Newsletter Archives

  • Microsoft removes Windows 10 2004 block for Surface devices

    Per the erstwhile Mary jo Foley, Microsoft has removed the compatibility block for Windows 10 2004. If you have one of these devices you may see the upgrade offered to you in the next several days. If you don’t wish to upgrade take precautions now.

    See [url=]Microsoft removes the Windows 10 2004 block on Surface devices[/url] for more details on the block and what fixed it.

  • How to get a free Win10 upgrade — newly updated by Ed Bott

    I get questions about this several times a week, even now.

    Ed’s updated his original article — and it’s still the most comprehensive, definitive guide I know.

    The big question now is whether Microsoft will ever turn off the code on its activation servers that dispenses digital licenses after an upgrade from an earlier Windows version. I’ve continued to test that scenario throughout 2018, and I can confirm as of late July 2018 that it still works.

    So the short answer is, yes, you can still upgrade your Win7 or 8.1 machine to Win10, and the license validation will go through, no problem, no “Assistive technology” required.

    Microsoft knows the loophole’s still there, although it officially expired in January. They just don’t advertise it.

    Remember that it’s in Microsoft’s best interests to get you off of Win7 or 81, and onto Win10. Whether it’s in YOUR best interests — that’s something you need to figure out for yourself.

  • Win10 upgrades are still free

    Ed Bott says so – and he should know.

    If you have a machine with a valid Win7 or 8.1 license, the upgrade to Win10 continues to be free, just as I described a year ago. Nod, nod, wink, wink.

    It’s in Microsoft’s best interests to get you into the Win10 groove.

  • Thinking about switching to Windows 10? Now’s the time to do it.

    Any time between now and April 11 is a good time to make the jump. Assuming you want to, of course.

    See InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

  • Windows 10 upgrade problems – and what to do about them

    A dozen top problems, and what you can do besides assuming a fetal position.

    This guide targets two separate but intertwined groups: Those who have recently upgraded from Win7 (or, less likely, Win8.1) and those who have upgraded from an earlier version of Win10 (likely the November Update, Version 1511) to a recent version (as of this writing, probably the Anniversary Update, Version 1607).

    InfoWorld Feature.

    UPDATE: Gunter Born has an interesting revelation about error 0xC0020012 on his Born City web site.

  • How to temporarily block the upgrade from Win10 Fall Update (v 1511) to the Anniversary Update (v 1607)

    Using wushowhide it’s easy. Here are the detailed steps.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Windows 10 upgrade stuck at 99% – or 70% or 80%?

    You have several options, especially if you’re trying to beat the Friday “free upgrade” deadline.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Still undecided about Win10? Here’s what to consider, how to reserve the free upgrade, if you want it

    Some no-bull advice about the upgrade, along with a few safe ways to reserve your “free” version.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Connection problem with the Win10 upgrade

    Here’s an interesting question from SA:

    I know most Win10 upgrade posts are concerned with preventing Win10 from installing but suppose you want to install Win10 – at least to try it out – before the free offer ends? Are any of the “bad” updates actually helpful in getting Win10 to download and install?

    I ask because I tried to upgrade my Win7 Pro machine. It has only security updates installed per Belarc Advisor. Nothing Win10 related, good or bad. Everything seemed to go OK. I was told my computer was compatible with Win10 and the download started. It took about 4-1/2 hours to reach the 100% indication and then the download indicator went back to zero and apparently started all over again.

    Due to a data cap and time limit I could only go up to 3.5GB or 5 hours, whichever came first. Obviously the “second attempt” couldn’t continue and my connection terminated at the 5 hour point and the upgrade window displayed a 0x80072ee7 error.

    Among the files that were placed on my computer was an “upgrader_defaultlog” with a line that said “Can’t find usable ESD from the $Windows.~BT folder” and shortly after that the retry started.

    It seems that something was either missing or corrupted. Since my Internet connectivity isn’t particularly fast or cheap I may get only one more try and I can’t just let the upgrader keep endlessly downloading. I’m surprised that MS doesn’t have a more reliable upgrade method than revert to zero and do the whole thing again and then check for missing bits.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d ask if you or your readers had any advice or suggestions.

    It does sound like a corrupt file, and I would guess that everything would go well on a second try.

    You might try going to and downloading the installation file onto a USB drive. Not sure if that’ll improve your chances of a good download.

    Any other suggestions?

  • Should we take the free Win10 Home upgrade or pay for Pro?

    Excellent question from BA:

    I am on Windows 8.1 & the main (really only) reason I want to upgrade to Windows 10 is for Cortana.

    However, since Automatic Updates can bite (& thanks to you I don’t let Windows do them), I’m concerned about the free upgrade.

    Since this is Win 8.1 Home, the free upgrade would have to be to Win 10 Home & the only way to control automatic updates is through the metered connection workaround. I know that if I upgrade to WIndows 10 Professional for $99 I have more control back. What do you suggest?

    1) Take the free upgrade & use the workaround to (hopefully) escape getting bitten in the butt?

    2) Pay the ‘update tax’ of $99 for Win 10 Pro?

    3) Let the free upgrade expire, stay on Win 8.1 & pay to upgrade at a later date?

    I hoped you would give more definitive advice sooner as we got closer & Microsoft wouldn’t relax the deadline for free upgrades. Hope I hear something before Friday.

    I have an InfoWorld post coming on Monday morning, going over the upgrade options and sane alternatives, but you raise some interesting questions that I don’t cover in the main article.

    First, if you’re looking at upgrading to Win10 for Cortana, make sure you try Cortana before you make the commitment. I found Cortana to be distinctly underpowered, especially compared to Google Now (which I use frequently), but also compared to Apple’s Siri and even Amazon’s Echo. You can compare them for yourself. Try using Google by going into the Chrome browser’s address bar and clicking the mike. Test Echo at the site. I don’t know of an easy way to test Siri without finding somebody with an iOS machine, but they aren’t hard to find.

    I wouldn’t pay extra for Pro just for the convenience of blocking updates. There are other methods, besides metered connections. At this point – call me astonished – the Win10 cumulative updates have been relatively benign. If Microsoft proves that it can’t update Win10 any better than it’s been updating Win7 and 8.1, you’ll always be able to pay for the upgrade to Pro.

    I talk about the pro’s and con’s of running a free upgrade now and rolling back, in the article on Monday morning. Basically, for most people, it just isn’t worth the effort. But if there’s a Win10 feature that you really, really like – yeah, you should probably grab your free digital license. If you do, though, be smart about it and don’t just blindly run the upgrade.

    Anyway, more details in the article, but for now, you should really think about whether Cortana is worth the upgrade angst.

  • Time to upgrade to Windows 10?

    I’m getting more and more of this kind of inquiry. From NG:

    I live in a village of 3500 homes in the heart of the UK and write articles for our local village magazine, sometimes on computer related issues and how to protect themselves online.   Many of the readers are silver surfers and the question they are now asking with just 2 months to go is “Should I upgrade to Windows 10”. I’m perhaps the wrong one to ask as I’m still using Windows 8 after being pleasantly surprised when I reluctantly changed from XP that I could tailor the Start screen to my own needs and the whole thing wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.

    Most of the local Silvers are using Windows 7 and some Windows 8 or 8.1, which I believe mirrors usage across the world. They have basic needs and probably go along with the dreaded automatic updating. My inclination is to say :

    “if you are happy with what you have and don’t need the new knobs and whistles in Windows10 then carry on. By the time your Microsoft support ends you’ll probably want a new PC anyway, and it will come with Windows 10.” But that begs the question, when does support for 7 and 8 end?

    What would your advice to them be, stick or switch? I have until about June 19th to submit something to the magazine. Can you help a bunch of old geysers decide? (That includes me!)


    Before you Yanks jump in, you need to know that the word “geyser” in the Queen’s English is pronounced “geezer.” But I digress.

    My best advice right now is to wait. We’ll know a whole lot more about the next version of Win10 — the so-called Anniversary Update — by the middle of July. Keep watching for a final word.

    Folks need to understand that Win10 is quite different from Win7 and Win8.1 — not just the interface (which is a little different), but the fact that Win10 gives you very little control over being updated (as “Get Windows 10” victims will understand, as the advertising campaign was forced onto PCs without user consent) and it snoops more than its predecessors.

    Neither of those is horrible, but they’re important points to understand if you want to see the whole picture.

  • What to tell someone who was unceremoniously upgrade to Win10 this weekend

    Straight talk. Serious advice

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows