Now that you’ve run the Windows 10 installer, you get a screen asking “What do you want to do?” And you have two choices: “Upgrade this PC now” and “Create Installation for another PC.”
I recommend choosing Upgrade this PC now. While you can create an installation USB drive or burn an ISO to a DVD, honestly, the most success I’ve had is with the upgrade-in-place path. My complications involved intentionally/accidentally wiping out the master boot record on my testing laptop, making a bootable USB stick that I couldn’t boot from, burning an ISO to a DVD, and then failing installation when I had to enter a product key because OEM product keys don’t activate (or maybe they do, who knows?) and then digging out old recovery media that was created in 2010–good thing I had it on hand–and reinstalling Windows 7 and upgrading to SP1. It’s a lot easier to simply select “Upgrade this PC now.”
When you do that, Windows 10 will start downloading. Feel free to do something else for the time being, because it takes a while. After all, it’s downloading 4-5GB of data.
You will next have the option of keeping your applications and files or essentially keeping nothing and getting a fresh installation of Windows 10. I’ve done both. With one of my laptops, I kept all of my files and applications, and with the other–the one I borked–I chose the option to keep nothing. Both scenarios worked just fine. In fact, it was impressive just how well the system that had years of applications and files on it handled the upgrade. Sure, it took a little longer, but I was pleasantly surprised that most things (other than an outdated graphics driver which was easily updated) worked just as they were supposed to. The system which was essentially clean-installed worked just fine, too, other than a problem with its graphics driver, which was a problem that existed throughout the preview period. A) it doesn’t seem to be a fatal issue, and B) there is apparently no updated driver coming from Intel. Time will tell, and it doesn’t seem to impact performance. (It appears that the driver simply relaunches anytime the screen comes back to life after being asleep, but otherwise, no real performance issues.) I haven’t had the time yet to do a deep dig into that issue, and since I don’t use that laptop for much of anything serious, I’m not worried about it right now.
In any event, after a couple of hours or so–maybe less, maybe more–official Windows 10 is up and running on two of the five machines I encounter regularly. Given my experience with my testing laptop, I’m hesitant to mess with my wife’s computer, since she is also running the preview. She is a little less pleased with the preview right now (and it mysteriously uninstalled some printer drivers in the past week), so I’m waiting until I have the time to make sure I don’t mess things up entirely for her. I’m letting the desktop I use for most of my work go through the Microsoft-intended upgrade path (i.e., simply letting it tell me when it’s okay for me to upgrade) to see how long it takes.
And then there’s the tablet. Which has not gone smoothly, and which will be the topic of my next post on this subject.