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December 2015The monthly newsletter by Felgall Pty Ltd

My Word

Upgrading to Windows 10

While the upgrade process for upgrading to Windows 10 includes an option allowing you to roll back to your prior windows version within a month, I do not recommend relying on that as the only fallback for if you find that Windows 10 doesn't work properly for you. For one thing the upgrade process can remove some software from your computer that is incompatible with Windows 10 and the rollback can even fail to work (as happened to me the first time I tried upgrading).

Instead of simply running the upgrade and hoping that you have a working computer at the end , I recommend that you take a backup of your current setup before you start. There are a number of ways to do this. If you have a backup program then take a full backup of your system before you start the Windows 10 upgrade.

I usually have more than one hard drive in my computer and so my preferred option is to use a partitioning tool to copy the operating system from one hard drive to another (I keep my data in a separate partition so that it doesn't need to be copied and will be accessible from both copies of the operating system). With two (or more) copies of the operating system on different hard drives we can use a boot manager to choose which drive to boot the computer from. This means we can upgrade one copy of the operating system and simply revert back to the other copy if it doesn't work out. A simple way to implement this is to simply buy an extra hard drive to install into your computer that you can copy everything to.

Modern hard drives are relatively easy to install into a computer as they configure themselves instead of you needing to go into the BIOS and enter their details as we used to need to do with early computers. Basically you just insert the new drive into the case, plug one of the spare power cables into it (it only goes in one way) and attach a SATA cable between the drive and the motherboard.

My preferred partition manager is AEOMI Partition Assistant which you can get from http://www.disk-partition.com/free-partition-manager.html where you can simply use the Migrate OS option to make a working copy of your operating system from one hard drive to another. It does need to reboot your computer in order to make the copy so that it can copy the entire content of the drive while you are not trying to use it to run Windows so you can't continue using the computer while the copy is being made but it does give you an exact copy of everything on your operating system drive that makes reverting back as simple as swapping the SATA cables on the two drives (or even easier if you get a boot manager).

When I started the Windows 10 install the first time I had Plop Boot Manager ( https://www.plop.at/en/bootmanagers.html ) installed on the hard drive so that it would run each time the computer started to allow me to choose which drive to boot from. With the issues I had with my first attempt at upgrading to Windows 10 I ended up losing the copy of the boot manager on the hard drive and so now simply have a copy on a CD that I can put into the computer when I start it up that gives me the choice of where to boot from (if I don't install the disk it boots from the first drive automatically).

With a complete copy of the drive and a way to get back that version if necessary, it is time to start the upgrade to Windows 10. If you have the icon in your task bar then you can start the upgrade from there, alternatively you can download a copy of the tool from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows-10/media-creation-tool-install to download a copy of Windows 10 and either burn it to DVD or copy it to a USB.

To actually upgrade to Windows 10 you need to be logged in with administrator access. If you follow my recommended practice and have two accounts on the computer - one with admin access and a password and the other with just regular access that you normally use - then you will need to log out of your regular account and log in to the admin account. It isn't enough just to select to run it as administrator from your regular account as it needs access to the entire system. If you have multiple computers to upgrade then select the Create Media option to actually save a copy of the upgrade software so you can run it for each computer without having to download approximately 3Gb separately for each computer. Once the media is created you simply run Setup on that drive to start the upgrade.

Your computer will need to reboot three times during the install. You will not need the media in the drive after the first reboot. Note that the upgrade will tell you about some programs that are incompatible so you can remove them during the upgrade (eg. Virtual PC and media player) but will not tell you about incompatible programs from companies other than Microsoft (that you will need to manually remove for yourself before you start the upgrade). Note that if you decide to roll back within that first month and the roll back works then the programs you deleted or which were deleted during the upgrade will not be restored (which is where having your own copy of the old operating system with them still there is useful).

One other thing that you need to be aware that the upgrade does is that it changes the defaults for various types of processing to specific Microsoft programs rather than leaving the defaults pointing to the programs you chose. You will need to go into the settings and change all your default programs back after the upgrade has finished.
 

On Site

You'd think that with Windows 10 having only been released a few months ago and PHP 7 only a couple of weeks ago that there would be lots of people asking questions about those topics for me to write about. I still see lots more questions being asked about JavaScript than any of the other subjects I write about though. This month I have done my best to have the new pages at least be relevant to other languages as well as JavaScript but that has meant that I am now building up a collection of as yet unpublished JavaScript pages. Suggestions for pages that are not JavaScript will be appreciated as I would like to try to maintain at least some spread of articles across different topics.
 

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