Smart upgrades

Windows 10 Anniversary Upgrade is rolling out to computers that already have Windows 10 installed. It will show up in your Windows Updates.

One way to upgrade to the new version of Windows 10 is to click that Install Now button, cross your fingers and hope for the best. You could get lucky.

A smarter way to approach this project is to prepare for the upgrade. Here’s how.

Preparation is key

The idea is not really to prepare for a successful upgrade.

The objective is to prepare for a failed upgrade with an unsuccessful rollback.

You hope you don’t need that, but you might. This upgrade breaks some things.

Before you upgrade Windows

          Update your drivers

  • Check Windows Update. Check your computer manufacturer’s website. Do not download some utility that purports to update your drivers. They are all useless and/or harmful.
  • On my HP laptop, I used the HP Support Assistant to check for updates. Even though I have faithfully applied my Windows Updates, the Support Assistant found three critical components that required updating. Just do it.

    Update your software
  • If any of these steps is optional it’s this one, but it’s still a good idea. At the very least make sure your browser is up to date.
  • If you use the Classic Start menu replacement, you absolutely must update this or you are going to have problems. This is the safe link.

          Clean your computer

  • Make sure your computer is free of malicious software. Use Malwarebytes or an anti-malware program of your choice, then run a full scan with your anti-virus program.
  • Get rid of any malicious software, Potentially Unwanted Programs, and Potentially Unwanted Modifications.

          Back up your files

  • Would you be sad if you lost your photos? Any of your documents? Your internet favourites? Your email? Your Contacts?
  • You should be backing this stuff up on a routine basis anyway. Make sure you have a current backup.

Create a Recovery Disk for your current version of Windows. Or locate the one you already created.
You really don’t want to have to use this, but if you need it, you want to have it handy.

Completely disable — or uninstall — your antivirus and anti-malware programs. An operating system upgrade will change system files. Your antivirus/antimalware programs prevent changes to system files.

Your upgrade will fail or some system files will be corrupt if you don’t get your protection out of the way.

Download the current version of your antivirus and/or antimalware programs, but don’t install them — yet.

Then, uninstall your anti-virus and/or anti-malware programs. If you use a paid version of those programs, make sure you note the licence information before you uninstall. 

You might get away with just disabling the protection, but if the upgrade fails and rolls back you’re going to have to do this anyway.

Close all running programs. Allow your computer to devote every bit of it’s power to performing this upgrade.

Make sure your laptop is plugged in. Don’t even think about doing this on battery. Plug in your laptop.

This is going to take some time

You’ve already noticed the preparation is time-consuming. So is the upgrade.

On two very fast machines here with a very fast Internet connection the actual upgrade took over an hour. (Prep took longer, and I already had a clean computer and a complete backup.)

Don’t start this process 10 minutes before you have to be somewhere unless somewhere is bed.

OK, the upgrade is done. Now what?

Check back next week for Smart Upgrades – Part 2. For now, be sure to re-enable or reinstall your antivirus/antimalware programs.

Did you upgrade? How did it go? Send email and share.

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment, phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email here.



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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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