Nothing is more rewarding than getting something for free and thanks to Microsoft we will not have to wait until the 4Q Holidays. Microsoft has placed a rubber stamp on the release date of their newest operating system branded Windows 10. It is set to be released on July 29th for a limited time and to select users. For full details, terms and conditions, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade (external link). The newest operating system is a hybrid of their predecessors Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and promises to deliver a familiar user friendly environment.
With all new implementations of operating systems, it is always a good idea to take precautions. Here are the three important steps to take while implementing Windows 10:
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP
As with anything you do that is major to your computer, before you upgrade, ALWAYS backup important data and software. Having a backup will ensure that if anything goes south, your data will not be impacted. In today’s day and age, you cannot afford to not back up your data. All too often do we hear the stories that “my screen is cracked and it’s too expensive to get repairs” or “my system won’t boot and I need my data back.” If you are not in the habit of backing up your important information, now is the time to practice new habits.
For those that are on a budget, you can get an external drive from your local electronic store for less than $70 or you can find a great deal from vendors on Amazon. There are also many online backup solution providers that do a great job in automating backups to the cloud.
Once you have completed the backup process, it is recommended that you test the files to ensure usability. There are rare occasions that although uploaded to an external source, the file itself could be corrupted or inaccessible.
Upgrade or Fresh Install?
Now that backups are in place, it is time to upgrade. For the majority that will get the Windows 10 update, they will initiate the process by way of an in-place upgrade while the cautious few (myself included) will do a complete reformat of the system and a fresh installation of the new OS. So, you may be asking yourself, which one is correct. Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to install Windows 10 but if there is one thing we can all agree upon; that is, software is not perfect and glitches happen.
It is always a good idea that before you install a new OS, be sure to have a copy of the ISO file that contains the OS, burned to an external source as a backup. An ISO file is an executable CD/DVD/USB program or application. It will allow the computer to launch directly into the program at startup or initiate the setup process.
For corporate or enterprise environments, it is a good idea to do a fresh installation on a test machine first before fully deploying in a production environment. This will allow you to test all native programs for functionality and compatibility. If the tests are successful, you can create an updated image to automate your new user process.
It is worth noting that there may be instances where a custom software solutions you use will not be compatible with the latest OS. If you run into that issue, contact the software vendor and inquire about Windows 10 support.
Install an Active Anti-Malware and AV Solutions
Lastly, before you start browsing websites, install an internet security suite. It is true that having a Free Anti-Malware (AM) or Anti-Virus (AV) program is better than having nothing at all, but it is strongly recommended that you have an active subscription at all times. An active subscription will ensure that you have the latest protections to the ever growing threats in cyberspace. On the same note, it is always a good idea to schedule full scans and/or boot-time scans if your AM/AV program has that functionality. A boot-time scan will allow the security program to search your computer without any active processes running on your system. This is especially helpful if you have any rootkits or Trojan viruses lurking on your system. Since these types of scans are labor intensive, not to mention time consuming, it is a good idea to automate these scans for times outside of production or normal usage hours.