Friday, July 31, 2015

Windows 10 Linkpost: Pulp Fiction Edition

“010 Ten Detective Aces May-Jun-1933” CC by 2.0 attribution: by Will Hart on flickr.

OK. Here we go. Windows 10 has been released to the masses, world-wide.

Pandemonium is ripping across continents, hoards are massing on borders, panic is in the streets and geekdom has gone underground in an attempt to hide from in inundation of phone calls from family, in-laws, out-laws, and friends seeking comfort, guidance, and recovery from this Windows 10 invasion appearing on their Windows 7 & 8.1 systems.

Seriously…the Windows 10 rollout is going on. Some folks who elected to use the “Get Windows 10” notifier in their system tray are queuing for their installation/upgrade.

Others are still debating if the decision to upgrade now is wise (a wise choice IMHO).

So fresh out of the gate, here is a new collection of Windows 10 Release links and considerations everyone would be well-advised to review and consider before punching that  upgrade button.

I highly encourage any visitors to this humble blog to first take some time reading this previous post to get up to speed.

Now, on to the linkage!

A PSA For Dell Hardware Users!

I’m putting this on the top of the list. Just because Microsoft has tossed a “you can upgrade to Windows 10 if you want” icon on your computer doesn’t mean that your hardware can successfully upgrade to Windows 10.

By that I use Dell as an example.

See, turns out that WIndows 10 may not be able to provide correct/functional “generic” device drivers for all hardware…laptop mother-boards are particularly challenging with driver availability. Dell laptops in particular seem to be tripping out the Windows 10 installer.

I did some digging and found these Dell links of interest.

As of the time of this blog post..

  • My Dell Studio 15 (1558) isn’t listed anywhere on the page.
  • Nor is my Dell XPS L702X laptop model.
  • Nor is Lavie’s Dell Inspiron 15 (3520).

According to Dell, the non-listing of these laptops means “…if your computer model is not listed, the hardware has not been tested and drivers have not been updated for that model, and Dell does not recommended an upgrade to Windows 10. If you wish to proceed with an upgrade to Windows 10 on an untested system.”

I’m a pretty good Windows sysadmin, and to me, those words mean that I won’t be upgrading ANY of our systems to Windows 10 until it has been out for a while, and drivers are available for our platforms.

So…think long and hard grasshopper before you do the upgrade. It might work with no issues, maybe. But I’d advise to check your hardware manufacture’s support site and try to confirm if it is Win 10 tested before jumping off that cliff.

You’ve been warned!

Windows 10 Privacy Concerns

Next clue for your consideration should be a full review and understanding of Windows 10 privacy changes brought in by Microsoft. Maybe you aren’t concerned but you should at least be informed.

Windows 10: Privacy nightmare - Tiny apps summarized some of the top privacy concerns. Read the post my friends.

When installation completes, be sure to click the tiny "Customize" link on the "Get going fast" screen; you may (not) be surprised at how invasive Microsoft has become. Here's a taste from that post (these are all enabled by default):

  1. "Personalize your speech, typing, and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft."
  2. "Send typing and inking data to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform."
  3. "Use pge prediction to improve reading, speed up browsing, and make your overall experience better in Windows browsers. Your browsing data will be sent to Microsoft."
  4. "Automatically connect to suggested open hotspots. Not all networks are secure."
  5. "Automatically connect to networks shared by your contacts."
  6. "Send error and diagnostic information to Microsoft." (The toggle switch to enable or disable was hidden below the screen; a near-invisible scroll bar was required to view it.)

More topics and details I encourage you to carefully review.

Windows 10 ISO downloads

Depending on your upgrade plans, you may or may not need a local “hard-copy” of the Windows 10 installation files available. That said, it’s good to have a copy handy on DVD or USB, just in case something bad happens.

Express or Custom Setup & Security Considerations: Choose wisely grasshopper!

…as for me and my family, we will choose “custom”…

Basically, Express goes ahead and tells Microsoft to allow all their recommended default settings and such…things you may not want if you read the privacy concern links above.

The custom is more of a headache to wade through but you are turning off options and protecting your privacy (to the degree you can) by doing so.

Belt and Zipper check: Is your Security solution Windows 10 Compatible?

You probably are running one or more security products on your Windows 7/8.1 system right now. They are working hard to keep you, your system, and your data safe from threats, hacks, and exploits.

Before you do your upgrade, stop for a moment and check to see if the software vendor has confirmed that their product is -- in fact -- Windows 10 compatible.  If it isn’t then you run risks of lowered protection, non-functional software, BSOD’s, etc.  If you don’t see your security products are Win 10 compatible, I again urge you to wait, or to consider the implications of switching to a Windows 10 compatible security product before you punch the upgrade button.

Also, AV-Comparatives recommends uninstalling any existing security program(s) before doing your upgrade then reinstalling the latest version after upgrade is done. Security apps can cause conflicts with software installations and doing a OS upgrade is one of the biggest software installs you can do!

Got a third-party whole-disk encryption solution installed? Tread carefully and consider a full disk decryption before upgrade, then re-encrypt after confirming Win 10 compatibility.

As far as my lineup goes…

Reason to Wait #15: Win 10 Service Release 1 coming (very) soon

So based on the new -- let’s get it out the door, and just cram updates/fixes down whenever we need to -- service model, it should be as no surprise to hear a new Service Release bundle may be right around the corner.

Another reason to wait in my book.

OK - Decision Time Upgrade now or Not?

You’ve probably figured out my position at this point (let’s wait a while as there is no rush). But here are some additional opinions from trusted sources.

So you really want it now do you? Mmmkay.

On your own head be it.

So what do I do?

Even if you have erred on the side of caution and are not upgrading now, it would be beneficial to acquaint yourself with the Windows 10 upgrade process so you won’t be surprised.

Clean versus Dirty Installs

Most non-technical consumers (or those who don’t have a geek in the family to buy off support with beer and pizza) will go ahead and opt to take the in-place upgrade.  Generally this will be fine and smooth and no real harm will come out of it.

However, many battle-hardened Windows sysadmins and geeks may tell you that the better option is to do a “clean” install. Basically that means backing up all your files/folders/data/settings then wiping out your system and installing a pristine version of Windows 10 on the system and then loading our files/folders/data/applications/settings. It is very labor intensive and carries its own risks. But the reward is a fresh and clean OS load and few carryovers of old drivers, problems, and configuration issues.

Here are some guides on a Clean install process with Windows 10.

Note, there are some potential “gotchas” particularly with the free Windows 10 license key. So read first carefully.

The TinyApps bloggist shared some great resources in his earlier Win 10 Privacy post. Read these carefully as they contain great advise.

First Things First (after you’ve done the Windows 10 thing)

So here are some recommended setting changes you should check out and consider making after you have done your Windows 10 installation. Most involve security and privacy settings. However some also involve bandwidth and network options and impacts.

Windows 10 Tweaking - Start with “Start”

Windows 10 Upgrade Troubleshooting

Sometimes, the best laid plans go to pot and things fall apart. Here are some resources.

Great! Everything is Awesome! (Umm, how do I use Windows 10?)

Got you covered, my friends…

Reviews, Feedback, and Pure Opinionated Factual Opinions

Still not sure about this whole Windows 10 thing? Think it is a clever trap by Microsoft to lock you into a new product, get to you be a minion on their road to eventually overtake the Apple AppStore? Done laughing yet?

Good luck,

--Claus Valca

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