After some 450 reminders from Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10, I began to think about it. See? Advertising works ūüôā

So I’ll document how I’ll¬†do this.

Tues, Jan. 12th, 2016: Will I Yes or Will I No?

I have Windows 7. The full name is Windows 7 Home Premium: Millennial Celebration: With Her Majesty’s Kiss, Service Pack 1. Or something like that. They can’t just say Home or Office, it has to be Premium, which of course implies there is Standard, Average, Cheap, etc., and none of these exist so it’s just marketing blah-blah-blah to make you feel special. Which is why it’s the Millennial Edition.

And it’s not easy to know which version you have. You have to dig around.¬†Click the Start button (lower left corner of screen), move the mouse over Computer,¬†right-click, select Properties, and ¬†the message box shows your¬†current version.

I use Word 2002, Powerpoint, and Excel. These are all the 2002 version (in each one, click Help | About).

So why upgrade?

  • Everything works. Stable, etc. And best of all, I own the software, so no subscription¬†fees.
  • Someone asked me about security the other day. I looked into this and it turns out Windows 7 (and pretty much everything before Win10) is fairly hackable. Remember those clever gadgets that you could put on your desktop? Gone. Too easy for hacker to get into your computer. (If you’re using desktop gadgets, get rid of them. Right-click the desktop, select Gadgets, right-click each gadget, click Uninstall.)
  • I use Powerpoint a lot. I give talks¬†at conferences and events at least¬†every month and often, several times a month. The new version of Powerpoint¬†has much better features for layout.
  • The same for¬†Excel, which I use daily. The new version is much better.
  • I really don’t like the Ribbon in Office, but tools can remove Ribbon and make it look like Classic Windows tools.
  • If the new versions of PowerPoint and Excel save me even just a few minutes, it’s¬†financially worth it.
  • Windows 10 is free until July. After July, you have to pay.

Why should I not upgrade?

  • Let sleeping dogs lie. If it works, don’t break it. It’s a hassle to upgrade. Who knows what might break?
  • Why pay¬†more? I paid for Windows XP and Office into 2002. XP was included with the computer. When I upgraded to a new computer in 2010, Win7 was included. As for Office,¬†I upgraded it from Windows XP, so Office¬†was $240 in 2002. It was a business expense, so a 30% tax deduction means it cost me $168. I’ve used it for 13 years which is $13 per year, a dollar per month, or a cup of coffee every¬†month.

What if I don’t like it? Microsoft assures me that I can revert to Windows 7 and Word 2002.

So the for-reasons are better than the don’t- reasons (for: better security, better tools)(don’t: the trouble of doing so), plus I can undo the mess. The aye-votes win.

Here’s a fairly good review of what’s new in Office 2016.

Thurs, 14th: Buying the Office Software

I went to the Microsoft Store at the Stanford Mall and bought¬†Microsoft Office Home & Student 2016: Lady Gaga Galactic Tour; the Homecoming. They’re still at it with the long names (okay, “Office Home & Student”? Three nouns? Why not “Office Home Student Bird and Bath”?). There are five or six versions of Office. Most of them are for five computers and you pay an annual subscription around $100 per year. I use one main computer. Yes, I have a laptop, but I rarely use it (and less and less, as I switched first to a tablet and then to a Samsung Note smartphone; I don’t use a laptop anymore). So a $150 one-time payment for Office 2016 with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for¬†one computer (it includes OneNote, whatever that is,¬†which I won’t use). It’s a business expense¬†so¬†I’ll cover the cost in less than an hour of work.

I bought this as a product in a little box, which is actually just a little box with a playing card in it. The card has the license key (250 digits or so). That’s all. No manual, no disk. You can pay online and download, but I chose a box because ten¬†years from now, I’ll know where the license card is (in the¬†folder for important stuff, like the cat’s vaccination records).


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Why did I buy a card in a box? If you buy it digitally and keep your records as¬†digital files, darling, I can guarantee you that in ten years, you won’t know know where it is and you definitely won’t have the computer or software¬†to open the file. I’ve been working with computers since the 80s (okay, so it was an slide rule) and none of my files even from the late 1990s can be opened. Computers don’t use¬†diskettes anymore; new computers don’t have disk¬†drives; I have a box of Zip disks¬†that are less useful than an Indian arrow head.

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A Clovis spear point (handmade, flint, five inches). It worked 10,000 years ago and it’ll work 10,000 years from now. That’s technology made to last. Amazing, what you can buy online.

So I put more firewood in the computer and got ready to upgrade from Win7 to Win10. I did clicky-clicky on the button (little Window icon in the lower right corner) and promptly got a notice that my graphics card (ATI Radeon X1600) can’t use Win10. First road block.

To find out if your computer can upgrade to Windows 10, go to Microsoft and click Upgrade Now. It’ll install a small program. Click on Run. You’ll get a message if¬†it can’t upgrade.

I need to replace the graphics card. I checked; a new card is $60. I’ll pick it up tomorrow at Best Buy.¬†For me, this is easy: open the computer, pull out the old card, insert new card, bingo. But many people will¬†need to pay someone to do this ($50-100). Or worse, they have a laptop or one of those all-in-one computer+screen+toaster systems¬†which means they can’t open it so¬†they’ll have to buy a new computer ($250-500). (Yes, there are $249 computers. Helen’s Mac¬†was wearing out, so last year¬†at the Microsoft store, we bought a complete system (Dell 3000 desktop computer, 20″ large monitor, keyboard, mouse, ultrasound toothbrush) for $249. Amazing.)

So that’s the situation at the moment. Back tomorrow, same Bat Time.

Fri, 15th: Upgrading the Graphics Card

Went to Best Buy. It turns out the ATI Radeon X1600‘s drivers can indeed be updated to Win10, but that requires editing drivers, toolkits, etc. It could take me several hours to learn how to do that.

Or just buy a new graphics card. The XFX Radeon R5 220 (named after the CEO’s baby daughter)¬†is $39 and has 4X the memory of the old card. Pull out the old card, put in the new card, five minutes tops. ¬†It sounds odd, but it’s easier cheaper better to replace the card than update the software.

Next step: install the graphics card.

Sat. 16th: No Upgrades Today

I’m doing a presentation on the 18th, so I won’t change anything until that’s done. Back on the 19th.

Nevertheless, I made a full backup today. Just in case.

Tues. 19th: Another Graphics Card

I installed the graphics card (15 minutes). Same message: Windows 10 isn’t compatible with the Radeon X1600 series.

Called AMD support. They say I need the R7 240 card.

Removed the card.

Back to Best Buy.

Got the R7 card ($90).

Installed R7.

Same error message. Called AMD. They say it should work. They say it’s a Microsoft issue.

I sent a message to AMD XFX support.

Thurs. 21st:

No reply so far from AMD XFX support.

It’s been a week and a half. I’ve spent perhaps six hours so far.

No progress on upgrading to Windows 10.

Thurs. 21st: Office 2016

On a good note, the upgrade to Windows Office 2016 was easy. Go to Office.com, register with the software key (it’s the complete first chapter of¬†Tolstoy’s War and Peace) (in Russian) (tip: copy and paste). A few clicks and it downloaded and installed itself.

It’s Upgrade Week. My website’s hosting server is also being upgraded, so no email since yesterday. Several friends called, concerned about what was happening. ¬†I upgraded the server because the new version of WordPress required an upgraded server (see? one upgrade causes a cascade of upgrades).

Mon. 25th: Windows 10

AMD, on its own, sent out a driver update this afternoon for the Radeon graphics card. I clicked Okay to update it.

I then clicked the Windows 10 upgrade button and it said the computer was compatible. Finally.

I clicked a series of questions (Yes, Okay, Go Ahead, Now, Yes, now. Really). Windows 10 took about¬†ninety minutes to download and another hour or two to configure itself (and restarted four or five times). Finally, it asked me to log in with my Windows ID and password. That’s it. It works now.

Next step is of course to see what it does.

Compatible Devices

The following devices are connected to my computer. Do they work in Win10?

  • Monitor: LG Flatron W2486L: Works
  • USB external microphone: Blue Snowflake:¬†Works
  • Inkjet printer: Canon Pixma IP1800:¬†Works
  • Speakers: Labtec: Works
  • USB camera for Skype: Logitech c920 HDPro:¬† (Not yet tested)
  • Flatbed scanner: Canon CanoScan LiDE 700F: (Not yet tested)

You need to test all of these, especially the printer and scanner. Several¬†people told that when they upgraded to Win10, the printer or scanner stopped working. They had to buy new printers. It doesn’t matter if a webpage says it works; it works only if it actually works (see above on what happened with the XFX graphics cards: they’re supposed to work in Win10, but didn’t).

I found out that many people don’t have printers. I thought everyone did (this used to be common). But… printers also used to be both easy and cheap to maintain. You can easily refill an inkjet printer cartridge¬†(get a $10 refill kit at any drugstore, Target, or computer store) and it’ll refill a cartridge perhaps 30-50 times. After a while, cartridges get clogged up, so buy a new cartridge. Laser printers look great, but they break down and refills are expensive. Perhaps the move from inkjet to laser printer also meant people stopped buying printers? Or perhaps the move away from desktop computers? A lot of¬†friends now just use their cell phones or tablets at home. I’ve also noticed ¬†few people print at the¬†office.

Anyway, if you have a printer or scanner, check before you upgrade if it’ll work with Win10.

File Problems

Feb. 26: Over the last few weeks, the computer began problems with opening, copying, and saving files. When I click to open, it tries to save the file. OR the file opens in Read-only mode. I copy a file into another folder and later, find that the copy is an old version. I try to save the file and it won’t save.

I talked with Microsoft and they said it might be a bad download. They said to uninstall and reinstall. I did this. Let’s see if this works.

Configuration of Microsoft Office: Get Rid of Ribbon

Old versions of Office used drop-down menus. New Office uses Ribbon. But the location of items on Ribbon are illogical and confused; you end up looking through the Ribbon, page by page, to find things.

The best thing about drop-down menus are¬†the accelerator keys (for example, press Control+C to copy). I’ve written perhaps 75 computer manuals, 14 books and thousands of pages for websites, ¬†FAQs, white papers, etc. I use the accelerator keys extensively. I’ve also changed the configuration of the keys to add new commands, remove commands, or change the keys for commands. Professional users of word processors do this. However, Microsoft Word got rid of dropdown menus and hid the accelerator keys because the vast majority of users won’t use this.¬†Microsoft wrecked a professional tool (that’s why it’s called Office) for the sake of non-professionals.

I found that Ubit Menu can remove the Ribbon. I’ll try that, plus test whatever other tools can do this.

Remove Old Software

I uninstalled a bunch of programs:

  • Microsoft Office 2007: Replaced by Office 2016
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Primary Interop Assemblies;¬†Not needed anymore
  • Microsoft .Net Framework: Not necessary anymore because¬†Office 2016 uses XML
  • Microsoft Mathematics: Never used this
  • Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office System:¬†Not necessary anymore
  • Adobe PDF Reader: Not needed anymore, Word 2016 has a PDF reader
  • Adobe PDF¬†Writer: Not needed anymore, Word 2016 can make PDFs