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Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10

Microsoft developers have always like to create handy system utilities that add more functionally to the Windows operating system. They call them PowerToys and are released as a stand-alone program with File Explorer add-ons. And as always, these programs are entirely free.

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10

It is kind of like Déjà vu for me with the PowerToys for Windows 10. I hate to admit it, and I'm going to show my age here, but I have used the two (2) previous versions of PowerToys. The first version was PowerToys for Windows 95. The second version was PowerToys for Windows XP. TweakUI (Windows 95 / Windows XP) and Command Prompt Here (Windows 95) / Open Command Windows Here (Windows XP) were two (2) of my favorites.

PowerToys have always been a cool collection of handy utilities that you wonder why they were not part of Windows, to begin with. If fact, some of the functionality of the PowerToys do get built into later releases of Windows.

The third version, PowerToys for Windows 10, currently has six (6) utilities (as of 3/31/20) included, and there are plans to add even more. As more features are added, I will update this article.

And since the Windows 10 PowerToys are all inside of one program, updates and new features will be easy to get installed. There is even an update button that takes you to the website so you can check for new releases.

Screen capture of the PowerToys General Settings for Windows 10

The PowerToys General Settings includes all of the options for all of the actual PowerToys. This means that there is only one place to enable/disable and configure the settings for the various programs.

Now you have to keep in mind that the PowerToys is an open-source project, and the code is freely available. That is why the installer is over on the developer website GitHub, which, by the way, Microsoft owns.

The following is a list of the PowerToys for Windows 10 versions, the date released, and the utilities included. They are:

v0.12 - Released on 10/29/19

FancyZones - This is a utility that allows you to create zones (predefined areas for program windows) on your desktop for the various programs you run.
Screen capture of the FancyZones PowerToy for Windows 10
For example, you can create a layout that has a separate zone for your e-mail program, word processor, and spreadsheet, all neatly arranged on your desktop. This program is beneficial if you have multiple monitors and want to keep all of your running programs organized.

PowerRename - This utility does just what its name implies; it renames files. But it has so many options that it can be used in so many different ways.
Screen capture of the PowerRename PowerToy for Windows 10
You change just the file names or only the file extensions. You can exclude files, folders, and sub-folders. It is the swiss army knife of file renaming.

Shortcut Guide - This cool little utility shows you what Windows logo key Windows logo key shortcuts you can use at any given time.
Screen capture of the Shortcut Guide PowerToy for Windows 10
You just hold down the Windows logo key Windows logo key for a preset amount of time, and the screen appears with the available shortcuts you can use. If you find these shortcuts handy, we have a complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10.

v0.16 - Released 3/31/20

File Explorer Preview Pane add-ons - This utility adds two (2) more file types that can be previewed using the Preview Pane inside of the File Explorer.
Screen capture of the File Explorer Preview Pane PowerToy for Windows 10
The two (2) file types are Markdown (.md) files - a lightweight markup language with plain-text-formatting syntax, similar to HTML and Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG) files - an XML based vector image format.

Image Resizer - This utility is similar to the one for Windows XP, but this version has way more features. Right-click on one or more images, and you will get a context menu. Left-click on Resize pictures, and you get the Image Resizer screen.
Screen capture of the Image Resizer PowerToy for Windows 10
There are several picture sizes to choose from, or you can create a custom size. Left-click on the Settings link, and you get even more options for resizing your images. A must-have for anybody that does photo editing.

v0.18 - Released 5/19/20

Keyboard Manager - This utility allows you to remap a single key on your keyboard to another. You can also map current keyboard shortcuts to different key combinations.
Screen capture of the Keyboard Manager PowerToy for Windows 10
Keep in mind that when remapping keyboard shortcuts, you are limited to a combination of two keys.

PowerToys Run - This utility can perform all sorts of different functions. Type a couple of letters, and PowerToys Run will display a list of programs, folders, and files with the letter(s) in their name(s).
Screen capture of the PowerToys Run for Windows 10
It can also search for running processes, run shell commands, and do simple math calculations.

If you would like to give the PowerToys a try, I include two (2) links at the bottom of this article. The Windows 10 PowerToys are only available for the 64-bit versions of Windows 10. As I told you before, the PowerToys download is on GitHub, and for an average Windows 10 user may be kind of hard to find.

The first link is to the PowerToys project description page. It has an overview of all of the programs included in the PowerToys.
Windows 10 PowerToys download link on GitHub
There is a download link on that page, but it is labeled Supported. That is why I have also included a link to the download page.

Windows 10 PowerToys on GitHub - Description page
Windows 10 PowerToys on GitHub - Download page

How to set up a Virtual Private Network on Windows 10 using LogMeIn Hamachi

Working remotely, like teleworking or telecommuting, is becoming more popular nowadays. Being able to access files on another computer that is miles away from you can be a real lifesaver. So here is how to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on Windows 10 using LogMeIn Hamachi.

How to set up a Virtual Private Network on Windows 10 using LogMeIn Hamachi

Hamachi is a hosted VPN service that allows you to access files on another computer remotely. It works well for home users or small businesses that just need to open and save data on a computer outside of their network.

And pricing for Hamachi is pretty reasonable. If you have five (5) or fewer computers than need VPN service, it's free. I have set up Hamachi several times for customers that just wanted to access files while they were on vacation.

Setting up Hamachi is pretty simple. The first thing you will need to do is create an account over at VPN.net. Once you have created an account, you will log into your account, set up your network, and deploy the Hamachi software to your computers.

Note: When you log in to VPN.net, you will be taken to the LogMeIn website. Hamachi is one of LogMeIn's products. Everything you will need for configuring and deploying Hamachi will be under the Networks menu in the left-side column. Completely ignore the rest of the sub-menus in the left-side column, as they are for other LogMeIn products.

The content menu on the LogMeIn website

Under the Networks tab, you will find three sub-menus: My Networks, Deployment, and Network Settings. The majority of configuration for your Hamachi VPN can be done under My Networks. Here you can Add Client or Add Network. You can add clients or networks in whatever order you want, but for this article, we are going to start with setting up a network first.

Now there are three (3) types of networks you can create in Hamachi: Mesh, Hub-and-spoke, and Gateway. For the free version (under five clients), a mesh network is recommended. Keep in mind that once you create a network, you cannot change the type of network it is. If you want to change the network type, you will need to create a new network.

And since you can have multiple types of networks, all you have to do is give them different names. And you can quickly reassign a client to a different network if you want. For this article, we will create three (3) various networks based on their type.
The Networks section for the Hamachi VPN on the LogMeIn website
The following is a list of the different types of networks.

  • Mesh - With this type of network, every device is directly connected to each other. This is a simple, no-frills, peer-to-peer type network and a good choice when each device needs access to all of the other devices on the network.
  • Hub and spoke - This type of network is more restrictive and is more like a standard corporate network. With this type of network, you have servers (hubs) that have access to all of the devices (spokes), but the devices only have access to the resources on the servers, not each other.
  • Gateway - This type of network is a standard point-to-point VPN. The gateway device controls IP addressing and allows remote devices to access the entire network. There can be only one gateway in this network, and it cannot be a workstation that is a member of a domain.

Once you have decided on the type of network you want, you need to configure some of the details of it. How you will the devices join the network, is a network password required to join, and the subscription associated with the network. Just go to My Networks in the left-hand column and left-click on the Add Network button.

Remember that you can easily change any of the settings for your network(s) from the website interface. You can add or remove devices with a click of the mouse. It comes in handy if you find a device that is having trouble connecting to a specific network.

Once you have a network setup, it's time to get deploying the Hamachi installer to the clients. Now you might have noticed that I have been referring to the Hamachi members as devices. That's because you can have computers and mobile devices connecting to your Hamachi VPN.

Computers have software that you install to connect to your network, and mobile devices do not. Mobile devices use web browsers to access resources on your network. And since there is no app to install on mobile devices, you cannot share any resources on them. For this reason, I am going to focus on setting up Windows 10 computers on the VPN. I have included links at the bottom for how to connect Android and iOS devices.

There are a couple of ways to deploy the Hamachi software to your computers. You can either directly download it from the LogMeIn website when you are logged into your account (preferred) or send an installation link via e-mail. I like to directly install it from the site, as I can check the status of the installation as soon as it is done.

When you directly download the software from the website, you do not have to option of predefining a network to attach it to. When you send a link via e-mail, you can decide what network to add it to. But changing the network that a Hamachi client is attached to is easy on the website. Like I said before, you can do all sorts of modifications to your network(s) on the site.

The Hamachi software will work on various operating systems, including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. It also works on Mac OS 10.6 or higher, Ubuntu 16.04 or higher and CentOS 7.2 or higher. The only drawback is that you cannot use a Mac OS computer as a gateway, but it can be a client on a gateway network.

Once you download and install the Hamachi software on your computer, you should be able to see it listed in the LogMeIn website console. It will show up under the network name you attached to or as a non-member client.
The Networks section showing VPN clients that are not members of a network yet
If the computer is shown as a non-member client, just click on the Edit link on the right-hand side, then click on the Networks tab and select the network(s) you want it to be a member of.
Assigning a network to a Hamachi VPN client on the LogMeIn website
Then just click on Save.

Now click on the My Networks tab in the left-hand column, and that computer should now show up under the network(s) that you just attached it to.
The Networks section showing VPN clients that are members of a network
It will have a status indicator (dot/circle) to the left of its name. Green means it is online; red means it is offline.

Technically, we should now have our VPN all set and ready to go. The next thing we have to do is to set up the resources we want to share. There are two (2) things we can share across a network, folders/files, and printers. Now since we are connecting to a remote network that is not close to us, you may not want to set up a remote printer.

Setting up folder sharing on a Windows 10 computer can be a little frustrating, so here's a link to an article that shows you how to share a folder on Windows 10.

How to share a folder on a private network in Windows 10

Sharing a printer is pretty simple. On the Windows 10 computer that has the printer attached you want to share, bring up a Run dialog box and type in control printers. Then click OK.
The Run dialog box with the control printers command highlighted
The Device and Printers dialog box will appear. Just right-click on the printer you want to share and left-click on Printer properties.
The context menu for a printer in the Control Panel inside of Windows 10
Left-click on the Sharing tab and left-click on the box next to Share this printer. You can keep the name that appears or change it to something that might make more sense to a remote user. Maybe add in the location of the printer (city or office name). Then left-click on the Apply button in the lower right-hand corner.

Now that you have got the resources you want to share ready to go, let's go ahead and get things set up. The first thing we need to do is bring up the LogMeIn Hamachi program. By default, it starts up when you start Windows 10, and the icon is located in the notification area on the Taskbar (down by the clock). Just right-click on the icon and left-click Restore. You can also double-click on the shortcut on the desktop.

Now that you have the Hamachi program on the screen, right-click on the name of the computer you want to access the folder(s) or printer(s) on.
The context menu for a remote computer connection with the browse option highlighted in Hamachi
Left-click on Browse in the context menu that appears. This will bring up the File Explorer with a list of resources that are shared on that computer.

To access a shared folder, we could just double-click on the folder name and be done with it. But we would have to open the Hamachi program every time we wanted to get to that folder. But we can just map that folder to a drive letter and access it through File Explorer.

To map a shared folder, just right-click on the name of the folder and left-click on Map network drive.
The context menu for a shared folder with Map network drive highlighted in Windows 10
The Map Network Drive form will appear. Just select the drive letter you want to use for the folder from the pull-down menu.
The Map Network Drive dialog box inside of Windows 10
Make sure that Reconnect at sign-in is selected and click on Finish.

To use a remote printer, we will need to install the remote printer on your computer.
The context menu for a shared printer with Connect highlighted in Windows 10
To do this, we need to right-click to the name of the printer and left-click on Connect. Windows 10 will then download the driver for the printer and install it into your computer.

At this point, you should be ready to go with your VPN. Just remember that you need to be connected via the LogMeIn Hamachi program to be able to access any shared folders or printers.

Setting up an Android device as a Hamachi mobile client
Setting up an iOS device as a Hamachi mobile client

How to share a folder on a private network in Windows 10

There may come a time when you want to share some files with someone on your private network. Maybe a document, spreadsheet, or a picture of your favorite pet. Here's how to share a folder across your private network in Windows 10.

How to share a folder on a private network in Windows 10

Note: Do not set up a shared folder if your computer is a laptop, and you use public WiFi Internet access at coffee shops, airports, etc.! The risk of being hacked and having the security of your laptop compromised is too high. These instructions are only for computers that are attached to private networks.

It may seem like a fairly easy thing to do to share a folder, but it can quickly become a problem. So what I am going to do is to go the steps of sharing a folder on a private network in Windows 10. Then we'll look at some of the things that may cause a problem. Let's get started.

The first thing we need to do is open File Explorer. There are several different ways to do this. You can:

  • Left-click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar (manilla folder).
  • Type File Explorer in the Cortana search box and left-click on File Explorer in the search results.
  • Right-click on the Start button and left-click on File Explorer from the Power User menu.
  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + E.

Once you have File Explorer open, you need to find the folder you want to share. Navigate to This PC in the left-hand column, then to the local disk drive (usually C:\), then to the folder you want to share.

Keep in mind that you cannot share a complete drive (like C:\), only folders on it. You also cannot share mapped network folders either. You can only share folders located on your computer. For this demonstration, I am going to use a folder named Shared Folder.

I have located Shared Folder on my Local Disk C:\ drive, and I'm going to right-click on it and select Properties.
View of context menu for shared folder inside of File Explorer
I'm going to left-click on the Sharing tab
View of sharing tab for shared folder properties
and left-click on the Share button.
View of network access dialog box for shared folder
This brings up a Network access dialog box.

Your username should already be there with Owner permissions. You can keep just your username in the permissions box, but anyone trying to access that folder will need to have your username and password get into it. And if you don't use a password to log into your computer (local account), then you'll have to create a new user on your computer.

But if you just want to share the files and aren't worried about anybody seeing them, you can just let Everyone have access. By giving Everyone access, you don't have to have a password to get into the folder. But you will have to choose if you want Everyone to have Read or Read/Write permissions.

Either way, left-click on the pull-down menu and select either Everyone or Create a new user. If you decide to create a new user, the User Account dialog box appears. Left-click on Manage another account. On the next dialog box that appears, select Add a new user in PC settings. Then left-click on the plus (+) sign next to Add someone else to this PC and fill out the forms that follow.

Once you have another username in the Network access dialog box and have chosen the permission level,
View of network access dialog box for shared folder with everyone selected
left-click on the Share button in the lower right-hand corner. Then you will get a confirmation that the folder is now shared. Left-click on the Done button in the lower right-hand corner.

You are ready to go. You can either close the folder properties dialog box or add more sharing options like multiple share names or custom permissions using the Advanced Sharing button. But for basic folder sharing, you are all set.

Now let's find out if we can see the shared folder on your private network. You will need the name of your computer for this next step. Right-click on the Start menu and left-click on System on the Power User menu. Make a note of the device name in the right-hand column.

Next, go to another computer that is on the same private network and bring up File Explorer using the steps outlined earlier in this article. This time, instead of expanding the This PC folder in the left side column, we want to go down and left-click on the Network folder.

If you get a warning across the top of the File Explorer that says Network discovery is not turned on, left-click on it to activate it. Sometimes Windows 10 will mistakenly classify a private network as public. If you get a warning that the network you are on is not a private network, select the Make this network private.

The name of your computer should now show up under the Computer category of Network. If it does, double left-click on it, and you should now see the folder you shared and all of the files inside of it.

If you don't see your computer listed under Network, there are a couple of things you might want to check on your computer. The first thing to look for is a third-party firewall, like Norton or McAfee, that might be blocking access.

If you granted Everyone access to your shared folder, you can turn off password protected sharing under advanced sharing settings. Just right-click on the Start menu and left-click on Network Connections on the Power User menu. In the right-hand column left-click on Network and Sharing Center. On the screen that appears, left-click on Change advanced sharing settings.

Under All Networks find Password protected sharing and select Turn off password protected sharing. Go back to the other computer and try to access the shared folder on your computer under Networks. You should be able to view and open all of the files inside of it.

How to repair Windows 10 by doing an in-place upgrade

Are you getting lots of errors when you log into Windows 10? Are you not able to get the Start menu or File Explorer to open? If so, it may be time to repair Windows 10 by doing an in-place upgrade.

Sometimes repairing Windows 10 can be a challenging endeavor. One time I had a Windows 10 system that the right-click mouse function would only work in certain situations.

Another time, I had a Windows 10 system that File Explorer and the Start menu would not work. This was one of those times when you think that you are going to just have to wipe the drive and do a clean installation of Windows 10.

But in both cases, I was able to repair Windows 10 while keeping all of the user's documents, settings, and installed programs. I just performed an in-place upgrade of Windows 10.

Remember that if you start the in-place upgrade by booting your computer up on the Windows 10 installation media, you will only get the option of saving your documents. To also preserve the installed programs, you need to start the in-place upgrade from inside of Windows 10.

Now performing an in-place upgrade is not hard. The only thing you need to do is make the Windows 10 installation media. If you can access the Internet and download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, great, if not, you will need to use another computer to make the Windows 10 installation media.

You do not have to be upgrading to a newer version of Windows 10 (1809 to 1903, 1903 to 1909) for this to work. You can perform an upgrade to the same version (1909 to 1909).

Now you never want to use an older version of the Windows 10 media, like the one you created a couple of years ago, to do an in-place upgrade. You will always want to download the latest version directly from Microsoft using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

To make the media, you will need either a blank DVD or a USB flash drive that is at least 8GB in size. Remember that if you use a USB flash drive, it will be reformatted and everything on it will be erased. So, if you have used the USB drive for anything else, you may want to copy the data off of it before using it for the Windows 10 installation media.

Once you get the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool downloaded, all you have to do is double-click the file to run it. It is a stand-alone program, and it does not require any installation.

The first screen that comes up is the legal stuff, just click on Accept. On the next screen, you will have to choose what you want to do.
Windows 10 installer what do you want to do screen
Select Create installation media for another PC and click on Next.

On the next screen, you will select the language, architecture, and edition.
Windows 10 installer select language and edition screen
Since you are creating the media for another computer, make sure the Use the recommended options for this PC checkbox is deselected. The majority of users in the US will select the following settings:

  • Language: English (If you use a different language, select it from the pull-down menu)
  • Edition: Windows 10
  • Architecture: 64-bit (x64)

When you are finished selecting the language, architecture, and edition, click on Next. The next screen will ask you what media do you want to use.
Windows 10 installer choose which media to use screen
If you select the USB flash drive option, make sure you have the USB flash drive inserted into a USB port on the computer.

If you want to make a DVD, you will need to choose the ISO file option and then burn it onto a blank DVD. Here is how to go about burning the ISO file to a DVD.

Once you have the media created, either a DVD or USB flash drive, you will need to insert it in the computer that you want to repair.
Windows 10 setup program in File Explorer
Then just open File Explorer, navigate to the DVD or USB flash drive, and right-click on the setup.exe program and select Run as administrator.
Windows 10 installation start up screen
The Windows 10 installer will then startup.

You will be prompted to download Windows 10 updates, drivers, and optional features. Since you are doing an in-place upgrade, I recommend waiting until the installation is finished before doing any updates.

The next screen you will get is the license agreement. Just click Accept in the lower right-hand corner and continue with the in-place upgrade. Finally, you will get to the screen that asks what you want to keep. Make sure that Keep personal files and apps are selected and then select Install in the lower right-hand corner.

The in-place upgrade will take some time, and your computer could restart a few times before it is complete. When it is done, your version of Windows 10 should be completely repaired and good as new.

Now in the examples I talked about earlier, I could not get either the right-click function to work or could not get the Start menu or File Explorer to open at all. But there is another way of starting the in-place upgrade using Task Manager.

How to start a program using Task Manager

Sometimes the only way to run a program is to use Task Manager. It is a simple, down, and dirty way of running a program with administrative privileges. And we want to use admin privileges to run the setup.exe program.

  1. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys all at the same time (the 3-finger salute).
    The Windows 10 Ctrl Alt Delete screen
    You will get a screen that has several selections on it. Click on Task Manager.
  2. The Task Manager program will appear next.
    The basic Windows 10 Task Manager screen
    If it shows says There are no running apps, click on the More details arrow in the bottom left-hand corner. This will bring up all of the running processes.
  3. Click on the File drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner of Task Manager
    The advanced Windows 10 Task Manager screen with Run new task
    and select Run new task.
  4. The Create a new task dialog box will appear.
    The Windows 10 Create new task dialog box
    Click on the Browse .. button in the lower right-hand corner.
  5. Using the Browse dialog box, navigate to the drive with the Windows 10 installation files (either DVD or USB flash drive),
    The Windows 10 Task Manager Browse screen
    select setup.exe and then click Open.
  6. This will bring you back to the Create new task dialog box, and the path to the setup.exe program will be in the Open field.
    The Windows 10 Create new task dialog box with file path
    Make sure that the Create this task with administrative privileges checkbox is selected. Then click on OK.
  7. The Windows 10 installer will now start. Just follow the steps outlined previously in this article for the rest of the in-place upgrade.

How to get a free Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

Many people took advantage of the Get Windows 10 upgrade promotion, and some did not. If you are one of those who did not get your version of Windows 7 / Windows 8.1 upgrade for free, you still have an opportunity to do so. Here is how to get a free Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

How to get a free Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

It has been a few years since Microsoft ran the Get Windows 10 promotion, and now you think you might like to get your version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 upgraded to Windows 10. The question is now, should you upgrade your computer to Windows 10?

If you think so, I will let you know a little secret. You can still get the upgrade for free. But there is a particular way you have to go about doing it. And there are some prerequisites you have to meet first.

First, your computer needs to be running a legally licensed, not pirated version of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1. The key here is running, as you will need to start the upgrade process from inside of Windows. In essence, you will perform what we call an in-place upgrade.

And since this is an in-place upgrade, you will need to know what edition of Windows you have. Just open a Run dialog box, type Winver and left-click on OK. It will list the Windows edition in the About Windows screen that appears. Here are the upgrade paths.

  • If you have Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, or Windows 8.1 Home Basic, you will upgrade to Windows 10 Home.
  • If you have Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, or Windows 8.1 Professional, you will upgrade to Windows 10 Professional.
  • If you have Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you will upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise.

Second, your computer needs to meet the hardware requirements for Windows 10. Most computers running Windows 7 / 8.1 already meet the requirements, but there are exceptions. There are specific graphics processors known to be incompatible.

But the only way you will find out is by starting the upgrade process. The Windows 10 installer will run a check for hardware that will not work with Windows 10 and will allow you to stop the upgrade or continue.

If it turns out that the on-board graphics processor in your desktop computer is incompatible, you can always install an inexpensive (under $50) PCI-e graphics card (if you have an open PCI-e slot). Here is how to add an expansion card to your desktop computer. If your laptop has an incompatible graphics processor, you cannot upgrade it to Windows 10.

But there are a few things I recommend doing before starting the upgrade process. Checking for drive errors, cleaning up your drive, and uninstalling third-party anti-virus/malware software are just a few. And I recommend creating a full backup only in case something goes wrong. Just follow steps #2 through #6 in this article, seven things to do before and after upgrading to Windows 10.

Now there is a dirty little secret about upgrading to Windows 10 that nobody ever talks about, and that is the recovery media. Almost every computer comes with a hidden partition that has the original software that came pre-loaded with the machine.

When you perform an upgrade to Windows 10, the setup program will replace it with a copy of Windows 10. So, if you ever want to go back to the Windows version that came with your computer, you will need to create the recovery media before doing the upgrade. Check out the section 'Make the recovery media' in the following article, five things you should do first when you get a new computer.

Now, you have everything you need to take care of, and you are ready to start the Windows 10 upgrade. Since this will be an 'in-place upgrade', you will need the Windows 10 installation media. Let's make it.

The first thing you have to do is download and run the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This program can do a direct upgrade or create the Windows 10 media (USB or ISO file).
Windows 10 installer what do you want to do screen
I recommend creating the media (either USB or ISO). That way, you will have a copy of Windows 10, just in case you need it in the future.

The next thing you need to do is select what language, architecture, and edition you want to install.
Windows 10 installer select language and edition screen
If the Use the recommended options for this PC checkbox is on the bottom, make sure it has a checkmark inside it. If not, refer to the edition information you collected earlier.

You will need either a blank DVD or a USB drive that is 8GB or larger. The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool will format a USB drive and make it ready to use.
Windows 10 installer choose which media to use screen
If you download an ISO file, you will need to burn it to a DVD. Here is how to burn an ISO file to a disk.

There are a couple of reasons to install from media (USB or DVD) and not the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. The #1 reason is you can always restart the installation if you need to take care of an issue or two.

Once you have the installation media created, you will have to start the upgrade by running the setup program located at the root of the installation media.
Windows 10 setup program in File Explorer
I recommend opening File Explorer and right-clicking on setup.exe and selecting Run as administrator.

The first screen that appears tells you that Windows 10 is going online to get updates, drivers, and optional features.
Windows 10 setup program prompting to download updates
If you click on the Change how Windows Setup downloads updates link, you can choose to download the updates or wait until later.
Windows 10 setup program update download options
You will be downloading the updates either way, so it is strictly your call. But I have found that a lot of the errors associated with the upgrade process can be avoided by waiting until the upgrade is complete before downloading and installing updates.

At some point, the installation will check the hardware and software installed. If it finds any incompatible software, like an anti-virus program, you may have to cancel the upgrade and remove the software.

If the installation finds incompatible hardware, you may have to cancel the upgrade to resolve the issue. Either way, you may be able to continue the update, but that depends on how critical the Windows 10 installer finds the software/hardware issue to be.

Once the upgrade is in process, it may take a couple of hours to complete. When the Windows 10 upgrade is complete, the original product key for your old version of Windows will be converted and uploaded to the cloud. It is called digital entitlement.

And if you ever need to reinstall Windows 10, all you have to do is download the latest version using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. It is the one Windows 10 feature you hope you never have to use.

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. From computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery, we aim to give the highest quality of service.

Bring your computer to us and save

We base our in-shop computer repair service  on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

Contact us

Geeks in Phoenix
Professional service at an affordable price!
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company that specializes in servicing all brands of desktop and laptop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have been providing excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

We here at Geeks in Phoenix have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

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