You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free

So we are roughly 28 months away from the end of support for Windows 7. If you didn’t upgrade to Windows 10, you still can.

As you probably remember [maybe unfortunately], Microsoft tried to shove Windows 10 down our throats initially with the “GWX” tool. Plenty of backlash there. But after the year was up, that tool disappeared and those with Windows 7 [or Windows 8.1] weren’t asked anymore.

Some refused Windows 10 for various reasons [I wonder how many actually used/tested it for decent amount of time or just took everyone’s negative opinions and that was it]. Some didn’t want to switch or had applications that wouldn’t work with Windows 10 [that I can understand].

So now, it has been a couple of years and time is ticking.

You can still “upgrade” [note the quotes] if you have a valid Windows 7 [or Windows 8.1] license.

To do this you will need to wipe your current Windows installation complete.

Verify you have access to your system’s serial number.

Download the Windows 10 installation ISO and transfer to a DVD or USB key and the media matches the version of your serial number. For example, if Windows 7 is a “Home Premium”, you need a copy of the “Home” media. If Windows 7 is “Pro” or “Ultimate” you will need the “Pro” media.

All license applications will need to be uninstalled [so you can use the same license in Windows 10].

You must back up all of your data.

Ideally if you had a second hard disk, you could install Windows 10 there and then transfer the data from the old hard disk to the new/spare hard disk [keeping the old hard disk as a backup for a while].

Once data is backed up and nothing else is needed on the old hard disk, boot off the USB key or DVD. When asked, do not keep anything. Wipe out the partitions [optionally wipe the OEM partition].

It will ask you if you want it to check for updates, that is questionable. See my notes below.

If asked for the version, match the Windows 7 version with the Windows 10 equivalent [see above]. When asked for a serial number, enter your Windows 7 license number.
Let the installation go through.

When done, clean up what you don’t need and modify whatever settings.

Restore your applications and data.

If not already done, check for updates.

Notes:

  • Unsure if this free upgrade option will continue on indefinitely.
  • Once you upgrade, the Windows 7 license is marked as invalid.
  • If you previously upgraded to Windows 10 and then downgraded to Windows 7, when asked to enter a license, don’t enter anything. Once you finish the installation, it should pull the Windows 10 license from a Microsoft server [assumed you didn’t make too many hardware changes]. But it is still good to jot down that serial number.
  • I always pause when it asks to check for updates before the installation. I find that it sometimes takes forever to find any updates. On the other hand, the latest update may correct any issues since Windows 10 release that could cause the installation to fail if the update isn’t installed.
  • I have done this once and it worked like a charm. Others on the internet have also done it. There is always that weird chance it won’t work. Don’t know what to tell you. Everything has a risk level. Every situation is different. I can’t be responsible for a failed upgrade.

 

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Fixing Windows 7’s Windows Update from doing nothing

hereIf you have tried to install Windows 7 from scratch, I don’t know about you but I’ve seen reports [plus a few times in person] where when trying to check for updates, Windows Updates just constantly searches. Could even last for hours.

Here is a way to fix the problem:

  1. Download and run the “FixIt” from Microsoft here for Windows 7 [works with Windows 8.x as well].
  2. Use the default settings. Elevated access required. Don’t reboot.
  3. Open the Services applet from the Administrative Tools which is in the Control Panel.
  4. Stop Windows Update. Keep the Services applet open.
  5. Go to c:\windows. Find the SoftwareDistribution folder and rename it [I usually add a letter or number at the end].
  6. Create a new folder called SoftwareDistribution. [You can optionally delete the SoftwareDistribution folder that you renamed.]
  7. Start up the Windows Update service.
  8. Download the appropriate platform version of July 2016 Cumulative Update (3172605). [Note that this update works. The cumulative updates that came out after may or may not correct the problem.]
  9. Run the July 2016 Cumulative Update.
  10. Reboot.

From this point on, Windows Update should properly work. You can download all the missing updates that you need.


Notes:

  • The July 2016 Cumulative Update seems to have something in the update that fixes Windows Update but isn’t listed in what was updated.
  • Once you have renamed the SoftwareDistribution folder, this will effectively reset Windows Update settings.

 

Turn off the option to get driver updates from Windows Update

As you may know, sometimes drivers that may come through Windows Update may not be perfect [hummm]. Many experts prefer to update the drivers on their own. In Windows 10 you can turn off Windows Update from updating any drivers with is procedure:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings.
  2. Click the Hardware tab then click on Device Installation Settings.
  3. Select the No (your devices may not work as expected).
  4. Then select Save Changes.

Under Windows 7, you have further options if you choose No, let me choose what to do. You can choose always or never get driver updates from Windows Update or only get drivers if not on the computer.

 

Some people really don’t like Windows 10…

…. And they probably never even looked at it.

Even after almost a year, it seems some computer “techies” will continue to find excuses in not to upgrade to Windows 10.

The latest is a “subscription” application found in the latest build of what will become the Anniversary Update for Windows 10. Microsoft has already stated that the application is for subscriptions but for the enterprise edition of Windows 10 – even though it is found in the non-enterprise edition installations.

And yet some people are already thinking that either a subscription service is coming soon or when Windows 10 support dies in 9+ years.

Well, there would be a huge backlash if Microsoft decided to start a subscription service for consumers.

As for support the service in 9+, what’s the difference? Do people expect their computer to be around in 9+ years? Especially if some upgraded from a previous OS? Give me a break.

Some are still whining about the telemetry issue – that is that Microsoft is “spying” on them. Again, there would be an actual backlash if Microsoft did that. Instead some anonymous information is sent to Microsoft to improve Windows [or applications].

But again, you can disable some or most of them by using the various tools that exist to stop the reporting such as The Next big Tweak and Spybot’s Anti-Beacon software.

 

Microsoft finally [partially] fixes GWX

After taking quite a bit of heat this past couple of months or so for tricking people to upgrade to windows 10, Microsoft finally released another update [the infamous KB3035583] to change [again] the GWX setup.

As you can see from the image, the upgrade window now looks more like the they should of used instead of the previous one [at least] where if you clicked on the “X” in the upper right corner it should close the window. In the previous case, it started the upgrade!

newgetwindows10prompt

Unsure if it is completely related or not but a travel agency owner had her computer at work upgraded… but she claims it was slow and crashed after the upgrade. She went to court and went after Microsoft for $10,000 for the loss of time and made her computer unstable.

I am wondering how stable her computer was to begin with. Considering an upgrade actually creates a new installation of Windows and them migrates applications and data over, unless there were some flakey drivers ort maybe one of her applications was not compatible with Windows 10, nothing would make her computer crawl. [I would assume that if GWX found something incompatible, it wouldn’t upgrade the system.]

Microsoft was first ready to take her on in court – them with their team of high priced lawyers versus her lawyer [maybe 2] but backed down. Sort of like taking a chain gun to a dual of pistols.

“I had never heard of Windows 10” was what she said. Was she vacationing in Mars for the last 11 months? She never saw any message on her computer or wondering what that icon [GWX] was? She never saw any TV ads? None of her friends or employees [assuming she isn’t the only employee] ever mentioned it?

Glad I don’t live in Sausalitio. She’d probably suggest I should take a vacation in Syria if I wanted a peaceful place to vacation.

Back to the real story, what took Microsoft so long in fixing the window. It should have been the window used 11 months ago.

Of course, the upgrades without approval are still happening. A few weeks ago someone I know claimed that 3 of her friends’ computers were upgraded but never approved.

 

Microsoft releases “convenience” update for Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2

Microsoft has released a “convenience” update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 for most updates until April 2016. Aside from SP1, the servicing stack from April 2015 KB3020369 is required. 23 updates are not included. For further information see KB3125574.

The files are available only from the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

This is the fourth version of the update. The update will probably further be updated with further updates added to it over time.

Microsoft kills Secure Boot in Windows 7, stops some ASUS systems

If you are using an ASUS motherboard or bought one of their computers [or maybe you don’t know it but you have a computer with an ASUS motherboard] you may want to look out for this one.

KB3133977KB3133977 was recently reclassified from Optional to Recommended. As a recommended update, most will install it.

To protect ASUS computers against malware attacks, ASUS has enables Secure Boot by default on its motherboards. Problem is that Microsoft has stopped supporting Secure Boot with Windows 7.

KB3133977 is supposed to disable that support.

So after the next reboot, you end up with a Secure Boot Violation message.

ASUS has provided a workaround at http://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1016356/. Basically in the UEFI BIOS, you need to change the OS Type in the Boot menu to Other OS, then Save. Then verify the Platform Key (PK) State is set to Unloaded.

As usual, some of the conspiracy nuts thing this is another way for Windows 7 users to be pushed to Windows 10.