Windows 7 has matured over the years developing into a rock-solid operating system. But moving from one version of Windows to a completely new version can be worrisome. What things should one consider before installing Windows 10?
Installing a fresh copy of Windows on your computer is like breathing life into your computer. However, before making the transition from an older Windows version to Windows 10, you would be wise to take the following 10 things into consideration to avoid a lot of headaches.
Why Should You Install Windows 10?
So is it really necessary to upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10? Because Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft, your computer will be extremely susceptible to security vulnerabilities and outdated software drivers.
If you have never upgraded your operating system before, don’t fret. It’s not rocket-science, and you can do this. You can either erase the entire computer and start from scratch, or you can simply keep all the files, data and photos on your computer run an application to update your computer to Window 10. The former method is the preferred method, but for the faint of heart, you can certainly update your computer using the latter method.
I know that it’s tempting to hold onto that old trusty Windows 7. After all, Windows 7 has matured over the years into a rock-solid operating system, and people have a hard time dealing with change when it comes to computers, especially businesses. But there are several reasons why you should consider upgrading your operating system, below are just a few.
Windows 7 is no longer supported.
The longer you wait to upgrade to windows 10, the more vulnerable you become.
Microsoft officially stopped supporting Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. In short, this means that regardless of the issue, you will no longer receive technical support from Microsoft, but more importantly, you won’t receive software updates or security fixes of any kind.
Granted, the operating system is very stable, but with each passing day it becomes more vulnerable to viruses, malware, and hacking.
All New PC Hardware will be made for Windows 10
Because Windows 7 is no longer supported, all hardware components made for Windows after January 14, 2020, will not be Windows 7 compliant. The reason for this is because hardware manufacturers are not going to build components for an operating system that Microsoft itself does not support. Therefore, it only makes sense for hardware manufacturers to build components that are compliant with the operating system that Microsoft supports.
Sometimes it’s Necessary to Clean House
Admittedly, I tend to have a problem in this area. I like to clean house every couple of months. Not that I need to, necessarily. It’s just that like to have a clean computer. Mind you, because I make this a quarterly practice, I never have any issues with my computer lagging or have issues with my computer running slow because I consistently keep it in tiptop shape.
If you are a victim of malware or ransomware, and your computer won’t function or operate as intended because it has been hi-jacked by an application that you inadvertently installed, you just might want to format your computer and reinstall Windows. And if you’re going to install a fresh copy of Windows, why not install the latest version to ensure that you have the latest drivers and security patches for the operating system?
It should be noted, however, that if your computer is NOT lagging, and you have not found yourself the victim of malicious software, and everything on your Windows 7 computer appears to be working just fine, then you probably don’t need to format your computer and install a fresh copy of Windows. A simply upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will probably be sufficient.
How Much Does Windows 10 Cost?
Cost is always something to consider. If you were to purchase a new PC, it will already have a licensed copy of Windows 10 on it. So, if you purchase a new computer, there is no extra cost to you. If Windows is already installed on your computer, you can easily upgrade to Windows 10. However, if it requires a license, you will need to purchase a valid license.
You can purchase “Windows 10 Home” from NewEgg.com for only $109.99, or you can purchase Windows 10 Pro for $149.99. This may sound expensive, however, if you think of it as a security measure, it’s not that expensive at all. With your valid license, you will receive feature updates and most importantly, security updates for years to come.
What Do I Need to Install Windows 10?
There are a basically three things you will need in order to install windows 10 on your computer. They are as follows:
An 8 GB USD Drive
If you opt to download Windows 10 from Microsoft’s website, and choose to install the operating system on your computer using a USB drive. To do so, you will need an 8 GB USB drive, as the operating system will take up about 5.26 GB of data on that memory stick.
20 GB of Disk Space
You will need at least 20 GB of disk space, to extract the ISO file and install Windows onto your computer. Considering that most hard drives are much larger than that, (500 GB or 1 TB or more), this should not be an issue at all.
About an Hour to an Hour and a Half of Time
Unlike Linux installations, Windows installations take much longer to install. And then after installing the operating system, it will then want to download updates, which can admittedly take . . . a long time, depending on the speed of your computer and internet connection.
What Preparations Should I Take?
There are some preparations that you should take prior to installing Windows. Backing up your data, exporting your bookmarks and passwords, while making your family members aware that you will be upgrading your computer would be a great start.
Backup your Data
Do not back up your entire computer. I know that this goes against everything you’ve probably have heard in the past but if you back up your entire computer, applications data and all, you’re very well may be backing up the problem you are having. If you then restore that backup, you very well may restore the problem.
You really should only back up your data.
It is important to note that when I speak of backing up your data, I am referring to files, documents, and pictures only. I am NOT referring to installed applications. If upgrading your computer, you won’t need to reinstall anything. However, if you format (erase), your computer, you’ll need to re-install those applications after installing a fresh copy of Windows.
There are two ways you can back up your data:
- You can back up your data to an external device such as a USB drive or an external hard drive
- You can back up your your data up to the Cloud, like Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox or Google Drive.
Moving forward, you may want to seriously consider saving all of your files, documents and pictures to the Cloud by default. That way, regardless of what happens to your computer, your data will be safely backed up.
I need to take a moment here to express just how important it is to save your data, files, and photos to the cloud. The reason that I am easily able to format my computer and reinstall the operating system every three or four months is because I have all of my documents, files, and photos backed up to the cloud.
Additionally, the cloud is far more secure and safe than storing files on your local computer. How can I make this claim? Because hard drives can inexplicably die at any time for any reason without notice. Additionally you don’t know if it would survive a fire or a flood. When you save your documents, files, and photos to the cloud, they are saved in multiple secure locations throughout the world with redundancies in place. In other words, if one data center was destroyed, your data Could easily be accessed from one of many other data centers.
Export your Bookmarks and Passwords
Just to be safe, make sure that you back-up your bookmarks and passwords before reinstalling the operating system, or installing a fresh copy of Windows. You don’t want to risk loosing access to your favorite websites, and the last thing you will want to do is to have to reset all of the passwords to the secure websites that you frequent.
Make Your Family Members Aware
It’s probably a good idea to let your family members know that you are going to upgrade the operating system before you do so. Even if you have backed up everything you think you should back up, if it is a shared computer, they’re very well may be something on that machine that they have stored in a place that you are unaware of.
Ensuring that your family members are aware that you are going to upgrade the operating system gives them the opportunity to back up their files, documents, and or images before doing so. It also protects you from being blamed for upgrading the operating system without consulting them first. If you have never been in that predicament before, trust me, you don’t want to be in that situation.
Should you Upgrade or Format?
Admittedly, I am very biased on this particular subject. It is my opinion that in order to have an operating system that runs flawlessly on a consistent basis, whenever you upgrade your operating system from one major version to another, for example, from Windows 7 (or 8), to Windows 10, you should always do a clean install.
By “clean install”, I mean to completely format (erase), everything on the computer hard drive and install a fresh copy of the operating system. There are advantages and disadvantages in doing this, however, so let’s take a look at the advantages of each method.
Advantages of Upgrading
The biggest advantage of upgrading your operating system over reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows, is that it’s not really difficult to do. You simply answer yes to a couple of questions and let it do it’s thing. Although you almost certainly will not lose any data, files or applications when upgrading the operating system, as cautioned earlier, it is always wise to make a back up of anything that you absolutely cannot lose.
For some, formatting a computer can be very intimidating and scary, especially for those who are not computer literate. If that is you, you probably want to simply upgrade your computer as opposed to formatting it, or find that tech friend who will do it for you, but if you don’t have any friends that can do that for you, you should probably simply choose to upgrade your computer.
Advantages of Formatting and Starting from Scratch
By far, the biggest advantage of formatting your computer and installing a fresh copy of the operating system is that it brings the computer back to thee state when you first purchased the computer, free of problems.
Upgrading may not feel as scary, but in my opinion, there is more risk in upgrading as opposed to erasing your computer and installing a fresh copy of Windows. Here’s why: If you upgrade, you are not removing all of the clutter and digital footprints that found their way onto your computer.
Think of it this way. Let’s say that you have had the same carpet in your home for the last 10 years. This carpet lived through your kids spilling cereal, grape juice, and spaghetti, not to mention what your puppy deposited . . . several times during his first year of life.
Now, let me ask you, which would you prefer, shampooing that 10 year old carpet once again, or would you rather replace that carpet throughout the house?
Of course, you would rather replace the carpet. Why? Because regardless of how hard you try, there will still be remnants of the last 10 years left in your carpet. The same principal applies with computers. If you upgrade your computer, there will be remnants of clutter left on your machine.
If you format your computer and install a fresh copy of Windows, it is like replacing all the carpet in your home with brand new carpet. There will be no trace of any grape-juice stains, or nasty doggy-doo stains.
You are eventually going to have to update your computer to Windows 10, or simply buy a new computer with Windows 10 already pre-installed on it. If you want to restore life back into your computer, you can either upgrade to Windows 10, or completely erase your computer and install a fresh copy of Windows 10, restoring it back to its factory settings. If you choose the latter option, you will ensure that your computer will receive all software and security updates.
Tim ChesonisTim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.
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