** Dennis McCunnery sent this piece in as a comment to back up my article on Windows 10 last month but I thought its length deserved to be given space of its own. The link to getting W7 games does actually work and if you don’t like those advert laden games apps, you can get your favourites back. I tried it and am happy again. Having had some discussions with him, I’m happy to note he knows his subject.
If you use alternative means to use the Internet, then his observations there will be of use to you.
About the only thing I’ve changed is expanding his abbreviations. Geoff **
At this point, I’ve updated two systems to Win10. One was a laptop running Win7n Home, and the other was a laptop running Win 8.1 Home. My significant other updated her Win 7 Home laptop without my assistance.
The significant other’s laptop was updated by download. On the other two, I downloaded the Win10 ISO file, installed that to a bootable USB stick and upgraded from the stick.
I have the Win10 Pro upgrade on a USB stick for my Win7 Pro desktop, but that’s a future step. The desktop dual boots Win7 Pro and Ubuntu Linux from SSD and I’ve heard claims elsewhere about problems upgrading dual boot systems. I’m making sure I know what I’m doing before upgrading.
The upgrades were fairly painless. The significant other and I both used the Custom install option, and said ‘No’ to all of the optional stuff MS suggested. The significant other ‘s Win7 laptop and our friend’s Win 8.1 laptop had 4GB RAM. The other Win7 laptop had 3GB, but could be expanded to 4GB. I did so. Reports elsewhere indicated Win10 was comfortable in 4GB.
The other thing I did was make sure only Basic telemetry was enabled. Win10 tries to phone home with status information about your system, to assist MS in solving problems and squashing bugs. The highest level of telemetry can include memory dumps that might include personal data. The privacy freaks are up in arms because Win10 doesn’t *let* you turn off telemetry entirely unless you are an Enterprise customer. Nothing in the Basic telemetry sent to MS gives me heartburn, so I don’t care.
The big issue for my significant other and the mutual friend whose 8.1 system I upgraded was something Microsoft stated in their FAQ but few seem to have read: if you have the games formerly provided as part of a Windows installation, they will be *removed*. I got ‘Hey! Where’s Freecell?’ queries.
You can’t simply copy them over from an earlier Windows installation. They have embedded version checks, and won’t run on Win10. If you want the games, you must get them from the Windows Store and the free versions are ad supported and differ from the older ones.
Fortunately, some pseudonymous folks on the Internet patched the Win7 games to remove the version check, and offered them in an installer that can add one or all to your Win10 system. I found a copy, used it, and made SO and friend happy. Look at: http://winaero.com/download.php?view.1836
One thing I did for our collective sanity was install the open source Classic Shell package. Win10 returns the Start Menu, but their effort has produced a raft of ‘Why did they fix what wasn’t broken?’ complaints. Win10’s default Start Menu gets a lot of criticism. Classic Shell does what the name implies, providing a Start Menu like the old one and can be configured to look like the Win7 Start Menu as well. The friend with the 8.1 laptop was *delighted* to say goodbye to the Win 8.1 Metro interface.
I’ve looked briefly at Edge, but that’s about it. I’ve used Firefox as my default browser for years and used Mozilla code since it was still an internal Netscape project to create the next generation browser suite. The only thing Internet Explorer has been used for here is the odd manual visit to the Windows Update site, because Update uses Active-X controls only supported in Internet Explorer. IE isn’t the transcendent security horror it used to be, but I ran Firefox in the first place because it was simply a more powerful browser and it still is.
Drivers have not been problems here, but have for people elsewhere. People reported that Win10 replaced the existing drivers with the current Microsoft approved versions but, in some cases that broke things, because the MS certified drivers were older versions that simply did not support required features of the hardware involved and they needed to get the current driver supplied by the vendor to restore things to sanity. If you have other than a fairly vanilla system and use custom hardware (like fancy graphics cards for gaming systems), note the drivers you use and be prepared to get and re-install them after the Win10 upgrade.
Performance has been largely comparable before and after here. I haven’t seen notable speed-ups in booting or running applications. The older Win7 laptop is still pokey after the upgrade, even with an additional GB of RAM, but that’s an I/O issue. Making it faster will involve swapping in a faster drive, like a solid state hard drive. That’s a longer term project, and since it will be used strictly as an occasional travel machine, there’s no particular urgency.
I’m contrary, and *don’t* run Audio/Visual (A/V). I had an epiphany a few years back. I was running Symantec Corporate A/V courtesy of an employer site license. (I wouldn’t touch the Norton consumer version with a stick.) The version I was running reached end go life (EOL) and would no longer get A/V signature updates. I no longer worked for the employer, so a new version would be on my dime. The only thing it had ever *caught* had been false positives. I asked ‘Do I really *need* to run A/V?’ and concluded I didn’t. The principal vector for virus delivery is email. I use Gmail as my primary account. My mail resides on Google’s servers, and I read it in my browser. Gmail implements viewers for common attachment types, so they never reach my machine neither. Why run A/V? I dropped it, and haven’t missed it. On Win10, I have Windows Defender enabled, but that’s mostly to keep Windows happy. On Win7, I have Microsoft Security Essentials enabled for the same reason.
For that matter, I don’t run active anti-malware software. Malware targets the browser, but I use Firefox with the NoScript add-on that blocks scripting if the site isn’t in a user maintained whitelist. In addition, Firefox uses a Google supplied list of known malware sites and throws up a block if you go to one. I also use the OpenDNS service instead of my ISP’s (Domain Name Server (DNS) resolution, and OpenDNS also maintains and applies such a list. I have the Malware Bytes security scanned here, run it occasionally, and it never finds anything.
Overall, I’m pleased with the upgrade, with the cautions noted above.