Tech tips: Should I or should I not upgrade my desktop?

Confession: I decided last week to upgrade to Windows 10 on my Windows 7 desktop. For purposes of full understanding, my desktop is the computer where I do all my work, and where I keep all my assignments. For the most part, I do a good job of keeping everything backed up, either to the cloud or to flash drives. So when the icon in my task bar kept prompting me to make the upgrade–and kept listing other updates waiting for the Windows 10 installation to run–I figured, why not?

Maybe I shouldn't have gone through with that upgrade.

Maybe I shouldn’t have gone through with that upgrade.

It’s a simple upgrade. I ran the upgrade to Windows 10 on my Windows 8.1 laptop months ago and had no trouble. But as college student, I’m sure you know that all the tech tips in the world can’t prevent things from going wrong sometimes.

In my case, the upgrade seemed to be going well, right until it told me it was pretty much done (in that very friendly voice they created for Window 8, even on the Blue Screen of Death). But then it stayed on the same screen for 20 minutes. Which became three hours. Eventually, after several hard reboots, I conceded the point and took it to my local tech help (who made it finish the install with a stern look–how do they do that?), but even now, my desktop still can’t find the Internet. That means even though I can access my files, I can’t get them to the cloud. (I have an appointment with my friendly neighborhood IT person. I’m sure it’ll all be straightened out.) If you’re making the upgrade to Windows 10–or, really, just making any big changes to your computer–keep my troubles in mind and take a look at these tech tips.

Why Windows 10?

If you’re on Windows 8 or 8.1 and you haven’t made the jump to Windows 10 yet, my best advice is to do it. I, personally, hated my Windows 8.1 interface and I could not upgrade this machine to Windows 10 fast enough. (And remember, my move from Windows 8.1 went smoothly, so I might have a bias there, as well.) If you’re happy with 8 or 8.1, I’m dubious, but hey, each to their own. If you’re happy with Windows 7, like I was on my desktop, then maybe there are more reasons to consider waiting to upgrade–or passing it by entirely.

According to Martyn Casserly of PCAdvisor in “Should I upgrade to Windows 10?” posted March 1, 2016, there are pros and cons to the new operating system–but mostly pros.

But there are a couple of cons: if you have an older printer or scanner, it might not be compatible with the new OS. If you have old software that you use, that also might not be compatible. Casserly recommended, “It’s worth checking with the software provider, as they may still be working on a new version. You don’t want to upgrade and suddenly find you can’t do your normal work on your PC.”

There’s also the big issue of privacy concerns. Windows 10 harvests a lot of data to make Cortana more useful. But while it enhances features of Windows 10, it remains true that Windows 10 sends a lot of your data back to Microsoft. If that makes you uncomfortable, you might want to opt out of the upgrade all together.

Reasons not to perform any upgrade during the semester

But here are other reasons for college students to say no to making any big computer changes, just in case:

  • Do you have a paper due in the next week? Don’t make an upgrade.
  • Do you have files that aren’t backed up somewhere else? Don’t make an upgrade (at least until after you’ve saved!).
  • Do you have an IT department that has limited hours? Don’t make an upgrade until you know they’re open.
  • Do you have a copy of your old operating system’s boot disk? You might want to track one down first, in case you hit a critical failure with the new OS.

Do you have any horror stories about computer upgrades? Give us your tech tips in the comments!

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  1. […] reading about my anxieties with my Windows 10 upgrade last March. (You can read about it in “Tech Tips: Should I or should I not upgrade my desktop?“—if that’s TL;DR, the short version is that upgrading a too-old PC to Windows 10 […]

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