Say what you will about Windows 8.x, it has treated me pretty well — so it was a really ‘crazy’ thing when I decided to leave the speed and reliability of a proven Windows 8.1 and throw caution to the wind with an early Windows Technical Preview of the newly dubbed “version 10” (ahem, I m actually referring to version 6.4, or loosely interpreted as Vista v4.)
So I was talking with my friends last night, when Brantley, who was already using “10”, convinced me to upgrade … or really it was Michael (a true Windows 8.x hater, and for no justifiable reason I can squeeze out of him) who convinced me when he pledged to try “10” as well.
The crazy part, Brantley talked me into doing an “in-place” upgrade of Windows, and not a clean install. I figure maybe if Microsoft is doing this again with “10” and it is so similar (ahem) to 8.x, (same exact thing maybe with the addition of the start menu, command prompt enhancements, and the virtual desktops built in,) well maybe it will actually work well and require little downtime…
The really crazy part, he convinced me it would work if I downloaded the ISO, mounted it in Windows (just double click it in Windows 8.x and it’s mounted) and ran setup.exe to perform an in-place upgrade, DIRECTLY FROM THE WINDOWS MOUNTED ISO.
…and so I did!
Initially when I tried this, setup just said that I had already installed “updates” but that setup needed to restart the PC. I don’t know maybe 20 minutes later it hadn’t bothered to restart the PC. I figured it was something I was doing, so I restarted it myself. After login, setup did not resume and nothing special happened.
Not ready to accept failure, (and not wanting to find an available flash drive,) I went back to my downloads dir, mounted the ISO again, and ran setup.exe directly from there. Instantly I breezed past that screen I was stuck on so long before. It was working!!!
Turns out maybe if you don’t reboot but once every few months or so, you shouldn’t expect an experimental in-place upgrade to a new “major” version of Windows to work well without rebooting first — so consider that if you find yourself in the same spot.
I didn’t time it, and I don’t feel the need to discuss system specs, but I’m pretty sure that from the time I started setup to the time I was back at my desktop was around 10 minutes at most. All I can compare that to with Windows 8 is a clean install, and I will say of course the Windows 10 in-place upgrade took over twice as long as a Windows 8 clean installation 🙂
The fastest and nicest Windows installation (upgrade) experience there ever was, at least for me.
Here is what I did NOT have to do: software re-installation of dozens of apps (technically there was one downgrade, more on that in a bit,) I didn’t have to do any driver installation, driver hunting, or living with uninstalled/unavailable drivers, reconfiguration of my system settings, user settings, any of my software, etc., I didn’t have to re-connect to my wireless network or re-enter passwords, I didn’t have to re-enter cached passwords for anything including Windows specific stuff like remote desktop sessions, etc.. I didn’t even have to setup a new user account or other preferences related to it (I was using a Microsoft account for my 8.x login too.)
I also didn’t have to rebuild the Windows based software RAID for my storage volume, which I honestly expected to be an issue. (ok, why I’m not using hardware RAID is a completely separate story!)
All of my hardware just worked, and I had one tiny little software issue out of a potential disaster, see below..
Here is what I DID have to do: download the ISO, click one or two buttons to breeze through the Windows install/upgrade process, and I had to downgrade to a slightly older release of VirtualBox for compatibility issues.
So in 10 minutes of downtime, I was up and running with what so far appears to be the nicest version of Windows to date, with all of my apps and preferences preserved.
WARNING: DO NOT ASSUME YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL BE SIMILAR TO MINE. As always, there are a lot of people out there I’m sure with installation issues. I just wanted to report a positive experience that I was extremely impressed with..