My Windows 10 Adventures

Normally I try to keep my photo work and my computer work apart… But how could I resist the friendly request to share my experiences installing Windows 10?🙂

To begin with, I am only a ‘techy light’… A real computer technician would probably wrap me up and throw me into the Recycle Bin – and empty it too…😉

But I know enough to realize that the way things turned out on my Win7 (Home Premium edition) laptop can be quite different on another computer, running other programs, configured differently by the producer and for a thousand other reasons… Even doing the same thing on my PC (that has all the photo software and a lot more stuff than on the laptop I use for computer lessons) could give me surprises to keep me awake and steaming for a few nights… And the feedback items I can follow regarding Win10 confirm that… So just keep in mind that I am in no way responsible if things go pear-shaped😉

Another point is that the different versions for different countries may still do different things as well… For example, the Cortana feature is something we don’t have in Belgium as yet… Maybe still working on the translation? Whereas the UK, as another example, should have it… So I am rather clueless about what it is supposed to do or how it can complicate things…

My first advice would be to make a back up of your documents, photos, music and all else you do not want to lose before you start the installation. Also make sure you have the means to reinstall all software you use and their product keys. As this is only an upgrade and not a full installation, you probably won’t lose anything. I didn’t – but better safe than sorry, no?😉

And maybe clean up your PC/laptop a bit, throw out things that you don’t use any more, run CCleaner to get rid of old temporary files, cookies and stuff and make sure everything is running smoothly.

For those with a bit more (computer-) technical background, what I did by way of clean up was running the recovery disks (Windows 7) I had made when I bought the laptop. With newer laptops Acer is right smart and backs up your documents and stuff so you can put them back afterwards and leaves your added software in place while possible errors and bugs that have crept in with usage will be eliminated. With the previous laptop (also an Acer) that would have resulted in going back to factory settings with no software left…😉 I have no idea how other brands work, though… So, careful there!… And if you do that, you will have to get back loads of updates before you can even think of installing Win10 – which does take several session and days… On a PC you will just have to clean up manually as recovery works a bit different there… As my PC has no recovery partition and I never used one, I cannot help you there…

And I also ran a checkdisk to make sure no errors were lingering around…

Ideally, if you have been doing your updates regularly, a white Windows icon will have popped up in your System Tray (at the bottom right hand corner) and you will have clicked on it and reserved your Win10. Microsoft will have checked your machine if it is compatible and ok and then will have told you to wait till it is your turn…

To see if it is your turn, you should check the Updates screen regularly. That’s where you start the download and installation. It is all rather straight forward, really. Once you commit yourself to going ahead, not very much you can do – just wait it out…🙂

It comes in several parts:

  • First part looks and behaves like a Windows Update and took me something like 10 minutes.
    I assume that was the download part and maybe some installation.
  • After that it starts installing and configuring in earnest and the screen changes. There are three parts to that session. Between those parts you may get a black screen that stays that way with seemingly nothing happening… No reason to panic – it will just start on the next part after a while.
  • The only thing you can do is keep an eye on it every now and then.
  • It also reboots during the whole works but doesn’t require you to do anything, really.
  • In about an hour and a half I was on my new desktop. But that, again, depends on your laptop/PC. I have heard of installations that took three to six hours as well…

So far the installation…

A few screenshots after some fiddling around to have it look a bit more personal…🙂

Start old way

Start Menu Win8 style

Start Win8 style

Start Menu with All Apps

Start and all apps

Important:

If after an extended look around and trying to get the feel of it you should decide that Win10 is not your cup of tea, you have one month to go back (called a roll back) to your previous Windows version.

I am including two links where that procedure is explained but have no experience with it either. PC Advisor seems a bit easier to follow but read the Microsoft article as well before you start as it seems to give more information.

PC advisor:

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/windows/how-downgrade-windows-10-to-windows-7-8-easy-3615606/

Microsoft:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-to-recover-a-previous-builds-or-your-original/76b6750c-5bb2-40bc-a7e3-f03cec62338b

Next post will be some sort of an evaluation as far as I can get at this point…😉

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Now some first impressions

One thing is clear rather fast > Even though it has been made available for all users that meet the requirements (Win7 or Win8 – 64bits – updates ok …) Windows 10 is still a bit under construction… Or let us be friendly and say that it is in need of some fine-tuning… So, even if you are really very curious, don’t be in too much of a hurry to drop all your digital possessions into the lap of Win10 unless you happen to have an extra laptop/PC where you can first do some trial runs to see if all your software works and other details…

  • I like the fresh look of Win10. But then, that is a personal preference, I guess…😉 I loved the Win8 tiles from the beginning and I am glad they are still around – be it in a slightly different setup.
  • The Start button is present and leads you to a real Start Menu. But the menu that comes up has elements of Win7 as well as Win8 with the tiles.
  • In Settings/Personal Settings/Start you can define the color  and you can set it to open on your desktop in Win8 style (see screenshots previous post) or use it as it comes (More Win7-ish)
  • You can choose the size and which tiles to keep, remove or add to your start (also as in Win8)
  • For further usage tips, there is a lot of info you can google and some videos too on You Tube that show you how it is done…
  • All software already present on the laptop works fine – even the older Office 2007 seems ok – but no real specialized packages were installed to begin with. That is something I will have to check further on a rainy day… Like Photoshop, Lightroom, Nik plug-ins and such…
  • I did install Adobe Flash and also Malwarebytes and both are looking good.

Some Issues – at least in my case

Here it should be said that the teams keeping an eye on the installations and the feedbacks they are getting are fast… Sometimes so much that you start doubting if your PC/laptop is having problems or if someone is working on something… So, take it easy with the feedback🙂 As a friend of mine said, sometimes it can feel like your computer is not your own any more😉

  • The touchpad would not work after installation – but within a half hour I got an update of sorts and after a reboot it started working.
  • A bit more important on a laptop, there was no icon to show the power level. While I was already going through the Win10 forum, looking for a solution or more info, it suddenly popped up and stayed. Then disappeared again. Then came back… A bit spooky, really🙂
  • A minor bug is that the num lock does not work properly at the initial login to access the computer. So, if you have numbers in your password, use the numbers at the top of your keyboard to be sure they are there. Win8 had the same problem and I had found a solution for that on the internet that is still working fo the 8. But it does not work for Win10.😦

I had feedbacked both problems to the invisible urgency team and since then the power icon and the num lock have been chasing each other around. I have either the one or the other… The last update today seemed to have cured it but by now, at night (now 2 days ago), the chasing game is on again between the icon and the num lock :-D… And never the twain shall meet…?

In the meantime the battery icon is working as long as I don’t use ‘restart’. Don’t ask me why and how it started working… not a clue, really… Magic, maybe?

  • The 10 has a Mail app, like Win8…
    By default it uses your Outlook.com (hotmail) account if you have one. You can add other accounts too – e.g. the account you have with your Internet Provider… I did that…
    My mail setup is a bit complicated but I got it going on the second try – so for just adding an account and receiving and sending mails it works. On my system, that is… There are rumours that it won’t always synchronize and pick up the mails…


    A later addition to this is that the Mail app is a bit of a disaster area after all… :-D  And not only for me…

    I discovered with not much delay that if I got a mail on my local account in the Mail app, it never showed up in Office Outlook on my PC any more… Outlook was set to keep mails on the server for 10 days – so that could not be the reason. But I think it must be related to that.
    Assuming that the app deleted the mails from the server I looked for a similar setting for the Mail app > no joy there…😦 In the end I removed my local account from the Mail app as I didn’t want to lose mails in a muddy situation. But now even the Outlook.com account would not synchronize. After some more trying I gave up and placed the Mail app in a virtual corner with its face to a virtual wall.

    This is my best solution:
    There is also Windows Live Mail if you have downloaded Windows Live Essentials from Microsoft, a mail program that has been around since the Vista and works ok in the Win10 as well.
    I gave that a try… As my local account has never been easy to add to a mail program, I changed tactics. On the PC I created a rule in Office Outlook to forward certain mails to my Outlook.com account (not exactly an easy task, believe me!…). As Live Mail also has the Outlook.com account by default, that worked like a charm… That way the original mails still stay in Office Outlook and I have them on the laptop for mobile purposes…
  • Mail Folders:
    The Outlook.com folders are taken over nicely. If you want to make changes to them, you have to do that in the Outlook account in your browser. Then you access the Mail app and click on the synchronize icon. In my case the change was taken over without problems.Not so with my local account, though… I don’t know where it gets its info from but it comes up with folders from my WinXP time… and I haven’t found out yet how to delete those or let it synchronize with MS Outlook in its present state…
  • Contacts:
    This time it is Outlook.com that presents me an outdated list of contacts and won’t synchronize. So my local account is in trouble too as the same contacts are used by both the accounts…
  • Calendar:
    Didn’t try but I heard about similar problems there too.
  • Edge, the new browser
    Internet Explorer is rumoured to be working in the background and I can call up IE settings with a search on the laptop but it doesn’t come up itself. Instead you get Edge. And from Edge you can open IE as well (the three dots in the top right hand corner where you also find the settings)… (?!) As through the years, different machines, different operating systems I have been clinging to Firefox as a life saver, one of the first things I did was install it and set it as my default browser. Then I proceeded to have a look at Edge. It looks nice, streamlined, even a bit Chrome-like. The settings take a bit of getting used to but you can adapt it to your wishes after a few trial runs (good exercise…)

The drawback of Edge is, though, that it won’t accept any extensions or plug-ins (as yet?). So, some sites might have problems accepting it. That’s when you can switch to IE with all its plug-ins still in place after the Win10 Upgrade. Nice way out…🙂

Edge has surprised me in a very nice way, I must say… Up to now it looks like the winner of the upgrade. Whatever I threw at it, it never gave me problems. Even some sites like ‘digital government’ that at times rattle Firefox, came up without a moment of doubt. But I have heard of friends that there can be problems… I had none, for once😉

So, my overall impression of Win10 is not too bad up to now… It is a fast starter, looks nice and might be fun to work with if the snags here and there are corrected. But then, I am not working with it all day long or every day and it will take more time to really know it. Some bugs were to be expected… Every new Windows version had its snags and bumps and this one is no exception. It is inevitable, really – even if it was thoroughly tested by Microsoft, they can never test for all possible situation on each and every computer…

If at some point I should decide that I want it on my PC as well, though it may cost me, I think I’d rather go for a clean install instead of an upgrade… In the meantime, there’s still a lot to try out😉