Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

August 2015
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Windows 10 is here! I've gotten a ton of calls and emails about the free upgrade from Microsoft, so I'm making that the topic of this month's newsletter. I've been using Windows 10 for the last month on my "travel" laptop, and I have some opinions, as well as some advice about the upgrade process. 

I hope you are all enjoying the summer, and keeping cool. I've been away almost every weekend, but am around during the week, so don't hesitate to call me if you have any issues or you want to schedule an upgrade!

Julie Marto 

508-333-8176 (cell)

P.S. Is your college student complaining about his or her laptop? Drop it off with me for a flat rate servicing before they head back to school! Not just for PCs, Macs need love too!
Windows 10 and You

Well, it's finally here - the long awaited free upgrade to Windows 10.  I have been living with Windows 10 for about a month on my travel laptop, and have installed it on my main laptop as well. It's a pretty good upgrade, especially for the price. Many of you have contacted me with some excellent questions - my responses are below:

Who can upgrade for free, and for how long?

Anybody with a licensed copy of Windows 7  or Windows 8.1 can upgrade for free, with the exception of Enterprise users. I don't have many clients with Enterprise licences, so I am assuming most of you are eligible. Unfortunately people using Windows Vista or Windows XP are not eligible for the free upgrade. If you are using XP, please, it's time to get a new computer. If you are using Vista you are OK for now, but if  you want to upgrade I can check your system to see if it can run Windows 10.

Microsoft has announced that the upgrade is free for one year from release, after which it will cost $120.00 for Windows 10 Home and $200.00 for Windows 10 Professional.

Should I upgrade?

Microsoft estimates it will be upgrading one billion devices - it's going to be a long and time consuming process, even for the biggest software company in the world! As of right now I am recommending that everybody eligible for the upgrade should do it while it is free, but otherwise there is no rush. If you are a born early adapter, go for it! If not, you are better  off waiting until after the initial crush - let the pioneers like me work out the bugs and issues for you. 

The upgrade process is pretty straightforward but it takes some time. On my very fast computer it took about 1 1/2 hours after the download was complete to perform the upgrade. The upgrade is reversible, but I've seen  issues reported with programs if the upgrade is reverted. I wouldn't recommend doing the upgrade without making a system image first, just in case something doesn't go well. Due to the length of time that the upgrade takes, the necessity of backing up the system first, and the possibility that tweaks and adjustments might be needed to get things running smoothly, I will only do Windows 10 upgrades as a drop off service.

What should I expect after I upgrade?

The good news is that Microsoft learned from their mistakes with Windows 8. Windows 10 feels like an incremental upgrade, not a whole different environment. In other words, if you are upgrading from Windows 7 (or Windows 8 configured by me to have a start button) to Windows 10 much of what you normally do will feel familiar to you, or be easy to figure out. Additionally, Microsoft has added a very usable search function right on the task bar. This search box can help you find anything you are missing. You can also use it via voice commands, where it takes on the role of a personal assistant called Cortana

For people who are using Windows 8 in its native form, with the Start Screen, Windows 10 will feel like a step backwards, but in a good way. Things will feel familiar enough that you should find using it to be pretty intuitive.

What else should I keep in mind?
  • Windows 10 brings a return to the Start menu, however it is big and more like a hybrid of a Start Menu and the Start Screen. I am currently using it in its "factory" form but plan to customize it to my own needs, something I can help you do as well
  • A very nice new feature is the the way Windows 10 shows you which applications are running, and provides a "Task View" to quickly display every open Window
  • Like Windows 8, Windows 10 comes with built in Windows Defender software, a base level of virus protection. Unfortunately, over the years the effectiveness of Windows Defender as a sole virus protection has gone downhill, so you probably want to install a third party antivirus solution
  • Windows 10 adds an "Action Center" which consists of notifications which float in from the bottom right on a regular basis. I like them but might end up finding them distracting, so will be customizing that option as well

Windows 10 has been  very well reviewed . It's faster and more secure than previous versions of Windows and includes some  great new features . Microsoft is committed to getting everybody on the same platform, and this free year for an upgrade is a great deal.  As of right now, I strongly recommend that everybody plan to upgrade at some point during this time frame.
Windows 10 Upgrade -
Special Pricing!

Long-time clients will recognize that I have never run a "special" before, but many of you will need help with this upgrade. For $100.00 per healthy computer I will:
  • Ensure your system is capable of running Windows 10, updated, virus free, and passes hardware diagnostics
  • Create a system image so the computer can be rolled back, and maintain a copy of that image for a month after upgrade
  • Install Windows 10 and tweak it according to my recommendations 
  • Ensure all functions are working properly after the upgrade
  • Clean up your system post-installation, recovering at least 20GB of hard drive space used by the upgrade
  • Roll back the system within one month if you are unhappy with Windows 10
This special pricing is in effect until the end of 2015 - just mention this article to me when you schedule your upgrade!