Lewis Atkinson shares his experience of upgrading his new laptop to Windows 10. If you are thinking of upgrading your PC or laptop you should also take a look at our article: Should you upgrade to Windows 10?
I recently purchased a new laptop and thought, as a part of the set-up, that I would upgrade it from Windows 8 to 10. Little did I know how long it would take and the kind of frustrations it would entail.
Rule 1 – Keep your system up to date
Although it was a “new” laptop it still needed around 85 Windows updates before it would consider downloading and installing Windows 10 – not that it gave me any warnings, it simply would not download the Windows 10 update.
Rule 2 – Patience, patience, patience
After the initial two hours performing updates, the Windows 10 update took around 1½ hours to download and a further 45 minutes to install. So don’t be in a hurry.
One major irritation is the old Windows 8 trick of making you sign up to a Microsoft account as a part of the install process, this is especially so when all you want to do is access your local network. Microsoft always like you to be a part of their gang, having these types of account makes it easier for them to “keep you informed” (advertise) and to collect information that “helps them to improve their services” (your habits and preferences). I created a “local” user and deleted this account at the first opportunity.
Windows 10 can have adverts or targeted content in the task bar and will send unspecified info to Microsoft for targeted adverts (this cannot be turned off). It does have some other eyebrow-raising features that you may prefer to turn off:
- If you connect it to your Facebook account it shares your wifi passwords with your friends so that they can easily connect to your internet or hotspots (this can also happen with your Outlook and/or Skype contacts).
- Your computer and connection can be used to share Windows updates peer to peer (Bittorrent style) around your network.
- It will share your browsing history and keystrokes with Microsoft to “help improve their service”.
- Suspected malware files can be sent as “samples” to Microsoft to allow for “testing”.
A careful hunt around the Settings (Privacy) menu did the trick (mostly).
As it was a new laptop it came with the usual “free” trials and unwanted software (anti-virus, Office, games, utilities, etc.). Windows 10 has a perfectly adequate anti-virus built in, I have a valid licence for Office and I have my own preferences for tools and utilities. These took more time clean off.
Rule 3 – Ask the right questions
Finding information and getting my older Epson wireless printer/scanner to work fully was quite a challenge and took another hour or so but at least Office 2010 installed easily.
“Googling” helps but often I had to frame the question precisely to get the desired answers, particularly with third-party websites. For example searching for “Epson Stylus 515w and Windows 10” returned few matches that were helpful. It took a few clicks on links within forums to finally get to a page that actually helped me set up the printer and scanner correctly.
I gave up with Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, as the first few websites I tried didn’t work properly, so I installed Firefox – that works fine. You can even default back to Internet Explorer, thus making Windows 10 even more like Windows 7.
Finding out which of your favourite utilities work can also be a bit tricky so soon after the launch of Windows 10 – Malware Bytes and CCleaner both seem to work but I have yet to test others such as DOSBox.
Malware Bytes “does what it says on the tin”, removing malware can help speed up your PC. CCleaner helps delete any unwanted and unnecessary files, keeps your PC “clean” and operating at peak efficiency. DOSBox will run any old DOS based programmes.
For fans of Solitaire, Windows 10 is a disappointment; it is no longer included as a freebie. The Control Panel will be phased out and replaced with elements within the Settings system but, for now, it can be accessed directly by right clicking the “Start Button” (icon).
Finally, after around six hours I had a laptop that I could make use of.
Upgrading the Desktop
The Windows 7 desktop PC was a completely different “kettle of fish”, Windows 10 went on easily and without disruption but I was careful to make sure that it was fully up to date, I had scanned it for viruses and malware and that it was running at its best. The update had already been downloaded and so the install process took only around 45 minutes.
DOSBox works fine as do all of my other utilities and programs, even the old Epson printer and scanner! The odd thing has asked me to upgrade but by and large (and with fingers crossed) all seems to be fine.
Windows 10, once sorted, seems to be a stable and usable platform. It can be made to look like Windows 7 or 8 (via Tablet mode) and you have the choice of which look to use as default. I have yet to fully explore its other features and functions but at the moment am reasonably happy with the move but would recommend going through the privacy settings very carefully.