Windows 10 has been available for the past couple months, but a lot of people still have not jumped on the free upgrade offer. But you need to keep in mind that the free upgrade offer is for one year and ends July 29th, 2016.
Prepare for a Successful Windows 10 Upgrade
There’s still plenty of time, so when you finally decide to pull the trigger, here’s some things you can do before you start the upgrade to ensure everything goes as smooth as possible.
1 – Fix Hard Disk and OS Errors
If you have been running an installation of Windows for many years now, it’s a possibility even though it’s running smooth; there might be potential blockers to a successful upgrade. Broken applications, operating system updates, improper shutdown, power outages and other factors can corrupt files on the hard disk that could make the upgrade to Windows 10 challenging. Windows for years has included built-in utilities that can fix most of these common problems. Be warned, you will need to get your hands dirty with the command line for some of these actions.
The first one we will start with is the check disk command that scans your hard disk for errors and makes attempts to fix them. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Windows, sometimes corrupted system files can prevent setup from working properly. See the following article for instructions:
Also, run the System File Checker utility that will scan your system and attempt to fix broken operating system files:
- Click Start (Windows 8 users, press Windows key + X > Command Prompt (Admin)
- Type: CMD, from the results, right click CMD
- Click ‘Run as Administrator’
- At the Command Prompt, type: sfc /scannow
- This will check for any integrity violations
- When complete, restart your computer
For a computer running Windows 8 or later, another powerful command line utility users can run is the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool that is used to service a Windows installation. Similar to the System File Checker utility, you can use DISM to correct corrupted system files and determine the status of the system.
- Press Windows key + X
- Click Command Prompt (Admin)
- Type each command at the prompt then hit enter after each scan is complete)
- Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
- Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
- Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
2 – Disconnect non-essential devices attached to your computer.
If you have non-essential external devices (printer, scanner, etc.) attached to your computer during installation, these can interfere with the setup engine and prevent the installation from completing because Windows 10 is trying to detect and install them. So, keep the bare essentials attached, keyboard and mouse. If you have an external hard disk or USB thumb drive attached, disconnect those too, I notice those can confuse setup.
3 – Disable your Antivirus utility, non-essential services, and startup programs.
If you are upgrading from a previous version of Windows or a previous Windows 10 build, a typical blocker for Windows setup is security utilities. Disable them; these include Antivirus, AntiSpyware and Firewall utilities. In most cases, it is strongly recommended you uninstall these security utilities and install versions compatible with Windows 10. Norton offered a free upgrade to a compatible version of Windows 10 one of my systems.
4 – Make sure you install the latest updates for your current version of Windows.
I have noticed before a new version of Windows launches; Microsoft might offer fixes that can make the upgrade go smoother. You can choose this option during the Windows 10 setup wizard, but it seems to take forever, instead, run Windows Update manually from within your current version of Windows. Click Start > All Programs > Windows Update (or press Windows key + R > type: wuapp.exe > hit Enter key) click Check for updates.
5 – Make sure you have full administrative privileges.
If you are using a standard account, this can prevent the Windows 10 App from presenting the Windows 10 offer. If you are installing from the Media Creation Tool, that will be blocked too since setup won’t have the privilege to write setup files to the hard disk.
- Press Windows key + R
- Type: control userpasswords then hit Enter on your keyboard
- Click Change account type
Make sure your account privileges is set to Administrator.
If your computer is part of a business network, you will need to demote your PC to Workgroup mode.
6 – Restore redirected Personal folders to their original location.
If you keep your personal folders on another partition or drive for additional space, this actually might prevent Windows from installing correctly. It is best you restore them to their original location. Although Microsoft officials have said the configuration is supported, I still come across errors as a result of it.
7 – Disconnect multiple hard disks and storage devices.
If you have more than one hard disk installed in your computer, disconnect all except the target hard disk where you’re installing Windows 10. If you have a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) configuration, disable your RAID controller. Disable General USB Devices (example – Smart Card Reader).
8 – Gather essential software and drivers just in case you might need to reinstall them.
Although the upgrade might go smoothly, it is a possibility the upgrade might break an application or hardware driver. Gather all necessary application and hardware driver discs you might need to be reinstalled. Also, check the manufacturer and software developer’s website for updates available for your system and to find out about the status of compatibility with Windows 10.
It is possible that if the software is compatible with Windows 7, it will likely work with Windows 10 since they share the same driver model. Some relevant driver software you can download in advance: Chipsets, Audio, Video, Network (Ethernet, Wireless LAN).
I notice certain laptops can be especially finicky with the Windows 10 upgrade, make sure you have the latest touchpad drivers downloaded. Another issue I have experienced is the keyboard not working near the completion of setup, have an external USB keyboard and mouse on hand just in case.
9 – Deactivate applications and recover product keys.
If you are using software such as iTunes or Adobe programs, remember to deauthorize and deactivate them before running setup. Some software programs can recognize an upgrade as a new machine and will trigger product activation.
Deauthorize iTunes – Press the Alt key > click Account > click Deauthorize This Computer
Enter your email and password then click Deauthorize
Deauthorize Adobe programs – Click Help > Deactivate.
Just in case the unforeseen happens, you should have a backup of your product keys for Windows, Office and Adobe products. Here are four utilities that you can choose from to find your product keys.
Belarc Advisor: http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html I recommend Belarc as the first to try since it’s thorough. The following are others you can use to retrieve your key especially if you are using Volume license copies of Windows or Office.
10 – Backup your personal files and settings
When making significant changes to your computer such as an upgrade, it is always recommended you backup your system before installing a new version of Windows. Check out the following article how to back up your data.
You should also create a system image which is a complete backup of your system which you can easily and quickly restore to its original state. I recommend system images because Windows 10 makes your recovery partition inoperable after upgrading and the new rollback option does not work after 30 days.
Hopefully, these tips can guarantee a successful upgrade to Windows 10, and if it doesn’t, at least you can gracefully go back to Windows 8.1.