My Upgrade to Windows 10

By Tom Ledford | The Practical Computer

Offering blessings to the upgrade Gods.

Microsoft is taking the unprecedented step of providing the next version of Windows, Windows 10, to users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 free! 

The upgrade will be distributed as a Windows Update. That's right. You won't have to do anything to get it.

The firmest date heard of for a general release of Windows 10, is "sometime this year." This year being 2015. 

If you signed up as a "Windows Insider," you will have the upgrade to Windows 10 available to you as a Windows Update, with build 9926 of the technical preview. Windows Insiders will have the ability to allow Windows Update to upgrade their Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 computers, to Window 10.

I signed up as a "Windows Insider" a couple of months ago, downloaded the Windows 10 Technical Preview and installed it on an old Toshiba Satellite laptop. Other than blowing out my Linux Mint boot loader and not having my graphics driver, I was impressed with Windows 10. It feels small and fast. 

Then as now, I am not running Windows 10 on a touch enabled device. I'll update my wife's new HP 360 someday out of curiosity if nothing else. But, for now, I will stick to my desktop computer.

This is my primary desktop, by the way. I have it backed up, but even so, downtime is a bummer. Oh well. No guts. No glory. 

One wrinkle in my PC that most won't have, is the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS partition and bootloader that allows selection of OS to boot. It defaults to Ubuntu on mine. It's a little curveball that didn't matter in the end.

Beginning Configuration


I began with Windows 7 Home Premium edition on an HP Pavillion with an i5 Intel processor, 8GB RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. I also use a Western Digital Passport 500GB USB hard drive, for backup and storage. 


Other than the Windows 7, I have too much software to list it all here, but here are the most critical to me:

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection
Visual Studio 2012
Google Chrome
Libre Office 4.4
magicJack 4.1
FileZilla FTP
Google Drive
One Drive
HP 3050 Printer/Scanner

Non critical software, but very good to have:

Mozilla Firefox
Microsoft SQL Server 2008
MySQL 5.5
OpenOffice 4.0
Apache Web Server
Logitech Webcam
Adobe Acrobat Pro

The Update/Upgrade Process

The most remarkable thing about this process is – it will run as a Windows Update! Not only is it the most efficient way to ensure the upgrading of three different Windows versions, it speaks volumes to the confidence that Microsoft must have with Windows 10. 

Prudently, the Windows 10 update is optional, but could run automatically if the process on my PC is an indicator. The upgrade completed after a few reboots, and here we are. 

Well, it could have been automatic if I didn't have the Ubuntu 14.04 bootloader. I caught it the first mid installation reboot and selected Windows. I didn't catch the second one and my computer booted into Ubuntu. I rebooted, selected Windows, and it continued without issue.

Testing Applications

The first thing I did after the upgrade was complete was log in, then open Photoshop, press "Print Scrn" and take a couple of screen shots of the Windows 10 menus. 

Windows 10 - All Apps menu

The "All Apps" menu lists my applications in alphabetical order, and has apps pinned onto the menu. From my first experience with the Windows 10 preview, I knew I could pin and unpin apps here as I liked. Unpin them all and you have the "normal" menus you would expect from Windows.

Windows 10 "Start" Menu
My desktop, system tray and quick launch settings were all preserved with the upgrade. 


The next item of business was to open IE, Chrome and Firefox and do a little surfing. Internet was working fine.

I had a little trouble mapping a drive on my development Linux server. It is a samba configuration issue. Since I mostly use FTP, I pushed a couple of files just fine with FileZilla and Dreamweaver. Connectivity to my Apache web server was fine also.

Wireless Networking and Printer

Then I opened LibreWrite and printed a letter on my wireless HP DeskJet 3050.

Odds and Ends

My phone connected fine by USB with LGMobile Support tool. I rarely use Bluetooth, so I'll test that another day. 

My SanDisk cruzers work just fine. My MagicJack phone and app work fine. I know because I got a phone call shortly after the upgrade completed.

I had to download Java in order to run LibreProject, but I had no trouble installing it. It was Java version 8, update 31.

MySQL Workbench opened my dev WordPress data bases without issue.

Windows 10 will insist you use an outlook, hotmail or email address as your logon account. That wasn't a big deal for me, since is my email program now. It sends and receives all my email including my gmail, yahoo mail, and mail all my different domain email accounts. 

I've been stuck between Google's and Microsoft's ecosystems for a while now. If you've haven't noticed, I've mentioned IE only once, and that was to download Google Chrome. But Gmail never could pull me away from Outlook. 


There was much enthusiasm about "virtual desktops," that were supposedly to be a part of Windows 10. Searching for "virtual desktops," however will lead you to thin client technologies. Linux users will scratch their head at this one. Not until you search for "virtual workspaces" will you find this from Microsoft TechNet:

Desktops v2.0

After installing this, I didn't look long for a native utility, but whether native or third party, I hope there are some improvements here, like allowing programs and apps to be assigned different desktops. I don't use the feature often, so it wasn't too important to me.


I'm not going to run benchmarking tests, but I don't need to in order to tell that Windows 10 is fast


Overall, my confidence in Microsoft's ability to pull off a comeback from Windows 8 has only strengthened. I am most impressed with the level of unattended installation during an operating system upgrade. They seem to have managed to pull it off for my computer. Every device and driver were found, installed and configured properly. 

If Microsoft delivers Windows 10 this smoothly via Windows Update, as a free upgrade, all will be forgiven for Windows 8 and maybe, Vista! 

Updated on February 8, 2015 –

Getting Netflix to stream movies with the Windows 10 technical preview

My first night with my new Windows 10 desktop didn't go as well. Netflix wouldn't stream movies on IE, Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Each gave me a different message, from error messages, to offers to install Silverlight. 

Tired, I just booted into Ubuntu and watched the next episode of "Magic City." This morning, from experience getting Linux to stream Netflix before their support of HTML 5, I turned to a User Agent Switcher I used for Chrome on Linux. 

First, I wrote a little script to display the HTTP_USER-AGENT from Windows 10 and IE 11, Chrome 42, Firefox 35 and Safari 5.1. I listed them here so you won't need the script. 

Windows 10 browser HTTP_USER-AGENT strings

Internet Explorer user agent = "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; WOW64; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko "
Chrome user agent = "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/40.0.2214.111 Safari/537.36 
Firefox user agent = "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0" 
Safari user agent = "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/534.57.2 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1.7 Safari/534.57.2"

Ultimately, I got Chrome to work with Netflix. I used the extension —
User-Agent Switcher for Chrome.  

The extension didn't work on any of its existing settings. After I reviewed the different User Agent (UA) strings, I saw that Netflix was objecting to the OS version.

I modified the Chrome UA for a lower Windows version and added it to the UA spoofer options. Netflix now streams and Chromecasts with Windows 10, because it thinks it is streaming with Windows 7.

User Agent Switcher for Chrome

After the extension is installed, right click on the toolbar icon, and add the new agent string, with other settings as shown above.

Old Chrome User Agent string:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/40.0.2214.111 Safari/537.36 
New Chrome User Agent string:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/40.0.2214.111 Safari/537.36

I will continue to find issues with Windows 10, I'm sure. Hopefully I can address them, so I can continue to use it as my only desktop. Check back here and I will keep you updated about my Windows 10 journey.