Windows 10 Upgrade – Rocky start but then easier than pie!

I finally updated my main PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10!

The process started with unexpected difficulties, despite having two Windows 10 USB Recovery Keys from Dell.

The first key I tried said: “Bad Computer The key has already been used on another computer, you are not allowed to use the key on more than one computer.” – This key was originally installed on a faulty harddrive.

The second key said: “Reset this PC The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again.” This key was given to me by the rep who replaced my faulty harddrive.

Good thing I paid extra for “ProSupport Plus” from Dell! A few quick calls and I was back on the right path.

Things to know before trying what worked for me:

1. As always, when making major updates you should backup your files! Your computer should have some built in backup capabilities. Other methods you could try are:

  • Easy: Get an external USB drive and copy / paste all of your important files. (I have a 2TB Seagate Slim Plus)
    I use this option for private files, such as family pictures and old tax documents. External drives can be unplugged and stored in a safe.
  • Fairly Easy: Install a cloud storage program, such as DropBox or Microsoft OneDrive and make sure all of your important files are in the synced folder(s).
    I use this option for many of my work-related files and files that I will want to access from multiple devices, such as shopping lists, schedules, and budgetting notes.
  • Advanced: If you have the hardware and skilles, cloning your harddrive(s) could be best. Almost everything you need would be preserved!

2. The computer I purchased was made to run Windows 10. It meets all system requirements and came with a license that is meant to be upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

3. Although I hoped and even prayed that this transition would go smoothly, I recognized that this is a major update. I was prepared to re-license any outdated software, reinstall all programs, and worst-case scenario I was understood that I may have to wipe my entire harddrive and start over with a clean install. (Something that is much easier to accept with backups.)

The steps

The kind folks at Dell instructed me to go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and get the Windows 10 tool. Downloading and installing/running this tool on my Windows 7 computer took about one hour. It seemed to be stuck at 22% and then 27% “forever”. But the results were amazing!

Last time I upgraded a computer from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, all of my files remained but all of my programs/apps disappeared. I had to reinstall and in some cases buy new licenses for the programs I use most.

Results with this new Windows 10 upgrade tool?

I was pleased to see that Windows 10 kept many of my settings. With the exception of the new start menu and search bar next to it, everything looks and feels familiar.

  • My license keys and passwords have been remembered!
  • The same programs are starting up when I reboot my computer.
  • Most of my apps are still pinned to the task bar, but Internet Explorer has been replaced with Microsoft Edge.
  • Right-clicking on these icons still shows a list of recently opened files.
  • The following programs that I use regularly are still installed and working: Adobe CC: Photoshop, Illustrator, DreamWeaver, Fireworks, Acrobat Pro DC; Microsoft Office: Outlook, Excel, Word, OneNote, Skype; Browsers: Firefox, Chrome, IE; 7-zip, Amazon Music, Blender, Trend Micro Antivirus, Dropbox

Changes

  • Windows 10 did not remember that I prefer hotkey “Win + S” for screen clippings. I am sure I could change this back, but I will probably try to get used to Win Shift instead.
  • Default programs have been reset to Microsoft’s preferences. I have reset Acrobat Pro to open PDFs, but I am unable to set Firefox as my default browser. From what I have heard, FireFox will reappear as a default browser option if I uninstall/reinstall it.
  • My preferred FTP program (Smart FTP) will need to be updated, which means I will need to pay a few dollars to renew the expired license.

Bonus:

My biggest temptation to upgrade to Windows 10 has been the Adobe Creative Cloud programs that require Win10, such as Dimension.

On the flipside of that coin, my biggest holdup has been fear that one of my favorite programs, Adobe Fireworks, would stop working.

I am happy to report that both of these programs are currently installed and working! I read that Fireworks may continue to work on Windows 10 as long as you don’t use certain features, such as CSS. My fingers are crossed that it will continue to work for years to come!