Monday, August 3, 2015

Migrating to Windows 10

Something Happened  - Updating to Windows 10

Updated: 19th August 2015

It's been a while, since Windows absorbed so much of my time - it's actually a tribute to how Windows has been worry free from Windows 7 onwards. Yes, Windows 8 was initially a bit painful in user interface but Windows itself wasn't causing much distress.

Windows 10 is a new direction for Microsoft in some ways. I'll highlight some articles later.

But this weekend has been absorbed getting experience with Windows 10 installations on my computers. I've made various posts on Google+ - but with the incremental way things are happening, you might have trouble following the thread of thought. Instead, keep your eye on this blog post, I'll progressively update it as events unfold.

How to get Windows 10 Update

The well publicised way of getting Windows 10, is to make the white icon appear in your status tray, "book" a place and wait for Microsoft and your machine to download Windows 10. It will be fine for disinterested parties but most eager people want more control, more immediacy and lower overheads in repeat installation if the first attempt fails.

Instead, here's the way I got my downloads.
  1. Go to a Windows machine that is connected to the internet.  It does not have to be the machine you want to update. Download the small file that is the Media Creation Tool.
  2. In the Media Creation Tool, choose the Windows version that will match the Windows of the target machine. For me, the most common choice is Windows Home or Windows Professional. You can choose 32 bit or 64 bit Windows or both, but you cannot choose both Home and Pro at the same time for one USB flash drive
  3. You need a bootable USB. Of course you need blank USB Flash drive - an 8 Gb USB drive is fine. 
  4. Proceed and then after a while your USB drive will be ready.

Installing the Windows 10 Update

  1. Take the USB drive to the machine you want to update.
  2. Boot your current Windows and log in as an admin equivalent user.
  3. Check in your Regional Language Settings that you have selected US English as the default language. You can change it later, after installation.
  4. Open a command line window, running as admin.
  5. Look a the contents of the USB drive and run the setup program. 
  6. A relatively small blue window will open and you will be interviewed about keeping your current Windows settings and files or just files. You will also be asked whether you want to download updates or skip until later. The installation progresses. Presumably this phase copies the files to your machine.
  7. The screen then gets occupied by a full screen blue window. More copying.
  8. The machine reboots and a black and white screen with a large circular progress meter appears. More copying
  9. The machine reboots and drivers are installed
  10. The machine reboots and Windows carries our settings and configuration.
  11. The machine reboots and you are welcomed to Windows 10, with a bit more time to complete configuration.
  12. Have the machine on for a while, logged in. The machine automatically downloads the relevant graphic card driver - Windows 10 often uses the generic Microsoft driver - it doesn't come prepared with specific Intel graphics drivers even though that is one of the most common chip sets in use.

Something could Happen

This phrase "Something Happened" seems to be an in-joke. It displays when the installation process in point 6 and 7 hits an unexpected problem.

Things that happened to me:
  • During the automatic download process (before I chose to take the Media Creation Tool route), the overloaded bandwidth / servers did not / could not complete downloading.
  • In point 6, one of the computers needed the Media Creation Tool to be run as admin. 
  • In point 7, one of the computers had an issue with the UEFI system partition of the hard disk not being accessible.
  • If you want to play detective and troubleshoot setup failures, look at the Windows Setup Log Files
  • After completing installation, I could not invoke any Settings dialog

After the successful update

O&O have released a utility that allows you to choose from a whole list of privacy options called ShutUp 10

See Also:


A Clean Install (only if you want)

Microsoft is unwilling to give you a new licence key gratis - this is why you have to start a working Windows 7, 8.0 or 8.1 machine, run the Media Creation Tool to Update. Once you have accomplished the update, Windows 10 would have activated your machine with Microsoft. Once that has occurred, you now allowed to install Windows 10, fresh, clean without any legacy.

Prelude To A Clean Install

If you are going to carry out a Clean Install, your system drive containing Windows, your classic programs and Windows 8 tiled apps will be purged. Also, if you are not in luck or careful, there is danger to your documents and data (especially if your data is in the C:\Users\username hive which contains My Documents, Pictures, Videos.

  1. Copy your data to a removable USB drive or a network drive.
  2. If you are very cautious and want a rollback, in case your venture fails, back up your system using the built in Windows System Backup in Windows 7 and 8 or a third party backup utility. One I just tried is Macrium Reflect Free
  3. Find out whether you have the Activation Codes for each software that you value. If you don"t have a record of the code, try Belarc Advisor. Be aware some modern software doesn't only rely on Activation Codes, they count and id your activations on their server and you might have to get them to release their count so that they can allow a new activation. By the way, Belarc will also detect your new Windows 10 Activation Code.
More reading: Redmond Pie's article

After A Clean Install

Installing into a VHD

Windows 10 Pro will happily install into a VHD, and add a boot entry to the BCD. But of course, that machine must first have been updated from old Windows to Windows 10 first. Neowin has a VHD installation how-to.

Can't Find Safe Mode?

Safe Mode is now a legacy mode - it isn't automatically available in Windows 10.

Just Bugs

  • Windows 10 has an bad update which locks some registry keys and subsequent updates will cause a reboot loop.  You can get a utility from Microsoft to hide (suppress the automatic download) of some updates if you deem those updates problematical. If you can get to Control Panel, you can choose to View Installed Updates and uninstall specific ones.
See also the worst bugs

A Few Tips

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