Intro into the world of Windows 10 articles

Throughout the year I promised that we would provide more information about Windows 10 and upgrading.

That time has arrived and I’ve put together important thoughts and information that I believe you must read if you still are wondering about or planning to upgrade to Windows 10.

The first article, “Upgrade to Windows 10 or not, is about Windows 10, about Upgrading, and very importantly the risks and what you must consider before upgrading. This is the most important article of the collection. If you read nothing else then read this one … or skim over it and read the bolded parts!

The second article, “SERVICES WE OFFER to specifically help with Windows 10, outlines what services Ingalls Computer Services offers specific to Windows 10. Help with upgrading, doing upgrades safely and securely using ICS procedures and methods, helping configuring privacy and other setup options for systems that already have Windows 10 on them, helping with failed upgrades and restores, and more. Note it is important that you read the first article so you the relevance and importance of what we offer.

The third article is a special interest ‘extra’ article that provides a deeper dive into Windows 10 privacy, advertising, tracking, data collection, the potential for unexpected and perhaps undesired content to show up within Windows 10 while using Windows 10, controls we might have over these things and more. Read the first article and if what you find in their interests you to want to know more then read this one afterwards. This third article is titled: Windows 10 Privacy concerns may just be tip of larger iceberg

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SERVICES WE OFFER to specifically help with Windows 10

These are just some of the SERVICES WE OFFER that are specific to Windows 10. Please call us about any help you might need … with Windows 10 or any technology issue! We provide all sorts of software, hardware, training and managed services (backup to cloud, local, security, networking and more!)


Upgrade me to Windows 10 using ICS Processes and Tools (with extended 60 day restore capability), $160

We use our extra safe processes and tools to upgrade your system to Windows 10 which includes:

  • Checking to find out to what degree your system is supported for Windows 10 and go over our findings with you [If you decide you don’t want to proceed then we will stop work here and only bill for $40.]
  • Backing up your old system with our Image backup technology.
  • You get an extra 30 days (a total of 2 months) to decide whether to keep Windows 10 or request to be restored!
  • We do a direct upgrade of your system to Windows 10 from Microsoft’s servers.
  • Do an initial and ongoing checkouts of your new Windows 10 system once it’s running Windows 10.
  • Configure your Windows 10 settings to maximize privacy, minimize advertising, reduce annoyances, and provide a blend of Windows 7 and Windows 10 features in certain areas.
  • Configure your system to make it easier to use Internet Explorer vs. the new ‘Edge’ browser.
  • Inform you throughout the process of success, failure or of any issues we might come across.
  • We help you to help you decide if you want to keep Windows 10 or have us restore the system to how it was before Windows 10. (Note: There is no additional charge to have us restore your system back to the way it was before the upgrade for whatever reason as long as your system is still here in our shop.)
  • At this point your computer is now running Windows 10! (or it’s been fully restored to before Windows 10 as you requested us to do).
  • Once you have Windows 10 back home can now:
    • Contact us to take advantage of the 20 minutes included remote connect time where we review your Windows 10 system with you. We can demo key features, controls, settings, changes and/or go over key applications you use to make sure you know how to access them and to better insure they are working as you expect them to.
    • Enjoy Window 10 … using it, trying it out and more.
    • Rest assured that you now have 60 days (not just 30) to try it out and use Windows 10. Anytime during those 60 days you can bring your computer back and ask us to restore your system to its prior operating system (as it was just before the Windows 10 upgrade). [Restore fee once your computer once your computer has left our shop, which includes us looking for and saving any new documents, pictures, music, video, email and making sure the restored system has that new data added to it, is an additional $50 … but only if you need it.]

Windows 10 Configuration Review, Setup for Privacy with personal walk through, $60

Do you already have Windows 10 installed but want us to review your settings including settings for Privacy, advertising control, nuisance items, notifications and more? This service is just that. In about 45 minutes to 1 hour we will:

  • Recommend and make changes to settings that reflect your desired level of privacy.
  • Review and adjust different aspects of content and layout of the main menu, notifications, various ‘live’ content and more. These are items that you encounter, see and deal with on a daily basis and the goal is to better personalize your system to reduce annoyances.
  • Make sure you have easy access to either Internet Explorer or the lessor used ‘Edge’ browser. Even if you use Chrome or Firefox as your everyday browser you still need to have access to one of the Microsoft browsers for certain websites. We make sure Internet Explorer isn’t hidden, it’s available for easy traditional access for the rare times you need it vs. wrestling with the ‘Edge’ browser and looking for Internet Explorer.
  • We work hard to make sure you get at least 20 minutes of remote connect time where we review your Windows 10 system with you. We can demo key features, controls, settings, changes and/or go over key applications you use to make sure you know how to access them and to better insure they are working as you expect them to.

Other Services We Can Provide or Help With

Windows 10 ‘Clean Install’
We backup your old system, erase hard drive and install Windows 10 with no leftover parts of your older operating system, restore/migrate your data from your old system to proper places within Windows 10. Installation of other application software, drivers, etc. and how you want your data handled for use with them are items we will discuss with you and agree on the amount of help you desire here. Call and we will work with you to determine your specific needs and talk about options and pricing.

Debug / consult on any Windows 10 upgrade problems or use questions. Remote or on-site. Call us.


Note: Pickup, drop-off, and on-site reinstall services are separate and available for additional fee.

Note: We cannot guarantee that the Windows 10 upgrade will be successful or be fully functional for your system. That is up to Microsoft and your computer manufacturer. We work with your computer and the software they make available for it to try and provide you with the best experience possible but ultimately the degree to which it works or does not work is up to those companies.

Note: Prices do not include the cost of any software licenses if there is a cost for them.


What if you want to try and Do It Yourself?
TIPS IF DIY…

If you want to do the Windows 10 upgrade yourself … and especially if you are an Ingalls Computer Services customer … these are some things you likely want to do:

  • Backup first just in case.
  • Download and use Never10.exe to make sure your system is set to allow the upgrade to occur.
    • Visit this webpage for more information and to find a link to the download: https://www.grc.com/never10.htm
    • When you have Never10.exe running you want to:
    • See if you see the ‘Install Update’ button and if you do then you want to select it and follow any instructions.
    • Look for ‘Enable Win10 Upgrade’ button. If you see the ‘Enable Win10 Upgrade’ button then select it and follow any instructions. If you do not see the ‘Enable Win10 Upgrade’ button then perhaps you see red text that says ‘Windows 10 OS Upgrade is ENABLED for this system!’ and if you do then you are all set and you are done with Never10.exe. If you don’t see the ‘Enable Win10 Upgrade’ button nor do you see the text mentioned above then perhaps you need to restart your system and try Never10.exe again to see such a button. Give that a try.
  • If you just made changes using Never10.exe then I suggest restarting your system just to start in a known state.
  • Now open ‘Windows Update’ and run it to get and install updates repeatedly (and do any requested restarts) until there are no more Windows updates.
  • Now what? Only Microsoft really knows honestly! It’s magic. Windows is supposed to ask you about whether you want Windows 10 and secretly downloads 3 to 10 GB of files and eventually start a process to schedule or do the upgrade for you. The problem with this is that you are at the mercy of Microsoft’s process, timing, etc.
  • Alternative step to do after the above step (I would seriously consider doing this … especially if you don’t get any immediate indication from Microsoft about it doing the upgrade right away). Go to this Microsoft webpage and follow instructions to get the upgrade: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade

Note: Ingalls Computer Services does NOT recommend you do the Windows 10 upgrade yourself but if you are going to do the upgrade yourself (1) you are completely responsible for all aspects and (2) we advise that you must first get a full hard drive image backup before you attempt this so you might have a way to recover if all else fails.

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Windows 10 Privacy concerns may just be tip of larger iceberg

Privacy, Data Harvesting, Advertising, Targeted Advertising, Security, Control over system, settings, defaults, unexpected and undesired results, Windows using your internet bandwidth to run peer-to-peer file distribution to other people’s computers, and more. These are all topics, words and phrases that I think about and add to my search history as I start to research Windows 10. I don’t want to see alarmist or make a big deal about something that isn’t anything to be concerned with and that isn’t my nature to do so. However every time I start to Google these phrases I find more articles to read that raise my concerns to rather high levels.

I would like to revise this article in the near future and put more of my own comments, concerns and facts that I want to make sure you know about but I am limited at the moment from doing the complete job of writing that.

However there are well written and easy to read articles already on the internet and I’m going to share with you 3 or 4 of them that I recommend you read at so you get an idea of where my concern is coming from.

I don’t think you can read those articles and not feel concerned afterwards.

No. Instead I imagine you will likely want to contact me (especially if you are running Windows 10) and arrange to have us review your privacy and other settings. You likely will want us to curb, remove, disable, turn off or re-configure your system so we can reduce the possibility of unexpected possibly offensive images and advertising polluting your computer display! If you have personal content that you don’t want shared with kids, wife, husband, visiting family members or friends (and that could run the gamut from just plan personal family information to explicit and not appropriate for those people to see) then you need to be concerned and aware. Likewise you have less control over what images could be brought to your screen by programs that get content from the internet. Again I think you should be concerned whether these ‘features’ or programs could display things that are not appropriate for the environment you operate your computer within (work, home, around co-workers, kids, etc.)

Well that’s all I can personally write at the moment and now I must leave you with these excellent articles to review.

Please do look over those articles. And if you are concerned or bothered by this then please let me know that I am not alone. If I find others share my concerns then I will continue to look for things we can do to make our computers private and safe.

THESE ARE THE ARTICLES TO READ!!!

Callaham, John. “Here’s What Microsoft Says about Windows 10’s Version of Solitaire and Its Ad-supported Model.” Windows Central. Mobile Nations, 31 July 2015. Web. 1 July 2016. <http://www.windowscentral.com/heres-what-microsoft-says-about-windows-10s-version-solitaire-and-its-free-play-model>.

Price, Dan. “Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10’s Privacy Issues.” MakeUseOf. MakeUseOf Limited, 17 Aug. 2015. Web. 01 July 2016. <http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/everything-need-know-windows-10s-privacy-issues/>.

Sieber, Tina. “How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop.” MakeUseOf. MakeUseOf Limited, 23 Oct. 2015. Web. 01 July 2016. <http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/windows-10-desktop-ads-nsfw-content/>.

Last thought…
The following comes straight from Microsoft’s privacy statement (https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement/) about a Windows 10 feature/function called ‘Cortana’. Cortana sounds innocent and it may be helpful to have an assistant that can help you with finding things, etc. But read this and let me know how you feel after reading it:

    “To enable Cortana to provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions, Microsoft collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device.

    “Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about how you use your device and other Microsoft services, such as your music, alarm settings, whether the lock screen is on, what you view and purchase, your browse and Bing search history, and more.”

The good news is that the above is disabled by default. The scary thing is that it can be turned on. What if someone other than you were to turn this on and not tell you? Would that concern you?

Does the above seem unlikely? If so then I ask you to think again. Consider the evil things being done by malware writers today! How many of us wish it wasn’t possible for malware to get on to our computers and do things? But we all know it can and likely will. And so the question is: “If creators of today’s malware can so easily write code to encrypt user files without anyone noticing until the damage has already been done and then successfully extort millions of dollars from the people whose data they have encrypted … what’s to stop them from writing code that could turn on data harvesting features, hack access to your private user data and then use your data against you and for their financial gain”?

Look for more from me on this in the future.

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Upgrade to Windows 10 or not

Upgrade to Windows 10 or not?
Windows 7 and 8 users need to act before July 29th if they want to take advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade offer to Windows 10. After July 29th the same upgrade will cost $119 ($139 for Pro edition).

Understand the risks before you upgrade
The answer about whether to upgrade (or more accurately … to give the upgrade and Windows 10 a try) varies for each computer and each user.

Microsoft, much of the media and perhaps friends have painted a rosy picture about Windows 10 and the upgrade process. That its pain free, great, fast and easy. Unfortunately there are many silent tails of hardship, failure, loss of data, unexpected (and sometimes significant) expense, frustration, loss of a useable computer. Microsoft has no incentive to tell you of those experiences and so many people have gone forward without understanding the risks. Understanding the risks can help you make a better decision about whether to upgrade. It can also help you understand what actions you should take to reduce risks and better prepare you for potential outcomes and costs if you do decide to upgrade.

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t upgrade right now
Saving $119 is great in theory but it may not be worth doing (or even attempting) in the first place.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are not going away anytime soon (1/2020 and 1/2023.)

Windows 8/8.1 users probably have enough reason to upgrade because of more tangible improvements Microsoft made to overcome the missteps of Windows 8/8.1. But if you are a Windows 7 user (or even a Windows 8.1 user) and you are content with your current system then you may not have any good reason forcing you to upgrade right now. It might make more sense to get the most out of the system you are currently happy with and skip the upgrade for now. Then when the time does come that you have a compelling reason to move off your old Windows you can revisit this. By that time it may make more sense just to upgrade your whole computer and you will have avoided this whole upgrade mess.

Other articles you may find interesting to read:

Structure of the rest of this document
I’ve selected three articles that I believe help in determining whether a Windows 10 upgrade makes sense but just as importantly I hope they convey the importance of using a safe and sound approach if you are going to upgrade. I recommend you look at each of articles yourself though I do provide commentary here on what I believe are the most useful points from each. Before we dive into the articles and their key points I need to list some points about Windows 10 that aren’t covered in the selected articles or I feel deserve special mention before getting into them later.

First – Points that don’t have a home or are worth quick overview

Backup, backup, backup before you do anything!!!!
Do not attempt the upgrade without first backing up your system! (A Complete Backup!)

The Windows 10 upgrade does not always work. The “Go back to Windows 7”/“Go back to Windows 8.1” feature of the Windows 10 upgrade does not always work! There is no guarantee that your system can be restored to the way it was before you attempted to go to Windows 10. A proper backup may be the only thing that saves you from significant expense and loss of your computer. If you want to upgrade with absolute safety for your system and options for reverting then contact us to help you do this. Yes millions of upgrades have gone ok without incident but the risk is just too great for those that do not work. Ask anyone that has been in this position.

Windows 10 Privacy, Advertising and configuration issues are a big deal.
It’s important to know that Windows 10 has the potential to collect a lot of data about you, your computer, things you do with your computer, and in some cases (like with Cortana) it can even make use of your data in emails, text messages and appointments. I believe it’s important that people know about this and to also understand that many Windows 10 systems are set to collect and use some amount of this data, even if you done nothing to turn it on, and will continue to do so until you turn off those controls. Ingalls Computer Services routinely reviews the privacy, advertising and other settings when we setup a new Windows 10 system and we adjust those settings as our customer desires them to be – even if that means turning off all such ‘features’. You will see more about this below and can read more in my special article on this. Contact us if you want special help in this area.

Garbage In = Garbage Out
Don’t attempt upgrade for system with problems. Don’t expect that the upgrade will fix those issues (our experience is PC with issues likely remain having issues and in our experience they have affected the upgrade process, upgrade result and even rendered system unable to revert.)

Is it supported? By whom? To what degree? Actual user experiences with your model computer?
Lenovo, HP, Dell and others can tell you if they have qualified your computer and whether it’s supported to run with Windows 10. This will tell you a lot about what your chances are for success vs. issues you might have before attempting Windows 10 with your computer. Supported and qualified systems are more likely to have the software you need for Windows 10 success, or they have reasonable workarounds for minor issues. Windows 10 may still work even if your computer isn’t on such a list but it’s just as possible that it may only partially function or it may not work well at all. In this case searching the support and user forums for experiences of people with the same computer as yours is your best bet. This can save you a lot of time knowing what you should expect as problems, possible solutions or workarounds or perhaps that it just isn’t worthwhile to try. One possible quirk to be on the lookout for regarding upgrading to Windows 10 is whether your manufactures supports doing so from either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 or if they only support doing so from one but not the other. Some manufacturers have specific guidelines on this.

Older peripherals – will they work? Are you prepared to debug issues and possibly replace?
This is standard for any new release of Windows. Older peripherals (devices you attach to your computer) like printers, scanners, cameras, phones may not be fully supported or work at all. You can check with the manufacturer of each device to know for sure. Just know that for each device there is a possibility that it will take extra effort to get them working in Windows 10 and for older devices you may lose some of the key functionality (for example an older an ‘All-in-one’ printer/scanner/copier/fax may still be able to print but lose the capability to scan to your Windows 10 system). Worse case you may have to replace older devices with newer ones to get the function/feature you desire working for Windows 10.

Windows 10 doesn’t support or include Windows Media Center (WMC)
If you use WMC and want to continue using it then don’t upgrade to Windows 10 until you’ve resolved what you will do as an alternative. Even if you upgrade from a system that already has WMC installed please know that it won’t be there after you upgrade to Windows 10.

Ready, Set, Go … Lets look over these three articles
As you look over the articles and the key points, please ask yourself: “Is Windows 10 for me?”, “Do I want it?”, “Do I need it?”, “Do I need it now?” And very importantly please take note of the things that have gone wrong for others so you might better protect yourself from such outcomes.


First of three articles …

“Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Should you upgrade?” by Edward Chester at TrustedReviews.com

Edward provides a good overview particularly for a Windows 7 user but he also puts things in relation to changes from Windows 8 as well.

The article touches on areas of Performance, Design, File Management, Services, Start Menu, and provides its own ‘Verdict’ on Windows 10.

The article takes a positive stance on Windows 10 but it doesn’t overdo it. And it seems especially fair when it comes to the Windows 7 upgrade question as he puts forth the thought that individually the new features and improvements provided by Windows 10  might not make it worthwhile to upgrade “… but when combined they do make a compelling case.”

820+ comments!
However, in my opinion what makes this article especially valuable are the over 820 comments by readers!

My personal take based on reading a large number of the comments is that I believe you can hear the voices of many Windows 7 users stating that it is not compelling enough to upgrade. Furthermore it seems to me that a rather significant number of Windows 7 users commented that they have tried Windows 10 and many have gone back to using Window 7.

I informally ranked other common comment themes as:

  • Many stating their opinion is Windows 7 is better.
  • Many commenting that they didn’t feel Windows 10 was compelling enough to try or they did try it and switched back.
  • It seems to be a rather small percentage of commenters have switched and stayed with Window 10 or are willing to even consider trying Windows 10.
  • Many comments about disliking (putting it mildly) the design and look.
  • A surprising number of comments saying Windows 10 is slow.
  • Many concerns on perception of having lost privacy, freedom and control with Windows 10 compared to prior versions of Windows.
  • A few commenting they have turned off and/or don’t use most of ‘improvements’.
  • And a few complaints that apps are still useless, the system contains even more software people don’t want and can’t easily uninstall (Xbox software is referred to by one commenter) and old hardware incompatibilities getting in the way.

That’s my opinion on both the article and comments. Read the article and comments yourself and make your own conclusion.


The second of three articles …

“Is It Time to Upgrade to Windows 10?” by Marcel Brown at Marcel Brown Technology Services
I particularly like one of his subtitles: If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it

It think Marcel and I think along similar lines. I very much agree with his well-rounded approach of asking if it’s worth it to upgrade and concern that if you do decide to upgrade that you do so with your eye’s wide open and understand what you may be getting into.

I also agree with these thoughts:

  • “As soon as they (Microsoft) start charging for it, I doubt many people will be interested in paying for it”
  • “… your main reason to upgrade to Windows 10 should be the features. … not just to take advantage of a freebie.”
  • If you’re perfectly happy with the way your Windows PC works currently, then it may not be worth upgrading.
  • “… the upgrade process takes at least an hour if not longer …” to which I would add that you should expect it to take longer. Especially so if you are unlucky and encounter problems. And if you run into major problems you could be out for days not just hours.

Privacy and information collected about use of your computer
On this topic I am more concerned. Marcel points out that this has been a popular topic of discussion and shares his opinion that it doesn’t seem like Microsoft is capturing any truly personal information. Rightly so he puts the final decision about this in the users lap. I however take a different stance and have a bit more concern. In my own searches about Windows 10 privacy issues I have found it doesn’t take long before I end up learning about ‘advertising ID’, dynamic advertising showing up in start menu, advertising in the Window lock screen, possibility of Not Safe For Work content showing up in ‘Live Tiles’ and ‘Suggested Apps’, targeted advertising based on what I do in Windows 10 (or where I go), where to find all the various controls about what might be collected and what might be turned off or on and how to turn off / on various things that are all in this arena and so much more. I’ll talk more about these concerns a bit later. I do appreciate that Marcel mentions privacy and data collection at least in passing. However I know most of my customers and clients depend on us to configure their computers to protect their privacy and security and it’s my opinion that Windows 10 increases the work required to provide that protection. It’s too easy for naïve users to upgrade to Windows 10 and for their system to be configured to share more information than they would want. If Ingalls Computer Services is engaged to help you with your Windows 10 upgrade we offer to help configure your system to maximize your privacy and security.

Want to read more … Read this:
            “Windows 10 Privacy concerns may just be tip of larger iceberg

Windows 10 Undo might not ‘Undo’ (You made that backup didn’t you?)
Marcel talks about a great feature built within Windows 10 that should allow you to easily change your mind and “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1” within the first month (after your first month using Windows 10 you can no longer go back). Unfortunately the big danger is that this feature does not always work and when it doesn’t work you are stuck in a big mess unless you took the advice we provided in the beginning and made a ‘Backup’.

Ironically we experienced this ourselves when testing the Windows 10 upgrade with a Windows 8.1 laptop that serves us for both work and personal use needs. We had some occasional issues with Windows 8 and 8.1 but nothing we thought was noteworthy. The short version of the story is that upgrade to Windows 10 rendered the system useless and Windows 10 could not return us to a workable Windows 8.1 system. It was the Image Backup that we created on our own before the whole upgrade process that saved the day. It only took about an hour to restore the image and upon completion we were back up and running with Windows 8.1 just as it was before attempting the upgrade. Without that backup we would have been looking at week long rebuild from scratch process (and no use of laptop during that time.)


Last article … This one from the New York Times I find is very good for a couple of reasons. First it’s published after Windows 10 has been out for nearly a year, and just before the expiration of the free upgrade offer period. This provides an opportunity to look back on successes and failures of the past year and current state. Combine that with refreshingly open and honest input gained from someone within Microsoft who acknowledges that even one year later there are flaws in the upgrade process itself and failures of Windows 10 on certain systems. It’s not my intent to revel in this bad news but instead I believe it’s very helpful to have open honest communication that there are issues and flaws. From this users can focus on getting good answers and solutions to real problems vs. facing a system of news that only says “everything is awesome!” when in fact this isn’t the case for everyone and every situation.

“Why Windows 10 Upgrades Go Wrong, and How to Avoid It”
by BRIAN X. CHEN, New York Times, MAY 18, 2016

Backup first!
This is worth repeating even if it is for the third or fourth time. This is your one and only chance to do this is before you upgrade! Make an image backup, not file backup if you want a quick restore vs. a lengthy rebuild process. Ideally use an advanced imaged based backup solution that provides both capabilities of quick restore of the whole system as well as restoration of individual files/folders that you need. [This is what we use for our customers.]

Microsoft admits things aren’t perfect.
The ‘compatibility checker’ may fail to identify issues before you upgrade which may leave you with a Windows 10 system with issues or worse lead you to wishing you had not attempted this and working to get your old system back in working order.

Older and budget computers are more likely to have issues. Laptops even more so.
The cost of dealing with issues may exceed what you want to invest in such a system. Think hard about whether it’s worth it to even try. Will you be ok with the expense of getting help if the upgrade fails and you can’t recover? Set your expectations appropriately and be prepared to restore your system if things don’t work out. Would it be better to just purchase a new PC/laptop built for and fully supported with Windows 10? Think about your total costs and time expended.

[Note: We see this all the time … budget computers end up disappointing the purchaser much sooner and almost always result in frustration, wasted time and ironically extra expense dealing with the issues and frustrations that budget computers bring. So many times we see budget systems costing the owner much more than if they had invested in a more capable system to begin with.]

Do not depend solely on Microsoft’s 30 day ‘Go back to Windows 7’ / ‘Go back to Windows 8.1’ feature
My advice is similar to that I provided for one of the other articles. Although the New York Times and the other article I referenced earlier talk favorably of “Go back” it is my recommendation that you do not put your dependence on Microsoft’s 30 day recovery feature. Yes it should allow you to rollback your system to the old operating system! However there are too many people that found this did not work for them and when this happened they were stuck trying to figure out alternative means to rebuild their old system. If you followed our strong advice you should have an image backup and you can save any new data and then use that backup to recover your old system.

Closing thoughts

What if you don’t upgrade? How bad will things be?
In time you will more or less miss out on the latest innovations and replacement technologies/features implemented in the latest Windows system that your system does not have and may never have.

In many cases these will be things you don’t need, don’t care about and probably won’t even know about.

In some cases you may be glad that you do not have to deal with them. (For instance you might not even want to have things like ‘Live Tiles’ and ‘Suggested Apps’ confronting you as you try to focus on doing something else with your computer!)

Eventually you might find there are features/functions you absolutely need that are no longer supported or secure on your current system but newer systems have replacement technology to provide that feature/function in a secure manner. At that point you will want to consider whether you replace your system or upgrade it. However I do not know (as of 7/2016) of any technology or feature that would force people to have to change from Windows 7 and I don’t imagine this will be an issue for years to come.

Finally … Should I upgrade to Windows 10? … a unique answer for everybody
The answer to ‘Should I upgrade to Windows 10?’ is not as black and white as we might like it to be. This is the case with the upgrade of any major Windows system to a newer version. Bottom line there are risks. There can be issues. In some cases it may not make sense to do so. Some issues, or in some cases just attempting an upgrade, can negatively impact your ability to use your computer. It’s important to know the risks you are about to take. Hopefully you have no issues but knowing the risks beforehand will hopefully help you make a more informed decision about whether to do it now, another time (even if it costs you a little bit to do later) or never. And if you do the upgrade hopefully that information will help you do it safely and better prepare you for what you need to do to end up with a successful outcome. You can take risks, gamble or you can reduce risk and be better prepared to mitigate them if bad things do occur.

REFERENCES:

Brown, Marcel. “Is It Time to Upgrade to Windows 10?” Marcel Brown. MB Tech, Inc., 09 Feb. 2016. Web. 29 June 2016. <http://marcelbrown.com/2016/02/09/is-it-time-to-upgrade-to-windows-10/>.

Chen, Brian X. “Why Windows 10 Upgrades Go Wrong, and How to Avoid It.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 May 2016. Web. 29 June 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/technology/personaltech/why-windows-10-upgrades-go-wrong-and-how-to-avoid-it.html>.

Chester, Edward. “Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Should You Upgrade?” TrustedReviews.com. Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, 18 Jan. 2016. Web. 29 June 2016. <http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/windows-10-vs-windows-7>.

More info on our failed upgrade experience:
After the upgrade from Windows 8.1 we did have Windows 10 and we could boot into Windows 10. Our data was there. But it didn’t take long for us to realize the system was basically unusable. Settings and control panel items were missing or not working. We were getting permission errors on applications and files. We couldn’t do the most basic of functions. No problem. We decided to use the “Go back to Windows 8.1” feature built into Windows 10. This took another several hours (overnight) but eventually we no longer had Windows 10 and it appeared that we were back to Windows 8.1. Unfortunately Windows 8.1 was worse off than it had been before the upgrade attempt and it was basically non-functional as well. Essentially the computer system was now useless. The upgrade to Windows 10 rendered it useless and the system could not return us to a workable Windows 8.1 system. It was the Image Backup that we created on our own before the whole upgrade process that saved the day. It only took about an hour to restore the image and upon completion we were back up and running with Windows 8.1 just as it was before attempting the upgrade. Without that backup we would have been looking at week long rebuild from scratch process (and no use of laptop during that time.)

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Getting great, full size, printouts from Gmail

Are your email message printouts from Gmail too small? Missing some (or a lot) of the message? Parts of the message are completely cut off on the side? Too hard to read? Wasting paper because of all the above problems?

Well you probably are missing one simple tip that will allow you to get full page printouts without the above issues and the email will be easier to read.

I created a short YouTube video to show you the tip.

>>Click Here to See the Video<<

Or perhaps this will be enough to point you in the right direction … remember to look for and use this symbol to make your Gmail printouts:

Gmail print button to get good full size printouts

Gmail print button – use this!

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ESET is AWESOME – Merry Christmas Thank You!

As ALL my clients know there is only ONE anti-virus solution I use and I’ve stuck by them since 2006. In fact – everyone that is on a Managed Services Plan with Ingalls Computer Services GETs ESET professional business quality software as PART of their plan with us. There are NO questions about it! You go with Ingalls Computer Services – you get ESET!!!

And why?? Well not just because it’s GREAT but ESET’s SUPPORT IS GREAT and the people behind the company are GREAT. We interact with the Chat Support team frequently and always have lauded their great support. Today we were AWESOMELY surprised for an early and unexpected Christmas present! Being GEEKS nothing beats posters, hats or t-shirts!!!!! Thank you ESET!!!! If you want GREAT security and proactive approach to keeping your systems running great (vs. waiting for disaster to strike) then give us a call! Let us help you get set up with ESET and our full services! Continue reading

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Security Concerns about Third Party Software on your computer (part 3)

Significant security concerns … on your computer … must not be ignored.

This is the third and last of a series of posts on this topic. Note I will use ‘3rd Party app’, ‘apps’ and ‘Third Party Software’ interchangeably throughout these postings.

In the last post I covered ‘How many 3rd party apps do you think you have on your computer?’ and you likely learned you have many more than you ever imagined. (Average is 14-18 per computer with 80% of computers having 10 or more, 50% having 15 or more.)

Now it’s time to talk about the surprising frequency and number of updates these third party applications have. And a wake up call that most of them have updates that you haven’t known about and thus are not up-to-date on your system. And some information about why don’t you know about them, why is your software so out of date, what are the risks (damned if you do, damned if you don’t) concerning updating third party software and how can you get ‘Peace of Mind’ with this whole topic!

  • How many updates? How often are these updates, really?

Continue reading

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Security Concerns about Third Party Software on your computer (part 2)

Significant security concerns … on your computer … must not be ignored.

This is the second of a few posts about this topic. Note I will use ‘3rd Party app’, ‘apps’ and ‘Third Party Software’ interchangeably throughout these postings.

In the last post I covered what 3rd Party Apps are and which ones I’m most interested in covering for my clients.

This article shares some interesting facts about how many 3rd Party Apps can likely be found on your computer! I will also share important information about updates (the very few you know of, the many you are missing out on!), ideas about why so much of your software is out of date (and as a result likely very insecure).

  • How many 3rd party apps do you think you have on your computer???

I asked you to guess last time. If you haven’t then do so now! You may be surprised …

Continue reading

Posted in Maintenance, Managed Services Plan, Security, third party software | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security Concerns about Third Party Software on your computer (part 1)

Significant security concerns … on your computer … must not be ignored.

This is the first of a few posts about this topic. Note I will use ‘3rd Party app’, ‘apps’ and ‘Third Party Software’ interchangeably throughout these postings. This first posting will talk about what a ‘3rd Party App’ is. Follow-on postings will reveal how many you likely have on your computer, why they are a security concern, what to do about it, and other bits of information related to these ‘Apps’.

  • What is a 3rd party app?
  • How many 3rd party apps do you think you have on your computer???

[Don’t peek! Take a guess. How many do you think you have? Shocking answers in a bit.] Continue reading

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