Commentary

A fuss-free move to the best Windows

Microsoft logo is seen on an electronic billboard on an office building in New York City, on July 28, 2015.
Microsoft logo is seen on an electronic billboard on an office building in New York City, on July 28, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

It was never my intention to move back to Windows, much less the new Windows 10 operating system (OS). After experiencing one too many upgrade-related frustrations in the past, I had moved to the Mac OS platform for my home computing needs.

But the recent Windows 10 launch had me thinking. After all, I have five Windows machines lying around at home that are eligible for the free upgrade.

I knew I would need to back up all my files and set aside a few hours to complete the upgrade. Then, I could expect to waste a few more hours with troubleshooting because there are always issues - hardware compatibility or driver-related ones - that come with upgrading.

The best outcome would be to have the upgrade automatically halted once a problem was detected. The worst thing that could happen would be for me to finish the process only to find more issues later.

This was what happened when I tried moving to Windows 8. After several hiccups, the upgrade completed but my laptop drew a blank. I found out after a week of back and forth with Microsoft Support that there was an issue with the display drivers.

It might seem like a small issue but the incident put me off Windows for about a year.

I did not think much about Windows 10 until Microsoft announced that it would be available free for all Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

I was not in a hurry to upgrade as I was not confident that my machines could handle Windows 10. But the glowing Facebook status updates from friends who made the jump moved me.

After getting a copy of Windows 10 on a flash drive, the dreaded process started. To my surprise, my first machine went from Windows 7 to 10 without a hitch.

My second machine received a notification to download the 3GB Windows 10 update. I let it run but the upgrade failed to work. Using the flash drive I obtained earlier, however, the upgrade was smooth.

For my other three machines, I did something I normally would not recommend - upgrade to a new OS without first backing up the system.

I got away with it with my home-assembled PC but got a scare with my last two machines. On my Dell XPS 13, the fingerprint software prevented me from logging in. So I had to reset the machine, but I lost all the software

I previously installed on it. Luckily, all my files were kept intact.

I was almost at the end of the upgrade on my Samsung Chronos 7, when the update failed and put it back on Windows 8.1. Instead of choosing the option to download fresh updates along with the upgrade, I chose to try again without downloading any new updates.

The update was successful and I now have five Windows 10 machines running at home.

This is the most trouble-free upgrade in the history of my relationship with Windows. Two weeks on, my only problem is that some Windows Update files are not installing automatically.

Officially, Windows 10 has been installed in over 14 million machines. An unofficial report puts the figure at 25 million. I have yet to read about a failed upgrade on my social network feed.

I love the smooth, Windows 7 style interface, and am getting accustomed to the additional Windows 8 type menus. I'm still learning to use the new Microsoft Edge browser and voice concierge, Cortana.

If you haven't made use of your free upgrade, I highly recommend that you do. This is the best Windows yet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2015, with the headline 'A fuss-free move to the best Windows Commentary'. Print Edition | Subscribe