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The Long, Slow Journey to Windows 10


I was delighted when Windows 10 was announced. Being a system builder, I have been a Windows operating system user since Windows 95. While there were some duds along the way... cough..windows Visat...cough..everything I had read about Windows 10 was that it would be a solid build. Too often Microsoft has released a new update to their operating system and it works more like a huge beta version which the company then fixes after everyone complains for a year. I skipped Windows 8 for just that reason.

Imagine my excitement when Windows 10 was released on July 29, 2015, as a free upgrade! After waiting a week (the Microsoft servers where overwhelmed with download requests) I finally used the updater I received in my current version of Windows 7. Everything went smoothly until the upgrade process hit 95% and then froze. After several hours I realized it probably wan't going to upgrade, so I turned the computer off and hoped that there was a restore point. There was (thank you Windows 10 upgrade), so I was able to restore my old Windows 7 pro installation perfectly.

Fast forward a month
After doing some research on upgrade problems, I removed external USB attachments like my external sound card and cameras. I also turned off virus protection. Trying the upgrade again, I found myself stuck at 95% again, but since some online suggestions where to let it run for several hours, I let the upgrade run overnight.

Once again, no luck. So decided to let the upgrade run all day as well. 24 hours at 95% and no change. Yikes!

Dreaded 95

At this point, I just gave up and hoped that the upgrade problems would be resolved with time. BTW, I checked the error code I got, but didn't get very far as it pointed to hardware incompatibility.

Flash forward 6 months
I checked on suggestions for solving Windows 10 upgrade problems and it basically came down to stripping your computer down to essentials: hard-drive, monitor, mouse, internet. Plus, the list of steps to take to get a good upgrade where ridiculously long. I wan't going to go this route. The only other possibility was a clean install of Windows 10, but that meant wiping out all of my programs.

After reflection and research, I decided this was the way to go. Periodically, it's a good idea to do a clean install on your pc because you get so much junk added to the computer. It was time for me to do this. My worry was that if any problems came up, it might take several days to solve and I have to do Renderosity Magazine work practically every day. But, since I have a decent laptop I could most likely deal with any delays.

Clean install of Windows 10
Luckily, Microsoft has a good tool for doing a clean install and after downloading and using a USB stick to do the installation (much faster and easier than a DVD), I had Windows 10 installed on my SSD in about 15 minutes. But here's the rub: if you are upgrading Windows 10 the download is free,but if you are doing a clean install you have to pay for Windows 10. My old Windows 7 key wouldn't work for a clean install. So, for $129 I purchased Windows 10 Home download and just used the product key to activate my install. Worked perfectly.


Overall, I think that more recent systems (last 2 years) will update fine with Windows 10, but older systems (4 years) like mine will struggle. The process of getting an older system to upgrade is simply too long and complicated, although those with patience can get it done.

But a clean install of Windows 10 is a piece of cake. And I understand Microsoft requiring payment for it. If they didn't, dishonest people could install any number of copies of Windows 10 by using fake product keys. Still, I wish they would have made it clearer in their promotion of Windows 10. I felt a little stiffed by Microsoft especially after all of the hoopla around the FREE Windows 10 upgrade.

Final Advice
You should definitely upgrade to Windows 10. I think it is their best operating system. Setting up a new install worked simply and cleanly. I really like the look and responsiveness of Windows 10, too. It's fast, clean and makes your workflow much faster. Plus, there are many additional features to Windows 10 (Cortana, Edge Browser, better media integration, etc.) that just makes it a better system to work with.

If you have a newer computer or laptop (last year or two) you should do the upgrade and keep all of your applications and data. If your computer is older (3-4 years) you can try the upgrade, but be prepared for problems. If it works, great! If not, then consider a clean install. It might be a good time to start with a fresh new version of Windows!

Windows 10

Helpful Links
Windows 10 has a lot of links to help you figure out how to upgrade or do a clean install. The Free upgrade lasts for one year which puts the deadline at 7/29/2016.

Windows 10 Main page
Windows 10 Upgrade help
Windows comparison page
Windows 10 Help page

10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Video

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Microsoft, PC upgrade, Windows 10
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