My Experiences with Microsoft's Windows 10 Upgrade
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugley
Although I had reservations, on November 2 2015, I finally took the plunge and upgraded my laptop from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Before I started the upgrade I backed up everything just in case the upgrade went wrong. I backed up all my files to an external hard drive. I also made an image of the laptop hard drive so I could easily revert back to Windows 8.1 if I decided to.
Much to my surprise, the upgrade went smoothly. All my programs, files, and settings survived. I use a number of open source software packages and some relatively old programs. It seems that if it worked in Windows 8.1 it works in Windows 10. I didn't have to re-install any programs or transfer anything from my backup, it was all there. Certainly one of the most painless OS upgrade I have done.
Microsoft Spyware -
I quickly found out that, YOU CAN NOT LET THE UPGRADE PROCESS USE THE MICROSOFT DEFAULTS. If you do it will link all your stuff to Microsoft so they can track what you do and force targeted ads on you. It will also suck all your files into the Microsoft Cloud. Luckily they let you disable this stuff during the upgrade if you pay attention to the messages you get during the upgrade and turn things off one by one.
Normally I would start an upgrade and then go away and do something else while it is running since upgrades usually take a while. With the Windows 10 upgrade I had to sit in front of the computer all the time and answer all the questions during the upgrade. First it will try and get you to create a Microsoft account. It implies that this is a requirement but it is not. You can decline and the upgrade still goes on. But all during the upgrade it periodically asks if Microsoft can monitor various activities. The default is always Microsoft monitoring. So you have to click no on all the questions. I forget how many times they ask during the upgrade but there are several. Then at the end it asks to copy all your files, pictures, etc. to the Microsoft cloud. I do not trust any of the cloud services from any company. If you say yes to any of the many questions it will again ask you for your Microsoft account log-in if you have not already created one. I believe that if you already have used a Microsoft account on your 8.1 system (to play Xbox games, use cloud services), purchases from the Microsoft store etc.) it will not even need to ask you for you account to start tracking you, it can import it from your Windows 8 settings. That is why it is so important to say no to all the questions during the upgrade, otherwise you get the defaults which is always "track".
All this only matters if you are concerned about every aspect of your online life being tracked by Microsoft. If you don't care, you can just let the upgrade go with the default values.
Printing Glitch -
I used to have my printer connected directly to the laptop but since I now have more than one computer on my home network; I changed it to a networked printer connected to my router via Ethernet. No problem for Linux. the Linux machines find the printer and print to it no problem. I even connected a Windows 7 computer to the network, again no problem finding and using the printer. However, I had a bear of a time printing out my tax forms. Without going into details, suffice it to say that Windows 10 has some problems with networked printers. These problems were there in the various preview releases before W10 was released to the public. Several of the testers reported issues with networked and shared printers. Seems like all the issues may not have been fixed before commercial release.
The most heinous "feature" in Windows 10 (home edition) is the automatic update feature. Unlike other operating systems, there is no longer an option for the user to control when the system does an update; and Microsoft does a lot of them. I should note that Windows 10 Pro version apparently does have a feature to control update behaviour; but I am not about to pay extra (list price $199) for it just to get that one "feature". It is much cheaper to just change operating systems.
The last straw was a few days ago. Windows 10 did one of its stealth upgrades. No warning, no indication that it was downloading. It was a big download. It blew my data allowance from Verizon Wireless and cost me $20 in data overage charges. I can not have a system where I can not schedule updates to happen at a time when I have capacity left in my monthly data plan. Also, Windows 10 is simply too dependent on having a full time Internet connection.
Granted, my situation may be different than most people. I live in a fairly rural area where there is no internet service available from any cable TV or Telephone company. My only choice for internet service is Verizon Wireless (AT&T do not even provide wireless service here). That means that I must pre-determine how much data I am going to use during the month and and pay for a fixed amount of download capacity. If I exceed my data plan, I pay a penalty. For people who have an unlimited internet connection from a cable company etc., the stealth upgrades may not be a big issue. But, they are a big issue for me. I have to be able to manage all my downloads and fit them into my Verizon wireless data plan.
I HATE WINDOWS 10 !
I have finally cut all ties with Windows 10. I am now using Linux exclusively for all my computing, and loving it. So far, I am using Linux Mint as my primary OS; but am also experimenting with Ubuntu and Fedora versions to see if I like them better. In the future I will be adding a page to this web site that will chronicle my experiences with Linux.
Update, April 30, 2016
Windows 10 did it again. Donna's laptop is still running W10. Yesterday the Start menu stopped working. When you click on it, no response. Also the search box beside the Start icon was not responding. So, you can not use the start menu to shut down, select an app or anything. At least Microsoft offers multiple shut down options so you could still use the "Windows" special key plus "x" to get to the shut down option. I did an internet search, and it seems that is a common problem in windows 10. Following the procedure, and a wasted morning, the start menu works again. The procedure involves using commands in the PowerShell to find and repair corrupted system files. Anyway, if you use W10, this may eventually happen to you. Here is a link to a very good tutorial on how to fix it:
Update, May 25, 2016
Start menu on Donna's laptop stopped working again. This time the procedure that worked last time to fix it did not work. I had to create a new user account on the laptop, copy all files (documents, pictures etc.) from the old user to the new user account; then delete the old user account. Start menu now worked fine. I wonder how long it will work now before it freezes again.