How To Get Windows 10 Right Now

Category: Windows-10

Windows 10 has arrived, and for the most part, early adopters are giving it rave reviews. The Windows 8 annoyances are gone, things just seem to work, and many with older PCs say it runs faster after upgrading. If your free upgrade has not yet arrived, read on to learn how to jump-start the process, and how it worked on my aging laptop...

I Want My Windows 10, And I Want it Now!

July 29 was the official release date for Windows 10, but you may still be waiting for it to be delivered to your computer via the “Get Windows 10” app. That’s because Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 in cautious stages; first to expert participants in its beta test circle and then to larger groups of users. This staged rollout should minimize the impact of any glitches in the early iterations of Windows 10.

If you want to jump into Windows 10 right now, you can manually download it and upgrade your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 system. Go to Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 page to get started. But first, I have a few tips for you.

Use the “media creation tool” available on the Download page. It’s an app created especially for the Windows 10 upgrade process. It will download the Windows 10 ISO files and burn them to either a DVD or a USB flash drive with very little effort on your part.
Jumpstart Windows 10

I chose a 16 GB SanDisk Cruze USB drive, available at Walmart for $10. Windows 10’s setup files need at least 4 GB of formatted space. There are 4 GB USB drives out there, but that figure is unformatted capacity; buy an 8 GB drive, at least, to be sure you have enough space.

Several tech journalists have reported their hands-on experiences with Windows 10 upgrades, ranging from “easy as pie” to “nitpicking about insignificant glitches.” But invariably, their hardware is pretty new and upscale. I know many readers are not running the latest, high-end computers, so I decided to see how a Windows 10 upgrade would go on an older, middle-of-the-road system.

My Windows 10 Upgrade Experience

If you're not in a hurry, you don't have to follow this "jumpstart" recipe to get Windows 10. If you've already clicked on the "Get Windows 10" icon, you can wait patiently for the required files to arrive via Windows Update. Windows will notify you when the upgrade is available, and ask if you want to proceed. And don't worry... if you're not ready, Windows 10 will not be forced on you.

I dug up a vintage 2011 Acer Aspire 7560 laptop with the following modest specs: 64-bit 1.5 GHz quad-core AMD A series CPU; 4 GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 5400 rpm, 500 GB hard drive; 1280x1024 pixels AMD Radeon HD 6520GM graphics processor; Windows 7 Home Premium SP1. This machine had a bunch of software on it, including Office 2010 and some obscure programs written for Windows XP. I wondered if the latter would run under Windows 10. I added a Lexmark X4850 multi-function printer, a discontinued model whose driver and management software hasn’t been updated by Lexmark since 2010.

After creating my Windows 10 USB installation drive, I switched to it and ran setup.exe. Then I waited an hour while Setup “checked” and “prepared” unspecified things, downloaded driver updates, etc. Finally, a screen popped up allowing me to set my language, country, keyboard style, etc. Then I ran into a bit of confusion.

The next screen asked for my Windows product ID. I had that ready, having read a couple of reviews that said it would be needed. But Windows 10 setup said several times, “That product ID didn’t work, try again.”

I wanted to abort the setup process and leave Windows 7 intact until I figured out what the problem was. But that’s not an option; there is no “cancel setup” button! I tried closing the setup program’s window; nope, it kept running in background. So I did a forced restart of the system. It rebooted into Setup again; then I really started to worry.

Rookie mistake: I didn’t unplug the USB drive before rebooting, so the laptop booted from the USB drive instead of my hard drive. Don’t do that! By the time you get to the “product ID” screen, Setup has already copied the Windows 10 installation files to your machine. When you reboot from your hard drive, Setup can continue as it should.

I still got the “product ID” request upon rebooting. Then I noticed, finally, the option to “skip” entering a product ID; that link is down in the left-hand lower corner of the screen in relatively tiny type. It would be nice if it was more prominent, Microsoft!

Skipping verification of product ID does NOT leave you with an unactivated copy of Windows 10 for which you will have to pay $199 down the line. The product ID that Setup requests is the Windows 10 product ID included with a new, retail purchase of Windows 10. Your old Windows product ID is unnecessary if you are upgrading; it would have been nice if that was made plain on the product ID screen.

After a total of three hours and a few reboots, I had a working Windows 10 desktop. But my Lexmark printer would not print, even though Windows 10 showed it as “ready.” Uninstalling and re-installing the antiquated driver, then rebooting, fixed that problem.

All of my software, even the old XP stuff written by amateurs, is running just fine. In fact, everything is running noticeably faster than it ever did under Windows 7, even after I optimized the old OS with Privazer and/or Advanced System Care. This performance gain alone is worth the time I spent upgrading.

Is There a Windows 10 UNDO Button?

If, after upgrading your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 systems to Windows 10, you do have a 30-day timeframe to "downgrade" your PC back to the previous version of Windows. Personally, I can't imagine wanting to go from Windows 10 to Windows 8.1. That would be like waking up from a nightmare to a beautiful sunny day, and then taking a sleep aid to resume the nightmare. I suppose one *might* want to return to Windows 7, on the off chance that you don't enjoy the increase in speed, security and features offered by Windows 10. But whatever the reason, there's a way to go back if absolutely necessary.

To start the downgrade, make sure you're plugged in -- the downgrade can take several hours -- and log into an admin account. From the Start Menu, click or tap “Settings” then “Update & security.” Choose the “Recovery” option, and then select “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1.” Click “Get started”. You'll have to give a reason why you want to downgrade. Click “Next” twice and the rollback will begin.

As I said in an earlier article, the good news about Windows 10 is that pretty much everything people hated about Windows 8 is history. The beloved Start button is back, and the annoyances of the tiled/Metro/Modern interface are gone. Bottom line, if you dislike Windows 8, you will find Windows 10 a huge improvement. And if you like your Windows 7 setup, you'll enjoy a smooth transition to Windows 10, with very little learning curve.

Don’t hesitate to upgrade to Windows 10 just because your system is old and creaky. Windows 10 Setup will alert you if your hardware can’t handle the new OS. Upgrading to Windows 10 may be the “fountain of youth” for an old system.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "How To Get Windows 10 Right Now"

(See all 71 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Hi Bob!

After installing Win 10 and after several hours of trying, I could'nt use Google Chrome "can't connect to internet" the message said but I could use IE to surf the internet at will!!! I also had major problems with my VPN (HMA) and my Radeon card (Toshiba Satellite 2014) and AVG antivirus.

I reverted to Win 8,1 and everything works fine! Win 10 will wait for me until these annoying bugs are fixed.


Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

My son installed Windows 10 yesterday on my Windows 7 PC and it looks as if all my files and programmes are okay. The only thing I can't seem to change at the moment is where it downloads my files to - can't seem to find the Setting where you tell the new browser to download where you want it to but otherwise all seems to be okay. I am going to wait before we do the Laptop though. Bob, do you have a way of downloading where you want it to go with the new Browser that comes with Windows 10? I guess I could go back to Firefox. Yvonne

Posted by:

Carl Coburn
04 Aug 2015

After waiting for the download and install, It wouldn't connect to the internet through my Cable Modem! I had to go back to Win 7 for a while until they get that fixed!
Also there are some problems with the video drivers on the NVidia cards! My display wasn't clear at all!

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Um, Bob. I have a new computer (laptop) I bought on 1/6/20215 and it runs Windows 8.1, I am having trouble making it work ANYTHING like Vista Home Basic no probs. there) sooooooooooo, how will I go with Windows 10????????????????????? I just thought I'd ask. (Iknow, I'm just dumb)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Not a dumb question. If you are familiar with Vista or Windows 7, you will find Windows 10 much less of a shock (and much more familiar) than Windows 8.

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Had to laugh when I read your description of your "vintage" system. I have a 2011 Dell XPS laptop with very similar specs to the one you described, except with core i7, and I still consider it brand new! My Dell AIO Inkjet printer is even older than my laptop. I think I bought it bundled with an ancient desktop computer about 10 years ago. My upgrade from Win7 Home Premium to Windows 10 went flawlessly, with one exception. No matter what I did, my printer wouldn't work. Dell apparently doesn't plan to update the driver for Windows 10 for this printer, and I don't want to buy a new printer right now, so I have gone back to Win7 in the meantime. Also, as others have commented, I lost Windows Media during the upgrade as well, but I don't use that much so it was no great loss for me.

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Hey Bob,
I downloaded and installed Windows 10, from Windows 7 on an older Dell Inspiron. It was easy and little to know effort on my part. Using Windows ten, has also been painless, thanks to some great counseling.

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

I really like Windows. Upgrade was flawless. My only problem: When I click on the calendar, I cannot just slide the mouse up to the calendar. Calendar disappears too quickly. Any ideas what to do.

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Windows 10 installed flawlessly on my system and I've been quite happy with it. I do however have one problem. I have 5.1 surround speakers. After the switch my speaker settings seem to have reverted to default and I can find no way to adjust them! Any advise?
Thanks Bob.

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Being something of a minimalist, I want nothing on my desktop but my own photography and one file that holds all shortcuts. Will I be able to clear the desktop of the clutter, and have a more prestine desktop? (And yes, the desktop upon which my laptop sits is also free of clutter.) Currently using Windows 7.

Posted by:

04 Aug 2015

Regarding Ryan's comment that his internet is too slow: my rural satellite internet is also quite limited. I am going to the library in town and take a book of short stories. They have very fast, free internet. I probably won't get through more than one short story, if even that.

Posted by:

05 Aug 2015

I started with an old laptop I had nothing to lose with. It was a HP dv5000 2Ghz AMD Turion 32bit with only 1Gig of Ram. I had previously upgraded it to Windows 8 and 8.1. I used the executable Windows 10 file and told it to do a clean install.
It updated without a hitch and appears to be working fine albeit slow because of the hardware specs and only 1Gig of Ram.
I since did two other computers without experiencing any noticeable problems.

Posted by:

Al Gavenas
05 Aug 2015


Got a Dell Demension 8300 which is much older than all of the computers that are mentioned in the comment sections. It has an Intel Pentimum 4 CPU
2.60GHz 2.59GHz. Installed RAM is 4.00 GB, and I have a 1.0 TB (tera-bit) hard-drive.

Microsoft list the min specs to upgrade to
Windows 10 from Windows 7 PRO (32=bit) as 1 GHs CPU and 1 GB of ram.

I did get the Windows 10 upgrade icon in my system tray but what I get when I click on it is that it tells me my computer "CPU IS UNSUPPORTED. What Microsoft is telling me is it doesn't matter if your computer CPU far exteeds min specs for upgrade, If you have an old machine it WANTS YOU TO BUY A NEW COMPUTER!!!

Please Post this to your comment collum and see if there is some sort of work around. Windows 7 PRO runs fine but will not ypgrade to wondows 10

Posted by:

Sandy Papavasiliou
05 Aug 2015

Last week I hit 'get Windows 10' from my Windows 7 and got a screen which said 'wait' so I waited - for 20 minutes. Got fed up and closed the window (with my fingers crossed). Five minutes later I hit 'get Windows 10' and it went straight into it, no problems. I had previously backed everything up to an external hard drive.
The finished result was a screen which looked like SAFE MODE. Yipes! I closed the computer down and rebooted and it hasn't looked back since. Lovely new appearance. I still have things to discover but, so far, I am pleased with it.

Posted by:

David Clark
05 Aug 2015

Then I noticed, finally, the option to “skip” entering a product ID; that link is down in the left-hand lower corner of the screen in relatively tiny type. It would be nice if it was more prominent, Microsoft!

Nothing appears on my screen except the question if I wanted help MS make the install easier. sure would. Can you please pass along more info about the "Skip" button?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, I can only tell you my own experience. If I find more info on that, I'll post it here.

Posted by:

Don Henricksen
08 Aug 2015

I have a desktop that I upgraded to a new AMD processor this year. It has Windows 7 on it. I tried Win 10 on it and it seems to work GREAT!
I tried upgrading my older Toshiba Satelite and Windows 10 loaded, but I had absolutely NO use of the "Start" button or some of the programs on the task bar. I did a couple of hard shutdowns, and nothing. Tried searching the web for help, but nothing worked.
Thank goodness for the recent backup so I could restore Windows 7. Will try again later.

Posted by:

10 Aug 2015

I'm running Win 7 Pro 64 bit and have a few older programs which run through a virtual window. If I upgrade to Windows 10 will these older programs still work?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Should be fine. What virtual window?

Posted by:

13 Aug 2015

Downloaded Win10 on 2 HP Slimline computers during update checks. 1st update was reasonably painless, just long. 2nd is another story...system is locked on a page and even with a forced reboot, it goes back to that page. Tried Microsoft "Chat" but didn't help because they can't get into my computer to make changes remotely...I'm locked on an upgrade screen. Called Tech Support (0600 hrs, East coast). After running me through menus they said wait time is over 1 1/2 hrs, and we're back when we're open. I guess Microsoft didn't decide to "upgrade" its service. I switched to an iMAC a few years ago; gotta get my wife to switch.

Posted by:

17 Aug 2015

Bob, Thanks for all your articles that simplify all this computerese so that us dummies can understand it. I'm using Vista and want to upgrade to Windows 10. I see blurbs on the internet that say that Windows 10 is now free for Vista and XP users but can't find any sites that tell me how to do it. Can you help? Thanks

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, you're out of luck, to the best of my knowledge. According to one report I read, there was a loophole (now closed) that permitted some people running XP/Vista to sign up for the Windows 10 Preview, and then upgrade for free. I can't verify even that.

Posted by:

01 Sep 2015

Hi Bob
Your article on Windows 10 upgrades came at a good time - my Win 7 was playing up and nothing would repair it. Aha, thinks I, Windows 10 will replace my duffy 7.
Well, you get owt for nowt with Microsoft - part of the checking you mention is to see if my processor supports NX - obviously a five year old Dell desktop won't, so I cannot install 10, nor could I have installed 8.1 (as if I would).
Right, off to the Dell website to see if an updated BIOS can do the trick.
Don't you just lurv computers?

Posted by:

04 Feb 2016

My hubby, who is a computer geek, advised me not to migrate to Win10 too soon. But now that a lot of the bugs seem to have been worked out, I bit the bullet this week and upgraded my HP laptop (bought 11/2012 with Win7Pro) and HP desktop (bought 6/2013 with Win7Pro). Both of them are Core i7. The laptop is the one I use the least so that was sort of my "guinea pig" to see how it went. There were a few hiccups but it ended up fine. Then I swallowed hard and upgraded my desktop computer, which has a lot more stuff on it. (Of COURSE, I backed up all my data first. This goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway.) That upgrade went even more smoothly than the laptop. It took the better part of a day but everything works hunky-dory. I'm typing this on my desktop computer.
In all the years since 1990 that I've owned computers - several of them came with free or minimal-cost OS upgrade options - I never before had the courage to do an upgrade. This time I did, and on the whole I am glad. Some of my friends have told me they've had problems with various things such as sound, etc., but no problems on either of my computers that I know about.
One last word: Win10 comes with a lot of settings that can compromise your privacy. When it finishes upgrading, before it gets to your desktop screen, you can choose Custom Settings to adjust your preferences. Or, afterwards, go into Settings and turn off anything you don't want on. Good Luck!

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