There are a few quirks about Windows 10 that you might (or might not) want to work around:
Or has it?
It turns out, at least as of this moment (mid 2020), and it appears for some time for the future, your old Windows 7 or 8 activation codes will work for Windows 10. It appears this is Microsoft's on-going plan for Windows 10.
Moreso, many "brand name" (i.e., Dell, HP, Sony, etc.) computers have an embedded code in their ROM to indicate the machine was sold with and able to be used with Windows 7 or later. MOST Windows 8 machines are set up this way, and don't even have a Windows sticker with a code on them. Windows 7 machine are mixed, I've seen both. But if your machine has a Windows 7 or later sticker, the activation code will activate Windows 10. If there is no sticker or no code on the sticker and your machine was sold with Windows 7, you are all set to run Windows 10 without a code.
(If you had a bootleg version of an older version of Windows, you are on your own. Sorry, I can't/won't help you)
You have superficially two options for installation media, DVD or USB. As of 2021, I'd suggest just using the USB option, as basically any Windows 10 capable computer can boot from a USB drive, many don't have DVD drives anymore, and since MS changes the basic release reguarly, the rewritable nature of USB drives will be nice.
Turns out USB is actually two options of its down -- "MBR/BIOS" boot (the "old style") and "EFI/UEFI" (new style, works with >2T disks better for some operating systems, but that feature may be overrated). Problem is, the Windows Media Creation Tool will only create the same type of boot as the machine it is created on. And it will only install the way it was booted -- so if you use a MBR/BIOS USB drive, you get a MBR/BIOS install. So, if you have a relatively new machine that ONLY supports EFI, but your other machines are MBR/BIOS, you have a little problem.
Here's my way of dealing with that: Use the Media Creation Tool to download an DVD ISO image. Now use a program called Rufus which can take an ISO file and turn it into EITHER type of bootable USB image. Once you have your EFI stick, you could call yourself done, but personally, I prefer to install from "factory" images, myself -- so I usually make a new EFI stick with the MS tools once that first machine is bootstrapped. I have absolutely nothing to point to to say, "this is better", and if you are trying to do a one-time setup, don't feel obligated to do anything after the Rufus-created USB stick boots and installs.
But if you don't want Microsoft's help, how do you get around it?
Relatively easy: Simply don't have the system connected to the network when you set it up.
So -- if you have a wireless adapter, DO NOT CONFIGURE IT. If you have a wired network, don't have it connected. If you don't have a network, it can't validate you against Microsoft. Done.
Security people consider these "security questions" a bad idea. I consider them a bad idea. Problem is, you can't get around them. And you can't (Easily?) clear them from your computer.
But...actually, you can -- there's a trick.
When you create a new user, create it WITHOUT A PASSWORD. No password, no security questions! You can then add a password later. HOWEVER I recomend doing this without a network connected, or in a "sure safe" environment. You do not want an account with no password exposed to the Internet.
For the most part, drivers have not been a big problem for me in Windows 10 installs. Microsoft has done a great job of including a lot of good drivers in the base install, they update their install media so that new hardware can be supported. For the most part, I've had great luck simply booting the Windows install media, letting it do its thing and then running a few "Windows Updates" to clear up the drivers. Impressive compared with the olden days of Windows 9x and XP. I have found two big exceptions -- 1) a $100 laptop I got from Walmart, which was just unable to get drivers for its touch screen and other hardware, and it turned out, the hw provider didn't have a useful set of downloads, either. and 2), a very high end, but old Lenovo workstation, which had an onboard RAID adapter that Windows 10 (and 7 and ...) couldn't deal with without help. The Walmart machine, I just reverted to the factory load, the Lenovo, I figured was too old to be worth the trouble and recycled it. HOWEVER, you may well benefit from downloading your manufacturer's drivers for things...or not. Somehow, I hate pulling down 200MB of ...what?... for a video driver, so I'll often just live with the "found" drivers.
Back to Technical Guides
Holland Consulting home page
Contact Holland Consulting
since April 21, 2020
Copyright 2022, Nick Holland, Holland Consulting