It’s 8pm Pacific, on Monday, August 3, 2015; and I’ve had about 4 hours of actual hands-on experience with Windows 10. This post isn’t a review of the operating system itself, but a reflection on how Microsoft handles the upgrade process from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 10 Pro; specifically, my personal experience in the upgrade process.
7 Ultimate to 10 Pro
I’m sitting around Friday afternoon and decide, why not upgrade and get it over with? It’s going to happen sooner or later, might as well do it now. This way I can also wipe my local disk C:\ which has been plagued by programs I no longer use, taking up space; and start fresh on the new OS. Thankfully, all my games are on my D:\ drive, and aside from just a handful of Steam games and Star Wars The Old Republic, the rest are Blizzard games which are stand-alone installs that don’t tie themselves to the registry (and thus can work after the upgrade/reformat).
Hit the button to start the upgrade, after reading around that during the upgrade, you’re given the option to wipe your drives and start out fresh with the OS, yeay! Only, it doesn’t give me that option. The upgrade starts with no option to wipe the drives, just an in-place upgrade with all files and programs in-tact. I’m sure that’s fine for the most casual users that don’t want to take the time to reinstall everything, lose their precious photos, or god forbid have to reconnect to their network. Oh well, I know Windows 10 has an option to wipe the drives and do a factory reset once it’s finished with the in-place upgrade, this will be ok.
Upgrade looks like it’s going to take some time, so I’ll go eat, and watch some Netflix on my PS3 in the front room. By the time the upgrade is done, it seems as though the drivers for my graphics card either aren’t compatible with the new OS, or the new drivers weren’t installed to replace them? Either way, I’m starting at a low-resolution on my 1920×1080 monitor, with the second screen completely blank and non-functioning until that video card driver is installed. Well, there’s no point in installing the driver if I’m going to reset the OS anyway and wipe the drives in the process. Onto the reset! “This may take a few hours.” it tells me, as it barely hits 2% after 15 minutes. Yea, I think I’m going to go to bed, let it do it’s thing and hopefully it’ll be done by the time I get back from work tomorrow.
Windows 10, fresh and clean
The other bullshit of Saturday notwithstanding, the fresh reinstall of Windows 10 seems to have gone smoothly. It’s sitting at the login screen, waiting for me to do something. Sweet, yes, finally. Login, everything seems good to go. Bottom right corner of the screen, Windows 10 notifies me that it’s installing drivers for my hardware (video card, USB network adapter, etc). Yeay. A restart is required, of course, it always is after drivers have been installed. No biggie, restart and let’s get this over with.
🙁 Your computer ran into a problem and needs to restart.
If you’d like to know more, you can search online for this code: INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
It would seem that during the upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7, it was decided that Windows 10 would just load Windows 7 drivers that were compatible with the new OS, directly from the Windows.old folder (where Windows moves old versions of Windows too); instead of copying those working drivers over to the new Windows folder, and thus loading them locally. So, during that “reset” which wipes the drives clean, leaving only the Windows 10 OS and basic applications; it also wipes that Windows.old folder (which also prevents a roll-back to Windows 7 in case someone isn’t happy with Windows 10), which means that there’s no longer an option to roll-back to Windows 7, and it also deleted those drivers it was using from the Windows 7 OS.
Now, every time the PC boots, it gets to the OS splash screen, just before the login screen; and blue screens with that above error. It restarts automatically after 15 seconds, and continues to do the same, stuck in an endless loop.
Great. Now my computer is bricked. It’s already late, I’m going to bed. I’ll deal with this shit later.
In one last ditch effort to attempt to get Windows 10 working on my PC before I say fuck it and go back to Windows 7; I need to actually get the PC in a working state. Thankfully, I have legitimate product keys for Windows XP Home, XP Pro, Vista Ultimate, and 7 Ultimate. The only downside is that I lost my Windows 7 Ultimate disk, while still retaining my key. I also have a copy of the Windows 7 ISO that I could put on a USB stick in case I ever need to reinstall Windows 7. But my computer is still stuck in a restart loop thanks to a failed Windows 10 install.
Despite popular opinion, I personally never had any problems with Windows Vista. Ever. And since it’s the most recent OS I currently have access to in terms of having a PC in a working condition, installing Vista was really my only choice in the matter. And that’s fine by me. It only took about 30 minutes to wipe the drives and reinstall Vista on the PC. Once that was all said and done, I needed to hook up my external drive, install the Windows USB Creation Tool, select the Windows 7 ISO, and let that get started. Once it was done, I started the “setup” process to install Windows 10. Now, at this point, I didn’t take the time to figure, I could’ve just downloaded the Windows 10 ISO and done the same thing, but oh well. On to Windows 7!
Once I was finally on Windows 7 once more, I proceeded to download the Windows 10 ISO file directly from MS; and just like with the Windows 7 ISO and the USB drive, I created a bootable Windows 10 USB from the ISO. Once I started the setup process this time however, it finally gave me what I wanted from the very beginning. A fresh, clean, installation of Windows 10, with no in-place upgrade. Wipe the drive, and start from scratch, from the very beginning. Now, because I’m doing this from an existing Windows 7 installation, it recognizes that my key is legitimate and starts the install of 10, with my key stored in memory; wiping the drives, installs Windows 10, and activates Windows 10 Pro with my legitimate 7 key, giving me a fully activated and legit copy of Windows 10 Pro.
Finally. After 2 fucking days of trying to upgrade to 10, backpedaling all the way to Vista, and once again moving forward to 10 with a quickstop at 7 first; I’ve arrived, with Cortana to greet me.