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24 February 2018

Are You a Windows 10 Upgrade Refugee? Do This First!

Did Microsoft just upgrade your computer to Windows 10? Calm down, not all is lost!

Since February, the Windows 10 upgrade is being pushed as a recommended update on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computers. If you hit the wrong key at the wrong time, you’ll find yourself on the path to upgrading, and by the time you realize what’s happening, you may have passed the point of no return.

Microsoft is so confident that you’ll appreciate Windows 10, they make it seem like a harmless update. But like a surprise puppy, gifted by a thoughtless relative, Windows 10 is a whole different beast and a lot of responsibility.

Are you ready to give up your old Windows?

We’re here to introduce you to Windows 10, explain how to take care of it, and we’ll show you how to roll back to your previous Windows version in case you reject the upgrade.

1. Take a Quick Tour of Windows 10

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s new flagship operating system. It comes with many bells and whistles, including the digital assistant Cortana, a new browser called Edge, built-in virtual desktops under the new Task View option in the Taskbar, a Mac-like Action Center, an overhauled Start Menu, and lots more.

If you’re undecided whether or not to stick with Windows 10, see how you like these new features to help you make up your mind. Remember that you have 30 days to downgrade comfortably.

Here are some tips for uninitiated Windows 10 users:

  •  You can find many system tools in the Power User Menu. Press Windows key + X or right-click the Start button.
  • The Settings app (listed under Start or press Windows key + I) is slowly replacing the old Control Panel; if you don’t like default settings, you’ll depend on it!
  • If you can’t find something, press the Windows key and start typing a keyword. When you type help, you should find the Get Started app, which offers an in-depth introduction to Windows 10, including videos and step-by-step guides with screenshots.

Windows 10 Get Started

Windows 10 comes with lots of new apps and shortcuts. Browse some of our articles to familiarize yourself. For example, find out about other neat features that will make you appreciate Windows 10. If you’re stuck, here is how you can get help in Windows 10.

2. Mind the Pitfalls

Will you be giving Windows 10 a chance? Microsoft might tell you that you won’t regret it, but we’ve studied the fine print. Windows 10 has a number of potentially irritating characteristics and we’d rather see you prepared than disappointed.

Privacy & Security

Privacy is one of the biggest concerns in Windows 10. But what can you do? Before you do anything else, go through default Windows 10 settings and adjust them to your preferences. The following options in the Settings app should receive your attention:

  1. Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Wi-Fi Settings: Disable Wi-Fi Sense settings for increased privacy and security.
  2. Privacy > General: Disable your assigned advertising ID to stop apps from tracking and serving you customized ads.
  3. Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing > Stop getting to know me: This will also turn off Cortana.

If this sounds like too much work, you can also use a third-party tool to secure your privacy, such as Windows 10 Privacy Fixer.

Windows Update

The pushy upgrade has given you a taste of one of the other most annoying features – forced updates. Users of the Professional edition can defer updates for some time, but Home users are spoon-fed every single update immediately. The benefit is that vulnerabilities will be patched ASAP. But other updates, such as new features or drivers, which are now handled by Windows, could give you headaches.

You should look into how to manage Windows Update in Windows 10 and how to control driver updates, but for now take these basic precautions in the Settings app:

  1. Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options: Under “choose how updates are installed” switch to Notify to schedule restart. If you’re on the Professional edition, you can also select to Defer upgrades here.
  2. Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered: To save bandwidth and increase security, turn the option to receive updates from more than one place Off or set it to PCs on my local network.
  3. Network & Internet > Wi-Fi: To protect the bandwidth of a metered connection from being sucked dry by Windows updates, connect to the respective Wi-Fi, then scroll down to select Advanced options and turn “set as metered connection” On.

Windows 10 Metered Connection

Note that Windows can remove software with every update. In most cases, you can re-install the affected applications, but first you have to realize they’re gone. It might be worth backing up your Windows settings and apps, as well as your data.

3. Personalize Windows 10

Are you going to stay with Windows 10 after all? Then it’s time to mold it to your personal needs and preferences. Our library of in-depth coverage should get you well on the way to a uniquely personal setup. Go to the Settings app for some quick changes:

  1. System > Default apps: Set your own default apps.
  2. Devices > AutoPlay: Toggle and customize AutoPlay preferences.
  3. Personalization: To personalize the look of Windows 10, you can choose your color scheme, background and lock screen images, and customize the Start Menu.

If you used placeholders in Windows 8, you’ll notice they have been removed. But you can substitute OneDrive Smart Files.

4. Downgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1 Within 31 Days

You’ve given Windows 10 a fair chance, but still don’t like it? Microsoft may have pushed you more or less gently into upgrading, but they have also made arrangements for an immediate downgrade. You may have noticed the Windows.old folder on your system drive – that’s the return ticket to your previous Windows version.

To initiate the downgrade, open the Settings app (Windows key + I) and go to Update & Security > Recovery. You should see the option to Go back to Windows 7 or 8.1, depending on where you upgraded from. Click Get started and Windows will roll back the upgrade.

windows 10 recovery

Should something have gone wrong, maybe it’s been more than 31 days since you upgraded or an error is keeping you from rolling back, your only other downgrade option — provided you never made a Windows system image — is to install from scratch. If you have a valid product key, you can download the Windows installation files for free and create bootable installation media. Be sure to prepare a backup of your personal data!

Bye Bye Windows — Hello Windows

Microsoft is serious about making Windows 10 their Number 1 and Windows 7 is sitting in the way. If you decided to go back to Windows 7 or 8.1, make sure to block the upgrade, so you won’t end up on Windows 10 again. If you’ve decided to stay with Windows 10, prepare for an interesting journey. We’re here to support you!

How did you end up with Windows 10? Did you downgrade again? If not, what made you keep it around?

Image Credits:A cute little puppy by JStaley401 via Shutterstock

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