So recently I had a customer who was having trouble with her laptop. She was having weird operating system issues. She was going to throw it away and buy a new one. I suggested that as the Windows 10 upgrade was free, she might just try that and see how things worked. So we tried to upgrade. Something went wrong, so I did a bit of research on the install. I discovered the Microsoft help system and wow was I impressed. These guys bent over backwards to make the install successful. Wow.

So that got me thinking. I sure do miss using Solidworks on my laptop. Now that USB flash drives have come down in price, perhaps putting the laptop back from Linux to windows makes sense. I can install the latest Ubuntu Linux desktop onto a bootable 128 Gig flash drive and do what I need to there.

You ask, why not windows? Because Meteor.js did not run well on Windows, at least not if you have to connect to a database…

So it turns out, that the free upgrade to Windows 10 is offered to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Users AND it is required that those users have ALL the updates loaded. This turned out to be quite the mess.

  • My laptop came installed with Windows 8, not 8.1.
  • The good news is that before I converted the laptop to Linux, I created a complete set of Recovery DVD’s.
  • I first deleted all the partitions on the Linux drive using Gparted. Nice program.
  • Then I used my Recovery DVD’s to rebuild the laptop to factory new state. This takes awhile, there are six DVDs.
  • It turns out the Windows product key for my laptop doesn’t come as a sticker on the bottom of the unit, instead, the product key is hard coded into the laptop’s bios. Its in there, but not easily readable.
  • I had created a usb flash drive of the entire Win10 package, very handy, worked very well when I upgraded the customers laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. I was hoping I could use that to do the complete upgrade on my laptop.
  • Turns out that simply isn’t possible. The system won’t accept the old Windows 8 product key.
  • Its free to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Its free to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. But they don’t allow you to go from 8 –> 10 direct.
  • Unfortunately, before you can jump from one version to another, you have to install ALL the updates. That was more than painful. There are numerous rounds of updates. You check for updates, install all the updates available, then check again, to fine more. I think in total there were 275 updates for Windows 8. I started the update process at 1AM (then went to bed). The first round of updates didn’t complete until 8:30AM. It was ugly.
  • In total, it took around 18 hours or so to stage the laptop to version 8.1 with all updates.
  • Then and only then can I see the Upgrade to Windows 10 app on my launch bar. So I click on that for the download, which takes another hour or two.
  • The whole process is baffling. I would have thought the system would check your product key, and if you have 7, 8 or 8.1 you’re all set to launch Win10. Easy. Smooth. Seamless. An hour of my time, not a whole day wasted.

Finally got this all set up, and Windows 10 is pretty decent. But the whole experience doesn’t really leave a good impression of the new Microsoft in my head. I know the whole world is changing around them and they have a hard time keeping up. If I had an operating system issue in Linux, I could submit a bug report, see who else had the same problem. I could see when somebody was working on that bug, and see when it got fixed. I could even see the code details that performed the fix. The system was pretty nimble, and I can see what’s going on every step of the way. Its an open source world.


I look at this chart showing Internet Explorer (IE) Browser usage for the past ten years, and that’s pretty much an snapshot at Microsoft’s competitive place in the market for all their products. Yeah, there is a huge legacy of business users working on Microsoft products (Windows and MS Office tools) who are stuck in the momentum of the past. I gotta believe ultimately the future goes to the quick, the functional, and the innovative. Its no surprise on that chart that Chrome is doing so well. Ask any front end developer for their opinion of the IE browser.

I really like that Microsoft is realizing their shortcomings, and reaching out with the free Windows 10 upgrade, as well as their offer on the free community edition of the Microsoft Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) package. But at the same time, the devil is in the details. Good luck to them.