Windows 10, Windows 8.1 backups and consumer options


The July 29 Windows 10 launch date is a symbolic time reference if anything else. Only select Windows PC owners and users will actually have a full Windows 10 when that day comes. Despite all the ignorance in consumer PC publications and all the FUD on the Internet, the Windows 10 launch isn't as confusing or as unrealistic as it seems.

 
HP.com ad for Windows 10


It's a massive upgrade with a significance greater than the unnoticed, but extremely crucial, jump from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 last year. Experienced PC users already running the latest build of Windows 10 already know much of what's coming and how to upgrade - so if you see some user complaining about how to upgrade or when, he probably shouldn't be doing any network administrative work, let alone touch a workstation.

 

Dell.com uses a very subtle way of informing users about Windows 10.

Anyone who has been using operating systems long enough, regardless if it's Linux, Mac OSX or Windows, knows that any new release will come with a lot of issues. Even veteran users have forgotten that the beloved Windows XP, arguably Microsoft's most popular OS release of all time next to Windows 7, was met with a bucket load of criticisms and bugs. Windows 8.1 users can save themselves a lot of grief by running a fresh install of their Windows machine. Although it may be inconvenient for users with only one primary PC, it can only benefit users in the long run by avoiding Windows 10 conflicts and horrible performance when software libraries are replaced by new ones.

 

Acer has a dedicated web page for Windows 10 upgrades.


For users like me who purchased a Windows 8.1 Pro to upgrade a Windows 7 machine, it would be a tedious task - unless of course you imaged your system with Clonezilla and regularly back up your files on a Linux server or NAS. If you have a mini-PC, ultrabook or netbook with Windows, then you should install the Windows Media Creation Tool to create a bootable Windows 8.1 USB stick for easy reinstallation.

Note: You can read more about the Windows Media Creation Tool and Clonezilla's restore options here at Unsolicited But Offered.

If you're a Linux user and still have your Windows media around, then it's not too difficult to create an .ISO from applications such as K3B.

To create an ISO using K3B in Fedora 22 Workstation:

1. Insert your Windows DVD into the optical drive.

2. In K3B, click Tools > Copy Medium.

3. Select Only create image.


4. Click the Image tab and select the file path where the .iso will be saved.
 

5. Click Start. K3B will unmount the DVD and begin creating an image.

Although mainstream consumers are more interested in tablets and smartphones these days, there is a wealth of choices when it comes to form factors for Windows machines if you opt to purchase a Windows 10 PC rather than go through the upgrade. Although netbooks have long disappeared from the market, they live on in 2-in-1 tablets/laptops, which feature the ability to disconnect the tablet from its keyboard. The Acer Switch 10, for example, is a pretty affordable option if you're not ready for the powerful Surface Pro 3.

 


The ASUS Transformer Book Flip comes with USB Type-C and is Windows 10 ready.


Convertible laptops, which can transform into several modes, have grown in popularity with artists, tech enthusiasts and students. I myself thought tent and flip modes were redundant, but I was proven wrong when a co-worker lent me her Yoga 3 (convertibles are surprisingly useful with styli). If you're tired of lugging laptops around and want a serious rig that doesn't take too much space, there's also the mini-PC, which has the advantage of including more ports and doubling as a server. Meanwhile, PC gamers may find their lives becoming a bit more interesting with a new tower considering that Windows 10 will have a strong relationship with XBOX One.

If you're not interested in Windows 10, there's always the dependable Macbook, although I thoroughly recommend Dell's new Ubuntu laptops if you're interested.

 

Dell has a slew of Ubuntu laptops sporting low-range to mid-range hardware.

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