To Windows 10 or not to Windows 10, that is the question.

Since the middle of May 2016 or so, I have heard from several people that they were surprised to find that one morning they found that Windows 10 was installed on their system overnight. And they were not happy. Others have reported that they have a message that tells them that Windows 10 is ready to be installed the next time they do a restart.

Here’s the problem: most system manufacturers are not providing all of the driver software necessary to support Windows 10 on all of their many models. Microsoft says yes, the manufacturer says no. If the upgrade goes badly, you won’t get support from either one.

I would be fairly confident that Windows 10 that is installed by the manufacturer on a new system, should work fairly well. All of the device driver software “should” be good. Upgrading an older system is a bit of a gamble, and Microsoft’s rollback doesn’t work when the system is stuck in a “can’t automatically  repair boot loop”.

So, for the small business owner or a home system user, before installing the Windows 10 upgrade on one of your current systems, here’s my checklist:

  1. Check the system manufacturer website to see if that particular model is on their Windows 10 support list. Some are and some aren’t. If the system is not on the Support list, or if you’re using QuickBooks or have some other business critical application, use the GWX Control Panel to block Windows 10. Download the installer from : . Just be sure to send the author a donation for each PC where you install it. He needs to be paid for development,  website hosting and traffic. I found his blog to be a good read, so enjoy that too.
  2. Next, if the PC or laptop is the only system that you have for your small business, don’t do the upgrade without having a second machine that is ready to become your main system. More bluntly, don’t do the upgrade on your only system.
  3. If you’re ready to go ahead with the upgrade, install all of the current Windows Updates other than Windows 10. Certainly, you don’t need them all, but you do need some of them and you don’t know which is which, so get them all. Also note that some systems should have a BIOS/UEFI upgrade before the Windows 10 upgrade.
  4. Before installing the Windows 10 upgrade, note that some systems have been rendered useless or crippled by Windows 10. If that happens you might want to get support from the manufacturer or from Microsoft. Good luck with either one. So, be sure that you have a system image backup of the PC. Since Microsoft’s “rollback” process doesn’t always work, and since Murphy’s Law says that if you have the backup, you won’t need it, but if you don’t have the backup, you will need it. So get a full image backup.
  5. Be prepared to not be able to use your system for several hours while the upgrade process runs.
  6. Also be prepared to have some fiddling to do with the applications that you use in order to get things to work the way you like. Expecting things to come up the way you like is totally naïve.

(Original post 2016-3-4, updated 2016-6-19)