Friday, 30 October 2015 12:05

Microsoft making Windows 10 upgrades easier

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With over 110 million devices upgraded to Windows 10, that leaves approximately 1.4 billion to go, so Microsoft has decided to make upgrading easier.

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s newest version of its operating system, and while tens if not hundreds of millions of people are still happy with XP and wonder why Microsoft couldn’t make Win 10 with an optional XP skin to simply keep them happy, 110 million people have taken the plunge.

Windows 10 is part of the Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 family of Windows - the one that broke away from the older Windows XP code base - and is the most advanced version of Windows yet.

Unfortunately, because Microsoft has made Windows 10 free to users of Windows 7 and 8.1, Microsoft has decided to put ads into the system and to more intensively track what its users are doing than ever before, even down to having Windows 10 computers share bandwidth with other computers to distribute updates.

Some of these features have put privacy-minded people in fits of rage, and there are plenty of guides online to show people how to switch all of these helpful (to Microsoft) features OFF. Indeed, some of these ‘features’ may well be causing some people to not want to upgrade to the new version of Windows at all.

On top of that, there’s an old adage that says ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ and with some people having been burnt by Microsoft upgrades and updates in the past (we’re looking at you, Vista and 8/8.1), it’s hard to blame these people for wanting to leave well enough alone.

So, with Windows 10 updates now at 110 million, Microsoft clearly wants to accelerate upgrading as much as possible, and so Microsoft executive Terry Myerson has, in a blog post, noted the different ways in which Microsoft is ‘making it easier to upgrade to Windows 10’.

Myerson talks up customers ‘from France to Brazil to China to the US strongly preferring Windows 10 over Windows 8.1 or Windows 7’ and how the early adopters and great work by developers has ensure that ‘application compatibility and kinks have been worked out of Windows 10’, and how Microsoft has ‘learned so much’ that it wants to share some learnings with us all.

The first thing is that Microsoft says it understands that ‘you care deeply about what happens with your device,’ so you can choose to upgrade or decline the offer.

Obviously Microsoft is encourage upgrades ‘because Windows 10 is the best Windows ever – familiar, safer, faster, and full of innovations’ and because you can ‘easily go back to your prior version of Windows within 31 days if you choose’ as a full copy old your old environment is kept for easy rollback should you want it.

The second thing is Microsoft ‘evolving’ the notification that the Windows 10 upgrade is available, and you can now ‘specify that you no longer want to receive notifications of the Windows 10 upgrade through the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 settings pages’ if you no longer want to be notified.

The third thing on the list concerns Windows 10 reservations, which was a two-sate process at first - reserve, then later, notification to start the process. Myerson notes: “In an effort to streamline the process, we will automatically kick off the upgrade process once you have made a reservation. Before the upgrade changes the OS of your device, you will be clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue. And of course, if you choose to upgrade, then you will have 31 days to roll back to your previous Windows version if you don’t love it.”

Fourth on the list is Windows 10 and Windows Update.

Windows 7 and 8.1 customers will soon see Windows 10 as a ‘optional update’. Actually I’ve already seen this on people’s computers, so it is already happening, but Microsoft says ‘adding Windows 10 here is another way we will make it easy for you to find your upgrade.’

In early 2016, Microsoft says it will be ‘re-categorising Windows 10 as a “Recommended Update”,’ which, surprise surprise, might actually cause the upgrade process to automatically initiate on your device - depending on your Windows Update settings, of course.

Myerson says: ‘Before the upgrade changes the OS of your device, you will be clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue. And of course, if you choose to upgrade (our recommendation!), then you will have 31 days to roll back to your previous Windows version if you don’t love it.’

Those on metered connections using Win 7 or 8.1 can ’turn off automatic updates’ but naturally, Microsoft ’strongly discourages’ this because of internet threats, and says that if you do this, Microsoft advises you frequently check Windows 10 for updates.

Also, just because you’ve turned automatic updates on a metered connection off, you STILL might get some updates, namely security updates. The explanation is ‘Windows 10 will not automatically download updates on a metered connection unless there is a security issue addressed within the update. In addition, Windows 10 contains a number of features for those on metered connections, including monitoring data usage by application and setting data usage quotas.’

Fifth on the list is ‘Windows 10 Upgrades for the Pros’

Here, the Media Creation Tool used to create DVD ISOs or USB keys will be improved so you can create ‘a single image capable of upgrading any 32bit or 64 bit, Home or Pro, device. You can use this media to upgrade any number of Genuine PCs, and even do clean installs wherever you have a Windows license.’

Sixth on the list is ‘Windows 10 Upgrades for Non-Genuine’

Free upgrades are for Genuine Win 7 and 8.1 customers only. However, Myseron notes that ‘one of the more interesting learnings from the upgrade is the creative efforts which non-Genuine customers have gone to, to initiate the upgrade process on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 – and then how many have purchased Genuine Windows 10 activation through the Windows 10 store.’

‘Following these learnings,’ says Myerson, ‘we are going to start an experiment soon in the United States, which we will then evaluate before extending to other countries, to ease the upgrade of non-Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. We’ll offer a one-click opportunity to get Genuine via the Windows Store or by entering an activation code purchased elsewhere. If this turns into a path for most customers to get Genuine, we will expand the experiment. We’d like to welcome as many of these customers as possible to the legitimate Windows ecosystem.’

Seventh on the list is Windows Update & Security, and how ‘your feedback really does make a difference’.

Here Myerson states: “Your feedback is so important to our Windows 10 team, and feedback on the upgrade is no exception. We ask every single person who upgrades to Windows 10 for their feedback. For our Windows Insiders, we have a Windows Update section of our Windows Feedback app so that we can have a detailed dialog on our approach.

“As an example of direct response to feedback we’ve received, we will be improving our documentation of what has changed within any individual update, and improving scheduling options for when updates are installed. This collaboration with Insiders is invaluable to our team, and we continue to welcome anyone who wants to work with us on the future of Windows 10 here.”

Myerson closes by thanking customers for choosing Windows 10 and reminds us all that Microsoft is “working hard to bring you the most secure, fun, and productive experience ever.”

You can read the original blog post in full here

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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