Preparations for a "paid" Windows 10‏

Microsoft has already delivered a deadline for free upgrades to Windows 10, so although Microsoft has a history of being flexible when it comes to customers and users when it comes to Windows, it's still important to consider the status of your Windows machines if you haven't upgraded yet. Despite that moronic lady who was "tricked" into installing Windows, the upgrade process is relatively simple and actually requires user consent. The process isn't, as suggested by ignorant media journalists with an IQ of -156, free of user intervention. An unattended installation is near impossible, particularly for users running the Home and Pro versions of Windows 7 and 8.
Since I needed an extra hard drive for a FreeBSD install and curious if there have been any changes to the Windows 10 upgrade process, I went through the arduous procedure of installing Windows 7, upgrading to Windows 8 Pro using my old DVD media, and then going directly to using the Windows Upgrade Assistant that downloads and installs Windows 10 on my hardware.

The process has certainly changed quite a bit from a year ago. On a basic mini-PC, the complete process took roughly 2 and a half hours. I skipped installing drivers for both Windows 7 and 8 since I knew Windows 10 included hardware drivers. The process now bypasses the upgrade to Windows 8.1, which was a lengthy chore a few years back. Users can rest assured that if they installed a fresh copy of Windows  8 or Windows 8 Pro from their boxed copy, they won't have to go through 8.1 for Windows 10 (essential updates from 8.1 are installed during the 10 process).

Note: For those who own a Zotac ZBOX Nano Mini-PC, Zotac no longer provides drivers or even a BIOS update for the product. However, Windows 10 pretty much supports all the onboard hardware so you really don't have to install manufacturer drivers. Make sure, however, that you set the appropriate Secure Boot UEFI settings in the BIOS if you were originally running Windows 7 or had previously installed a Linux distribution. Zotac's UEFI interface is clunky and somewhat buggy on the ZBOX Nano, but usable.

There were no hiccups during the manual upgrade process from Windows 7 to Windows 10, although I must confess that the 4 reboots still felt strange compared to kernel upgrades with Linux distributions such as openSUSE and Ubuntu. After a clean install, I went ahead and created a bootable USB media using the Media Creation Tool, in case I ever need to have a workstation with Windows 10. As a footnote, the 32-bit Windows 10 Home on my horrible HP Stream 8 is a far cry from using Windows 10 Pro on a desktop. I would highly recommend skipping any device running 32-Bit Windows 10 Home and use Windows 10 on well-equipped hardware instead.

Note: Creating Windows 10 installation media using the Media Creation Tool is totally optional since Microsoft will soon be providing a full ISO download of Windows 10. If you prefer the long route and installing your original Windows copy (7/8/8.1), you can do that too as long as you activated your Windows 10 the first time you went through the upgrade process. 

Understand, however, that a lot of leftover files are retained when you undergo an upgrade rather than using Windows 10 media for a clean install, so using your own Windows 10 media or the upcoming ISO is more practical.


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