So I finally took the plunge and upgraded my PC to Microsoft Windows 10. But I didn’t do this lightly. First I read lots of articles about the Windows 10 upgrade and what I might expect … and what features I might lose. And I admit I was nervous about jumping to this new version, especially since it is still being tested live, in effect.
I know Microsoft has been working on and testing this new version for a long time, but having personally worked in IT development (but NOT as a techie), I understand that try as you might to test in different browsers and types of machines, you can’t ever replicate every single configuration. And that’s where we, the people who own and use Windows, come in. We are the guinea pigs for this new operating system.
My concerns before installing the new Windows 10 version
Knowing that anything could happen and that I am not someone who is good at solving technical problems, I held my breath and hit the upgrade button. But first I did that research I mentioned and found some of things that might be a problem for me:
- I use Windows Media Player, but I read that Windows Media Center would be gone and worried that the albums I had downloaded would disappear. They didn’t. They work fine. But you will need to find a replacement for Windows Media Center (not the same), until they come up with a new version, which may at that time have charges attached. Still unclear. (Meanwhile, just in case, I found a wonderful alternative music manager and player called MusicBee.)
- Also, from things I read online, I worried about compatibility with existing programs and applications. This proved true when it came to my anti-virus software (it had to be removed by the Microsoft tech who helped me and then re-installed by me), as well as some potential issues with my old HP printer software. More on those things later.
- I read that Windows 10 comes with a lot of default settings that for me feel invasive of my privacy. So when I began the upgrade process, I watched the screen carefully and opted for “Customized setup”, which I carefully configured as best I could. (Hoping I did it right.) Also just found out today that by default Windows 10 uses YOUR bandwidth to distribute updates to other people. Look it up. Luckily, if this bothers you, there is a way to turn it off by going to Start, Settings, Update & Security, Windows Update, and then Advanced Options.
- And then there’s automatic updates on date of release. You used to be able to decide about Windows updates (or at least defer them until the bugs are out), but in Windows 10 you get them delivered automatically. Since this is still early in the process, not too surprising that some people report the updates messed something up. So far so good here.
- Being a novice to an OS upgrade, I was also concerned how the upgrade would handle my current settings, including my wallpaper and desktop icons. Everything came back. Phew!
- One more thing that worried me was doing all this alone. What if something screwed up and I couldn’t use my PC? Funny that I should ask, because that’s exactly what happened. I was without a PC for a few hours, and I think I began detoxing!
So what happened during the upgrade
And now we return to the moment I clicked the start button. Everything seemed good … no immediate glitches. The download takes a while, but they have a message that tells you that. The message also explains your PC will shut off and restart a few times. And it did. So far so good.
And then I got a message saying my upgrade was taking longer than usual, but that I should just wait. Since they had a message like that, I figured that was common enough. It did go on for quite a long time, but finally I saw my old wallpaper and got a message “Let’s Start.” Yay!!
And then my screen started blinking. And a small blue wheel just kept spinning on that blinking screen. So something was not ready after all. But oh that blinking screen. It was maddening. I couldn’t even look long enough to try to figure something out, not that I could anyway.
Steps I took for help
First I called a friend to look up the Microsoft tech help number, because I had no internet access and don’t own a smart phone to easily look things like this up. Don’t ask. (The number is 1-800-642-7676 if you need it.)
So I called the Microsoft tech line and was told by a recording that I had about a one and a half hour wait (turned out to be a little longer). But since I was without a PC and quickly feeling the deprivation, I put the call on speaker phone and went on to other things, including calling Geek Squad just in case I needed them to make a house call the next day.
In case you’re interested, the Geek Squad person was very nice and reassuring, having had lots of calls already about Windows 10, since it is such a new release and kinks aplenty still being worked out. The person said it was still downloading (it wasn’t in my case), and I needed to wait 24 hours for them to help. So compared to that 24 hours, the just short of 2 hour wait for someone who knew for sure what to do seemed fine.
Luckily Vaddy at Microsoft came to the rescue via remote access. He was courteous, patient with questions, and very good at what he does. Within half an hour of getting on the phone, he had my Windows 10 up and running. And within an hour, his manager called to make sure everything is ok. I was very impressed. (Told him to call back in a few days, so I could test things out.)
And that’s where we are now. Again, so far so good. I’ll update this if anything changes.
Two small possible glitches so far
When I refresh the WordPress dashboard I’m using to write this post, sometimes the refresh seems to make the window disappear temporarily; but then it pops back. So just something to watch and see – and maybe mention to Vaddy’s manager when we speak. [Update: I’ve found this only happens if I position the cursor at the right edge of the bottom right corner (which I must have been doing to check the time). Fascinating. Seems to be an actual Windows 10 feature!]
Also my HP printer software keeps trying to run a program with a pop-up window, and it can’t. But I am able to use the printer without problems, so just one more thing to mention to Vaddy’s manager, I guess. [Update: I seem to have fixed this one by disabling it within the Windows startup menu. (Control + alt + delete, Task Manager, Startup tab.) Working so far!]
So would I advise you to rush to upgrade to Windows 10? That’s up to you and your tolerance for the kinds of things I went through, knowing I did emerge mostly unscathed on the other side. I think for now they’re keeping the upgrade free, but not sure if that will always be true if that matters to you.
Personally I’m liking it so far (especially as issues resolve), although I haven’t tried everything yet. But if you aren’t all that adventurous and prefer to minimize risk, maybe you may want to wait a bit longer for more bugs to be worked out. Unless you’re just too curious to wait — and enjoy a taste of the unknown, as I do.
Also, if you are looking for the Microsoft version of Siri, you need to meet Cortana. I haven’t set that help feature up in Windows 10 yet, but it might be something you would especially enjoy using.
Note: If you’re wondering why I added this to a career blog, I figure some of you may be using Windows and have the same questions I did. Even though I told it from a user perspective and not an “everything you need to know” perspective, I hope my Windows 10 upgrade experience helps. (And there are lots of other articles about this online that I advise searching out.)