Upgrading the Windows OS from DVD or USB
Although the upgrade is now the recommended deployment method for existing devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to obtain Windows 10, you can still use other methods, such as "wipe-and-load," using a USB drive or DVD, or over a network if you are deploying a customized corporate image, as you will see in a later tutorial.
If you are installing the Windows 10 Home or Pro editions, the easiest way to obtain the Windows 10 installation media is to create your own using the Media Creation Tool (MCT) for Windows 10, which generates a ready-to-use, bootable USB flash drive or an ISO file that you can then burn onto a DVD. The MCT can be downloaded at https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10? .
The MCT tool allows you to specify the language, edition, and architecture (whether x86 or x64, or both) for the installation file and allows you to choose to either save the installation file as an ISO file or copy it directly to a USB flash drive.
When you run the MCT, it will download several gigabytes of files for the installation media, so you should not use this method if you are using a metered or slow Internet connection.
With your Windows DVD or USB now created, you can upgrade the operating system in situ by inserting it into a running Windows 7SP1 or Windows 8.1 machine. If you have downloaded the ISO with the Windows 10 installation media, you can use this to burn it to a DVD or to install Windows 10 into a Hyper-V virtual machine.
To upgrade Windows from installation media you should follow these steps:
- Insert your Windows 10 media into your computer.
- Choose "Run Setup.exe" from the popup AutoPlay dialog box.
- Select Yes from the User Account Control prompt.
- Windows 10 will install the setup files.
- If you are connected to the Internet, you should tick the option to allow setup to Download and Install Updates (Recommended), as this will ensure that the latest build of Windows 10 is installed, along with the latest updates.
- Click Next and then click Accept to agree to the license terms.
- The Setup app checks to see if the device has at least 2 GB of RAM if you are using x64 architecture as well as sufficient free disk space for the installation. It will then offer you the option to change the upgrade options.
- To review the upgrade options, you should click the "Change What to Keep" link on the Ready to Install page and make any changes to the options.
- Click Next and then click Install.
- Windows 10 Setup will begin the installation phase of the upgrade and may restart during this process.
- You can cancel the operation at any stage by clicking the Cancel button and your computer will be returned to its original state.
Once Setup has copied all of the current Windows operating system to the C:\Windows.old folder, the upgrade will reboot and then continue. You will notice a change from a blue background to a black screen with a progress indicator, which provides you with details of the upgrade stages.
Upon completion, you will be presented with a "Hi there, welcome back!" screen, which prompts you to verify your login credentials. The system knows who you are, since this is an upgrade, and this prevents an unauthorized user from upgrading your device and gaining access to the system.
After you log in to the system you can continue the upgrade process using the steps here:
- After successful logon you will be offered the Express settings to accept, or you can choose Customize settings.
- MReview the option and click Use Express Settings. (You can modify the settings at any time.)
- Review the new apps that are built into Windows 10, including Photos, Microsoft Edge, Music, and Movies & TV.
- Click Next.
- The upgrade process will reboot a couple more times to complete the upgrade, and then you will be presented with a series of messages that indicate that Windows 10 is setting up your apps.
- Once the apps have been installed in the background, Windows 10 will display the upgraded desktop.
Upgrading the Windows OS with Windows Update
One of the painless ways of upgrading Windows is by allowing Microsoft to update your system in a completely automated way. During the first year after release, Windows 10 perfected the upgrade process by rolling out in-place upgrades to millions of home users and Windows Insider program members. Prior to each upgrade, a system recovery point was created, and in the unlikely event that the upgrade was unsuccessful, the system could be easily reverted to the previous state.
Windows 10 will not be issued service packs like previous versions of Windows were. Previous versions received roll-up upgrades as part of a series of service packs, available via Windows Update as follows:
- Windows Vista - Two service packs; last one was available on May 26, 2009
- Windows 7 - Single service pack, available on February 22, 2011
- Windows 7SP1 Convenience roll-up update - available on May 17, 2016 (via the Microsoft Update Catalog website)
- Windows 8 - Upgrade to Windows 8.1 via Windows Update is not available.
- Windows 8.1 - Windows 8.1 Update released on April 8, 2014.
Only certain editions of Windows 7 or 8.1 can be upgraded directly using the Windows Update service.
Table: Using Windows Update to Upgrade to Windows 10
SKU to Be Upgraded Windows Update Windows 7 Pro No Windows 7 Enterprise No Windows 7 Pro with SP1 Yes, with update KB 2952664 installed Windows 7 Enterprise with SP1 No Windows 8 Pro No Windows 8 Enterprise No Windows 8.1 Pro Yes, with updates KB 2919355 and KB 2976978 installed Windows 8.1 Enterprise No Windows 10 Pro (1507) Yes (if not activated using Key Management Service [KMS]) Windows 10 Enterprise (1507) Yes (if not activated using KMS)
Businesses with Windows Enterprise editions can upgrade older versions of Windows to the latest offering as part of their enterprise Software Assurance volume licensing benefits.
With the new rapid upgrade cadence now in place to maintain Windows 10, you will see regular upgrading of your system. Microsoft has announced that there will be a minimum of two upgrades to Windows 10 per year. The upgrades are completely separate from the daily, weekly, and monthly security updates that your system also receives.
Although Windows RT is now discontinued, you can use the update KB3033055, "Update for Windows RT 8.1 feature improvement," to install the Windows 10-style Start menu on Windows RT devices.
Once you are ready to upgrade, you can use Windows Update to pull down the 2604.5 MB in installation files as an optional update within the Windows Update, which is labeled "Upgrade to Windows 10 Home, Version 1511, 10586,".
If you are familiar with creating installation media, you will have used the Windows image format (WIM) or ISO files before. For the upgrade, Windows 10 uses the new Electronic Software Download (ESD) file format, downloads the image .ESD file to the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download folder, and uses the C:\$Windows.~BT\ Sources folder during the actual installation. The ESD file format is a compressed and encrypted version of the .WIM file format and contains just a single Windows image. With the enhanced compression, the ESD file is approximately 30 percent smaller than the .WIM format, which makes it a suitable file format when being delivered through Windows Update.
Once the upgrade has been downloaded, the system will prepare for the upgrade. This includes creating a backup of the system in the Windows.old folder on the system drive. If your computer has low disk space available, the Windows Setup Upgrade Wizard will allow you to store the Windows.old backup folder onto an external drive, such as an external USB drive, thereby freeing up approximately 8 to 10 GB, depending on the version of Windows being upgraded.
Before progressing with the upgrade, you can postpone the actual installation and schedule the upgrade to occur at a more convenient time, such as overnight. At the preferred time, the upgrade will commence automatically.
Once the upgrade process commences, there is no user interaction required, and Windows will automatically restart. An onscreen status indicator will describe the various activities and their progress in the following stages:
- Copying files
- Installing features and drivers
- Configuring settings
Once completed, the upgrade process announces "Welcome to Windows 10!" Here, you will need to enter the password for the user who initiated the in-place upgrade. If the credentials verify against the original Windows installation, the out-of-box-experience (OOBE) sequence commences with the Get Going Fast screen, and Windows 10 introduces new features such as Cortana.
Once Windows has walked you through the onboarding process, you will be presented with the new Windows 10 desktop, which displays a blue screen with light shining through the Microsoft Windows logo on the right side of the screen.
Upgrading the Windows OS from PC Settings
Once you have upgraded to Windows 10, you can choose whether you want your computer to benefit from the latest upgrades that are made available by Microsoft. Windows 10 will be continuously updated and upgraded by Microsoft, and in theory you should never need to change the operating system again. These upgrades will be referred to as builds , and it is expected that Microsoft will release two to four builds each year. By allowing Windows 10 to upgrade, you will see upgrades that allow your system to take advantage when new biometric devices, Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) , or processors become available.
If you want early access to the upgraded features, you can join the Windows 10 Insider Preview Program, which is useful so that you can test and evaluate potential upgrades some months before they are released to the mainstream customer base. It is not recommended to use Windows Insider builds in a production environment, but you can use them in a virtual machine or multi-boot scenario.
With the Windows 10 build process, the build will move through progressive branches on its way to the general release and then be made available to enterprise users. A visual representation of how the build and branch development process works.
You should look at the guideline dates along the lower axis, as these roughly define how long each branch will benefit from testing/bug-fixing before the build moves on to the next branch on the right.
You can sign up as a member of the Windows Insider Preview Program by visiting https://insider.windows.com/ .
Once you have signed up for Windows Insider, you can decide which of the two levels of adoption of preview builds you want to participate in. The two update speeds are referred to as rings:
- Fast ring - You receive the latest build at the earliest opportunity.
- Slow ring - Availability of the build is delayed until it has been exposed to the Fast ring members for a few weeks and the majority of bugs or issues have been addressed.
You can turn off the Insider Preview feature on your computer and revert to the last Current Branch version at any time.
To enable the Insider Preview builds on your Windows 10 computer, follow these steps:
- Sign up to be part of the Windows Insider Preview Program at https://insider.windows.com/ .
- Sign in to your PC with the Microsoft account you used in Step 1.
- Open the Settings app.
- Select Update & Security and then Advanced Options.
- Click Get Started button under Get Insider Builds section.
- Read the warning message and click Next to continue.
- Restart your PC.
- Sign back in to your PC with the Microsoft account you used in Step 1.
- Open the Settings app.
- Select Update & Security and then Advanced Options.
- Under Get Insider Builds, you can choose either the Slow or Fast ring.
Once you have joined the Windows Insider Preview Program, it can take up to 24 hours before your PC downloads the Fast or Slow ring updates.
Each Current Branch (CB) or Current Branch for Business (CBB) build that is released is assigned a version number that corresponds to the release date, with the year and month in yydd format, such as 1511 or 1607.
The Current Branch for Business servicing option is not available for users running the Home edition of Windows 10. The CBB is meant for enterprises that require extra time for testing and evaluating the build of Windows 10. With the CBB they can defer the upgrade cycle up to one year from each Current Branch release.
If you are a business customer running the Enterprise edition of Windows 10, you can select the "Defer upgrades" option within the Settings app.
To manually configure your PC to move from the Current Branch to be on the Current Branch for Business, follow these steps:
- Click the Start button and open Settings screen.
- Click Update & Security.
- The Windows Update page opens.
- Click Advanced Options.
- Select "Defer upgrades" option.
- Close Settings screen.
The facility to defer upgrades and join the Current Branch for Business can also be configured using Group Policy, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), or the Enterprise Mobility Suite. A new feature - made available with Windows 10, version 1511 - called Windows Update for Business allows administrators to further control how upgrades are obtained and allow an additional deferral of upgrades for up to at least eight months.
While deferring upgrades, devices running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education on the CBB will continue to receive monthly security updates. When the maximum deferral period has expired, the upgrades will be automatically installed. You will learn about a special build of Windows 10 Enterprise called Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB).