Thursday, December 10, 2015

Windows 10 Free Upgrade: To Do, or Not To Do

Wow, I gotta get better at this... 6 YEARS since I posted a blog?... shameful.
I find, figure out, or think up something worth sharing almost every day, I just don't actually do the sharing part.
I'll do better, I swear.

Here's an exchange between me and a friend from my high school days, via Facebook Chat:

Q: Hey Dale. Keep getting requests to update to Windows 10 for free.  What do you think about Windows 10?  I've heard both good and bad reviews.  One friend had a major problem after uploading it and had to take it to the "Geek Squad".  I certainly don't want to mess up my computer.
Thanks... Nancy

A: Like EVERY previous version of Windows...
On a computer built to run it, the new version is usually better than the previous one. But as an upgrade, it suffers.

Because of the free upgrade offer, Win 10 has a special weakness: if you accept the free upgrade, it is barely legal; meaning, if you have a problem after the one-year free upgrade period runs out, you can't reload it, because they never gave you a Windows 10 activation code.  You'll need to save all your personal files to an external drive, reload your previous Windows version (hope you saved the DVDs!), replace all your files, and run it until and unless you decide to BUY Windows 10 for $130.
Don't ask me how I found this out... it still hurts to think about it.

You COULD work around this by creating a disk image once your upgrade was working well.  If you lose your hard drive, you can dump the image back to a new drive in the same PC, and you'll be back in business.  HOWEVER... if you lose your motherboard, and try using the old drive with a new board... see above disaster description.

If you have Windows 7, stick with it. Here's a utility to remove the prompt to upgrade:
I Don't Want Windows 10

Before running the utility, click on Start, All Programs, Windows Update, Change Settings. In the first drop-down box, click the down arrow, choose Never Check for Updates, and click OK.  Leave the Windows Update window open... you may come back to it before rebooting; if not, no big deal.

Run the utility downloaded above; it will probably suggest you extract all files, but it's not necessary... just open the zip file, and run I Don't want Windows 10.exe.  When it's done, if it asks if you want to Restart Nor or Restart Later, select Restart Later.  Go back to Windows Update; if it says there are Important Updates Available, click the notification, look down the list, and see if Update for Windows (KB3035583) is there.  If so, remove its check mark, right-click the update, and select Hide Update, OK.

Reboot. Click on Start, All Programs, Windows Update; the next step depends on what happened just before you rebooted:

If you've already hidden Update KB3035583, click Settings, change the setting back to Install Updates Automatically, and click OK.  Close Windows Update.

If you've not already hidden Update KB3035583, click on Check for Updates... it could take a very long while, maybe even overnight... or it might take less than a minute.  Either way, when it's finished click Important Updates Are Available, then click on the column heading Name.  Look down the list, find Update for Windows (KB3035583), remove its check mark, right-click the update, and select Hide Update, OK.  This will keep it from coming back to annoy you again.  Click OK, Settings, change the setting back to Install Updates Automatically, and click OK.  Close Windows Update.

And if you have Windows 8...
  1. you waited WAY too late to ask my advice; I would have talked you into sticking with your previous version of Windows, or waiting till Win 10 was available on new PCs.
  2. Though the previous warning about upgrades-vs-new install still applies, Windows 10 is enough better than Win 8 that I recommend you go ahead and do the upgrade... but hold onto your Windows 8 DVDs.  If you don't have them to begin with, check your System Tools menu to see if you can't make a set before upgrading to Win 10.
Till next time... Dale