Computer Help forum

General discussion

Is there a better method of upgrading to a new Windows OS?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 18, 2015 4:16 PM PST
Is there a better method of upgrading to a new Windows OS?

How about a discussion on the time and effort required to make an operating system upgrade? Microsoft would like you to upgrade every few years. Unfortunately, that means reinstalling all your applications. If you have many apps installed like I do, that can mean weeks of work, a lot of frustration, and the expense of buying new or upgraded apps compatible with the new OS. My question to you all is, is there a better method to this madness -- possibly a better or simpler solution to this task? Or is it just a reality that we have go through this long tedious process each time you upgrade to newer Windows OS? I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

--Submitted by Bill B.
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Is there a better method of upgrading to a new Windows OS?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Is there a better method of upgrading to a new Windows OS?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
do not do clean install
by renegade600 / December 18, 2015 4:29 PM PST

upgrade means all your programs will remain so there will not be any reinstall unless the program is no longer compatible with the new os. Other than that, there is no simple solution when installing a new os. If you want to keep it simple, do not upgrade until your next computer purchase.

Collapse -
When I upgraded, I didn't have to reinstall but one appl.
by wpgwpg / December 18, 2015 4:50 PM PST

What applications did you have to reinstall? I only had to reinstall one out of a couple of dozen.

Collapse -
by walldoo99 / January 9, 2016 5:46 AM PST

I know an old BLONDE woman who did her own windows 10 upgrade and everything went great. And she loves 10.
And by "old" I mean even older than me, so.. old, because I am old.

Collapse -
Upgrading Windows
by Rtfl0ne / January 18, 2016 8:14 AM PST
In reply to: Meh

I have a laptop running Vista so that gives an idea of its age. That said I use my tablet much more than my laptop these days. Not really interested in shelling out for a new laptop but would love to be rid of Vista. Is it possible to upgrade from Vista to Windows 10? Thanks in advance for any advice..

Collapse -
by Hforman / January 9, 2016 7:16 PM PST

He didn't mention what the old OS was. If it was XP, then to go to anything other than Vista, he has to wipe and install (I think I'm correct on that but I haven't tried it myself). Also, not every OLD application will run on a newer OS if it is very old.

Collapse -
Windows 11 ??
by Wjlesaulnier / December 18, 2015 5:14 PM PST

I've read things around the web (including from some Microsoft techs) on this topic. It seems that there won't be a new, vastly different OS. Instead it'll be a continuous process of tweaking, fixing and adding to Win 10 for many years to come. Hopefully these incremental updates (instead of entirely new OS every few years) will make it much easier for software developers to keep up. I highly recommend that if you're upgrading from Win 7 or 8 that you do a clean install. Lots of the problems with Win 10 have been traced back to problems that started in the earlier OS. I know you mentioned having many apps and are concerned about the time to reinstall them, but this will be a one-time effort and could prevent future problems. Hopefully there will be no need to clean install Win 10 in the coming years except on new machines or replacement drives.

Collapse -
Similar to the Linux upgrade method but with extra hassles
by John Cherish / December 18, 2015 5:33 PM PST
In reply to: Windows 11 ??

I run Linux Mint after dumping windows because of their forcing people to upgrade. I was happy with XP and Windows7 but since they no longer support XP and they do a forced upgrade on Windows 7, I dumped MS entirely except to run it in a virtual machine for the few programs that need MS to function. Linux Mint does everything I need it to do its upgrade path is stable as new packages come out. The upgrades are handled incrementally replacing old packages with new as needed. My biggest gripe with MS was the upgrades the machine would do and having to wait for the machine to finish upgrading in order to shut it down sometimes for hours waiting to finish an upgrade( please don't turn off your machine prompt ). This doesn't happen with Linux mint it upgrades in the background while you continue working It doesn't slow it down one bit while it does this. Then it unpacks and installs the packages and you can still use the programs its upgrading while its doing the upgrade. After it is all done it then tells you it needs to reboot to complete the new upgrades and in one reboot no waiting to install files ( it has already done that), down and up like a normal reboot and all your updates are completed simple, clean and efficient. Why does MS make it so complicated when it doesn’t`t have to be. So for most part Goodbye to MS windows really don't need your hassles

Collapse -
Linux instead of Windows
by gingertom5005 / January 8, 2016 8:44 PM PST

I echo your experience. I have been running Linux Mint (17.2 on one PC and 13 on another) and it does everything I require. Linux is getting better all the time so why use Windows anyway.

Collapse -
by academic-one / January 9, 2016 7:11 AM PST

I am running XP..... can I install Linux over XP? Meaning will my files and programs remain on computer? And will XP be totally overwritten/replaced by Linux?

Collapse -
It will be overwritten
by MightyDrakeC / January 9, 2016 11:36 AM PST
In reply to: Question

The fact that you're asking this question means that you should find a techie friend to do this for you. I am not at all saying this to be mean. It's just clear that you don't have the background to do this yourself.

Once Linux is up and running, you may like it better than Windows. Then again, you may not. It's very much a personal preference thing.

To answer your question directly, none of your programs will work in Linux. And, to protect your files, you should back them up and then copy them back onto your drive after Linux is installed. If all you're doing is surfing and email and Office type stuff, then there are programs that run on Linux which do the same thing as what you're used to, and will read your existing files properly.

But, depending on what software you're using, there may not be a Linux equivalent that can read your files. I'm trying to think of an example. I use a video editing program called Power Director. While the source videos and the final output video are standard formats that any video editor can use, the project file, that stores the information on how to chop up the source video, put titles on it, etc in order to produce the output would not be readable by Linux programs. There are other examples like that.

I guess a more common example would be complex macros in a spreadsheet. While Linux has spreadsheet programs that can read plain Excel spreadsheets, most macros embedded in those spreadsheets will not run. Which can make those spreadsheets essentially useless.

Chances are, the files you have will be usable in Linux. Unless there are one or two "oddball" programs which you use that are not popular enough for authors of Linux programs to support the files they produce.

Again, I recommend you find a techie friend who is willing to help you do this. Tell them everything you use. They should be able to give you advice on whether there are Linux programs which will read your files. They should be able to give you a bootable CD that will run Linux on your machine without overwriting XP. That way, you could try it out for a couple of weeks before committing.

Collapse -
Thanks for the insite
by academic-one / January 9, 2016 1:15 PM PST
In reply to: It will be overwritten

Was looking to simplify my life but doesn't sound like it will happen lol. I do have programs which I use (not often) which I sure are not Linux friendly so will sit tight for time being. Thanks for for info.

Collapse -
Instead of what you can't do, let's look at what you can do
by Steven Haninger / January 11, 2016 4:49 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks for the insite

You cannot install Linux and Windows side by side but you can install Linux on the same hard drive in a separate partition and boot the two OSs separately. Personally, I don't "dual boot" this way but by using separate physical drives. Linux cannot run Windows programs by itself but has many available that offer similar features and that can open documents created by Windows applications. I don't consider Linux to be a complete replacement but as a good partner OS to Windows. Each has features the other does not and each can do some things easier than the other. I'll stop with that.

Collapse -
Re: Thanks for the insite
by JJ / January 11, 2016 10:19 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks for the insite

There is probably a Linux alternative to those Windows programs. I ditched Windows and running Linux since Sept. 2015 and haven't needed Windows. I have Manjaro Linux which has more software than you can shake a stick at. All free too. The other benefit of running Linux is no viruses and no spying like with Windows.

Collapse -
"Overwritten" is only one os several option . . .
by hiloguy37 / January 11, 2016 2:21 PM PST
In reply to: It will be overwritten

If you have a computer currently running Windows, all you need do is download a copy of whichever Linux distribution you want to try (I prefer Ubuntu 12.04 and have had it on five home and office computers for years), save it to a USB stick, and then boot your Windows computer from that USB drive. Then you will be asked whether you wish to just try Ubuntu or actually install it on your hard drive as a functioning OS. If you choose to install it, you will be asked if you would like to overwrite the Windows OS that is there now, or if you would like to install it so that you can boot from either OS. On our two machines where we still have Windows for the very few times a year we need it, we chose the dual-boot option and now those machines will default-boot into Linux, but while in the boot-up process we get a choice of booting to Windows instead. Booting into Linux takes 40 seconds, into Windows, two minutes (as long as Windows doesn't need to install a few hundred new updates first, in which case it could be several minutes more.

I would recommend that you try the "Try Ubuntu" option first. Then if you like it, do the dual boot. Then if after a while you decided you would rather just stick with Windows, just delete the Linux installation.

One other thing, regarding any claims that Linux will not open any Windows apps or files, this is not exactly true. Ubuntu comes loaded with all sorts of free and excellent apps, including Libre Office Suite. Libre does everything you can do on MS Office, plus, for an example, Office Writer (the MS Word) equivalent) will open any Word doc written on any version of Word, right back to the first one. Not even Word will open Word docs written in the "wrong" version.

There's an amazing and giant software library that is available right from your desktop. You can download thousands of apps, and they're free. Free is not only good, it's something rarely associated with Microsoft.

Important: To properly download and configure your USB boot stick OR to properly delete Ubuntu from a dual boot system, google either issue and you will find the exact process on any of several Ubuntu help sites. Never try either process without the correct procedure in front of you! Neither is complicated or "techie," but both need to be done right! Good luck!

Collapse -
You need to recalibrate your idea of "Not techie"
by MightyDrakeC / January 11, 2016 4:14 PM PST

This is a person who isn't sure whether or not Windows programs would run on Linux. That leads me to strongly suspect that setting up a Linux trial CD (he's on an XP machine that probably can't boot from a thumbdrive) is *very* techie, to him.

Also, he wanted to simplify his life. You're suggesting dual boot, so then he would have to maintain two systems. Also, he's pretty sure that some of his software doesn't have a Linux equivalent.

What works great for you might not be the best choice for someone else.

I still recommend he talk to a techie friend about Linux options. Get set up for a trial CD and stick with it for a few weeks to see how he likes it. Possibly, there are alternatives for the programs he's concerned about.

Collapse -
XP to Anything
by Hforman / January 11, 2016 6:47 PM PST

If the OP is running XP, he has two choices. He can upgrade to Vista and then Win7 and then Win10 OR he can go directly to Win10 by wiping out his old Windows XP installation and installing fresh and reinstalling ALL of his applications. The whole idea for Win 10 is he should not have that issue again unless he doesn't keep up with Windows Update (unless his HDD crashes, but that is a separate issue).
The issue with his applications is:
1) Windows programs don't run under LINUX without some special tools that probably won't help him
2) Files in NTFS (Microsoft) don't always work in LINUX depending how you've configured it.
I agree with your assessment of the situation. Not sure if he is XP or not but, if so, would explain a lot of his concerns.

Collapse -
Information is Power
by skyscooter / January 15, 2016 7:16 PM PST

Most informative. Thank you.

Collapse -
Information is Power
by skyscooter / January 15, 2016 7:17 PM PST

Most informative. Thank you.

Collapse -
Re: Linux instead of Windows
by JJ / January 11, 2016 10:10 PM PST
In reply to: Question

I agree. That's why I have Manjaro Xfce and got rid of Windows. No more viruses and Microsoft spying.

Collapse -
Linux V Windows (MS)
by GreeneBerry / January 11, 2016 1:48 PM PST

This is a no brainer as they say. I am beginning to hate MS (WIN 10 now). They have the most enormous bloody cheek and make computing a misery with their continual "presence" as though we need to serve THEM! Get into a LTS Linux operating system and dump off WINDOWS. Yes they have got the hold on some suppliers of software but Linux is catching up fast and it's like a snowball once it gets over the top of the hill. More and more software to do the jobs around the house. What did you wanna do anyway? Play games.....mmmmmm! You probably deserve Windows if that's what floats your boat!
iTunes - oh really! What's wrong with YouTube then for nearly every possible pop recording is on there. Fussed about audio quality? Oh dear - what on a PC? Come please do get wise!
I am rather peeved that MS can get away with what they do for so long. The only system that was near to satisfactory was XP and now that's gone. Lets ask people how we can keep that going shall we? ISO style HDD prints? Is that the way? Come on talk about it. Speak your mind.
What do you really really want?

Collapse -
Re: Linux V Windows (MS)
by JJ / January 11, 2016 10:28 PM PST
In reply to: Linux V Windows (MS)

Windows 10 is the biggest spyware to date. Microsoft even put their spyware through a security update all the way back to Windows 7. I ditched Windows because of this back in Sept. 2015 and I run Manjaro exclusively now.

Collapse -
Do Standard Programs Run on Linux
by skyscooter / January 15, 2016 7:08 PM PST

Do standard programs run well on Linux -- Wordperfect, Quicken, Chrome, eMail Client?

Collapse -
by JJ / January 15, 2016 8:00 PM PST

I use Manjaro Linux and there are 10's of thousands of software for Linux. Linux uses it's own programs that are alternatives to the ones made for Windows but a few that are made for Windows are also made for Linux. Chrome, Firefox, and Thunderbird for E-mail. Libre Office for word processing. I haven't needed Windows since I switched to Linux on Sept. 2015. This is a good site for Linux questions. This is a good one to look at the different distros.

Collapse -
Generally, No
by Hforman / January 15, 2016 8:54 PM PST

If you are talking about programs made for Windows, the answer is generally no. As JJ said, you will have to replace your Windows applications and programs with a comparable version for LINUX. So, for example, you mentioned Quicken. You can't take the box of Quicken with the CD in it and install it under LINUX, but 1) you can check to see if there is a version of Quicken for LINUX. If not, 2) you can find a LINUX application that does sort of the same thing. Many things that run under LINUX are free of charge but, especially if you are at an 'enterprise', many businesses don't allow "free" software because there is no "support contract". At work, if we wanted to run LINUX, it would have to have been a paid for "enterprise" version (if we were to play by the "rules").

Collapse -
Windows 10 Upgrade v Clean Install
by Bandido51 / January 9, 2016 4:20 AM PST
In reply to: Windows 11 ??

This Windows 10 can be a problem, I personally had to reinstall it 4 times. The first time I did an upgrade it ran good for a month then I noticed that my hard drive went from 31GB in use to 64GB and then unto 467GB in use, Not Good in my book. I have yet to have any issues with Windows 7 or even Windows 8 or 8.1, they ran good for me. back on track, I re-installed my Windows 8.1 with a clean install then upgraded back to Windows 10 Pro, the reason I had to do this was because I passed the 30 days and I could not revert back to Windows 8. After 3 weeks there was file corruption, bad again.
This last time I installed Windows 10 Pro, that I copied to my USB Drive, I formatted my drive 2 times to make sure it was clean, I then plugged in my USB and installed Windows 10 Pro however it did ask for the license code, I used the Windows 8.1 code numbers. Re-Installed Office 2007, Norton's 360, Fox Reader and last PC Matic. So far no issues to date, it has been 3 weeks and it is running smooth. However, I will say this, I had Windows XP Pro on this computer for over 12 years and never had an issue, during the course of those years I re-installed it 2 times with a mirror image from Ghost on a disk. this is what I will do again if it runs good for 3 months straight, that is create a mirror image with Ghost after cleaning, updating, defragmenting and finally check for viruses and spyware and last but not least check for file corruption (SFC / Scannow), If all good I will make the image, I do this because Windows claims that it will create a system image but it is not true or it has not work for me, it will repair or reset Windows only. I have 2 computers at home and 1 laptop, I tried to install on my second computer, after 3 days it all went south, thank goodness for Factory Reset Partitions.
while I have somebody's attention out there, thank you and good luck. Bandido

Collapse -
I know exactly what you did wrong
by walldoo99 / January 9, 2016 5:40 AM PST

If you really want to screw yourself up, just install PC Matic. I would get that crap off your computer.
How To Screw Up Your Computer 101,Step 1: install PC Matic. Step 2: wait.

Collapse -
by Bandido51 / January 9, 2016 4:41 AM PST
In reply to: Windows 11 ??

This is more of a question rather then a reply:
Why are people being forced to upgrade, what are the hidden factors?
If Windows 10 is so much similar to Windows 8.1
Last factor: Edge which is included gets kicked out by the Norton's Virus Program.
Watch closely, the Wi-Fi, wireless like WNDA 4100 driver does not function at full capacity and it is unstable, you will have to go online and find the Windows 10 net gear driver (1.20.14). who knows what else is wrong and yes it keeps taps on what is happening.

Collapse -
by Hforman / January 15, 2016 9:17 PM PST
In reply to: Upgrading

Norton came out with a new version to support Win 10. So, if you were running an older version of Norton when you upgraded the OS to Win 10, you probably needed to go with the upgraded Norton. That is kind of the way things work. You change one thing and other things stop working, especially if they are like Norton that needs to hook itself into the OS in order to run full protection (It also hooks into your drivers as well).

Collapse -
Not exactly a simple answer.
by Zorched / December 18, 2015 5:16 PM PST

Understand that there's a couple factors here. If you're upgrading to Windows 10 for free, the first time you do it you HAVE to upgrade it. It creates a signature of sorts based on what hardware/OS is in the system and uploads the signature to MS. If you don't do the upgrade the first time, they will harass you to pay for the OS.

Once you've upgraded the first time, then you can do a clean install.

To be honest, a lot of installed programs make changes to their configs based on what OS they're installed to. This could cause problems. Because of this, Steam has historically made me re-download all the installed games every time I installed a new version of an OS.

If after the upgrade, the OS and programs works fine, then great. If not, be prepared to do a clean install. To be fair, the upgrader routines on the newer OSs have gotten better.
Caveats abound though. Going from XP to Vista or 7/8/10 MUST do a clean install, especially since you're likely going from a 32 to 64bit OS. Vista was such a steaming pile that I suggest a clean install when upgrading from this one if at all possible.

Post was last edited on January 8, 2016 5:36 PM PST

Collapse -
Vista updated pretty much IS windows 7
by MrKnobs / January 8, 2016 9:32 PM PST

Vista after all the service packs and updates ended up essentially Win7 minus the "junction" points and most of the security pains. It's actually not bad at all, I kept one laptop with Vista on it.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?