running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit on a Dell XPS 8500 Desktop PC. Will Windows 10 be a “Within Windows Upgrade” or will it be a complete clean install meaning that you must install all your programs and data back on after Windows 10 installs?
    Thanks for your time!
    Mike W.

    • if you see the win10 app in you system tray you will be able to upgrade your dell pc it will be within windows upgrade no clean install

        • I have a Dell Optiplex 380 which Dell says is not compatible. Windows said it was. So when I had some vacation time I backed up my machine and tried Win 10 out. It works with no problems. I’m not trying to encourage you to try it out, but if you do, perform a system image backup so you can go back in case of trouble. I don’t trust the Windows built-in roll-back option. I’ve heard of few sad stories about that.

          • I used it some time back on a Micron ClientPro 365 with no problem. I suspect some should have been prepared to reinstall programs and drivers and it was more about lacking sources or knowledge on that. People that I’ve seen with the largest complaints tend to have no idea about OS upgrades, it’s more like buying a new brand of soap.

  21. most likely most people will like windows 10 if they like win 8 i have win7 on most of my pc and one has win8 the only thing right now i dont like about win10 is that they are not going to include windows media center and some of my pc dont show the win10 app so i will not be upgrading for now

  22. Backup todays system and hopefully you have a virus/worm/root free system to go back to.

    I’m no techie and for a year+ I had something in my home systems that the Geek Squad gave up on and another local shop couldn’t fix. Of course it wasn’t important, just getting weekly Microsoft updates to load on my 5 machines. Lo and behold MICRSOFT solve the problem by sending out a programming fix to their code a couple of months ago; and I didn’t even ask!

    Of course I still have to run every couple of weeks the Microsoft file to fix my download files (for Microsoft updates only). I run Avast, plus perodically: System Mechanic, Advance System Care 8, Slim Cleaner Plus, and Spyhunter. Only running an Avast root scan, then immediately a root scan for Reimage plus, am I able to find malware such as a key logger.

    As I expect malware programmers will jump on 10, I won’t consider upgrading but one pc at the 11th month as I have so little faith in Microsoft supporting home users.

    Good Luck and if you know why Yahoo Support is getting less helpful let LEO know.

    • I’d recommend that you still do the backup, and not be surprised if the other shoe drops, nonresident malware activates for some reason. That is what happened to me, and I had scanned the system with several high powered AV/AM programs. I still got bit by the malware!

  23. My wife and I have enjoyed Windows Media Center forever!!! If you love it too, DO NOT UPGRADE to Windows 10 as it will remove WMC!!! Our computers will remain Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 until support is discontinued unless a very easy to use alternative becomes available.
    Ask Leo needs to WARN WMC lovers against upgrading to Windows 10!
    Leo, I would encourage you to write reviews of today’s alternatives to WMC, comparing them and recommending the best easy one.

  24. My wife and I have identical computers except for the HD. We both have the same MSI Mother Board. And 8 Gig of RAM. These re special ordered computers I have the reserved icon for Windows 10 and she does not. Both have original Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit). I have made sure she has SP1 downloaded to her computer. I have SP2 but I believe she does not. Could that be the reason ?

    • Her icon could simply be hidden. Look to the left of the visible list and you’ll see a little triangle. Click on that and all the hidden icons will show in a list.

      • Every time I try to hide my icon there, it comes back. Those who don’t have it want it, and those who have it want to get rid of it. Human nature.

        • Perhaps a tad late to reply here (Sept/2015) but as I recall, in Win7 and Win 8, (I’ve now been on Win-10 since January) if you RIGHT-click on that little icon in your TaskBar, you will be presented with a list of all your loaded apps.
          You can choose to display or not display each running task.
          And at the bottom of the window showing all these tasks, as I recall, there is a check-box saying “show all tasks” or something to that effect. Just click it, or un-click it.
          Remember- in Windows, that RIGHT mouse button is your friend!

          • It wasn’t a question I was posting there. I was commenting on the fact that it’s easy to get rid of the offer, but Microsoft was so obliging to restore it every time people rebooted Windows. I also thought it funny that half the comments and questions were from people who had the icon and wanted to get rid of it and the other half from people who wanted it but didn’t get it.

  25. I am still running the same tech preview of Windows 10, since install(10074). What is involved in getting the final version or is it automatic. While I have backups, I do not want to spend hours reformatting/reinstalling. If everything still works in 9 days, I will keep 10074, but would like to just get it over and get the final version. On the web, there is nothing about upgrading from 10 to 10. I installed 10 as an upgrade, nothing was erased(I know you like clean installs).

  26. I just have one question. I’m using Window 7 presently. I never upgrade to Window’s 8 cause of the bad feedback from my work mate. If I upgrade to Windows 10 and I don’t like it, Can I downgrade back to window 7 ???

  27. Just upgraded my 5 year-old laptop to Windows 10. Took about 1.5 hrs, and was pretty much automatic. When I went to install the upgrade, I was told there was a Windows update available. Once I ran that and rebooted, the upgrade process took over. Of course I backed up first with Macrium. Overall, I don’t see any reason to wait. Pleasantly surprised how much my desktop looks like it was before the change from Windows 7.

  28. I reserved the upgrade to Windows 10 a few weeks ago, and it downloaded without my knowledge on the day it was released. I was going to wait until all the bugs have been weeded out, but since it’s already downloaded, I’m just sitting on it, right, bugs and all?

    I’m using Windows 8.1 with free software that makes the PC look and perform like Windows 7. (I didn’t want to upgrade to 8.1 from 8, but Microsoft force upgraded it on me a few months ago!) I use two languages on my PC (English and Japanese), and I have been annoyed that Windows 8.1 defaults to English EVERY time I view another window. Up until Windows 8 (I’ve used Vista, 7 and 8), the keyboard language stayed the same, whichever window I was looking at, and even after a reboot, it was in the same language that I was using last. NOT Windows 8.1. And I’m wondering if that problem is fixed in Windows 10.

  29. Help! My son decided to get Windows 10, it was free and had a Netflix package. He followed all the steps to download. He performed a virus scan, then as required to complete the download, it required the virus protection and firewall be disabled. He started to have issues and after 8 attempts to complete the download he called tech support (Reference # 1298339136) and spoke with Sahil Gutkar. Sahil asked to obtain control of my son’s computer and he gave Sahil permission. After 2 and 1/2 hours on the phone with Sahil, watching him download programs, and drivers, suddenly the computer turned blue screen and a message stating “Your hard drive will erase in 5 minutes”. Sahil freaked out, the other tech guys in the back ground started laughing. Then Sahil did the unthinkable. He hung up. That was on July 30th. We have both been calling only to be placed on hold for 30 mins then hung up on. Sometimes MSN will call back, only to be placed on hold and hung up on again. I placed a request to have a tech call and the wait time was 166 mins. I put the order in anyway. They called, only to place my son on hold. I looked to make arrangements for a tech to call. I can have one call back as soon as the end of August – maybe.

    I can not locate an e-mail address to request a tech to please call ASAP because they ruined my son’s computer and I want it fixed, along with all his programs restored.

    I am staying away from Windows 10 and refuse to use it until this situation is resolved.

    Where do I go to have MSN fix this computer? I don’t want to pay for the repairs because I don’t feel I should and I can’t afford it right now. Any suggestion would be great, thank you.

    • Are you CERTAIN that it was **MICROSOFT** you were talking to? This sounds very much like many of the scam artists out there who are taking advantage of the unwary. I would find a local technician to get your machine set up again.

    • When i upgraded my Dell laptop to windows 10 i did not shut down my anti virus or my firewall and it downloaded just fine. If something tells me to shut down my anti virus program I steer clear of it ! In my book that’s a big red flag because your computer is at risk for malicious attacks ! Did your son make sure he was on Microsoft web site ? or was he on one of those download windows 10 from {url removed} or something like that if he was he got scammed and with his anti virus and firewall off they just infected his computer! Do you have a recovery drive on the computer if you do when you first turn on the computer press enter and f12 at the same time before the computer boots and see if you can bring up recovery options then hit restore factory image . hope this helps!

  30. I am becoming very unhappy with my new Windows 10 which was downloaded by Microsoft to my computers two days ago. The first huge shock was that I could not run Lotus 123 R5W. I have over 20 years of records on something like 100 different files. You may say, easy, just convert them to Excel,!! I’m afraid that does not work, all these files use the wonderful Lotus Macro program that cannot be transferred! I cannot possibly sit down and learn Basic and then convert all the macros, I am 80 years old and have a lot better things to do with the rest of my life!! Perhaps someone could come up with a fix so that Lotus 123 would run on Windows 10. I and thousands of other faithful Lotus users would be very happy to pay $50 for a solution! The next shock is that my Segate Backup programs are not compatible! I have two 1Tb external drives that I use for backing up my hard disks. Will I now have to pay for new backup programs? How many more of my software programs will I find not compatible?

  31. I am personally satisfied with Windows 7 and I will wait as long as possible to change as from what I have read Windows 10 is no big rush at this moment in time.

    I also read this JOKE about how Windows 7 became Windows 10 and it goes Windows seven ate nine, ten !!

  32. My current win7 laptop has a few issues (slow booting & running, wifi drop-outs etc). If I upgrade to Windows 10 will it resolve these issues (as in a clean installation) or merely carry some of them over?

    • Unfortunately, the answer is a definite maybe. Although if it is a clean installation, it has a better chance of working. BACK UP FIRST!

  33. Hi,can someone,or Leo expand on the comment about having two bootable harddrives one with Win 10 and the other with Win 8/8.1.I have a 1 TB ext hardrive,partitioned into two sections.Could I put win 10 onto one section? Then if I didnt like it,switch back to win 8.1.Or,put another hardrive inside the desktop,and use that for win 10?,thanks in advance

    • You would do better to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine. However, doing that will likely have to be a purchase and install – because you will probably need a previous installation to upgrade. A better idea is to simply follow Leo’s recommendation to make a complete backup of your machine before upgrading. Simply make a full image backup, and then if you don’t like Windows 10 – you can go back to exactly the way you were before by restoring to that backup.

  34. Meant to add that I read that someone upgraded to win 10 from 7,didnt like win 10 so reverted back to 7,but said it wasnt the same.Ran very slow and had lots of problems

  35. Hi Leo. I keep hearing to back up before upgrading to Window’s 10. I have Norton 360 which includes back up protection. Is that good enough?

  36. Microsoft has to several reasons for Windows 10.
    Windows 10 is NOT a desktop operating system, yes it can currently run desktop applications, but it is designed as a front end for Microsoft’s cloud services. Cloud computing is a wonderful idea if you own the cloud, and a terrible idea if you don’t. Remember if you but something in the cloud it not yours any more it theirs!
    They are way behind in the capture of personal information about their users and they need to catch up. Currently Windows 10 has “sufficient” privacy features to make it appear that you can opt out. It is no surprise that they are all turned off by default. I suspect that over time they will disappear and/or the ability to turn them on will erode. The whole idea behind not publishing release numbers in the future is to avoid drawing attention to major changes, particularly in the level of intrusion.
    Currently you can install third party software (Firefox, Chrome, …) by downloading it and installing, you don’t have to rely on Microsoft’s App store. I wonder how long they will allow this continue. Somewhere down the road I expect them to make the Microsoft App store the only App store. They need to make their apps more attractive than third party apps and by controlling the apps store they can control the pricing (Office365 $100/year – OpenOffice $25/month) and availability.

    • For the record, I actually don’t believe that any of this is true. It is a desktop operating system, their information capture is on par with many other online services, they’re not doing away with release numbers to hide larger changes in the future, and they have no plans to make the App store the only way to get software onto your Windows machine. While some of those speculations are ludicrous (the app store one in particular – the justice department would be on them in a heartbeat, not to mention the market blow-back), I have exactly as much proof of my position as you do of yours: none. I’m just not that big a believer in conspiracy theories.

      • Leo, I’ve been a fan of yours for years, and highly respect your expertise and opinions, but I need to take issue with your dismissal of John A’s ideas as “conspiracy theories”. In fact, there’s no reason to think in terms of conspiracy at all. I’ve been a user of Microsoft products since the beginning. They have demonstrated time and again that they favor secrecy over transparency, and it’s often been difficult to know what they’re doing, and how to deal with it if you don’t like it. With this current push for Windows 10, they’ve taken another big leap in that direction.

        I don’t know if John A’s specific assertions have validity or not – I’m not defending him. But he makes a good point. We have ample enough evidence of Microsoft’s lack of transparency and truthfulness to be wary of accepting a “free” operating system from them. There is nothing free about it. Microsoft is a business and its reason for distributing Win10 quickly to as many devices as possible is profit, driven by the collection of data, personal and impersonal.

        Windows 10 is a classic loss leader. For what, exactly, we may not know for a while. I’m not a Microsoft hater – I just think we all need to be well educated about what the cost is for the “improved customer experience”.

        • If you prefer transparency to “secrecy”, perhaps you should look into using Linux, and some applications available through GitHub or Source Forge.
          You can start be reading “open-source-software” at Wikipedia (itself quite transparent).

          Microsoft is no more “secret” than Oracle or Apple or Samsung or GM, etc.
          They run a business.

          • These are all good ideas, Tony. I was trying to keep my post brief and on the subject, which was Windows 10. I choose to use Windows rather than Linux because it works for my purposes. I’m just trying to encourage folks to investigate, and know what the real costs of “free” are. The convenience is *so* seductive.

            I’ll have to look into GitHub. I stopped using SourceForge some time ago when they started bundling PUPs and other junk into their downloads like so many of the other download sites.

          • I think it’s pretty obvious what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with Windows 10, and I don’t believe it is nefarious. They are trying to catch up with Google and others in building up their network of subscribers to their services. Google has made oodles money through their “free” services and MS wants a piece of that. As for giving the Windows 10 upgrade for free, I don’t believe that would cost MS significant revenue. How many people pay for an upgrade? I doubt that it’s very many. Most people upgrade with the purchase of a new machine when they need one. I’m not going to argue whether what Microsoft is doing is good or bad, but the difference is if you don’t want to share with Google or Facebook, don’t use them. If you don’t want to share with Microsoft, that gives you some hoops to jump through. In my opinion, that’s not so nice.

            My reason for thinking it’s stupidity and not malice is Microsoft’s proven track record of stupid decisions. If you don’t believe me just think of Windows 8 and Vista. Great OSes, not so friendly to users.

        • Yeah, Dan, I agree. If you are the techie for some company, it’s usually wiser to pay for the expensive Windows stuff, even though it may be inferior- or “equal”.
          More than once I’ve had some fast-talking guy question my choices in front of the boss, while I stammered. And then lost the argument.
          But with regard to most of the “free stuff”, such as Firefox, Libreoffice and Wikipedia, I will sometimes give them $10 or so, even though I am a somewhat indigent retiree. And then try to shame my friends, who have high-paying jobs yet use the same software, into donating something. More often or not, the friends just snicker and consider me a sucker… Altruism is a bitch.

    • Incidentally, OpenOffice (now under the aegis of Apache – Larry Ellison got rid of… um, I mean, gave to them 4 years ago) is FREE. And unlike Oracle or MSOffice always has been.
      If you’re paying $25 a month for it, then you’re getting ripped off.
      Another free MSOffice clone is LibreOffice.
      I could never figure out why some folks love to pay all kinds of $$ for the MS product. Perhaps it’s their company’s money and not theirs.
      Oh yeah- I don’t believe that Microsoft had anything to do with 9-11 either.

      • I can understand why people, businesses at least, pay for MS Office. It is actually cheaper in the long run for them, for a few reasons. I once saw a chart way back from Star Office, the original and paid version of Open Office, comparing the costs of the “free” Open Office with the paid Star Office. It demonstrated that there is a cost to free in terms of lack of support. In the case of MS Office, there’s also the factor of compatibility. The cost of dealing with files from a different program would cost more in person-hours than the cost of the software in many cases. As for the general public buying MS Office, I’d chalk that up to fast talking salespeople and pre-installed bloatware.

        • You saw a chart from *staroffice* showing that paying for staroffice was cheaper than using Libreoffice for free…. In Holland they had a great publicity running “wij van WC-eend raden WC-eend aan” (we from company WC-eend, advise you to buy WC-eend (a toilet cleaning detergent) ).

          In my youth I used UNIX machines professionally, and a Macintosh at home. I was fond of Apple products, but when a friend showed me his computer running windows98 for 1/3 of the price of my mac, I decided that Apple had great products, but terrible prices. So I bought myself a “cheap” windows machine. With Windows Millennium on. A disaster, that turned into a great product when I installed windows XP on it. Windows XP was just great, doing everything what I hoped a computer could do. My wife liked it a lot too. Smooth, stable, and doing what you expect it to do.
          Then I bought myself a (still cheaper) laptop, with Vista on it. Now, the BIOS of that laptop had a problem with the driving of the CPU ventilator, and it regularly got hot and switched off. After a lot of power failures because too hot CPU, I ended up with the blue screen of death. I had made the installer CD (12 of them !) as explained by MS, and when I wanted to re-install VISTA, it didn’t work. In order for me to use that piece of hardware other than as a paper weight, I installed Ubuntu on it (and I re-flashed the BIOS with a new version that made the ventilator work correctly). That was in 2008 if I remember well. It took me some time to get used to linux. I’m still using this machine right now. When the other win-XP came to its end, I bought a desktop without any system on it, installed an XP/Ubuntu dual boot on it for my wife, and after a few months of adaption, she was quite happy with it. I ended up reformatting and leaving the XP part out. I did buy another windows laptop (8.1), and turned it in a dual boot. I only boot into the windows partition if I need to run software that doesn’t run on linux, and that cannot be emulated well with wine (most windows software does work with wine on linux).
          Apart from certain pieces of specialized software needed for professional work, I am much happier without any windows. I can modify my linux system as pleases me. I don’t have to be afraid of “will MS allow me? “. I’m free to do what I want. I upgrade when I want (or not). Usually, I stay 2 years behind major releases, so that when I install them, there is already a lot of experience with it and for all the problems you might encounter you find solutions on the community forums. Recently I installed a dual boot windows8/linux system on a new PC of a colleague of my wife. She’s pretty happy about it. Dual boot is ideal for the transition period, to have ease of mind, that you can always get back to windows when you feel lost… but you don’t.

          It is true that 5-8 years ago, linux systems and open source software still needed more attention than windows or a mac for that matter (my son has a mac from his grand father). But by now, it works as well out of the box as any MS or Apple system (Apple is btw a UNIX system by now, and Android is a linux system too).

          A few years ago, however, Canonical (the distributor of Ubuntu) started to do strange things with their relationship with Amazon and the likes. There were a few privacy problems with the Dash in their Unity desktop. You could switch if off and I wasn’t concerned, as I don’t use the new unity standard, but still revert to the old Gnome classic, where all this automatic search functions and so on don’t exist. If they go too far in the privacy intrusion way, I might switch to another linux distribution (arch linux or mint for instance). But, and this is the important message, that:
          1) will be entirely up to me
          2) it will *always* be possible to take away the privacy offending pieces of software from a linux system if they are so perceived.

          The only reason to switch to another distribution for that reason would be that it would simply be too much of a hassle. Also, by that time, there will be enough derivatives of Ubuntu that will not have these issues that Canonical would simply shoot itself in the foot if it pissed off their users too much. There are many very similar linux distributions, and competition in that field is very hard, as switching over from one to another is relatively easy. I like Ubuntu because of its user-friendliness and the “out of the box and it works” properties. But if I lose the slightest bit of trust in them, I switch over to another distro.

          So, the “price” of free software is really not that high. It works as well as propriety software, you find a lot of documentation in the community forums, you can ask for help there, and yes, you can pay for professional assistance. Canonical offers professional assistance for instance. You are master of your system, however. That’s the big difference.

          I fully respect people who have a preference for apple or for microsoft products. But I’m afraid that they simply don’t *know* what a linux system has to offer. If they make an informed choice, all the better, I want people to be free. But I wonder whether they make an informed choice. I’ve rarely seen people revert back to MS after having got used to linux.

  37. When will be the last day that I can upgrade Windows 10?

    I am happy with Windows 7 now, so I do not intend to do anything now, but I will upgrade to Windows 10 before the free upgrade ends, because the Windows 7 updates will stop much earlier than Windows 10. Getting Windows 10 just because it is free and has updates for a longer time. Thanks

    • Microsoft said a year, so somewhere around July 28, 2016. Microsoft will probably make some announcements as that date approaches.

  38. Upgraded to Windows 10 (12/14/15) and have had to spend a few days fixing a lot of the settings and I’m still not done. Let me explain. I’ve used Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit for years with very few problems. It seams Windows 10 uses a Microsoft Account for every program including logging on. After getting some settings setup it changes your logon identity to your Microsoft Account login data automatically. So if you restart your PC you had better know your Microsoft log in account data even if you have not used it for 6 months. Personally, I’d like to use my old Windows 7 password here.

    Since I use Office 2010 Outlook, it also put Outlook into safe mode on its own. (There was a delay before this happened to me) To get out of that you have to uninstall KB311409 which is a MS patch that didn’t work. Window 10 also sends you to the web to find out how to fix things like this. So you may have to read a dozen posts to get the fix I just mentioned, and also the rout you need to know how to fix it.

    Another situation you may run into when setting up is that MS may send you an email with numbers you need to post to fix something. They say this is for your security, but it is a real pain, since you have to make sure you don’t close the window you were working on to fix the setting on. It would be nice if most the setting had a more information box. Like what options there were and a clear explanation on what it does. For instance there is a phone app. Is doesn’t say this is for a smart phone, so if you make the mistake of entering data in the settings like I did. You have to either fix it pr ignore it. However there are others setting that are dependent on what you entered in another setting.

    Like Leo says Windows 10 is still a work in progress. If your Computer savvy make the jump be if your not an IT-dude be prepared to spend some time before you can use it on a daily basis

  39. I have windows 8.1…I think on an acer touch screen not book 11.3? inches and it has been slow since literally the day I turned it on the 1st time out of the box so will upgrading help or would I just be adding more stuff to make it slow? it has more memory than I could ever use and 480G or more free space as most is the music I tried to transfer then my laptop was stolen and now have tons of data only half of which are songs now. would windows 10 help either of these problems?

  40. I have a older HP laptop that my wife uses on rare occasions that I upgraded to 10 several months ago. Had no problems and is working well except it seems to run slower than 8.1. Don’t use Cortana and turned off all sharing with Microsoft. I know MS says they aren’t doing anything bad but why should I trust them? Haven’t before and don’t now. Anyway, I got tired of 8.1 and the two page start nonsense. So with the last update I bit the bullet and upgraded my new Dell laptop. No problems upgrading except it takes forever. Win 10 runs as fast as 8.1 which I suspected was the case with my older one. And as before turned off Cortana and MS sharing. So far no problems, can I say ‘yawn’ over the new version. Much ado about not much of anything.

  41. I finally upgraded a few weeks ago from 8.1 to 10. I am very happy with Windows 10 and had no issues with the upgrade. I was a bit nervous when I started the process though.

  42. I jus bought a New Machine ,, an Acer netbook “Aspire ES-14, I am coming up from Windows XP Pro ,, So Far so good jus getting used to feel of the “New View” ,, anyway it has increased my production time and eased some effort required to get to my desired result of whatever it is I am doing I was self taught on XP and I think I had going pritty good on an Old Machine until it experienced some hardware degradation on the power ,, I will fix that 1 and still use it ..

    So I was in a pinch for a quick repair but no parts available right away ,, so I Just bought a new 1 and I like it so far ,, It will be interesting !! First I will need to learn how to make a backup !! The only thing I don’t like is, “On the Machine” this touch pad is terrible so far ,, maybe I’ll get used to it !!

    I made that old machine go until now ,, and it looks as if Microsoft is gonna stay on Window 10 ,, therefore I was successful !!

  43. been on windows 10 for months now and couldn’t be happier.I especially like the security and maintenance automatic checks.

  44. “By taking it on today, you’ll be guaranteed the longest life possible, as Windows 10 support will be provided for longer than any other version of Windows.” As I understand it, “the longest life possible” is actually forever or for the life of the machine in the case of OEM software.

    • I saw this yesterday and shared on Facebook. The problem is people will believe what they want, regardless of the facts. Haters gonna hate and all that. 🙂

  45. Or, to give some real reasons which have nothing to do with the Start bar:
    I was a real fan of both Windows 8 and 10, and currently have 10 on all my machines. However, Microsoft took a wrong turn and started making really horrible updates. After one of these my screen started flickering (and still is), windows are closing and opening at their convenience. It’s a huge bug in the graphics driver caused by a Windows 10 update package. I Googled it – it’s a common problem. Can’t do anything but wait for the next update.
    One morning my 6-month-old PC wouldn’t boot. It suddenly didn’t recognize my SSD. It took me a week to find how to fix it, and again – the problem was caused by Windows. Somehow, for some reason, SSD got locked.
    The last version of IE was fantastic, it was the best browser on the market. However, Microsoft decided to abandon it due to bad reputation, and rebrand it as Edge. Edge, of course, sucks. It’s a really poor product. And that means Microsoft abandoned a good product in favor of a bad product, out of fear of reaction from the customers.
    This is what they’re doing these days. Or, should I say, they don’t know what they’re doing. They’ve lost all sense of direction, probably because they’re in a state of panic as their entire business model and their fan base are crumbling to pieces.
    Cortana is utterly useless, for example, but they developed it because they someone else doing it right.
    In short, I don’t think these guys will do anything right in the coming months or even years. After the SSD incident I’ve decided to switch to Linux at my earliest convenience. I don’t have time for a company that releases unstable updates that screw up people’s PCs.
    So my conclusion – do buy Windows 10 if you’re hoping these things won’t happen to you. I have Windows 10 on three computers and only one is having problems. Depends on the actual hardware and the resulting conflicts, I guess. The machine with problems has a 120 GB Kingston SSD and a Haswell Celeron G1840 on an ASRock H81M-ITX motherboard. Long story short, Windows 10 would be the best operating system on the market if it weren’t for horrible bugs and horrible business decisions by the Microsoft team.

    • “I was a real fan of both Windows 8 and 10, and currently have 10 on all my machines. However, Microsoft took a wrong turn and started making really horrible updates.” – I’m inclined to agree. Windows 10 has the potential to be the best OS ever to come out of Redmond, but it also comes with several – in my case, relatively minor – problems that really shouldn’t be present.

      “Edge, of course, sucks.” – I actually like Edge.

      “Windows are closing and opening at their convenience.” – Laptop? And, if so, does this only happen when the lid is closed? If so, it may well be a touchpad/driver issue. As a first step, try adjusting the settings so that the touchpad is disabled when the lid is closed.

    • Windows is no worse than OS X, iOS or Android: they all phone home. It’s simply a requirement for the cloud-orientated, hyperconnected functionality that people want and expect from their devices today. If you notice, the brouhaha over Windows 10 privacy is being whipped up by the press rather than actual security researchers/experts or IT pros. That’s because the latter actually understand networking and how operating systems work, while the former are simply looking for clickbait headlines.

      Do you really think that that pretty much every enterprise and government agency in the world would be using Windows and/or OS X if they represented a security/privacy risk?

      • Yes, and if you have a smart phone, Apple or Google or Microsoft or who ever provides your OS, will get so much more information than your computer OS (including the infamous Windows 10) ever will.

        • Indeed. And it’s important to keep things in perspective and understand that tracking/reporting is necessary in order to provide the functionality that the majority of people want their devices to provide. In the past, devices were pretty dumb – heck, PCs didn’t even know what time it was without manual input or the use of a third-party app . Today, our devices are much smarter and do everything from setting the time to providing location-based services and personalized search results. Additionally, connection problems are automatically identified and diagnosed, settings can be linked to logins and automatically applied to any device you sign into, apps can provide locally relevant content by accessing your language list, you can find/track a lost device, etc., etc., etc. And, of course, all this functionality requires tracking/reporting. There’s a privacy trade-off for sure but, in my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons.

          It’s actually quite fascinating to think about the possible future impact of the massive amounts of data that companies are now collecting and storing. For example, at the moment, health/medical studies are relatively small scale and look only at data from an extremely small percentage of the population. However, devices like the Fitbit and Microsoft Band have the potential to totally change that by providing us with an absolutely unprecedented level of data related to people’s health and wellness, enabling us to see correlations that simply could not be seen before. And if you start aggregating that data with data from other sources….well, the possibilities are endless. It’s quite conceivable that, one day, we could receive prescriptions in our email before we even know we’re sick, and without ever needing to see a doctor.

          • I would think like every one else including you, I would like to know how that data is being used and how long it is being stored. Do you see that as a problem or to much to ask. Do you ever worry that to much information is a bad thing. That it could possibly be used against you in ways we have not seen yet or have you thought that far a head Ray. Just wondering. Is it a bad thing for someone to ask you for your information and do with it what they want, or is it worse to just take it with out asking.

          • D – Microsoft, Apple and Google all make detailed – and clearly worded – privacy statements available. For example:

            https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement/?Componentid=pspMainWindowsModule&View=Description

            Sure, it’s possible that they could decide not to abide by the terms of those statements – and so could your bank or any other business or organization that holds your personal information – but is it likely? Nope. In fact, it’s extremely unlikely.

          • I don’t think I would use Google and privacy together…http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32083188. That is just one of many examples. That privacy statement is only as good as your actions in my opinion…smiles.
            I use Chrome sometimes but I do know Google to…lol. I also use Firefox and Internet Explorer. Edge maybe ready for you but with no extensions, no save as and etc. speaking for me I personally can’t use it. I do hope that get those things later on. We will see.

            I’m not a Microsoft basher by no means. I actually like Microsoft. I just don’t know where their thinking is at anymore. That is what worries me. For example…http://www.ghacks.net/2015/11/03/microsoft-announces-onedrive-storage-plan-downgrades/ then http://www.ghacks.net/2015/12/30/microsoft-reveals-why-it-decided-to-limit-onedrive-storage/ .

            If you are going to use their products you are going to have to deal with this, so it is what it is.

            Thank you for posting back…D.

          • D – In relation to the initial link, Google claimed that its actions were unintentional and the result of a change in Safari’s cookie handling. While that doesn’t exonerate Google – it’s up to the company to make sure its technologies work with other technologies in the way it describes – mistakes can happen.

            It’s also worth noting that it’s very much is companies’ interests to be self-policing. And to avoid incidents such as this. If people lose confidence in a company, they’ll quickly stop using its products/services.

            BTW, the ad landscape is extraordinarily competitive with Google, Microsoft and Apple all competing for revenue. An interesting read:

            http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/17/9338963/welcome-to-hell-apple-vs-google-vs-facebook-and-the-slow-death-of-the-web

          • @ Ray Smith

            Thanks for sending that link. I had read that back then and it is as it was back then an interesting read.

        • It’s not just computers. At least most up to date computers have some form of hacking protection available (even if many people don’t know how to use them, or turn them off because some idiot tells them it’s a privacy invasion).
          Have a wireless home security system, any Smart device, even a simple cell phone? Then check out this link:
          http://www.zdnet.com/article/yes-your-smart-toaster-really-will-be-spying-on-you-for-the-government/?tag=nl.e505&s_cid=e505&ttag=e505&ftag=TRE0fb9d06

  46. I ran Windows 10 on a test machine off and on but did not switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10 on my primary computer until January of 2016. I was interested all along but didn’t feel the need to be a “pioneer”.

    I always do a fresh install vs. an upgrade. Things seem to go smoother and it forces some usually much needed housecleaning. I also skipped the image backup step. Instead I took the opportunity to install a fresh new drive that hadn’t been spinning away for the past five years. I still have the Win7 drive as my “image” if needed.

    A part of my house cleaning regimen with a new OS is to make an effort to not blindly install every program I had on the old machine. I use what comes with the new OS if it’s workable and only install items that aren’t built in or I can’t make work the way I need. I’ve installed quite a few apps for specific tasks Windows doesn’t provide (Macrium, CrashPlan, development tools, etc.) but I have kept Thunderbird for email (because I’m set in my ways) and installed Firefox because a lot of sites either complain or just don’t work quite right with the Edge browser. I do have to say that in general I like Edge.

    I think the biggest thing about Windows 10 is that you have to spend some time figuring out how to do some of the routine tasks you used to know instinctively. But then I recall doing that anytime I switched from one version of any OS to another. Most liked new feature: Multiple Desktops.

  47. As a user of desktops running Windows 7, 8.1 and now Windows 10, I see very little or no difference between the operating systems. After installing the Classic Shell program in the later two, I actually prefer 8.1 over Windows 10. And that’s just the simplicity of navigation.
    Windows 10 seems to do nothing to benefit the user over their previous operating systems. It does appear to benefit the corporation for future profitability in products tied directly to the operating system which may be purchased directly from Microsoft. That seems to be the main motivation behind the big push for Windows 10.
    A clean installation of Windows 8.1 runs much smoother and faster compared to the same hardware configuration running an upgraded version of Windows 10, hands down, no contest. I’ll delete the entire hard drive and replace Windows 10 with 7, 8.1 or Ubuntu.
    Coming up on a year anniversary when Windows 10 was first introduced, and there are STILL driver issues affecting every day simple task when using this operating system.
    No thanks to Microsoft. Just another reason to explore Linux on the latest hardware.

  48. Windows 10 must finally be working for me because I don’t dread cummulative updates anymore, although I do a system image if I see one coming. Did an upgrade with a non-supported laptop and, although I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for “tweaks” I needed to fix Sleep and Hibernate problems,the actual fixes were pretty simple ones.Did one small registry tweak to an outdated program to keep it working. It’s quite possible the upgrade would work “out of the box” at this point but I have a great functioning system now that I like, and as a bonus on a separate install to a tablet a serious,annoying media player issue, seemingly uncorrectable, no longer exists. My laptop definitely boots up faster(my Windows 7 had gradually accumulated some cobwebs) and everything just seems to be running smother. Don’t like the updates format because of some early problems but as many predicted they were issues that seem to have been worked out after six or so months. I’m pretty happy, overall.

    • “As a user of desktops running Windows 7, 8.1 and now Windows 10, I see very little or no difference between the operating systems.” – Indeed. I think operating systems and apps have reached a point where it’s becoming increasingly challenging for companies to deliver compelling upgrades on a regular basis. I suspect this is why Microsoft decided to make Windows 10 a no-cost upgrade and the reason for the transition to a subscription-based pricing model for apps such as Office and Adobe Creative Cloud. People are more likely to pay a modest yearly subscription than they are to pay a more significant sum every couple of years for an upgrade that isn’t much changed from the previous version.

  49. Let’s see…been to 10, the Wizard was just a dude. I’m nearly fifty and probably have enough maladies to be deceased by 2020. 7 is the XP that they got right. I have bigger problems with Yahoo.

    Nope. My cat isn’t interested either 🙂

    • Being over 75 with some incurable conditions (for one the doctors said I would be dead by 1988), I still plan to be here past the end of Win 7’s support, and probably that of Win 8.1.
      I haven’t upgraded to Win 10 yet, but am about ready – giving MS time to try and satisfy their customers. Since my cat loved Win 8.1, I’m sure he will also like Win 10. [He likes to play jokes on me. Once he completely inverted my display. Not sure how he managed that, as it would take a three-paw keystroke. (-; ]

  50. Leo said,
    “When it works, Windows 10 is a solid operating system”

    To me this is the key issue, have been using win10 for some time now on a 14 months old comp. and happy with it when it works, but I have two major issues with it.

    First, it will randomly and suddenly restart without warning, and secondly BSOD with various warnings.

    I have spent many hours on the net along with scores of others with the same problem trying to find reasons for this, so far without success.
    Sent the crash report to MS techs but no concrete fix, tested the memory dozens of times, CPU runs at 40C max even under heavy usage no games played on this machine no illegal pirated software.

    If this keeps up I’m going back to Win 7 which I originally had when bought it for its first year under win7 it BSODd once.
    If anyone can suggest a permanent solution I’m willing to pay for it.

      • Thanks Ray,
        been there done a lot of recommended tests, one suggestion was to replace the MB. It’s just out of warranty and I’m a bit reluctant to do so on a ‘maybe it is?’ Cost wouldn’t be a great issue as it was only about $200 AUS, but what if it’s not the MB?
        Trying to narrow it down a bit more but we are running out of ideas and what worries me more that there hundreds of ppl complaining about this problem. And those are only the ones coming to the forums!

        • Did the problems start immediately after the upgrade? Or immediately after an update? If so, it’s much more likely to be a software problem than a hardware problem, and so it’d be best not to buy replacement hardware. If you were able to temporarily revert to Windows 7 – and if doing so were to solve the problem – that would eliminate the possibility of it being a hardware problem.

          • Getting closer to a solution, most of the crashes centre around the Nvidia driver for one of my graphics card, but I do have the latest drivers so no more room there to move.

            Until I’m getting a new late model monitor I’m stuck with the card. I’m running three screens and one of them fairly old that needs the GeForce 8400 GS card, otherwise I could use my Radeon HD 7700 card for all three monitors.
            Written to the company not sure what effect it will have but?
            In the end it comes down to lack of suitable drivers for Win10.
            Thanks for your interest.

          • @Mark – It could very well be a GPU/driver issue. I encountered a similar(ish) driver-related problem on a Toshiba laptop that was producing errors after being upgraded to Windows 10. Toshiba only offered a Windows 8 driver and, while a Windows 10 driver was available from the manufacturer, it wouldn’t install due to the laptop running a customized (Toshiba) version of the driver (and, of course, Windows Update wouldn’t deliver the Windows 10 driver either). I was able to force-install the Windows 10 driver with some jiggery-pokery, but it was a tricky process.

            You may wish to try experimenting with Compatibility Mode:

            http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_devices/how-to-install-and-update-drivers-in-windows-10/a97bbbd1-9973-4d66-9a5b-291300006293

          • Well as of today I’m back on Win7.
            Had two quick restart without warning and a BSOD with “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL with driver ntoskrnl.exeat address ntoskrnl.exe+142480”
            Had enough of Win 10 for a while, made an image and reverted to my saved image of Win 7.

            So far all is well.

        • Just to inform, 5 days and all is well with win7.
          Never said win10 itself was at fault but I obviously have some hardware not compatible with it. I can live with win7.

  51. Leo, This is just an intro to some of your novice readers. Please feel to edit it or delete it if you feel it not right. Thank. FL
    Nothing is more challenging to a novice computer user than to install a new, unfamiliar and untested (in your computer) and installing a new version of Windows. Instead of giving you installation guides, allow me to say what I did.
    When I built my computer I installed 2 trayless mobile hard drive racks in the bays you would normally install the hard drives. They mount and connect the same way as a HDD (hard drive). After you close up the computer BUT BEFORE you turn it on, you can open the front door of the mobile rack and insert the hard drive (HDD). Close the door and turn on the computer. The Mobo’s (motherboard’s) bios should see the HDD and boot the computer as usual. Run the computer for a while to make sure all is working well. Then shut the computer (machine) down and wait a minute for the HDD to stop spinning. The jarring ogtaking it out while spinning may damage it.
    Now take a new blank HDD and insert it where the other HDD was. Shut the front door. Turn on the computer to apply power to DVD player and open the DVD player. Insert the Windows 10 DVD and close the tray. If you don’t do this fast enough, don’t worry. Just hit the reset button (or the magic 3)and the computer will restart and read the DVD since there is no other system is instlled.
    Hopefully Win 10 will install anfter few thousand choice you have to make. After installed, Go get a cup of coffee so Windows can download updates if it needs to. When done, PLAY with it. If you do any damage, you can do a new install. When you feel you had enough play time, SHUT THE COMPUTER DOWN and swap the hard drive like I mentioned earlier. Restart the machine and get back to work with your old system untouched.
    This way you learn Windows 10 without the worry and confussion of what will or will not work with Win 10 or what will crash it. Install one program at a time and test it. This takes longer but it is a great deal painless.
    Oh, the second mobile rack can be used to create a clone copy of your new system HDD. As you are installing your different apps, if one should crash the computer, if you made a clone copy everytime after installing a few programs, you can clone the original HDD, rather than risking a corrupting piece of date remaining after deleting the unsupporting app.

  52. Hi Leo, thanks for a good article. May I respectfully suggest it does not address one problem, which is planned obsolescence of peripherals. Manufacturers make their devices obsolete by not upgrading the drivers. Hence I have two perfectly good USB flat-bed scanners, which are not recognised in Win 8 or 10. One of them finished with XP, and the excuse the manufacturer gave did not wash with me and sounded like an outright lie. I’m tempted to name them. Obviously that is not Microsoft’s fault, but it is an important issue. Check if there are drivers for your device in Win 10 before upgrading folks.

  53. “If it ain’t broke, let’s not fix it.” That’s how I feel. Whenever it comes time, I will learn to adapt to Windows 10. But until then, since my Windows 7 works just fine, I don’t see the point of upgrading. I’m still not sure why I would want to upgrade just because the one year free is about to expire (presumably in July). I figure that by the time I need to stop using Windows 7, I probably will need a new computer, and it will come pre-loaded with Windows, so why would I upgrade?

  54. Hi Leo.
    Just A comment on windows 10. why does Microsoft think I need there folders. like music and pictures?
    The pictures folder is the one that got me and with the free home edition you are not able to change it. Then on top of that it wanted to back up to one drive, so you would have to upgrade your storage.
    Will. I went to Linux mint, after trying it out, There are a few trade off, but I will get by.

  55. I upgraded to W10 about 6 months ago, and enjoying it very much. Before the upgrade I made an image of my last used W7. It was times that I wanted downgrade back to W7 because of some troubles I had which I now believe was solved by Microsoft. I have every week an incremental backup image of my system. Any how I got the idea to keep my W7 updated. So once a month I restore my last W7 image updating it, installing new software I did last month in W10 updating other software that were updated in W10 last month. Off course all my data is not in the system partition but in other partitions. I can work a while with W7 getting and reading mails and other staff see every thing is OK and make a new image of the updated W7. Then, restoring my last W10 image and keep enjoying it.

  56. For me, the main problem with Windows 10 is the fact that if you do not pay for an Enterprise edition, you are a forced beta-tester for the premium customers of MS.
    I only use windows for certain applications that do not run on linux (such as electronics design software). I hardly boot into windows, only when I need to work with those applications. I want a stable system, I want to decide whether I upgrade or not, and when I do so.

    Yes, probably there are back doors in Win 10 by the NSA, but as Leo says, probably I’m not interesting enough for that to matter (although, if I would be working on TOR, that might change…). In any case, if you use a propriety OS, you should expect being spied on by the maker of it. Only open source can reasonably protect you against too obvious wide open back doors and build-in spying (simply because it is there for everybody to see, although not many are looking). But that’s not the problem. The problem with windows 10 is the fact that Microsoft reserves the right to modify your system at any moment and that there’s nothing you can do to stop them if you are connected.

    So I don’t think I will upgrade (although the trick with the disk image is something I didn’t think off!)

  57. Windows 10 is the ultimate Spy Tool.

    At the outset I need you all to know that I do not believe in conspiricy theories

    {edit}
    I’m taking the rare step of removing the content of a comment, but leaving the beginning of it here as an attempt to be completely transparent.

    What followed was, in my opinion, a complete conspiracy theory – right down to using the phrase “New World Order”.

    Now, I normally would let that kind of thing stand, but it made accusations that I just can’t abide with having on my site. It’s not that I’m defending Microsoft in any way – I’ve not been shy about saying that they’ve made some colossal mistakes in their Windows 10 roll-out and approach. But I also don’t need this kind of misinformation on my site.

    So, you’re welcome to publish it … elsewhere.

    Leo
    {end edit}

  58. The two unexpected issues with Windows 8.1 were – not booting to the desktop and not having a ‘start’ menu. These are easily solved by installing ‘Classic Shell’ and then adjusting the ‘Settings’ to suit one’s self. One irritating loss was the lack of the ‘Quick Launch’ toolbar but this too is easily recovered – just search the Web for ‘Quick Launch missing in Windows 8.1’ for instructions. Then, do some customising (and the necessary web searching to find out how) and Win8.1 soon looks and behaves better than Windows Xp, Vista, 7, 8 and Microsoft’s offering of 8.1. As to running old software, it certainly runs Office 97 including Access but it is easier and better to use the latest Open Office (except for Access). Also, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 runs well albeit with a couple of minor issues with browsing and printing and these are easily overcome when they occur. The only sofware that will not run for me was an astronomy program I wrote for MSDOS in the early Nineties – not surprising really.

    Having set the computer up as you like it, you have the best of both worlds being able to switch easily between the desktop and Apps views or using Apps directly from the menu (but having initially tried some of the Apps I no longer find any use for them). As you will have guessed, I will not be upgrading to Windows 10 and anyway Windows 8.1 will be supported for some years yet and by the time that support ends a new computer will probably be required or I will have installed Linux Lite as a replacement.

    Finally as mentioned several times above, do not forget to do a ‘system image backup’ – found in the bottom left corner of Control Panel > File History. This should be done immediately after starting a system for the first time and then after any major change or update to the system once you feel that change is stable. If not done and the system crashes badly it will be quickly become apparent as to why this backup is necessary. If upgrading to 10 do make a system image backup just before the upgrade and keep it separate from any backup made after the upgrade just in case 10 is not liked or does not work for you.

    • Leo has an article on creating a Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7. I would expect it also to work in 8 & 10. Personally, I have all of my frequently used programs and folders pinned to the Task Bar using small icons. I now prefer it to the Quick Launch.

  59. I have never had any trouble with windows 7 or 8 or 8.1 worked perfect. Windows 10 has caused me a lot of stress and aggravation. It keeps wanting to download over and over again and causing me to lose all my data. I cannot find a solution to this problem. I was excited about win 10 being an insider. but no more.

  60. The Windows 10 “upgrade” has one significant “downgrade” for those who are avid users of Onedrive. I use Onedrive cloud to store files “online-only” to save drive space. My Windows 8.1 computer shows the folders and filenames in the local File Explorer, even though the content of the files is only available in the cloud. However, the local drive of my Windows10 computer’s File Explorer does NOT show the list of folders or files for the “online-only” files, and the only way I know the list of files and folders that are “online-only” is to sign on to my Onedrive account online. I find it extremely useful to have the file list available offline, even if the content is only accessible online. That allows me to conserve hard drive space and still be able to know what information I have to access. I asked MS why is this problem occuring with Windows 10? Is there a way to fix it? If not now, does Microsoft have a definite plan to fix this? Their response was quite non-informative and was simply: “Hopefully the new update will correct this problem.” They did not mention which they are refering to, and I wonder what they mean by “hopefully”. Do they even acknowledge this as an issue? For myself it is an important enough feature to stick with 8.1

  61. If I upgraded to win 10 on my machine which now runs Win 7 Pro and decide to keep 10, then the Win 7 license seems to be free to use on another machine. Would I then be able to put the Win 7 Pro on another computer that cannot run Win 10, It is rarely hooked up to the internet but most of the time is hooked up to my home network. So can I install the unused Win 7 on another machine? One that now has Win XP on it?

    • I don’t believe the Windows 7 license code is available to use on another machine. Your Windows 7 key becomes the Windows 10 key.

    • This is one of the many problems of using propriety software such as Windows: you are not free to use it as you like. This is my main reason for me to try to avoid using propriety software as much as I can (without becoming so sectarian that I would hinder myself: I do have a windows computer lying around for that software that can’t run on anything else, and even a Mac). I’m not commenting at all on the quality of propriety software systems such as Windows or OSX (which is now based upon a free unix system, BSD, btw). My issue with propriety systems and software is not so much that I’m a cheapskate and don’t want to pay, but rather that I’m technically and legally limited to do as I please with the stuff I bought. (I find the free in freedom more important than the free in free beer). You are hitting one of those limitations too here.

      I would seriously suggest to you to make an image backup (*) of your XP machine (so that you can revert to it if ever you don’t like it), and to install Ubuntu on it. Indeed, if it has XP, it must be a rather old machine, and linux being much leaner than windows 7 or 8, runs quite well on old hardware. I suggest Ubuntu as a linux distro, because it is by far the most user-friendly distro around for people making their first steps into the free software world. On most old hardware, it installs like a dream.

      (*) I would make the image with Clonezilla (making a Clonezilla bootable CD or DVD first), because that boots externally totally independent of what is on the machine, so even if you completely mess up the machine, Clonezilla can put the disk exactly in the state it was before (if you do a full disk image, and not a partition image).

    • My understanding is that, no, the Windows 7 license does not become available by the update. It’s still “in use”, so to speak, by your Windows 10 upgrade.

  62. Leo,
    Microsoft has put a message on my husbands computer that says ” Windows 10 will install March 7th at 11:00 PM. We hadn’t yet decided to even get Windows 10. If we did I think I should get the Geek Squad or someone like that to do it for us. I”m thinking of doing an install as was suggested above and activate it, then do an image backup to save. He has Windows 7 Professional so he would get Windows 10 Professional upgrade.
    I, however, have Windows 7 home so I would get Windows 10 home, which as was stated above would be not so good. Would it be possible to put the saved Windows 10 Professional on both our machines?

  63. I’m running Win 7 on my desktop (3 GHz proc and decent memory and HD). I have been doing weekly periodic backups, both full disc images and data files, to an external USB HD. I could easily do the MS upgrade to Win 10, but I just looked at my Win 7 update log, and MS has done over 550 twiddles to my OS in the past 7 months alone. I suppose I long for a clean install. I understand that I need to do this in several steps, so could anyone describe the best way to do a clean Win 10 installation with the ability to salvage my very large Win 7 data archives? I get the feeling that MS has made this difficult for some reason known only to them, but I did a Win 10 clean install on an old Win 7 laptop 6 months ago (scrubbed empty first) and so far, Win 10 continues to run and update on this machine without any issues. (In the future, will MS be able to tell if I have done a naughty clean install, and somehow penalize me?)

    • The classic approach is:

      Perform a full image backup.
      Install Windows 10 from scratch.
      Install all your apps from scratch.
      Restore your data from your backup.

  64. WINDOWS 10 INSTALL… THE HAL-9000 EFFECT

    OK, I followed Leo’s excellent advice and made a full image backup. Easy, with Macrium Reflect (free) and a 1TB, USB 3 drive (just $55…amazing). So far, so good.

    After carefully selecting “Download Now, Install Later” I left to run errands and came home to find the Win 10 install 96% complete! WTH?

    Configuring Win 10 was straightforward except for the fact that each fork in the road had a HUGE button to continue down the recommended road to Oz, and a tiny link (typically way off to the left, under other text) that opened a custom config page.

    Please tell your readers:
    Put on glasses, go slow, and search for options if you want to avoid unwanted features (“stuff”).

  65. Wel the time had come to byte the bullet and upgrade from Win 7 pro to Win 10. The first attempt using the “download now install later” method was unsuccessful. The spinner spun but nothing downloaded. After several hours aborted that for more research. I then downloaded the ISO file for the WIn 10 upgrade and made a DVD. Further advice included removing all security software and minimizing any Start up tasks and scanning the hard disk for errors. Then logged on as Administrator and upgraded from The DVD without any problems. The benefit seems to me to separate the download task from the upgrade task in case either gets stuck and to have the media to restart or reinstall.

    The Win10 installed no longer has a product Key but an “entitlement certificate” which allows it to be re-installed on the same hardware. I am not sure exactly how that works.

  66. Yesterday I replaced Windows 7 with Windows 10, and immediately came across some unsettling surprises:
    • Hardware incompatibility: I can no longer scan with two of my Canon printers. And my Microsoft IntelliMouse will not work with Microsoft’s own Windows 10. That’s because the manufacturers have decided that they will not create drivers for Windows 10 for those devices. The astonishingly long list of Windows 10-incompatible printer/scanners is in an article on the Canon website called “Information on Windows 10 and Older Printer/Scanner Models” (Doc ID ART162514). NB: The printers will print just fine. They just won’t scan any longer.
    • Software incompatibility: When I created a list of my installed software, an alarming number was listed as “Unavailable.” I’m still learning what that means exactly, in practical terms. It can’t be good.
    Today it’s looking like I’ll be making a backup image of my PC running on Windows 10, and then revert back to Windows 7. I must say I’m astonished at such incompatibility issues; when I upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7, everything worked — and sometimes worked better.

    • It may be helpful to understand the workflow involved in hardware and software compatibility. Each manufacturer writes their own software and drivers. So it is actually Canon’s choice not to provide Window’s 10 drivers for old equipment. Probably not too helpful for your exact situation… except it tells you who to complain to!

      • Thanks for your note, Connie. Yes, I’ve let Canon know my thoughts. It’s a business decision on their part, and the terms of sale did not include any right to driver updates forever. I get that. What I don’t get, though, is this: If Windows 10 is indeed the “last” Microsoft OS, as I’ve read (ie, instead of releasing Windows 11, 12, etc. in the future, MS will update Windows 10 continually), then wouldn’t the release of Windows 10 be the last time manufacturers would have to provide driver updates for customers’ existing equipment? I don’t have enough technical knowledge to know whether that’s the case. But if it is, then I’d have to take a cynical view of a manufacturer’s decision to not provide updated drivers, as they have in the past: This is their last chance to “force” customers to buy their new printers and inks if they want equipment that will be fully functional with the OS that ~90% of the world uses.

        Please don’t think I’m a troll. I’m not. I just don’t understand the technical issues with driver updates.

        • I don’t believe that will be the case. The permanent updating seems like more of a business model than a technical issue. Instead of releasing a new OS, Microsoft will be releasing an update to Windows 10, which in some cases will be as much of a change as an new OS with only the name remaining the same. That would save Microsoft from having to support so many systems as everybody would be automatically upgraded to the latest version. I’d expect certain major updates to Windows 10 to also become incompatible with some software and drivers.

        • I agree with Mark on this for sure. And also with Leo when he explains the incredibly complex nature of computer programming. We all like to complain and offer suggestions to companies like Apple and Microsoft – but we would be honest to remember that we don’t really know or understand. I’m not much of a programmer, but I’ve participated in some small web-based projects. Sometimes you reach a point where the original thinking on the project has to be scrapped and started all over. We can expect the same with operating systems for many years into the future.

        • Calling Windows 10 the “last” Windows is nothing but a naming thing. I could certainly envision changes in future updates that would require device driver updates that manufacturers might elect not to apply across all models and all drivers.

  67. I am writing for some advice. I recently bought Windows 10 (for 25$ since my brother works at MS). I didn’t realize that Dell hadn’t tested Windows 10 for my pc model (XPS One 20). Dell says the drivers have not been updated for this model for Windows 10 so it may not work. MS says my computer meets the 4 criteria for the upgrade and they will help me with the install after I backup my PC. I am currently running Vista.

    I am not great with computers and I am wondering if I should just leave it as is or maybe upgrade to something else. I really appreciate the help. Thanks!

  68. I just tried the W10 upgrade and had a major problem. I lost connection to WiFi. After trying several of the suggested fixes from google postings I gave up. Many required getting new drivers or other software that I couldn’t get to without the WiFi working! After a frustrating day at my laptop I reverted back to my good old 8.1 without problem using the Windows 10 reversion routines. Perhaps my vpn was a problem but I never figured it out.

    • Newer versions of operating systems sometimes “break” some peripherals. In the case of the inavailability of a wireless driver for Win 10, a USB or built-in wireless interface can cost between $10 & $20.

  69. Leo, I must be a slow learner when it comes to computers ( self-taught with a few courses at the senior community college level) but when you say you should back up you whole machine, wheat do you mean? I do back up documents, photo, etc but I have no idea how to backup my whole machine. Can you give me directions or where to go to learn how to do a complete computer back-up?

    Late to the game.

  70. I was a happy Windows 8.1 user, having installed Classic Shell. It wasn’t hard for Microsoft to do better than Vista.

    That being said I waited until several updates to Windows 10 had been released, and then I switched.

    Now, I’m a very happy Windows user. Windows 10 is much faster in operation than 8.1. The best example being the time it takes to copy and move files. 8.1 took forever to perform such a simple task. Windows 10 screams in comparison.

    It’s stable. No, problems have arisen, no crashes, no stalls. It just works. And, I did an upgrade, not a clean install. All my apps works great.

    There is a learning curve. Things are in different places then they were before, but not hard to find. All in all I highly recommend you switch.

  71. Leo
    Along with many people I am having trouble with Win 10.
    I suggest it’s time for you to update us on the situation and your view of the future.
    Thank you for all you do

      • Beware: ►Here’s something you should know about: ►Today, Microsoft installed Windows 10 on my wife’s computer without her approval. It might magically happen to you — if your operating system is Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

        So far, there don’t appear to be any major hiccups — just mainly the confusion because many things now are in different places. My research told me that one older, very expensive program that my wife uses (Adobe PageMaker 7) and likes might or might not work in Windows 10. It looks as though it may. We didn’t want to be forced into buying and changing to another editing/publishing software for her computer.

        I’ve been researching and debating whether to install Windows 10, but I’ve been pleased overall with the performance of Windows 7 Pro and a little leery of making a change just because I can do so for free.

        Should I or shouldn’t I? I’m going to be watching Mary’s experiences closely (and listening for screams of anguish). I hope I can decide on this for myself without Microsoft pushing it on me without a choice.

        If I choose to upgrade to 10, I intend to backup all my files first and backup a system image of Windows 7 as it is at that time. Then I understand you can go back to using your previous operating system version.

        You might want to share some of your upgrade experiences here.

        #windows10 #upgrade #microsoft #automaticinstall

  72. I have Windows 7 and no problems and I do have the windows 10 icon in the bottom right section of my screen. I have not heard anything that great about windows 10. Why Microsoft has to always change things I do not know other than to make more money and make people miserable except for the geeks out there. I am waiting to see how many bugs Microsoft will find in 10!!

  73. I have a Dell Optiplex 360 which was running Win Pro 7 32Bit. Dell advised not to upgrade to Win 10.
    (Thanks Dell!)
    I added a new 2TB HD and upgraded the graphics card and Ram. Installed Win Pro 7 64Bit and upgraded to Win 10 last August and ran a dual boot with the original OEM Win 7 32Bit OS. Last week I upgraded the Win 7 32Bit to Win 10 32Bit. I have lots of graphics peripherals.
    Everything works beautifully.

  74. We changed to Windows 10 when it first became available last year. I thought it would be a great upgrade in all ways as you are always led to believe. However, after the installation, our computer froze and we could literally do nothing. I believe it was a miracle that we were able to restore Windows 7 which came with the PC as the original operating system which is about 3-4 years old. I, nor my wife really cared too much for the “new look” of 10 and we SURE didn’t care for the hassle!
    Now, however, for the past several months, we are experiencing constant crashes and errors for recovering web page whenever we try to bring up a site or video and I personally believe it has something to do with the MS system updates being for 10 vs. 7. I believe they are incompatible with each other as you might expect, but the upgrades are for the dominant system which at the present time is 10 and 7 just can’t handle them or it is confusing to the system. Best way I know to describe it. I realize the free offer is only good until later next month and I wonder if there is anything we could do differently to enhance or ensure that it would work if we tried it again. I still am not sure if it is the PC (causing the “recover web page” issues) or the ISP (AT&T).

    • Updates to Windows 7 are only updates that apply to Windows 7. That Windows 10 exists, shouldn’t have any impact on the stability of your system. I suspect other issues at play. I’d be tempted to do a clean reinstall, myself.

  75. I upgraded to Windows 10 because the free upgrade period is going to end in a month and I didn’t want to pay to upgrade from Windows 8 when it eventually loses support. I also wanted to allow time in case I had to back out.

    My experiences:

    During the upgrade my laptop’s external monitor screen went black for a very long time. I could hear the drive spinning occasionally, but the screen showed nothing. Eventually I decided that the process was hung and opened the laptop case, intending to cycle power. The laptop’s built-in screen was showing the “XX% Complete” circle and the upgrade was proceeding.

    Once the upgrade was complete I had to use the laptop’s screen to go into Control Panel/Display and click on “Identify” in order to get the external monitor working again.

    After that, the screen looked washed out and text and images were smaller than before. I was able to adjust, but it was a bit of work just to get back to where I was before the upgrade.

    The first time I tried to print something I found that my default printer had changed to some device that isn’t even connected and that I don’t recall being there before. When I changed the default back to the correct device the printer worked fine.

    I got frequent notices saying, “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered … Display driver Intel HD Graphics Drivers for Windows 8(R) stopped responding and has successfully recovered.” I tried to get a solution at microsoft.com but the one they had on the first screen of Google matches was for Windows 7/Vista and the “Fix it” link led to a page that said the solution is outdated. I ended up deleting the existing display drivers and rebooting yet another time. It seems to have worked; my last driver message was over 24 hours ago.

    Many of the sounds associated with things like arriving email changed. Not a big deal, but I was accustomed to the way it was. Also it seems (subjectively) that the arriving mail sound is louder than sounds that I play. So if I’m listening to music or watching a video at a normal volume, arriving mail makes way too much noise. And if I don’t reset the volume when the music or video is over, arriving mail can cause me to levitate.

    The upgrade changed my default browser from Firefox to Edge. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised about that. The first time I launched Firefox it asked me if I wanted to make it my default browser. Instead of just doing it (as I believe it had in the past), it took me to System Settings where I had to find the default browser setting and change it. Again, more work just to get back to where I started.

    In all fairness, my girlfriend, a confirmed technophobe, either failed to opt out or clicked the wrong thing and Windows 10 installed on her PC unexpectedly. Her installation went smoothly and everything worked afterwards. I had a similar experience on an older laptop that I keep around just for testing this sort of thing. But it seems to me that all the improvements must be under the covers, because the user interface, while different from Windows 8, is no better.

  76. I have an oldish pc .. and I’m not at all tech-savvy. Neither do I want to be without my computer should everything go pear-shaped. What problems can I expect .. not mentioned here?
    Thanks

  77. Leo,

    In some post you asked about why people feel the way that they do about Windows 10. I’ll try and explain my feelings about it. I’ve been around Computers for about as long as you have… 1978 is when I graduated from College and started working @ Control Data Corporation. I’ve worked in the field and on PCs for a very long time (MS-DOS 3.0). After all of these years, I’ve finally decided that my next laptop computer will be an Apple. Why? Windows 10. The arrogance of Microsoft. To put things into my computer (the Windows 10 YOU NEED TO UPGRADE) icon is repulsive. I think that the final straw came when I was asked to upgrade a friend’s computer to Windows 10. After all, the software said that it was compatible… Obviously it wasn’t. The ASUS laptop was about four years old. The built-in CD/DVD Drive wasn’t compatible and that was just the start. My son, who is also in the field, also spent hours upon hours tweaking and messing with it. We reached the same conclusion… it wasn’t going to upgrade and even if it did, it was going to be a slow pig. When we put Windows 7 back on, we did keep the SSD Drive that we bought as part of the vain attempt to make perfume out of a sow’s ear.

    I’m just tired of Microsoft essentially saying: “I know what’s best for you.” They change things and then you have to continually dig around to find where they put the option to make things look like it was. I like my files to have the the file extension displayed. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve had to hunt for it. Now, with the latest incarnation, they’re screwing around with the file folder tree (yet again). I’m just tired of it.

    I’m also still offended by Microsoft’s “We Care for You” so we are going to prevent you from hurting yourself attitude. Primary Case: Windows NT 3.51. They limited the number of simultaneous connections and destroyed the Netscape Webserver market. That was just wrong. They changed an Operating System to gain a competitive edge for their software and screwed the consumer of their OS. Chinese Wall? I think not. Stac Technology. Quicken / Microsoft Money.

    Maybe Apple will be no better. I will find it hard to believe that it can be worse. I had to move from a Android to an iPhone (the Hearing Aid application only works on an iPhone). The iPhone had a hardware problem. Once resolved, it’s been rock solid. As a techie friend states: “It just works”.

    That’s what I want without the other garbage.

    • Steve, you have hit the nail on the head. Microsoft is arrogant. “We know what’s good for you and you’re going to get it…”

      With every new version of Windows, Microsoft has forced users to do things differently just because Microsoft thinks they have a better idea. They didn’t learn with Vista and they didn’t learn with Windows 8. They ignored user reaction even when sales of both of this OS’s were horrible.

      I’m not disputing that there are some performance and security improvements in Windows 10, but they broke a lot of stuff as well. As long as people keep putting up with this, Microsoft will keep doing it.

      I have advised customers who can get 10 free to do it even if they go back to 7 for now. However I would never advise them to actually pay for it.

      I am not a Linux fanatic, but I think that for a lot of people, the solution for dealing with the end so-called support for XP and Vista (and eventually 7 & 8 if they didn’t claim the free 10 “upgrade”) is to switch to Linux. It is secure, stable, and fast. You won’t have to deal with continuous and many times buggy Window Updates which have only gotten worse with Windows 10.

      At least give it a try. Distributions such as Lubuntu and Zorin are quite Windows-like. If you need to run Windows programs then dual boot. The main thing is to stop paying Microsoft for flaky software and changes you don’t want.

      • “With every new version of Windows, Microsoft has forced users to do things differently just because Microsoft thinks they have a better idea.” – I think most people would agree that Windows 10 is substantially better than Windows 95. The small changes that are made with each iteration of Windows – and OS X and Chrome OS and Linux – may seem unnecessary and can sometimes be confusing but, over time, they add up to an improved OS and a better user experience.

  78. “You may find that Apple or Google do many of the same things that Microsoft does, and you may not consider the switch an improvement.” Google has been collecting information about its users long before Microsoft. The lower prices for Chromebooks leads me to believe Google is subsidizing the cost in exchange for the data they can collect. I might be wrong about this, but my take is switching to Chromebook means switching who you are giving your information to from Microsoft to Google. I’m not saying this to slam Google. It’s just that I don’t believe it offers any privacy advantages.

    • “The lower prices for Chromebooks leads me to believe Google is subsidizing the cost in exchange for the data they can collect.” – A Chromebook really costs no more than a low-end Windows machine – especially when you factor in that, unlike Microsoft, Google do not charge manufacturers a licensing fee for Chrome OS. And I suspect the reason for that is that Google consider Chromebooks to simply be a vehicle for the company’s money-making services.

  79. I am using Win 7 now, I will update to Win 10 (by using the “Get Windows 10” popup I see inside my Win 7 desktop) now before 29 July 2016.

    In future after 29 July 2016 if I format my PC and reinstall Win 7, how can I get back to Win 10? I only have the Win 7 DVD that comes with my PC and I can reinstall Win 7, but how can I upgrade to Win 10 after 29 July 2016?

    Is there a way to save the Win 10 upgrade installation files so I can use it in future when I reinstall?

    Thanks

    • @all…Download the Win-10 ISO from MS download center. Be sure to specify the correct version (i.e. Home, Pro, Ultimate). Use it to upgrade your existing (if you wish) or, use the Window Icon in the task bar; your choice. Once you have upgraded, your machines “fingerprint” is used to register and activate Win-10. Thereafter, Win-10 can be reinstalled on that machine and will automatically be activated due to the previous registration process. I create a dual boot setup by upgrading to 10, recovering back to 7/8, then full install of 10 to a separate partition (or drive). This results in BCD entries that let you chose which OS to load at boot time. We us 7 to get Media Center and 10 for all else. Best of both worlds.

  80. On the issue regarding Windows 10 collecting data through telemetry. I am aware that I am not interesting to collect data on the exact way I use my computers, but Microsoft should have made the collecting of data very clear, not buried in the User Agreement. That’s a part of why it has damaged their reputation.
    Second, if they want data Microsoft should compensate the users of their operating system for the use their data. Offering the operating system for free is not an equal exchange, especially if you’re having issues after the upgrade, and it cost you time to undo the ‘free’ upgrade.

  81. On upgrading to windows 10 it is an upgrade, I recall reading that if one later Buys windows 10 it will allow for dual boot installing as in installing
    Windows 10 as a separate bootable OS so one can keep their xp/vista/7/8 separate bootable from win 10 or am I wrong there? If Correct update doesnt do that for you

    • Humm no one replied to above on if have to Buy a full win 10 version to install as a dual bootable (and so preserving) win 7/8 while also installing Win 10

      I recall reading win 110 could be installed as a separate bootable.

      My HDD is a 450 GB with 350GB Free so I could run both if doable but I dont think UPGRADING allows that type of install?

      • If you want to run BOTH of your copies – WIndows 8 AND Windows 10 – then you’ll need to buy a license key for Windows 10, yes. You should still be able to clone and perform them upgrade to get there, but if you end up with two operating systems that you can run either at will (or at the same time on different machines), that’s not free.

  82. i understand and i also heard it from a very reliable source that when you go to windows 10 all of you personal information is given out, like what’s on your facebook account to every tom dick and harry that want to sell you something, birthdate, favorite color, age etc. etc. There was also something that could be turned off so this would not happen, can anybody elaborate on this.

    • That would lead me to believe it wasn’t a reliable source. Microsoft isn’t making their users personal data available to third parties. They are using the statistical data from that information in a similar manner as Google to serve up targeted ads, but again not personal information is given out or sold by Microsoft.

      • How much more reliable can you get than Microsoft? According to Microsoft’s own privacy agreement: “…Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails in Outlook.com, or files in private folders on OneDrive)…” Did you all see that? It says PERSONAL DATA!

          • “The BitLocker recovery key for the user’s device is automatically backed up online in the Microsoft OneDrive account.” – Which makes sense. And if somebody does not want the key to be backed up in that manner, it’s trivial to change.

        • Now sure WHICH privacy statement you’re referring to, but here’s the canonical copy on Microsoft’s web site: https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement

          The way I interpret it all is that they NEED access in order to be able to provide the services they provide (meaning, for example, that they have to be able to touch, copy, back up and otherwise “read” your email in order to provide you with an email service). They’ll disclose your personal data as required by law. They’re not sharing yoru personal data randomly. If you honestly believe they are then DON’T USE THEIR SERVICES.

          • “They’re not sharing your personal data randomly.” – Indeed. We should be concerned about privacy, but we need to be looking at the big picture – and pushing for better legislation and protection – rather than worrying about whether Microsoft, Google, Apple et al are peeking at our emails. That’s just plain silly.

      • “Microsoft isn’t making their users personal data available to third parties.” – That’s not entirely accurate. From Microsoft’s Privacy Statement:

        “We share your personal data with your consent or as necessary to complete any transaction or provide any service you have requested or authorized. We also share data with Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries; with vendors working on our behalf; when required by law or to respond to legal process; to protect our customers; to protect lives; to maintain the security of our services; and to protect the rights or property of Microsoft.”

        https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement

        • “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to”, for example, “protect their customers” or “enforce the terms governing the use of the services”.

          • “Show me something similar in Google’s privacy policy.” – How about…..

            “Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.

            We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example to make it easier to share things with people you know. Depending on your account settings, your activity on other sites and apps may be associated with your personal information in order to improve Google’s services and the ads delivered by Google.”

            And…..

            “We provide personal information to our affiliates or other trusted businesses or persons to process it for us, based on our instructions and in compliance with our Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures. We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google if we have a good-faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary…..”

  83. Well I am still using win 7 and yet for the first time in almost 20 years of internet use, a week ago I started getting emails from spammers with my FULL name? How is this possible? Is it a fault with win7 as Leo says, i.e. even win7 as well as win10 collects data from us now, or is it some jerk who I trusted with my info and is now selling it to others? Man, the future looks grim for internet users if the latter is true.

    • There are many places where spammers can get your full name. Often, that would be from the contact lists of hacked email accounts. It’s definitely not from information collected by Microsoft.

    • I never said that something like this is the “fault” of Windows – 10 or otherwise. Spammers use a variety of ways to get your full name, none of them indicate a privacy issue with Windows.

  84. given all the time effort brains b.s. wasted on this issue to upgrade your ancient
    machine with w-10 is costing you more than if you buy now or later when needed
    your ancient machine is built to serve whatever os it came with and not be junked
    by a lot of apps or upgrades which will never fit the confirmations of the circuits
    etc, thus up to w-10 will give you some bad news here and there and worse will
    open your os to most hackers who want to fool with a cheapskate who wants to
    save a buck and half on upgrade to b.s. w-10 …….the cost of new machines gets
    cheaper by the day, thus make sure it has the latest os and max gigs or better
    thus you can be happy as a duck for another yr or two with the newbie and no
    one will know you are the wise man on the block, esp able to block hackers
    and usgvot and other govts from hacking your upgrade whereas hacking your
    old machine old os old stingey gigs etc will be easy….cheers…bob d. end end end

  85. Windows 10? No. Two months ago I stopped ALL Windows updates on my two Windows 7 laptops. I will not turn updates on again. I have uninstalled ALL (so-called) non-security updates on these two machines going back two years. I will install Spybot’s Anti-Beacon on them. I will keep these two Windows 7 laptops as is until malware destroys them. Then it’s off to Ubuntu or Mac. Microsoft is a vile company. Totally without integrity. My Marine Corps officer son-in-law – a Mac, IPhone, and IPad synchronizer – says it’s incomprehensible to him why anyone would want to have anything to do with Windows. In my family I’m the only Windows holdout. Probably not for long.

  86. > I’ll stick with what I’ve been saying for years: you and I just aren’t that interesting as individuals.

    That is completely beside the point.

    It’s like saying “If I you are not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t mind being under constant surveillance.”

    Monitoring is getting out of control. The very last place I want anyone looking at anything is ON MY COMPUTER. It is *MINE*, the data there is *MINE*, the traffic through its network interface is *MINE* and it is nobody else’s f&cking business.

    There’s a reason we seal the envelope when we drop it in the snail mail box …

  87. I am not a Linux fanatic, pretty much a newbie actually, but I really think it is the answer. Open source, not proprietary Microsoft or Apple. Maybe not as easy for average non-technical users to “customize” but that is a good thing because it means it is harder to screw up. (Same reason OS-X seems to have less problems – the ‘innards’ are more hidden from the average user.) Find a good IT person and let them set it up. Might cost a little more tech time initially but after that, less problems in the long run. I’m good at fixing PCs, not so much Linux (yet). I’d love to concentrate on Linux but I have to deal with Windows 10 to support customers; but the long term plan is to use and promote Linux as an alternative to buggy Windows and expensive Apple.

    • “I am not a Linux fanatic, pretty much a newbie actually, but I really think it is the answer.” – The answer to what? Linux systems are no less prone to problems than Windows or OS X systems. The only real advantages that Linux has over other OSes are that it’s no-cost and has lower hardware requirements.

  88. As ever, Leo, your articles are informative and helpful.
    I have four devices; A Samsung R730, my main “desktop” PC; Samsung Q330; Surface Pro 4 tablet and a Microsoft [formely Nokia] 950 Windows cell phone.
    After taking Leo’s advice and waiting a few months I upgraded the R730 to Windows 10 without a hitch and, frankly, I like it. After multiple attempts the Q330 refuses to upgrade and talking to Microsoft and Samsung, it seems there’s a driver incompatbility with little prospect of Samsung releasing updates anytime soon. The Surface tablet and Windows phone both run Windows 10 and work fine. Because I use the Surface tablet more and more, I use the Q330 less and less. Unless I’m travellijg by air I still prefer the smaller Samsung which runs Windows 8.1 and, really, the limitations over Windows 10 are small and I can put up with it.
    The moral of the story is that there will be occasions when a device simply will not upgrade, no matter what, and there’s nothing anyone other than Samsung can do about it.

  89. There is some robust discussion going on here about Windows 10 and Microsoft and the same people have written similar comments in other AskLeo pages (https://askleo.com/windows-10-privacy-oxymoron, https://forum.askleo.com/can-stop-microsoft-spying). The issue isn’t just that a big company is spying, collecting and using customer information. That’s a fact we all live with these days. We know and accept that Google, Apple, Yahoo, and all the social media sites collect and sell our information. But when it comes to Microsoft, we get agitated because it was one of the last holdouts and, unfortunately, it has joined the bandwagon. Microsoft is pervasive and “owns” billions of systems around the world. If MS truly mines personal data with Windows 10, then it will have more monitoring capability than any government on earth. The other frustrating aspect of Windows 10 (and the direction that MS has taken ever since XP) is to continually lock down its OS and make it more difficult for users to use the OS as they want to. Once upon a time MS was effectively as open as Open Source and the Linux world, but no longer. Once upon a time Windows and MS applications were backward and forward compatible with all MS products, but no longer. Besides the information gathering thing, the direction MS is headed is an IBM style business model of the 1960’s: if you wanted to use their OS, then every tool or application on the system would have to come from the IBM. If the OS version changed or was updated, then every application on the system needed to change to be compatible with the new OS. And since the proprietary applications were too expensive to buy, customers rented them. The reason MS won out over IBM (and DEC and even Apple) was because it offered a much more versatile, customer friendly, and open environment. It’s just sad and frustrating to see what Mr. Bill created got bastardized into a big, bloated corporate leach.

    • I think one thing which rightfully upsets people about Microsoft is that people are paying for their product and feel that a paid product shouldn’t be gathering information like that. They understand that Google, Yahoo and Facebook etc. do this because it is their main source of income. Another reason is that they feel forced to use Microsoft Windows as it is the OS which comes reinstalled on close to 90% of all computers sold to the public. Using Google, Yahoo and Facebook are all choices people make.

      • “Another reason is that they feel forced to use Microsoft Windows as it is the OS which comes reinstalled on close to 90% of all computers sold to the public. Using Google, Yahoo and Facebook are all choices people make.” – It’s extremely easy to buy a device that uses OS X, Chrome OS or even Linux rather Windows. Nobody is forced to use Windows any more than they are forced to use Google, Yahoo and Facebook. The fact that Windows is preinstalled on 90% of devices sold is simply because 90% of people want a Windows device. Supply and demand…..

        “I think one thing which rightfully upsets people about Microsoft is that people are paying for their product and feel that a paid product shouldn’t be gathering information like that.” – And they feel that way because of the clickbait FUD pushed out by the media and propagated by frothing-at-the-mouth tinfoil hat-wearing lunatics.

        No, Windows 10 is not spying on you. Nor is OS X. Yes, both OSes send some information back to Microsoft and Apple, but it’s not for the purpose of spying. On the contrary, the data is used for the benefit of users. OSes are no longer designed to be simple system used is isolation; they’re designed to be cloud-integrated and to use big data, machine learning, heuristics, etc. to deliver a better, more relevant and more personalized experience. Which is exactly what the majority of people want.

        Sure, there’s a privacy trade-off, but it’s a trade-off most people consider to be worthwhile. And if somebody doesn’t consider it worthwhile, they can simply turn those features off.

  90. I have decided not to upgrade to Win10 from Win7 now, and not even make a backup copy of it. Nobody has actually clearly expressed WHY I should upgrade. That it is free is no good reason. On the contrary, knowing it is free makes me suspicious – no free lunches. If it were NOT free, I would be more willing to upgrade. I´m fully happy with Win7, and if some of my hardware or software would not be Win10-supported, that would easily cost a lot. I will wait until support for Win7 ends, perhaps they have a new Windows available again by that time -free or not.

  91. I perform a full image backup on the first of each month and an incremental back up each night using Macrium Reflect (paid version). On July 18 I did the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and it went very well. Two days ago I noticed that the incremental backup in the scheduled Backups window of Macrium Reflect indicates “Start Missed”. The next run time was scheduled for last night, but it did not happen. I note also that I have two copies of my external backup drive with the same drive letter and they appear to be identical. I suspect that the scheduled image backup will not be performed on August 1st. What can I do to ensure the schedule incremental backup will be run each night as well as the Image backup at the beginning of next month? Should I also attempt to delete one of the superfluous drives?

    Brian Sheridan

    • Since you have a completely new schedule, run a full system backup from scratch and start you incremental schedule form that one. Then stop the other one from running.

      • Thank you for the reply Mark. I decided to use another external hard drive and was able to do a fresh backup from scratch since I was unable to do so on the original drive. The original drive still shows on my PC and I was wondering if there is a way to stop it from running. I have physically removed it from the PC but it still shows up as an external drive.

        Thanks again in advance,

        Brian

        • Mark,

          I finally found the safely remove icon from the “show hidden icons” in the notification area. This now deleted it from appearing under File Explorer.

          Brian

  92. Hi Leo,

    I just upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 Home 64bit

    There is a problem, when I open two or more excel .xlsx files and move them to secondary monitor, the excel taskbar button will not appear on the taskbar of the secondary monitor. The excel taskbar button will only appear on the primary monitor.

    If I only open one excel file, I can move the excel file to the secondary monitor and the excel taskbar button will appear on the taskbar of the secondary monitor.

    All other programs are work fine, the taskbar button will appear on the taskbar where the program window is displayed. Only Excel 2007 and a program called Password Agent has the problem, the program taskbar button will always appear only on the primary monitor, even if I drag the program to secondary monitor.

    I am using Excel 2007, please help if there is any solution to make Excel taskbar button appear on the taskbar of the monitor that the opened Excel window is?

    This is a screenshot of my taskbar properties: https://i.imgur.com/hV9JL34.png

    Thanks a lot.

  93. Well thanks to Mark Jacobs and Connie I got Windows 10 installed, only to find out that many of my programs don’t work. The black screen seems to be a bug anyway, because it appears to be at startup.

  94. Windows 10…
    The good, bad, & truth…

    Good:
    1: 10 is newer
    2: Might start out as slightly faster than 7

    Bad:
    1: More Metro tiles are installed by default than even Win 8
    2: Win 8 creams Win 10 by booting 2x faster & running faster as well. Win 10 is laggy, compared to Win 8
    3: Win 10 makes certain options, such as updates, harder to disable or control
    4: Compared to previous releases, Win Defender is harder to disable or control
    5: Over time, the continuous updates will slow you down
    6: Cortana is almost impossible to disable
    7: 1/2 the Metro apps in 10 are impossible to uninstall, even via PowerShell cmd
    8: Win 10 has a knack for auto-erasing certain apps, including Speccy, certain AMD/NVidia drivers, & causing problems
    9: Win 10 EULA states your data belongs to them, as well as involving a 3rd party (FBI?) if they even suspect your auto scanned files contain anything remotely related to “piracy”

    Summary: Windows 10 is slower than Windows 8, has more Metro tile add garbage built in with 1/2 being un-uninstallable, has annoying Cortana in the way, & is a train wreck on usability

    If you use 8 or 10, Classic Shell helps tremendously for either OS, but 8 is the lighter, faster, more customizable of them.

  95. I realize this is an old thread, but thought I would share my experience. I did not upgrade from Win7 to Win10 immediately as I was concerned about bugs and wanted to give MS the time to work things out. We have an older laptop, Dell Vostro 3300, bought in 2010. It was very slow to boot and sluggish all around, so when I heard that I could still upgrade for free in January 2017, I decided to give it a try. I thought I made a restore point, DOH. I did back up all the files on a large thumbdrive. Anyway, right after upgrading I was pretty happy as the machine booted more quickly and I actually liked the new layout of Win10. Then the problems started. The graphics would simply fail and the system would tell me it was a driver problem with the Nvidia card. Numerous resets and downloads and the problem never went away. I go to the Dell website and of course, NOW I read that Dell says Win10 will not run on this machine. Anyway, I read somewhere that I can simply disable the Nvidia card and allow the system to use the Intel Video hardware. Problem solved! Things go along pretty good for about a month and then it happens…the computer starts to crash right in the middle of something. The screen goes black, sort of. It kind of pulsates between black and heat lightning and locks up. No amount of pressing buttons gets it out of this, except holding down the power button. Machine powers down and then you can restart with no problem, no system recovery screens pop up and when restarting the Firefox browser, it simply asks if I want to restore the page I was working on, YES, then all is forgiven until the next crash. It crashes every hour or so. The machine runs crazy hot now and I think the crash is a hardware safety due to the heat issue. Something in Win10 makes the Vostro run hotter than on Win7. OK, so about that restore point-it’s gone and of course I am past the 30 day grace period. The box seemed to work fine up to a critical Win10 update, but I could be mistaken on that. I do have an automatic restore prior to this update, so I am considering going back to that date. I also have the hard documentation for the Vostro, including the Win7 DVDs, but I hate to do a full system reinstall as this will take hours and hours. So I am kind of p*ssed off and thinking it is time for a bite of Apple.

  96. The latest update of Windows 10 stopped working because after much contact with HP and finally with Microsoft, I found out that my McAfee conflicted with Windows Defender. I had to stop using the McAfee so I could log into windows. I paid for McAfee and now can’t use it. Microsoft said all I need is the Defender. Can’t use Malwarebytes either.

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