Monthly Archives: August 2015

Visual Studio 2013 and 2015 icons

Thanks to VS2015 that happen to have the same icon as VS2013 it can be confusing if you have both installed (side-by-side). So as a simple solution I created my own customized icons based on the standard VS icon that also display the version (shortened). I’m simply sharing it here for other if they like to re-use it.

VS201x

Simply extract somewhere on your local HDD and then customize (create shortcut/pin to taskbar and then properties, Change Icon, browse and select the icon) and whoala!.

Sharing is caring… so they say.

Windows 10 upgrade survival guide

So I’ve been through the process to upgrade 3 machines (2 laptops and one desktop so far) to Windows 10 with a 33% success rate… yeah, I know that does not sound that promising. The other 66% I managed to fix with ‘resets’ which is basically a fresh install. In the end that comes to (technically) 99%. There are a few things that isn’t 100%… (small) things that are still causing some headaches – this guide is not about them.

So I decided to create this post to help others with the process. This will not be a all-out guide to upgrading because I’m sure I didn’t experience ALL the troubles you can have while upgrading to Windows 10.

Before the install

First tip I have is to rather use the Windows 10 Media creation tool to download the full ISO ( https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 ). The reasons for this are simply because then you have control over the download and if that fails the actual upgrade process does not fail at the same time. Secondly, you can then use the same ISO image to upgrade multiple machines without having to download the same ‘stuff’ multiple times.

Second tip is to prepare your machine for the upgrade by backing up (always a good idea) and cleaning any unused stuff – like uninstall applications which you really don’t use anymore as all applications whether you use it or not has to go through the upgrade process (be part of it) and can increase the duration time of the upgrade. The same applies to any unused hardware and drivers. Just get rid of them before you start. Unplug any external USB flash/hard drives. The Windows 10 upgrade process also checks for compatibility in case you missed something that is not compatible. Also, save of make a copy (or even a screenshot) of any saved passwords (e.g. those that are stored in your browser).

Thirdly it is useful to have a backup of all your drivers (yes, even those that you don’t even have the original disk for anymore!). I use a simple too like DriverBackup! ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/drvback/ ) but you can use any similar tool. In some cases Windows 8.x drivers should be compatible with Windows 10 (but don’t quote me on that). If for some reason Windows 10 did not recognize your hardware after the upgrade you can try to point device manager’s check for updated drivers to this driver backup directory.

4th’ly check for any outstanding Windows updates (yes the upgrade tool can also do this but it is better that you do this manually and you get to choose what/when/how this gets installed).

Lastly uninstall your anti-virus software (yes, that thing that hogs your machine worse than a virus itself). Some (possibly all) anti-virus software have been known to cause problems while doing Windows upgrades. You can re-install your anti-virus software after the upgrade if it is supported (might need to be upgraded to a Windows 10 compatible version in any case).

The Install

All of this and you haven’t even started the upgrade yet! phew… hehe

To start the upgrade process you can either create a DVD from the ISO using you favorite DVD burning tool (even Windows explorer in Windows 7 have an option to burn to DVD) or you can use a tool to open the ISO like a zip file (e.g. 7-zip which is free – http://www.7-zip.org/ ) and extract all the files somewhere on your hard drive. Once this is done simply run the Setup.exe in the root directory of this DVD/extracted directory. At this stage choose the option NOT to ‘also download updates’ (since you already did that during tip number 4).

The rest of the install process is mostly automated – with multiple reboots… crashes… bluescreens… just joking. If it does crash it should roll back and restore the previous version of Windows (this I’ve experienced a few times with the Insider previews so it does work). Just sit back and relax… right…

Post installation

Post the installation you are given some options to choose privacy options. For my taste I choose to disable most of them (like the typing and advertising settings which are enabled by default). Also, the Wireless Sense stuff I also disable (old habits of not trusting others…). When prompted for default apps you can choose to customize and then un-tick the ones presented as replacements. In my opinion the default should be to keep you existing default apps (like browser, music player etc) and have the new Microsoft alternatives as suggestions – not forced down you computing throat.

Wrap up

Ok, so once the setup/installation part is done and you are back at your desktop there are a couple of things to check and make sure all is happy in Windows 10 land. One of the first things I always check after such an upgrade is that all hardware (drivers) are properly installed. You can check this (in Windows 10) by right clicking on the new Start button (yes right-click on the start button actually does something useful – if you come from Windows 7 world) and choose ‘Device Manager’. Check for any yellow/red warning triangles (usually it should be very obvious as the tree nodes will be expanded by default showing the problem components). At this stage you can right click of the problematic component/tree node and choose ‘Update Driver Software’.

Try the online search option first as that ‘should’ get the latest available driver if any exists (and the device has been recognized). If it doesn’t work to ‘fix’ the device then try the same procedure again but this time choose the ‘Browse my computer…’ option and specify the driver backup directory as created in tip no. 3. (or if you happen to have the original disk that came with the device… what?? anyone keep those disks?? hehe). If this does not work try searching the manufacturer’s web site for updated drivers. Chances are that they won’t have Windows 10 drivers yet as it takes time to create and certify those drivers. In some cases Windows 8.1 drives ‘may’ work but… don’t quote me on that either. If all of this does not work then.. it just wasn’t meant to be… for now 🙂

Troubleshooting (Update)

If for some reason after this upgrade you experience problems like hardware devices bot working (even if drivers are installed and seems to be ok) or you get Blue screens of death (yes, they’re still blue) you can try to do a Windows ‘Reset’. This is rather destructive as far as your applications goes but at least your ‘Data’ files stay in tack.

If you can get into Windows (in case you don’t have Blue screen of death on login) you can go to Settings -> Recovery and Choose the ‘Reset this PC’ option. Choose to keep your files… unless you don’t want them anymore…

Alternatively if for some reason can can’t do this from within Windows itself make/obtain a bootable image (DVD or of your machine supports it – USB) and boot up from it. After selecting the languages and stuff on the first screen you will see a ‘Repair’ option on the second screen you get. From there you can select ‘Troubleshooting’ (or something like that since I don’t have that screen open now) and then ‘Reset this PC’. Remember to choose ‘Keep my files’. After that it will start (re)installing just like a full installation, multiple reboots etc. and eventually back at the login screen. At that point you’ll have a fairly ‘blank’ Windows installation with nothing but the default Windows applications installed. Your files will still be there but any applications you use that didn’t came with Windows itself will need to be reinstalled. Sometimes this actually might be a good thing to get rid of all the crap one has installed over the years…

Conclusion

All-in-all I think Windows 10 does have more positives than (drumroll) negatives. There are things I really don’t like about it but then there are some I do (like). Once you get it up and running it does seem to be worth the trouble. Happy Windows 10ing… (but I will miss my Windows 7)