Involuntary Windows 10 upgrade: survivable but aggravating

My primary work computer (a Lenovo ThinkPad T440 that I bought about two years ago) has been running Windows 8.1 since I purchased it. Like everyone else running Windows 7 or 8, I’ve been receiving periodic and increasingly frequent popups to “schedule my free Windows 10 upgrade.” I declined those notifications, simply because my plan was to budget for a new computer in 2017, purchase it with Windows 10 installed, and then upgrade several other pieces of software at the same time. Specifically, I still use Office 2010, and I was concerned that the Windows 10 upgrade might not work well with it. However, as far as I could tell, there was no “don’t show me this again” option on the Windows 10 upgrade popup, so I just closed each one as it came up.

Flash forward to Monday (two days ago); I was talking on Skype while turned away from my computer and looking out the window. So I can’t say what happened at the critical moment, but my Skype call suddenly dropped, which of course prompted me to look at the computer screen. And…the Windows 10 upgrade had begun. So I’m not sure if I hit the trackpad with my elbow, or if the upgrade actually launched on its own, or something else; but the point being, there it went, and as far as I could tell, there was no way to cancel or pause it.

After spending a minute or two freaking out (I also had a large translation due Monday night and still needed to finish it), I decided to just run some errands, make some phone calls and get some coffee and try to stop freaking out. In the end, the upgrade took about an hour and a half, but the outcome has been largely fine (other than being up until 11:30 proofreading the translation mentioned above…). All of my software and settings transferred normally to Windows 10, and as far as I can tell, the only blips are:

  • The preview function doesn’t work in Office 2010; so for example when you’re attaching a file to an e-mail, you can’t preview it in the file selection pane
  • You have to reassign the preferred application for some functions (i.e. always open PDF attachments with Adobe Reader, make Firefox my default browser, etc.)

Aside from that, everything seems OK; I have Trados Studio 2014 SP2, and it’s working fine. A few thoughts on this whole drama:

  • The worst part was the unexpected nature of the upgrade and the two hours of lost work time; had I been on an important call with a client, or presenting a webinar, or on a really tight deadline, that element alone could have been a disaster. If you have a Windows 7 or 8 computer, I would recommend doing one of two things: either schedule the Windows 10 upgrade for a time when you are not working (for example run it on Friday evening so that you have the weekend to clean up any messes), or install a plugin like Never10 that permanently disables the upgrade notifications (thanks to Colorado Translators Association member Karen Williams for that tip!).
  • The other question is how long the free Windows 10 upgrade period will last and what happens after it ends. No clear answers there.
  • And as always, make sure that everything on your computer is fully backed up at all times, in case this, or another unexpected IT event, occurs. I use and love SugarSync (not an affiliate deal) because it keeps my designated folders backed up with no action on my part, but just make sure that you’re doing something bombproof to keep your files backed up.
  • Have a disaster recovery plan, at least in your head. As I watched the Windows 10 upgrade roll and thought about my imminent deadline, I also thought, “What am I going to do if the machine doesn’t come back up, or if my old software doesn’t work?” Since everything in the My Documents folder is synced to my cloud storage, the solution would be to immediately to buy another laptop and download My Documents onto it; expensive and stressful, but it would have worked, and worked much better than restarting the 10,000 word translation.

Readers, any other thoughts on this?

38 Responses to “Involuntary Windows 10 upgrade: survivable but aggravating”
  1. Carola F. Berger May 25, 2016
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      • Lucy Williams May 26, 2016
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