Renew.IT – Upgrading to Windows 10, at the bleeding edge.

As some of you know, or perhaps heard, Microsoft released the latest operating system – Windows 10 on July 29 in the US. We were able to access it on July 30, hence the past few days were spent with downloading the software and getting our computers ready to accept this Windows 10 upgrade.

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Microsoft made the decision to give this upgrade free to current owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1. However, there is a minor catch. Windows 7 owners must upgrade to Service Pack 1 and run Windows Update to pick up the required patches and updates. Windows 8 owners must get the free upgrade to Windows 8.1 and also run Windows Update to get up to date on patches. Once this is done, we will see the GWX icon (Get Windows 10) in the taskbar, which we can click and we will be told if the computer is compatible with Windows 10 with respect to its hardware or if there is perhaps some incompatible software.

The past few weeks were spent getting our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 updated. Quite a few Windows 7 machines needed over 200 updates, so it was a case on each machine, run Windows Update, Check for Updates, then install – basically install every update. Then wait for the icon to appear. On one Windows 8.1 machine, this icon appeared early and I had used it to reserve my Windows 10 upgrade. Many GB of updates were tying up our internet connection.  I hate to think of the cost or time taken if our internet plan was not unlimited.

So, on July 30, I wasn’t going to wait for everything to download onto the computers, so went to the Microsoft Windows 10 site https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and downloaded and ran the Media Creation Tool. I chose Professional and also to create an ISO for both 32-bit and 64-bit. Unfortunately, that was the wrong choice because the ISO turned out to be 5.5GB which was much too big to fit on my DVD’s and I didn’t have any dual layer dvd disks, so had to download again, individually, the 64-bit and 32-bit versions. The reason is that you can only upgrade 32-bit Windows 7/8.1 to 32-bit Windows 10, and 64-bit Windows 7/8.1 to 64-bit Windows 10. Anyway, another 6GB internet download later, that was done. Then it was a simple matter of burning the ISO images to DVD-R, and now we were ready, except it was getting late.

Friday was spent getting things ready, deciding which computers to upgrade first, i.e. the non-critical ones should be the guinea pigs, and if this went well, follow up with others and eventually the more important ones.

August 1, a great day – finally I will install Windows 10. Not only that, I will go out to play badminton, so in the meantime, my computer can upgrade itself, so popped the DVD in, and ran the Setup, waited while it did its thing, asking what I wanted to keep, so left it to do whatever it needed to do and went out to play badminton. On returning home, I was expecting it to be completed, but alas, that was not to be. The computer was asking for a product key – strange, and none of the my keys would work, so decided to skip it – then it wanted to know what I wanted to do, Upgrade or Custom install – I thought I already answered this before I went out. I chose Upgrade and then it told me to run it from within Windows.

The penny dropped, the computer must have rebooted and because the DVD in the drive was bootable, it had booted from the DVD drive and started the process over again. Note to oneself, set the bios to boot from hard disk, and not from optical drive first. It was easy to solve – pop out the DVD and press the reset button, and then the computer booted up from the hard disk and the upgrade continued. Eventually I was able to log in and it set up my profile for me – great. It didn’t seem too difficult and seemed to go reasonably well, except for the hiccup with the DVD booting.

I started another upgrade, and this time it was taking a long time – why. A moment of head scratching came with the result of recollection that the first computer had a solid state drive (SSD) as its hard disk. This would be much faster than the standard Sata hard disk in the second computer – so no wonder, it was slower this time.

At this point, my son started to get involved, once I explained that we need to prevent the computer from booting from the DVD – he wanted it on USB, why? Ok, a couple of his computers didn’t have DVD drives, so obviously USB is the simplest way – although he does have a external USB DVD drive. I ran the media creation tool again for USB, after I found a suitable USB – a little Toshiba 16GB one that I formatted first as FAT32. Interestingly, the media creation tool seemed to want to download everything again, even though much of the download would also have been on the hard drive from the previous download and ISO creation – no matter, just more internet usage.

Everything was going well, wasn’t it? By Sunday evening – yesterday, we had a total of 10 computers all upgraded to Windows 10, with no problems – not! I had a couple of laptops, HP ProBooks actually that would not shutdown. That was strange, why is this happening – we choose Shutdown and we see the Shutting Down message briefly, then the screen blanks out and that hard disk activity increases. I check a HP Pavilion laptop that had been upgraded – that one shuts down ok. Another Fujitsu Lifebook, the second to be upgraded also shuts down fine.

A check on the internet shows some reported problems during the initial beta testing – and maybe a BIOS upgrade is needed. I found the ProBook 4510s had a BIOS upgrade available, F.20 – great. This was downloaded and run to upgrade the BIOS, but still the problem persisted. The ProBook 6450b also had a BIOS upgrade done and this also continued to not shutdown. The only way both of these could be shutdown was to reboot, wait for the BIOS screen to come up and then press the power button which will turn off the laptop.

After dinner, I did some more “google’ing”, this time for “Windows 10 cannot shutdown” and found something that worked! It turns out there is a hybrid shutdown feature that came in with Windows 8, which in Windows 10 is enabled by default – it allows the PC to start up faster after shutdown, however may cause problems with some BIOS’s and hardware. Hybrid shutdown from what I gather is partly hibernating and partly shutdown, or rather some parts of the Windows operating system will hibernate hence it will start up much quicker.

On my laptop, this is accessed by choosing Power Options in Control Panel, then go to Choose what the power buttons do, then Change settings that are currently unavailable – down the bottom you will see Shutdown settings, and the first one is Turn on fast startup. I unticked this on both ProBooks, and problem solved – both ProBooks now will shutdown properly – thew!  All 10 computers now working – or is it? My son reported an issue with remote desktop, since he traditionally uses remote desktop to access one of his machines, being connected to a Samsung TV in the sunroom, and not at his desk. I will have to look at this with him, but that is another episode.

I also had a Compaq Presario laptop that I had been using to run the Windows 10 Technical Preview, i.e. a beta testing machine. I thought, I should install the Windows 10 upgrade on it and at least get it up to date, so did this last night. To my surprise, the installation went well, and Windows is activated! That is good news, since I wasn’t expecting it to be activate but I really didn’t want it activated on that laptop because it has older hardware much of which is not compatible. The graphics adapter inside is a nVidia Geforce Go 7600 for which there are no drivers.

Anyway that is for me to play with now, to see whether I can get some older drivers to install, or perhaps I downgrade it from 64-bit to 32-bit. Yes, apparently we are allowed to do this – as long as the machine has been activated already, we can do a clean installation again. If I cannot get 64-bit drivers working with the graphics adapter, then I will do a clean install to 32-bit Windows 10 and then try the 32-bit graphics drivers. This will kill two birds with one stone, since 32-bit drivers were more readily available than 64-bit drivers, and my ProBook 4510s currently has 32-bit Windows 10 on it, and I really want 64-bit Windows 10 – if my downgrade of the Presario works as Microsoft indicates it should, I would do the upgrade or crossgrade on my ProBook to 64-bit, great – now to continue on with the Presario.

[P.S.] Should I see if I can install the Technical Preview on another desktop and then try the Windows 10 upgrade – but then I would end up with too many Windows 10 machines – we have 10 running right now, 11 counting the Presario and my son has another Plex machine waiting to be upgraded if we can resolve the remote desktop problem – that would be 12, oh well, we have plenty of time…

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