Windows 10 is launching on Wednesday and if you plan on updating your OS as soon as it launches then there are a few things you have to do first. Whether you’re doing an upgrade or a clean install you will definitely want to make sure that the transition is smooth. In order to make sure that happens, here are a few things you should do to prepare.
Upgrade or Clean Install?
The first thing you have to do is you have to take into consideration the following:
- What operating system are you currently using?
- Which data do you want to preserve?
- Are you currently suffering from a lot of bugs and errors?
Only Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users will be able to an in-place upgrade. This means that you won’t have to migrate your data and reinstall all of your programs. Such is not the case for the few remaining Vista users and the ever faithful Windows XP users. These people must do a clean install.
If you’re using Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 then the next thing you need to consider is how willing you are to deal with extended downtime. If you use your computer for business or your free time is limited then you might not have the option of having your computer unusable for more than an hour. This makes upgrading the better option over a clean install.
However, if your system is unstable and experiencing a lot of slowdowns and crashes then the best option is to wipe everything and start from scratch. Your current installation of Windows will be the foundation for your upgrade to 10 and there the potential to run into driver incompatibilities already exists, even with a clean install.
Prepare Your Computer for Change
If you’re going with an upgrade then there are a few things you’re going to have to do.
- Clean Out the Junk: Clean out temporary files and other nonessentials using the Disk Cleanup tool. This is also a good habit to have if you want to improve stability and performance.
- Update Drivers: You’ll want to update all hardware drivers to their latest versions, even audio drivers. The newest versions of your hardware drivers will be more compatible with Windows 10. Carrying over old drivers could cause compatibility or stability issues, causing your system to revert to an inferior universal driver for that particular hardware.
- Check for Viruses: Each new versions of Windows comes with better security than its predecessor, but it still can’t hurt to clear out any remaining bugs.
- Install Updates: This is crucial, especially if you don’t do auto-updates already. Updates can include compatibility and security patches, but stability patches are important during upgrades.
- Run Dusk Optimization: This is especially important if you are running Vista and Windows 7. Disk Optimization (or Disk Defragmentation on Vista and 7) will clean up how data is stored on your main drive. This will, in turn, increase processing speed for finding things when they are needed.
Even if you are doing an upgrade over a clean install, it could still benefit you from following these tips of a clean install. If anything goes wrong during or after the upgrade then doing this could save you some frustration.
- Take Inventory: Make a list of all the applications and peripherals you use in addition to the hardware components you have installed. Once you know what you’re running find the installation and driver discs that came with what you bought and gather them together.
- Copy Installation and Driver Files: Download copies of all your installation and driver files for items that didn’t come with a disc. This includes free any and all free programs that you use. You should also do a search for newer versions of installation and driver files that you do have on disc and making sure you have your key handy.
- Collect Your Product Key Information: Make sure you have all of your product key information for your purchased applications that came with your system. If you can’t find your physical copies of this information then you can look up the info in the program itself and write it down.
Back Up All of Your Data
Whether you’re doing a clean install or an upgrade you should back up your system. All user accounts and files in user-specific folders should migrate safely across operating systems should the backup be successful. You can create a complete system image, which will save exact copies of the drive you backup as a single file, or you can back up individual files and folders. When upgrading to 10, creating a system image of your main drive and saving it on another storage option should be all you need to cover your bases.
Know What Programs to Deactivate
This is a pretty simple, small step and is only necessary for users doing a clean install. You need to make sure you deauthorize access for any application that limits the number of computers that can use the program at one time. Calling into customer service to fix these issues works, but a couple minutes of work can save you a lot of frustration in the long run.
If you run through all of these steps, whether you are doing a simple upgrade or a full clean install, then you should be all ready to go. Remember to make a recovery drive once your new system is up and running. Preserve your fresh start, just in case you need to repair your Windows 10 installation later on.
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