Windows 10 Upgrade Tips


Windows 10 was released on 29 July 2015. For a year it was a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 & Windows 8.1. The installation of that and later versions has not gone smoothly for everyone, so the following tips may help mitigate some of the problems. It is still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 but its activation licence fee may need to be paid. However, many find that the activation still works automatically or by manually entering the existing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 licence key. Just Google search for Upgrade to Windows 10 for free and there are lots of YouTube videos and articles on the technique, which is based on the Alternative Upgrade Method below. How to Upgrade for Free to Windows 10 Home or Pro is a good video.

For a great deal more advice, see the Windows 10 Forums and the Windows Ten Forums.

Although now rather dated, there is also advice at > Forbes: Windows 10 Updating, Reinstalling And Activation Guide: Essential Advice To Avoid Problems with links to other articles.

If still running an earlier Windows version and wish to inhibit all forms of Windows 10 Updates either permanently or temporarily use the GWX Control Panel from Ultimate Outsider, or Never 10 from Steve Gibson. Remember to reverse those options before starting any upgrade to Windows 10.

Pre-Upgrade Tips

  • Check your PC manufacturer’s website to see if your PC model is approved for upgrade to Windows 10. If not approved, then be prepared for glitches, and to roll-back to the previous Windows version ASAP.
  • Ensure peripherals such as Printer, Scanner, and Camera are supported in Windows 10 according to the manufacturer.
  • Update your PC device drivers to the latest versions from the PC manufacturer’s website.
  • Ensure you have good backups on some external media of everything important on your PC, just in case!
  • Ensure you know how to reinstall all program applications on your PC including licence keys, just in case!

Windows 7 or 8.1 Upgrade Process

If already running Windows 10 then skip this section.

  • If running Windows 7, then uninstall the OneDrive Desktop App now before starting the upgrade. (Windows 10 has OneDrive built in.)
  • Temporarily deactivate/uninstall your anti-virus and other security packages whilst performing the upgrade. (Windows 10 has Windows Defender built in.)
  • Actually, deactivate/uninstall any package that runs all the time in the background and probably has an icon in the Notification Area bottom right.
  • Visit the Download Windows 10 web page and follow its advice. The download can take several hours.

Windows 10 Upgrade Process

Windows 10 usually updates to its next version automatically, but asks for permission to start the installation.

To force an update to the latest version follow the Alternative Upgrade Method below.

  • The upgrade process can take several hours to complete! Do not switch off the PC.
  • After about half an hour the PC will restart with the message:

Upgrading Windows
Your PC will restart several times
Copying files xx% Installing features and drivers xx% Configuring settings xx%

  • After the upgrade the PC will restart and display Welcome to Windows 10 within the administrator account you started from.
  • Click Next and choose Customize settings lower left (do not choose Use Express Settings).
    • In Personalization turn Off the typing/inking data and advertising settings.
    • In Browser protection & update turn Off updates to/from other PC setting.
    • In New apps for the new Windows (Photos, MS Edge, Groove Music, Movies & TV) click Let me choose and untick all.
  • The Time & Date with a full screen cave picture should appear – click anywhere to obtain the login screen. All your previous Windows accounts should be listed on left (except Guest) with same passwords as before. Login as usual and We’ve updated your PC is followed slowly by several messages ending with Let’s start. (That slow sequence of messages is repeated the first time you login to any account.) Your usual Desktop with all your shortcuts should be displayed.
  • Reactivate/install your anti-virus and other security packages.
  • Leave your PC alone for half an hour to allow any outstanding automatic updates to proceed.
  • Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Activation and check it says Windows is activated.
    If not then under Activate Windows now use Change product key to enter your current 25-character licence.
  • Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Update and Check for updates &/or Install now. Restart the PC is instructed, and repeat until no more updates.
  • Right-click Start > Device Manager and ensure there are no red X or yellow ! marks.
  • Right-click Start > Programs and Features and uninstall GWX Control Panel if necessary.

Post-Upgrade Tips

  • To enable System Restore, right-click Start > System > System protection select drive C: and Configure > Turn on system protection and click OK.
  • Make an informed decision between a Microsoft Account login and a Local Username login.
  • Use a password protected login screen, and enable multiple accounts or create a password reset disk.
  • If the time & date bottom right is incorrect then click it and choose Date and time settings at bottom.
    • Under Related settings lower right click Additional date, time, & regional settings.
    • Then click Language > English (United Kingdom) > Download and install that may take half an hour.
    • Use Move up above English (United States) and if necessary adjust the time by 1 hour.
    • Use Start > Settings > Time & language > Region & language > English (United Kingdom) > Set as default.
  • Expect some folder & file permissions to be upset, so files cannot be saved where they could before.
  • Some program applications may need to be re-installed, such as those removed in Pre-Upgrade Tips.

Consider adjusting the following Windows 10 Start > Settings:

  • Settings > Privacy > General > Let apps use my advertising ID = OFF
  • Settings > Privacy > General > Send Microsoft info about how I write = OFF
  • Settings > Privacy > General > Let websites provide locally relevant content = OFF
  • Settings > Privacy > General > Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalisation info:
    • Then in the browser window that opens:
    • Personalised ads in this browser = OFF
    • Personalised ads whenever I use my Microsoft account = OFF
  • Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking & typing > Stop getting to know me > Turn off
  • Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics > Feedback frequency = NEVER
  • Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi > Manage WiFi settings > WiFi Sense = OFF x 2 (only WiFi PC)
  • Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi > Advanced options = Set as metered connection (only WiFi PC)
  • Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options:
    • Choose how updates are installed = Notify to schedule restart
    • Tick Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows
    • Choose how updates are delivered select PCs on my local network
  • Settings > Update & security > Backup > + Add a drive
    • OR Go to Backup & Restore (Windows 7) > Setup Backup
  • Settings > Personalisation > Start > Occasionally show suggestions in Start = OFF
  • Settings > System > Notifications & actions > Show me tips about Windows = OFF
  • Settings > System > Notifications & actions > Show notifications on the lock screen = OFF
  • Settings > System > Notifications & actions > Show alarms, reminders & VoIP on the lock screen = OFF
  • Settings > System > Default apps > and choose your preferred programs

Consider adjusting the following Windows 10 options:

  • Right-click Start > System > Advanced system settings on left:
    • Under Performance click Settings button and Adjust for best performance
    • Then tick Show thumbnails instead of icons if desired for photos in File Explorer.
    • Then tick Smooth edges of screen fonts if desired for better text display.
  • Right-click Start > Power Options > Choose what the power button does > Change settings > Hibernate
  • Right-click Taskbar > Show Task View button = untick
  • Right-click Taskbar > Cortana = Show Cortana icon OR Hidden
  • File Explorer > View > Options > General > Open File Explorer to = This PC instead of Quick access
  • To show Libraries in File Explorer > This PC right-click blank area of left panel and tick Show libraries.

Sometimes, when Windows 10 is updating itself, the display will go black for a while – be patient – just wait.

The Windows apps (Photos, Calendar, MS Edge, Groove Music, Movies & TV, Store, etc) are similar to tablet apps, and some commands/settings are on the three lines/dots menu top left or right.

  • Use Settings > System > Display > Advanced Display Settings > ClearType text > Turn on ClearType > Next … to adjust display of text
  • Right-click Start > Power Options > Choose what the power button does and untick Turn on fast start-up to fix inactive Start menu, Notifications, Jump Lists, etc.
  • To support all picture downloads in Email within MS Outlook 2007 use Control Panel > Internet Options > Advanced > Security untick Do not save encrypted pages to disk
  • To increase size of Jump Lists, Run regedit.exe to add DWORD key (for experts only): HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\JumpListItems_Maximum 30

Alternative Upgrade Method

  • Check all outstanding interim Windows Updates have been performed.
    On Windows 10 use Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Check for updates.
  • Visit the Download Windows 10 web page and follow its advice to:
    • Perform an upgrade from Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10.
    • Perform a clean install on any PC providing you have a valid Windows licence.
    • Perform a repair install on any PC running Windows 10.
  • The download and upgrade process can take several hours. Do not switch off the PC.