Monday, August 10, 2015

Windows 10

Windows 10 Upgrade - Surprisingly Simple

Over the past two weeks I upgraded several desktops, laptops, even a Windows tablet to Windows 10.  Easy, with a couple of small exceptions. This is a review of the install process on equipment that ranges from an 8 year old desktop that refuses to die, to a brand new Inspiron 3000 two-in-one.
Dell Inspiron 11 2-In-1, even more amazing after upgrade.


Disclaimer, because: lawyers.

Since 2007 I have worked at both Dell and Microsoft. I do not build PCs, nor do I develop operating systems. The views in this post are mine. I have not been compensated for my opinion, but will gladly accept piles of cash once my post is up. (FAQ).


Equipment List

  • Dell Dimension E521 (Windows 7)
  • Dell Studio Slim (Windows 8.1)
  • Dell XPS 420 (Windows 8.1)
  • Dell Inspiron 15 (Windows 8.1)
  • Dell Inspiron 11 2-in1 (Windows 8.1, touch and keyboard)
  • Dell Venue Tablet (32GB, Windows 8.1, touch)


The Good

The Inspirons, Studio and XPS all upgraded without issue. Other than a bit of time to complete downloads, apply the changes and reboot a few times, the entire experience was really good. The most important tip from these devices: Login as ADMIN to make upgrades and do any clean up work. I tried to clean up my son's computer from his account and had to re-enter ADMIN credentials over-and-over while purging old software. All user profiles, files and apps carry-over without issue.


The Bad

As part of the upgrade process, Microsoft checks the system hardware to make sure it is compatible. The Dell E521 (ship date: 5/2007) had an incompatible video card. So the decision is: buy a new video card (about $40 from Amazon) for an eight year old PC, or, leave it as Windows 7. So, I consulted an expert (my 12 year old daughter). "Dad, I don't need an upgrade". OK, settled. A (substantially better) replacement would cost under $400. 

Without straying too far from the topic: the new Edge browser is not my favorite, and no integrated DVD support... I guess the DVD is really dead.


The Ugly 

Dell Venue - Plan your upgrade.

Ever notice how TV screen and hard disk drives are rounded up to a standard specification? The HDD in the Dell Venue was just slightly too small to allow Windows 10 to install (it needs a little over 5GB). So, pulled all photos, music and docs. Pulled all unessential apps. Pulled several essential apps. Uninstalled MS Office (which took a long time to install, ugh). Finally, enough room to upgrade. The processing speed, and maybe the speed across my Wi-Fi, and lack of space on the HDD, caused this upgrade to take over-night (just under 10 hours). All of the other devices were about an hour from "Upgrade" to "Configure Your Settings". 

Then, More Ugly...

When the upgrade was complete, I wanted to add some of my apps back to the Venue. Nope, no space. A perfectly good (actually, really good) tablet with no apps. Opened Control panel and went to clean up temporary files. Then, found the answer. 


Most Important Tablet Tip - Purge the Win8 Backup

Microsoft kept a copy of the Win8 OS on my Venue tablet. This would allow me to revert to Windows 8. I liked Windows 8 (Win 8.1), but the rest of my family didn't like it (is hate too strong a word?). I made sure the OS installed properly - changed a variety of settings, tried some of the new features, then clicked "Delete". 

Purging the backup OS, and the temp files, relieved nearly 7 GB of space. Plenty of room for a few apps (MS Office was reinstalled) and a few files, but not enough room for movies or videos. Streaming is the only option for the Venue, and I made sure to setup SkyDrive on the Venue. 


Bottom Line

Easy upgrade, unless drive space is tight, or the device is really old. Everyone likes the upgrade - yes, I'm totally shocked. The Inspiron 2-in-1 is amazing with Windows 10, highlighting the significant bridge built between the keyboard-mouse and touch experience.


Super Bonus Tip

Almost every application (App) will need to be updated after the Windows 10 install. I noticed that each shows a Current Date in the Control Panel - Applications module. Finish the Windows 10 update, then run Windows Update, or go to the Store, a couple hours later to refresh all of your Apps.


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