This is Windows 10 launch week and things are going pretty well. Unlike some rumors to the contrary, the OEMs are ready with preloads and so far, the systems I’ve looked at are very clean. Not a lot of crapware (in fact I haven’t seen any yet but I’m sure someone will disappoint me) and very little breakage. Let’s talk about some of the tools and what the experience is like.
This is where most of the pain will be and I upgraded one Dell All-In-One on Vista to see what would happen. Amazingly the system actually runs and it is usable; not so amazingly there are a number of missing drivers. In the case of my all-in-one this means that while Bluetooth and networking (both wired and wireless) is working, the USB ports are all dead which didn’t become a problem until I wanted to use a newer wired keyboard.
There are two third-party tools that may help with your migration: Tranxition Migrate 7 (for bulk migrations) and Laplink’s PCmover (they have a free version but it’s worth the $30 for the time the pro version saves).
When going back this far be aware that apps may not work right and that you’ll likely want to update Office. But since I generally just ran Office on this All-In-One I actually didn’t have that many issues. Standing advice, given how inexpensive hardware is for anything this old, just buy new hardware and get it over with.
Given how much faster hardware is today you can actually buy a desktop or laptop for under $300 that will outperform what you have and start you off clean.
First thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have a Microsoft ID and set up a OneDrive account so that you can sync your stuff. Make sure you are also syncing settings as well and then give your system a chance to do its thing before moving to Windows 10. This will assure your settings and files are relatively safe. (Doing a full backup isn’t a bad idea either just to be doubly sure.)
Now I’m a fan of doing clean upgrades but only because I think that is the only way to clean house on my PCs which tend to collect a bunch of crap over the years. The upgrade process from 7 and especially 8 is pretty wonderful compared to what it used to be before Vista—which means you start the process then go grab lunch and by the time you are done eating your system should be nearly ready to go. You’ll need to log into your router (but only if you are connecting wirelessly) and your Microsoft account, and you’ll likely go through a short authentication process to make sure you are you and your files aren’t going to a stranger, but after that is done a short coffee brake later and you are working again.
Remember that Windows Key + X hot keys your menu and you’ll be looking at a desktop that is more like Windows 7 and very much more familiar than that huge tile thing that Windows 8 tried to pull off.
Wrapping Up: You’ll Like Where You End Up
I’ve been running Windows 10 myself for over a year now and I don’t even remember what Windows XP was like anymore. This new version of Windows is much more like a smartphone or tablet in how it works and it works far better on a tablet than ever before. Normally I’d tell you the migration will be painful but worth it, now there is little or no pain even if you are moving to a new PC. Oh, and if you are on Windows 7 or 8 the upgrade on existing hardware is free, and like I already said, new hardware is less expensive and better than it has ever been before. So lay out a day to migrate and then use the free time you suddenly have to enjoy the summer. This is how upgrades should have always been—mostly pain free.
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
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