Scott Hanselman

What's the deal with Windows 10 for the Non-Technical Friend

June 4, '15 Comments [49] Posted in Win10
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The calls are starting to come in, as I, like you, Dear Reader, am the head of IT Support for my friends and family. You'd think my cell phone was an IT helpline, and my email is filled with Word documents with pasted in screenshots along with subject lines like "Is this safe?!?!?"

Anyway, Window 10 is coming soon, and this little icon (the Windows icon) is stating to show up in folks' taskbars. For the techies, it's called GWX (Get Windows 10) and it's there to prep your machine and possible download Windows 10 if you want to reserve a spot. It's added by KB3035583.

image

If you click it, you'll get this screen where you can add your email and when July comes around your system will start downloading Windows 10 automatically.

You may also see this in Windows Update if you run Windows Update manually as I do.

Windows 10 is coming soon

You get to decide when you want to install it, it's not automatic.

Free Upgrade to Windows 10

The important part you and your non-technical friend should know and explore is the "Check your PC" section. Click the "hamburger" menu in the upper left corner, then click "Check your PC." Here's mine. Looks like I need to update or uninstall one program that isn't yet compatible, but my devices (video, usb stuff, etc) are cool.

Windows 10 will work on this PC

There's a great FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on Windows 10 here that you should check out.

Here's my personal translation/take on the most important parts:

  • Windows 10 upgrades start July 29th and you can choose to upgrade for free until July 29, 2016 so no rush. If you want wait and see, you can.
  • The upgrade is free for that period (July 29th 2015 until 2016, a year later). Upgrading after July 29th, 2016 will cost something.
  • You can upgrade machines running 7 and 8.1.
  • You machine should have these specs, which are pretty low and reasonable. Most anyone with a running PC can upgrade.
  • Yes, Solitaire and Minesweeper and Hearts will be removed BUT you can download the new versions of Solitaire and Minesweeper free in the Windows Store. They are pretty nice versions.
  • You'll move to either Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, according to this table:
    What Windows 10 version will I get?
  • You apps will keep running. I'm running all sorts of apps, many quite old, on Windows 10 and I have had no issue. The Compatibility Wizard still exists, though, so you can "lie" to really old apps and tell them they are running on Windows 95, or whatever. Just right-click the App that isn't working and click "Troubleshoot Compatibility," or right-click, Properties, then Compatibility. I haven't had to do this myself, yet, so consider this a rare thing.

So far it's been pretty interesting and I think that if non-technical friend liked Windows 7 and tolerated Windows 8 that they will like Windows 10. I've been doing "Windows 10 Build to Build" upgrade videos over at my YouTube and I would love it if you'd subscribe to my YouTube as well.

It's amazing that Windows 7 users and Windows 8 users will all be able to upgrade and come forward to a single version of Windows. As a developer (both web and apps) it'll be nice to have people on an "evergreen" Windows where I can do things like Feature Detection and not think as much about versioning.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, 04 June 2015 19:55:40 UTC
Thank you for this, Scott... I am getting emails from family members (and very non-technical friends) asking about this very thing. I will be forwarding them to this article. :)
MichaelD!
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:06:02 UTC
GWX seems hard to get rid of, if I don't want it. And when I have to make a choice between WMC and WX, I think I'll stay.
Henry
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:07:25 UTC
Thanks for the information
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:26:17 UTC
Looking forward to when all Windows users in the world use Windows 10+ and no more Internet Explorer at all. Good riddance. The millions of web developers, designers, users and IT support people will truly be happier.. and the web advances faster without IE strings.
Abdu
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:37:41 UTC
Henry - If you feel strongly about it, remove the 3035583 update. But why would you remove it? You want to stay on your OS forever?
Scott Hanselman
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:55:45 UTC
Does anyone know if an ISO will be made available as part of the free upgrade? I re-image my pc often, for varying reasons, and it'd be frustrating to have to install Windows 7 and download and apply the upgrade separately every time (first world problems, I know). Thanks.
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:56:22 UTC
Any thoughts on how to explain to my non technical family why they should actually upgrade?

I'm afraid they aren't really interested in a different looking start menu, or multiple desktops. So, what do you consider some of the key selling points for people that basically only browse the web and email?

Will it make my life as the family troubleshooting guy any easier?
Berend
Thursday, 04 June 2015 20:59:51 UTC
I run Windows 8.1 in a VM and would prefer to start fresh with Windows 10 in a new VM. As I'm likely to use need to refer back to the 8.1 VM from time to time, what are my options?

Simon
Thursday, 04 June 2015 21:05:34 UTC
@Berend I'd say the Windows Store, my non tech oriented friends can use the app store or the play store, but try and install something on Windows and they fall apart.
Thursday, 04 June 2015 21:26:18 UTC
Jason,

Windows 10 comes with the ability to define a rescue disc (USB or otherwise). It creates a copy of the operating system which I just used to format fresh. It's smart (prompts you whether you want to format for refresh, keep your files, wipe your hard drive clean because you're parting with the computer) and easy to use. Also keeps your product ID intact.

It's called a reset.
Thursday, 04 June 2015 21:29:14 UTC
If Microsoft resolves the bugs (introduced in Win 10) preventing Win 10 VMs from working in enhanced session mode under Win 8.1 Pro Client Hyper-VM, I'll grab a golden Win 8.1 VM, upgrade, and play with the Win 10 VM until Win 10 is stable. Maybe they get it done until EOL of Win 8.1 in 2023. Otherwise, it'll be time to move to a new platform.
Not Scott
Thursday, 04 June 2015 21:52:35 UTC
Thanks very much for this info! I'd be curious to learn if this will be available to Windows 8.1 Enterprise users. I don't see Windows Enterprise in edition matrix above. I remember upgrading from Windows 8.0 to 8.1 on Enterprise was bit trickier and required a lot of extra steps (reference: http://www.sysprobs.com/how-to-update-windows-8-enterprise-to-windows-8-1).
Thursday, 04 June 2015 22:54:51 UTC
What happens if we need to reinstall a few years in the future? The current statement says the upgrade is free for the first year, but will cost later on. Will we need to pay if our machine breaks down 366 days from the upgrade?
Sukru
Thursday, 04 June 2015 23:25:25 UTC
@Elijah Enterprise editions will be getting their own upgrade path, as the typical organization using the Enterprise versions will want to manually test, stage, and deploy the upgrade themselves.
Mike C
Thursday, 04 June 2015 23:43:03 UTC
There is an ISO so clean installs will be available (details still not released though).

Enterprise versions always allow up- and downgrades as desired, so on release date you could take your whole company to 10 if you really wanted to.
PRMan
Thursday, 04 June 2015 23:49:27 UTC
Sukru - It's the initial upgrade that is only available free for the first year. Once you have it, you're on the Windows Update path and you'll get updates. It doesn't stop working in a year. It works always.
Scott Hanselman
Thursday, 04 June 2015 23:50:01 UTC
Win 10 Q's
- Can I get an ISO to re-install 2 years later when my hard disk fails?
- Can I upgrade without setting up a store account?
- Can I prevent updates from being pushed to my machine without my approval? This is important given the scientific equipment hooked to it which may/may not work after OS patches
- Can I run in desktop mode and prevent store apps from running? Turn off notifications as well as apps running in the background checking remote sources for notifications
- Can I uninstall apps shipped with the default Windows 10 image? It helped speed up my windows 8 and 8.1 pc.
- Can I run Windows 10 inside of a VM on Windows 8.1?
- Can I sandbox windows 10 applications similar to how Docker and Android M work? The application can install with rights to open internet connections/read contact list but that can be turned off by the user at the OS settings screen. This is important to prevent the everything installed on XP is administrator syndrome.
- Can I set per-application IP restrictions such as allow outgoing to XYZ addresses and no incoming without configuring a global firewall?
- Can I sandbox applications to only read from a particular directory sub-tree and write to a particular sub-tree?

- Can I boot Windows 10 from a read only flash card and have it not write to any disk? Think media device or a standard bootable image for an IT shop. User files would be saved on a remote/cloud drive. Think of kiosk PCs in shops/hotels.

- Can I remove an application including all of its files installed, all registry entries, all COM objects, all files landed in the GAC, ... ? SQL Server desktop failed uninstall forced me to reformat the disk and rebuild a work machine on client billable time on Windows 7. This is where a Docker solution is needed.

- Can an application, when it is installed, have all of its components, sub-applications listed in one application in the add/remove programs? SQL Server and VS are two examples of applications installing more than a few items in the Add/Remove programs.

- Can I prevent applications from starting/stopping services or installing a service which always runs in the background even when it is not being used?
Ron
Friday, 05 June 2015 00:31:26 UTC
I have to say after watching your latest video on Win 10 that the OS looks like an absolute disaster right now. I think there is no possible way they will have it ready for a consumer release in less than a month (which is when it must go RTM in order to release at the end of July). It looks like this is going to repeat the biggest mistake Win8 made- rushing it out the door half baked to meet self-imposed artificial deadlines.

I fear a huge backlash from all the consumers who upgrade and then are left with a buggy, confusing mess. MS could end up squandering all the good will it has built up during the course of the preview program.
Sam
Friday, 05 June 2015 00:59:09 UTC
Scott - I think what Sukru was asking was what are the options when wanting to reinstall after a year.

Say I grab the upgrade to 10 immediately. I happily get ongoing updates, even after the first year - great! But after a year is out and the offer for everyone else has expired, my machine dies and I need to reinstall Windows. As I'll only have my original retail Windows 7 (or 8) disc (or perhaps a laptop factory reset method), would I be stuck back on the older version or will I then be able to immediately upgrade back to 10 free? Or even better, install 10 immediately without using the upgrade method?

Appreciate we could be getting into nuanced licensing queries now!
Alex
Friday, 05 June 2015 02:56:11 UTC
Thank you for the information Scott.
Friday, 05 June 2015 05:25:40 UTC
@Sukru @Alex,

Once you have upgraded to Windows 10 (during the 1 year period) you will be able to install Windows 10 afresh anytime you want, even after the 1 year period, without needing to install Windows 7 or 8 and upgrade to 10. It will work. This has been confirmed by Microsoft.
Friday, 05 June 2015 05:34:20 UTC
Spidey sense is tingling an telling me that I should really do, as many of us have done in the past, a clean install when Windows 10 is released. Will any of use really be happy with an upgraded install?
Abe J
Friday, 05 June 2015 06:17:39 UTC
I've fallen in love with Windows 10, but I don't know why any normal person should or would care.

No new desktop apps in years and absolutely nothing to do in the tablet mode... in short Windows has turned into a wasteland!

For me as a developer, I live on the desktop and love it, but no company I know cares about building Windows apps these days!

It's all Web Apps or Android & iOS. If that doesn't change soon, Windows will go the way of Windows Phone!
Fallon
Friday, 05 June 2015 07:34:49 UTC
Very helpful post.

But there is a good question by Ron:


Can I get an ISO to re-install 2 years later when my hard disk fails?


Can you put some light on this please?
Friday, 05 June 2015 08:01:54 UTC
@Fallon presumably that is why universal apps exists (1 app supporting desktop/tablet/phone/xbox) and the 2 recent announcements (project Isherwood and ...) that allow devs to convert iOS and Android apps to run on Windows easily (well easier).

And where to a lot of web apps run? On Windows.
Just to throw some more opinions into the mix all the web apps I have been involved with run on Windows/IIS exclusively. All the apps I've been involved in run on .NET on Windows desktop.

In short mobile may of taken off and be fairly dominant for casual users but then I presume that is why MS is pushing WX hard because it will be the same OS running on desktop/tablet/phone.
Peter
Friday, 05 June 2015 12:22:41 UTC
@Peter ... not to get off topic. :) But Fallon has a good point. Even if MSFT gets up to a billion installs of Windows 10, there are still ~1.5 billion installs of Droid/iOS installs out there. You can build a "Universal" app but it will still be missing half of the market -- at the very best. Web apps are fine and good, but C#/Xaml (and C++) developers are like oil and water when it comes to JavaScript/HTML5.

MSFT should really open-source and cross-platform their Universal Windows Platform, and TRULY make it universal, so that every MSFT developer can maximize their investments (and market reach) with their efforts. Please take a second and let MSFT know you want this by voting for this very idea here:

<a href"https://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/110705-dev-platform/suggestions/7989744-make-universal-windows-platform-open-source-and-cr">https://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/110705-dev-platform/suggestions/7989744-make-universal-windows-platform-open-source-and-cr</a>

Thank you for any consideration. Now back to your regular blog post programming. :P
MichaelD!
Friday, 05 June 2015 13:02:07 UTC
I'm a technical user (a .NET dev), but I have a question. Can I download an ISO and register with an existing serial number? Because with new OS's, I like to begin from a clean install. I'll back everything up and erase my whole C: drive to start fresh. No overlooked spy- or adware from that tool I wanted to check out, no forgotten temp files that clutter anything, just a nice, clean, fresh install.
KenBonny
Friday, 05 June 2015 13:02:07 UTC
I'm a technical user (a .NET dev), but I have a question. Can I download an ISO and register with an existing serial number? Because with new OS's, I like to begin from a clean install. I'll back everything up and erase my whole C: drive to start fresh. No overlooked spy- or adware from that tool I wanted to check out, no forgotten temp files that clutter anything, just a nice, clean, fresh install.
KenBonny
Friday, 05 June 2015 13:55:20 UTC
I'm running Win 7 Enterprise and this update has been installed automatically.

Microsoft prohably shouldn't do that. Offering a free upgrade that won't actually upgrade will just annoy/upset people.

Or maybe I could just click the button and get upgraded.
David Elyk
Friday, 05 June 2015 15:23:54 UTC
Any idea how the *with bing editions upgrade?
Mike Hudgell
Friday, 05 June 2015 15:40:56 UTC
What seems to suck is that if I have windows retail version the 10 'upgrade' changes this to an OEM licence while people who paid far less for OEM versions get the same deal.

It also is a pita because I'm due a PC refresh soonish and will be forced to bring it forward in order to not completely waste this.
Bob
Friday, 05 June 2015 20:35:36 UTC
It seems you can't reserve an upgrade if you've domain joined your Windows 8.1 Pro machines. I can understand the reasoning but a bit of a pain if you run a domain at home. I hope the final upgrade can be installed on a domain joined machine.
PeterB
Friday, 05 June 2015 21:32:53 UTC
How does the upgrade affects disk space ? On tablet devices with typical 64 GB storage (and recovery partition) this is imporant. Also I don't believe in cross-major-version upgrades, a clean install is much more welcomed.

As for non-compatible apps, I think the biggest issue are device drivers and OEM specific system utilities. I don't believe that hardware vendors would be able to deliver *working* drivers prior Q2/2016. Actually, some of them (hello Broadcom, hello Sierra Wireless) are not able to provide them yet even for Windows 8.1 :-/
Petr Vones
Friday, 05 June 2015 23:27:36 UTC
So I have heard that after you install the free upgrade and a year passes, you will be required to pay for a Windows 10 license to continue to use your originally free upgrade.

Is this true to your knowledge?

Thanks
Wayne N.
Wayne N.
Saturday, 06 June 2015 01:06:10 UTC
squatter =.

"one who settles on, or occupies property without title, right, or payment of rent"

i noticed this notification area squatter subconsciously ... i saw it but did not see it until reading scottha's article above.

it's on my property ... i want to evict it ... not so easy.

under "Select which icons and notifications appear on the taskbar, i deselected "Always show all icons and notifcations on the taskbar" so that i could change GWX's behaviour to "Hide icon and notifications"; however, much to my chagrin, rechecking "Always show all icons ..." overrides my desire to banish it ~~ for many icons that inhabit the notification area, a right-click, click "go way" works, but not for the GWX squatter.

the GWX squatter is like a guest who will not go home so the host can go to bed.

the are some who will want to stick with win 7 or 8.1 for a very long time ... there should be a way to make GWX squatter go away (and there probably is or will be, or not)
Saturday, 06 June 2015 02:20:40 UTC
First website I found that had actual useful information, not just a cut and paste of the microsoft website rhetoric . Thank you.
jinkib
Saturday, 06 June 2015 05:44:15 UTC
Wayne - I'm reading that Windows 10 is yours to keep and that it won't "expire."

Everyone else, I'll try to collect answers to your specific questions.
Scott Hanselman
Saturday, 06 June 2015 05:54:19 UTC
One more question Scott, if I install the Preview version now, would I be able to "upgrade" to the full version when it comes available? Thanks for all the info!
Saturday, 06 June 2015 09:04:52 UTC
Hey Scott,
how about you writing a blog with all the things not working in Windows 10, if you upgrade.
Most things might be non critical because there are replacements. But would be great to have some kind of help for non technical users to find solutions :>

For example, Media Center is discontinued, you'd have to find an alternative solution if you want (like I do) watch TV via tv-usb stick, like MediaPortal.

Are there any other things / How can I run/replace them...

Would be great content I guess
Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:55:37 UTC
Hi Scott,
Nice article.
What about re-installing Win10 at a later point?
Let’s say at some point in the future you need a fresh windows install and this is after the 1 year of free upgrade passed. I saw an article saying that this will be also possible, but on the same machine. Why this limitation? If I bought my Win8 license separately, not with a PC, why wouldn’t I be able to re-install the Win 10 on any hardware later? What if some hardware components will fail and I need to move to a new laptop?
Thanks.
Marius
Sunday, 07 June 2015 21:08:07 UTC
I downloaded the GWX and gave them my e-mail address. As soon as I did I started getting junk e-mail. Thanks again Microsoft.
Randy
Monday, 08 June 2015 15:01:40 UTC
So I'm running Win8.1 Pro (activated). Thinking about installing Win10 CTP, but I'm concerned that I'll somehow loose my free upgrade to Win10 Pro.
Scott Slack
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 22:13:08 UTC
Nice blog post, one question. Do you know if there are any issues running Visual Studio 2013 on Windows 10?

I ask because the main MVC4 application I work on runs fine on 2013 on Windows 8.1, but doesn't work on 2015 RC (every HTTP request comes back with a 500, completely baffled).

Usually I would be the first on a new OS, but a little wary about upgrading to Windows 10 for exactly this issue.
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 08:51:56 UTC
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Wednesday, 10 June 2015 20:30:41 UTC
Man, I just had to answer Ron's questions. Most of these are common sense.

<strong>Win 10 Questions</strong>
<ol>
<li>Can I get an ISO to re-install 2 years later when my hard disk fails?
Of course, ISOs will be available! You can also create recovery media of your current install. But you're really asking if you can transfer the free license on a current Win10 system to another system, right? Yes, there will be ways to do that, just like with current versions.</li>
<li>Can I upgrade without setting up a store account?
Yes, since Win7 doesn't even have a store, the upgrade does not need a store account to start. But you're really wondering if you can use Win10 without linking it to a Microsoft account, right? That's possible, but you'll miss out on features.</li>
<li>Can I prevent updates from being pushed to my machine without my approval? This is important given the scientific equipment hooked to it which may/may not work after OS patches
Yes, Win10's GA release can have automatic updates turned off.</li>
<li>Can I run in desktop mode and prevent store apps from running? Turn off notifications as well as apps running in the background checking remote sources for notifications
Yes, Desktop mode works. Universal (Store) Apps only run when you run them. You can disable Notifications and live tiles.</li>
<li>Can I uninstall apps shipped with the default Windows 10 image? It helped speed up my windows 8 and 8.1 pc.
Honestly, I doubt removing a Metro/Store App sped up Win8 or 8.1, as they don't consume live resources unless you use them. But yes, you can uninstall default Universal Apps.</li>
<li>Can I run Windows 10 inside of a VM on Windows 8.1?
Sure! I'm doing that right now. But it depends on your virtualisation software.</li>
<li>Can I sandbox windows 10 applications similar to how Docker and Android M work? The application can install with rights to open internet connections/read contact list but that can be turned off by the user at the OS settings screen. This is important to prevent the everything installed on XP is administrator syndrome.
Sort of. Universal Apps are more secure than normal Win32 apps, but they don't run in a virtual sandbox.</li>
<li>Can I set per-application IP restrictions such as allow outgoing to XYZ addresses and no incoming without configuring a global firewall?
Yes, you can do that in current versions of Windows too, by configuring the firewall for specific applications.</li>
<li>Can I sandbox applications to only read from a particular directory sub-tree and write to a particular sub-tree?
No.</li>
<li>Can I boot Windows 10 from a read only flash card and have it not write to any disk? Think media device or a standard bootable image for an IT shop. User files would be saved on a remote/cloud drive. Think of kiosk PCs in shops/hotels.
Yes, Windows has offered that for a while, using their Embedded versions. That's what runs on those thin machines you mention. There are other options too, that have been around for years.</li>
<li>Can I remove an application including all of its files installed, all registry entries, all COM objects, all files landed in the GAC, ... ? SQL Server desktop failed uninstall forced me to reformat the disk and rebuild a work machine on client billable time on Windows 7. This is where a Docker solution is needed.
Yes, <em>you</em> can manually strip a Win32 application out of your system. But that's not what you mean, right? Universal Apps won't leave all the junk behind that you mention, and uninstalling it will be simple. Win32 applications could still be problematic, but Windows has offered System Restore for years now.</li>
<li>Can an application, when it is installed, have all of its components, sub-applications listed in one application in the add/remove programs? SQL Server and VS are two examples of applications installing more than a few items in the Add/Remove programs.
No, Windows' Add/Remove Programs list doesn't group applications. That'd be nice for complex installs. Win32 application entries are dependent on their developers for simplicity or complication. However, Universal Apps will be different, and you can easily find and remove them.</li>
<li>Can I prevent applications from starting/stopping services or installing a service which always runs in the background even when it is not being used?
Yes, if you have admin rights to your computer. :) Also, see #4.</li>
</ol>
Kyle
Thursday, 11 June 2015 00:35:57 UTC
Generally asking for
- The application/app should be self-contained and land all of its files in a single directory sub-tree with 1 entry in an application/app list

- The application/app should have specific access rights which could be reduced by the user at the OS level - to limit the many apps requiring access to many data not needed such as contacts.

- Automated application/app start at boot time, scheduled tasks, notifications should be able to be disabled at the OS level on an individual application basis

- Application/app should be able to be limited to read/write a single directory tree at the OS level if the user desires it (outside of system/.net DLLs). This directory tree would include binaries and shared configuration values for the application/app.

These are to limit what an application/app has access to, allow the user to set the access limitations and to allow full uninstall of applications/apps. It allows side-by-side installation of different versions of an application/app. It allows applications/apps to not use a central repository for locating binaries/com objects.

Ron
Sunday, 21 June 2015 20:05:17 UTC
Someone mentioned the problems faced by Tablet owners with only 64 GB --- my W8.1 Tablet has only 32 GB, most of it taken up by Windows, and only 6 GB spare not the 16 required. MS is supposed to be going to do something to help owners of 'small devices' to upgrade. I wait to hear what.

I am one of the many who have been unable to get the upgrade icon and app on our machines despite having all the requirements (except in my case the free storage space) --- and despite trying many of the suggested fixes. This is hardly mentioned here but is a very hot topic in various forums, including the MS Community.

clayto
Thursday, 25 June 2015 19:54:34 UTC
@Kyle (too bad you're formatting got busted; made it harder to read your good info)

>Can I prevent updates from being pushed to my machine without my approval? This is important given the scientific equipment hooked to it which may/may not work after OS patches

Yes, Win10's GA release can have automatic updates turned off.


From what I've read the automatic updates feature can only be turned off in the Pro and Enterprise releases and Win10-Home is locked to have auto updates always on. I hope this won't be actually so.
Matt
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.