I just upgraded to Windows 10. I was actually relatively happy with Windows 7, but ever since the upgrade to 10 proclaimed it was ready to install, my computer started giving me periodic BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death), with increasing frequency. Coincidence?
Conspiracy theories aside my Windows 7 installation had been begging me to be put out of its misery for a long time, and if I was going to do a fresh install anyway, I might as well upgrade. Here are my recommendations for the upgrade and simplified step by step instructions of the process.
Step 1: Backup all your data
Though the upgrade offers an option of keeping your files, settings and apps, whenever you are making big changes like this upgrade its always prudent to have a complete backup.
Step 2: Get the media creation tool
You can get the upgrade through Windows update, but i recommend getting the “media creation tool” from Microsoft’s homepage as it seems to give you better control of the upgrade process.
Step 3: Create the installation media
Run the media creation tool, select create media for another, choose language and version of windows 10 (32 vs 64 bit) and lastly pick flash drive as the destination. I recommend installing to a USB flash drive as it will work on systems without an optical drive (you will need an empty flash drive with at least 3 GB of space).
Step 4: Run the Windows 10 installation
Double check that you have everything backed up, then browse to the flash drive and double click the setup.exe file. The installation prompt should start. There are a few options, but the main one to worry about is the “Ready to install” prompt. On this page you can click the “choose what to keep” link which will give you 3 options. I recommend choosing to keep nothing or keeping only your personal files. In general a “clean” installation of Windows will run better than one bogged down by old apps and settings. At least that has been true in the past when upgrading a Windows installation.
Step 5: Privacy settings
During the installation the installer will ask you to decide on different settings including ones that will effect privacy. For an install that will function just as Microsoft intends Windows 10 to work, leave the settings as is. However I recommend you take the time to read about what each setting means and decide for yourself if you want the functionality Microsoft is offering in exchange for the rights they will probably claim.
Step 6: Clean up old files (optional)
The installation process above will do a semi clean install of Windows 10, but your old personal files will still be saved in the C:\windows.old directory. If you are sure you have backed up all files and you need the disk space, go ahead and delete this folder. If you are like me and you keep everything in the intended personal folders in Windows (e.g. documents, desktop, videos and images) this last step will free up a lot of hard disk space.