First Impressions of Windows 10

Introduction

I started experimenting with Windows 10 from day one when it was released. The first time I downloaded it, I was using an 8-year-old computer. The computer was Windows Vista compliant at the time of purchase in 2007, but it had been recommended that I install Windows XP instead. Windows XP served its purpose well for all those years until Microsoft stopped providing updates for it.

I had a copy of Windows 7 that I dual-booted on my then new Macbook pro in 2011, but I removed it and installed it on this machine 6 months ago. It worked, but was slower than Windows XP. Then Windows 10 came along; the successor to Windows 8 with the Metro interface, designed for touch screens. I never have been a fan of touch screens for large monitors, but it’s fine for tablets, phones, Bank ATM’s, etc. Even though this configuration would be considered underpowered for today’s Windows versions, I decided to give it a try and install Windows 10.

Original Computer Specs

  • Western Digital 400GB SATA II hard drive
  • Western Digital 350GB IDE hard drive with SATA adapter
  • Intel Dual Core 2 64-bit chip
  • Asus Nvidia Geforce 8600 GTS video board
  • Intel motherboard designed for media, with Firewire 400.
  • 2GB of ram (to be upgraded to full 8GB supported by motherboard)
  • DVD Burner
  • No Floppy Drive

Modifications to the system

  • OCZ Trion 100 240GB SSD Drive (Now owned by Toshiba)
  • Blue Tooth 4.0 USB Dongle
  • USB Wireless Dongle
  • Removed older Western Digital 350 GB hard drive. Was removed due to obsolete IDE Interface and malfunctioning due to wonky SATA to IDE Interface and eliminating IDE drives, except for DVD Burner.
  • Demoted Original WD GB drive as second drive
  • Replaced original wired keyboard with Microsoft Keyboard and new mouse

Downloading and Installing Windows 10

 First off there was a problem with the little Microsoft Flag not showing up on the right hand end of the toolbar at the bottom of Windows 7.  I don’t know why it happened, but this was a custom built computer, rather than let’s say a Dell, HP or something else.  All the computers for Dell, HP computers that I have seen showed this flag. I found a procedure online to correct this issue to make the flag appear.

Procedure to fix windows upgrade notification that won’t show

http://www.ghacks.net/2015/06/08/how-to-display-the-windows-10-upgrade-icon-if-it-is-not-visible/

Once the flag appeared, I went through the steps to reserve a copy and waited until July 29th to do the install. I received the download the first day it was available (no waiting).

For those who don’t want Windows 10 upgrade, you can perform the following procedure.

Procedure to block download notification

http://www.howtogeek.com/218856/how-do-you-disable-the-get-windows-10-icon-shown-in-the-notification-tray/

Before performing the upgrade, I used Macrium Reflect to make a backup of the Windows 7 OS.  Note: This is a very important step before installing an OS on any computer and to protect your data as well. There is no excuse not to run a backup of both data and OS configuration on a computer. Many consumers don’t do this and just consider a computer another appliance in the house, but it isn’t.

Backup Software

Acronis True Image ($50+)

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/

or from Gene Barlow at User Group Relations

http://ugr.com

Macrium (Paid / Free version)

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

I would say it took around an hour to do the install, but when the install was complete, the computer booted to the new Windows 10 interface. It booted slowly at first, but once everything was done, it would boot significantly faster than Windows 7, especially considering the age and specifications of the computer.

Annoyances, issues and problems

After installing the operating system, there were several issues to overcome. Once the interface booted, it was similar to Windows 7 with some bits of Windows 8 thrown in. The Metro interface was eliminated from the main screen, but still exists to an extent in the Control Panel when start button is pressed, so it’s there in a mini form. It’s fine there, but not as a main interface. It can still be used with Windows 8 features such as app store and similar buttons.

While Windows 10 is a vast improvement over Windows 8, it does have some annoyances & issues to resolve or fix. The first occurs when setting up WIFI. If the user goes to the control panel and sets up WIFI through the networking menu, it only provides 2 choices, and using the SSID and password is not one of them. On earlier versions of Windows, the user has that choice, but not by default on Windows 10.  I found this to be an issue with Windows 8 as well when setting it up for someone else on a Dell laptop. It wants either the special number found on the router (MAC address ??) or another security number instead. The good news is that it can be done, but a lengthy procedure is required to go to correct menu for manual entry. This can be a problem if a user wants to use a computer on someone else’s network where often only the SSID and password are available.

Procedure required for WIFI manual setup

http://www.7tutorials.com/how-connect-hidden-wireless-networks-windows-10

The biggest problem by far was running Windows updates. So far there is some kind of bug that prevents downloading updates and installing them. They backup and don’t install. For this, there is another procedure that needs to be done to fix this issue. Now after I started the machine a few more times, I found that the updates are installing, but it takes time and seems to have resolved itself. I don’t know why this happened, but will keep tabs on it and figure out why it happens.

(NOTE: Several weeks after the initial fix described above, the updates are installing just fine. )

Fix Update issue

http://www.cnet.com/news/windows-10-update-triggers-reboot-glitch-for-some-users/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2015/08/13/windows-10-update-fixes-endless-reboot-loop/

and this criticism of Microsofts’ failure to apologize for the problem:

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2971620/microsoft-windows/microsoft-windows-10-update-kb3081438-itbwcw.html

and now they won’t even tell us what’s in the updates

http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-wont-microsoft-publish-windows-10-update-release-notes/

There are several reported security issues and concerns regarding Windows 10. One of the issues is the WIFI Sense feature of Windows 10. This feature allows others to share your connection without needing a password. I don’t know what problems could happen, but it’s possible to turn this and other features off.  Cortana is another; a feature similar to Apple’s SIRI and various other things.  All of these can be turned off.

Security concerns

  • Advertising
  • Tracking in new Edge Browser
  • WIFI Sense
  • Cortana
  • Don’t be tricked into setting up an account with Microsoft

Fix Security issues

 http://www.wired.com/2015/08/windows-10-security-settings-need-know/

Turning off Security risks in Windows 10

 http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-turn-off-windows-10-wi-fi-sense-2015-7

Conclusion

 Installing Windows 10 was a great experience and I found it’s worthwhile. Despite concerns with this new version, I think it is a worthy successor to Windows 7 and 8. It is much lighter weight than other Windows versions and runs well with an older machine such as the one described above. On my computer I decided to upgrade the original hard drive to an SSD to improve speed of computer and find it a worthy upgrade to the older computer. I chose an OCZ Trian 100 240GB hard drive and installed it. Before installing, I made a mistake by changing the BIOS drive setting from IDE to AHCI mode for SATA drives thinking Windows would automatically select the new drivers and install them, but is needed to be done before changing this critical setting first, so they load when system is started. I learned the hard way on this. *Please consult your motherboard manual to see how to change this in your particular BIOS.

Nothing critical lost, as I had moved all data to an external drive. In order to reinstall this upgrade, I had to first reinstall Windows 7 and the updates through Service Pack 1 and properly activate them. A clean install of Windows 10 upgrade is possible, but when I tried it, it wanted to install as a new installation with a new Product Key. There is a way to do it though, through a procedure here:

Doing a clean install

http://spaug.net/how-to-clean-install-windows-10-directly-without-upgrade/

Once done, then Windows 10 could be reinstalled again. Instead of downloading the installation again, I could get an *.ISO of the windows 10 version I need, burn to DVD, than reinstall it. I would recommend this; rather than relying on downloads from the Internet. I never have been a fan of having to download everything, but it’s the way we do things today. The good news is you can still make your own DVD copies.

ISO images from Microsoft

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

As far as running any existing software I have on machine, I find everything that I tried runs fine. I am pleased with this new operating system and recommend it to anyone willing to go through the issues I went through installing it. Though ones experience might differ since there are many different configurations out there in use, so not every one’s experience will be the same. I can’t stress more that making sure you back up your data, etc. is very important. There have been horror stories that I read of people having trouble installing this upgrade and others as well. Many consumers fail to make backups and blame hardware, the OS, etc. and get mad when they lose their data, etc. Some computers could be messed up anyway and other issues that cause problems. I had none of these issues except for the things described above. It’s not that hard to do and external drives are not that expensive, so there is no excuse not to do it.

During the October meeting, I will demonstrate this new operating system on this system to be setup at the meeting. Anyone interested in installing Windows 10 or having questions about it can contact me at rfmitch66@gmail.com .

 

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