Upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10 Professional

Performing this upgrade has been something that I had been procrastinating about for quite some time now – ever since Windows 10 was released as a free upgrade to be exact. But, back then, I didn’t have the internet bandwidth to download it (Verizon Wireless at poor transfer speeds).

However, a little over a year ago, I moved from Verizon as my internet provider, to HughesNet Gen 5. That was a huge improvement for internet related tasks and jobs!

Some of you might have noticed that I said, “a little over a year ago” when I switched to HughesNet – and might be wondering why it took so long to do the Windows upgrade? The answer is simple really – procrastination… Not so much procrastination in the “being lazy” sense of the word, (though I admit there was some of that as well) but mostly procrastination because of what a task it actually is to undertake and do right.

Don’t misunderstand – the physical task is actually pretty easy to do – so long as you don’t mind the possibility of deleting something by mistake that you’ll regret forever! That’s the only real issue with the undertaking. That and possible software applications that may no longer run after the switch. (more about that later)

My System

My system was a Windows 7 Professional PC, that was originally a Windows Vista PC before that. And, to be perfectly honest – it was getting quite clunky with all the “Windows Rot” that collects over time. Boot up times alone were getting horrible. So it was time to bite the bullet and make the upgrade.

Having worked in the IT field at my last job, I had a bit of a heads up on what I should do. The easiest approach for me, and anyone attempting this, was to make a plan, an itemized list of sorts, of things to do before doing the install.

My Plan

My itemized list is below, but yours will differ in many areas – so don’t use this for anything more than just a guide to build your own:

  • I went to C:/Users/<your username> and copied the contents of the “Documents” folder, and the “Favorites” folder to safe location
  • Because I have a lot of third party fonts – I also went to the C:/Windows/Fonts folder and copied the contents to a safe location.
  • I went online and downloaded updated Windows 10 drivers for my devices (Printers, Drawing tablets, etc…) Windows 10 includes drivers for most devices, but in a lot of instances, they are limited in functionality.
  • I also downloaded the latest versions of my anti-virus and malware detection software.
  • Because I also develop websites, and I use Adobe Dreamweaver as my web authoring tool of choice. I made sure to backup all of the website account data to a safe location as well.
  • Deactivate Software that I planned on reinstalling after the upgrade. (Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Creative Suite, and the malware detection software that I use.)
  • Unplug all unnecessary devices connected to the computer (printers, drawing tablets, etc..) Obviously you need to leave the keyboard and mouse plugged in.
  • Turn off the computer, and because I have more more than one hard drive, open the case and detach the data cables from the drives – except the System drive, usually drive C: Leave that connected.

The Process

Before going anywhere, I needed to purchase a license of the version Windows 10 that I wanted. There are two versions – Home, and Professional. Because my Windows 7 install was the Pro version, I opted to go with the Pro route with Windows 10 as well.

There are numerous places online to purchase Windows 10 – Newegg, Amazon, Walmart, etc… But I opted to go directly to Microsofts own website and purchase the license from there. It was the same price as the other retail outlets ($199 for the Pro version) so I decided, why not get it right from the horses mouth.

The purchase is pretty straight forward. Add the version you want to the website shopping cart, and then check out. A registration code is then emailed to you along with instructions on how to download the software.

Downloading is done through their Media Creation Tool, which not only downloads the software, but also aides in creating the media that will be used to perform the actual install later on. You have options to create an ISO file to be burned to a DVD, or to create a bootable USB thumb drive with the installation files included on it. The latter is the method that I used, because thumb drives are just so much more convenient that DVD’s.

I then plugged the newly created USB thumb drive into the computer, and restarted the PC. During the restart, I pressed the key to activate the boot menu and selected Boot from USB-HDD. The computer then, much to my surprise, proceeded to boot from the hard drive again, and NOT from the USB drive! WTF?!

I restarted the PC again, and this time pressed the key to open the BIOS configuration settings, and changed the boot order placing USB-HDD ahead of the hard drive, and then crossed my fingers after saving the settings and exiting. Much to my relief, it booted to the USB thumb drive this time around, and the installation process began.

Everything was pretty straight forward at this point, and I just followed the on screen prompts, and entered the activation code when asked.

When I got to the place where the installer asks what type of install I would like, I selected “Custom: Install Windows Only (advanced)” which then allowed me to pick the drive I wanted to install Windows to. Because I unplugged the data cables from all the extra drives I have, I only had one choice – the current Windows 7 System drive. I selected that drive and wiped the drive clean (format). The installer then proceeded to install Windows 10 on a nice, clean drive.

A word of caution here… Because I changed the boot order in BIOS, when the install process requires a reboot – and it will, you need to remove the USB thumb drive from the USB port, otherwise, the PC will boot to the USB thumb drive again and restart the whole install process over again! Not what you want! Fortunately, if you remove the thumb drive during the reboot, it will boot to the hard drive as it should, and if you forget and don’t remove it and it boots up the installer again – you can just remove the thumb drive and restart the PC again manually.

Software Compatibility

I only experienced one instance where a software application that I used on Windows 7, no longer worked on Windows 10 – and that was “Quicken 2016” – which is rather ironic, because “Quickbooks 2010”, which used to be made by the same company – installed just fine! As it turns out, if I had to make a choice of the two applications I need the most – it would be Quickbooks. I can, and will, get along just fine without Quicken.

NOTE: There is a newer version of Quicken that I could use that is compatible, but the new software is all subscription based now. You pay X amount of dollars per month, for forever… And I hate that shit, so I’ll just use my banks web interface from now on, and forget Quicken…

Conclusion

Aside for checking, and then double checking again, that I had everything backed up before hand that I wanted to keep, the fresh install was pretty simple and very quick!

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