Windows 10

Today I’ve decided to think ‘what the hell’ with my PC and go for that Windows 10 thing that people have apparently been talking about with such interest.

Although my old crate of a machine is currently working well enough with an Ubuntu 12.04 install on one SSD, Windows 8.1 (with the mighty StartIsBack) on another SSD and all my data on a HDD, I thought it was about time to wipe the box down and start again from ground zero. After all, a clean OS is always better than an upgrade, we all know that…

… but as it turns out, the Windows 10 upgrade can’t be cleanly installed on your machine from a CD/USB right away unless you’ve already performed an update to Windows 10 on this machine in the past. On top of that the Windows 10 upgrade doesn’t supply you with a license key as such, the OS is licensed to your machine by activating online using a thumbprint of your PC’s hardware, therefore an install from a CD/USB won’t have the thumbprint to activate with unless you’ve done the upgrade first. Oh well, mustn’t grumble. It is free after all.

Windows 10 Ready

My Windows 10 download is now complete and ready to go, so I’m told, so with all my important data stored on a separate HDD, I’ve opted to shut down my computer first to disconnect the data drive in case I accidentally overwrite it or something … (hey, it happens, we’ve all done it before and it you haven’t done it yet, your time WILL come! I promise!)

Click Start, Shut down … and I’ve been staring at ‘Keep your PC on until this is done. Installing update 1 of 1…’ for the last 20 minutes or so … I’ve not even selected to start any updates or upgrades yet. What’s going on? Anyway. After 30 minutes, all appears to be done and the box has shut down, so I disconnect my data drive. I power up the machine again, select to boot to Windows 8 in the GRUB boot menu which Ubuntu supplies and see what happens.

Windows 8 is back up as normal, no idea what that previous update did. “Your free Windows 10 upgrade is here!” I click ‘OK, let’s continue’. I’m waiting again, presented by the ever useful ‘Working on it…’ message. Working on what? No network traffic moving, no memory fluctuating, no disk activity. It’s been 10 minutes … I’m bored so off to get some lunch.

1 hour 30 minutes later, I come back. Nothing’s happened. Still ‘Working on it’. I closed the window using the usual red cross and opened Windows Update. All of a sudden, the new EULA arrives. I read the whole thing top to bottom (obviously) and click Accept.

Finally! looks like were about to get started.

Windows 10 Start The Upgrade

Start the Upgrade! … and do even more Windows Updates …

Windows 10 Updating again

A reboot … and back at GRUB. Nice to see that’s not been wiped out (yet?) by the Windows installer. I select Windows carry on as normal.

Windows 10 Upgrading Finally

Looking at this, I guess it will take a while. Off to mow the lawn! (Excuse the crummy photo.)
A quick look in 30 minutes later, it’s at 75%. Getting there! Just enough time to put the mower away and we’re at this:

Windows 10 Welcome Back

From this point on I was given the usual hundred questions a bit like Windows 8 regarding location, privacy, etc. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary. I then log in and after another short wait I’m at the Windows 10 desktop. Looking swish as you might expect but can’t help feel that the Windows 10 desktop is quite similar to the Google Chrome desktop … I might at a screenshot comparison at some point.

I shut down the machine, plugged my data HDD back in and when starting the PC back up, lo and behold the GRUB boot menu is still there! I can still boot into my Linux partition. Magic.

Now, over all apart from the initial ‘Working on it’ ballsup back in the Windows 8 installer, all seemed to pass swimmingly to be honest. No immidiate problems after installing Windows 10 other than

  1. I had to tell Winamp what soundcard to use again, for some reason it had lost its reference, probably to an upgraded soundcard driver. No biggie.
  2. The Windows Home Server 2011 dashboard that is installed on this machine will not shut up about Windows updates! Updates are automatic now in Windows 10 so I really don’t give a hoot that my PC is 15 minutes out-of-date. It will be eventually. Luckily, the whinging is a feature I can disable in the Dashboard so again, not a biggie.
  3. I had to disable ‘Fast start-up’ again (see http://jongibbins.com/windows-8-locking-up-during-boot/). Again, no biggie.

I’m yet to check out Steam and see how my games play on this new OS but for a desktop environment the upgrade was almost painless. Not bad, Microsoft. Not bad.

Updates may arrive as/when!

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