Windows 10 and earlier versions
The information on these pages is provided in good faith as a free service. Please read the disclaimer below, and also the important information regarding logging on to the PC and your Microsoft account.
Windows 10 Version 2004 (May update) - A WARNING
My "test" pc is on a "preview" cycle and has just installed this update. Now the screen display is so distorted its almost unusable. I'm working on it, but having seen this before may as a last resort need to revert to the previous version! Searching on the web I find many reputable sites warning of issues, and similarly complaints on the Microsoft developers forum. Regular concerns are from owners of laptops – especially Lenovo; and also about graphics issues, internet connection, wifi printers and hard drive management.
My advice to you is to defer this update until these issues are resolved.
Heres How to defer this update:
If you click the windows logo "Start" icon, then "settings" (the little gear icon ), "update and security" you will see this screen:
DO NOT (sorry for shouting but please don't) … again, DON'T click the "download and install" link to install the update!
Click on "Advanced options" and you can choose to defer updates for up to 35 days. I've set mine for 1 July but I'll be keeping an eye on progress and see if these issues are resolved.
Previous versions of Windows
Are you concerned about the current spate of notifications that windows 7 has reached end of support? Or feeling complacent because you have Windows 10? Its not that straightforward. Windows 10 versions "expire" within a couple of years, so you need to check your system is updating properly.
ALL DOMESTIC VERSIONS OF WINDOWS 10 UP to and including 1803 are ALREADY OUT OF SUPPORT
Also in Settings, select "Update & Security". It may SAY you're up to date. Check your update history to make sure the most entries say - "updates successfully installed". Then do a "Check for updates" to get the most recent.
Also make sure your "active hours" realistically represent the times you need to use your computer.
Support for earlier versions of Windows.
Windows 10 is not the only version currently in use; a third of current users (Jan 2020) have earlier versions such as Windows 7, 8, and 8.1; all of these are now out of mainstream support. However with a little care you can continue using them. I have clients who are still using Windows XP with no issues - even for online shopping and internet banking. That is NOT a recommendation, you would be MUCH better advised to upgrade to Linux.
Why stay with Windows 7? (or Vista, or XP?)
Well a lot of older PCs, and especially laptops, are not compatible with windows 10. Also you may have software that will not run. Or you may feel if you have an older machine that is not worth the expense of upgrading. I have a recent laptop running Windows 7 that I can not update to Windows 10 because the manufacturer (HP) has not developed Windows 10 drivers for the hardware.
How to continue using versions prior to Windows 10 safely
Your PC will not blow up or catch fire! All your apps will continue to run as usual. All you need to do is:
- Check you have an active THIRD PARTY (not Microsoft) anti-virus installed, AND WORKING. I recommend AVAST or PANDA (both free) for older systems.
- Back up important or irreplaceable documents - family photos, whatever - to a memory stick. You can get 64G of storage for under a tenner. Get two in different colours and do backups every 6 months, say red April, blue October.
- Dont be click happy! Always think twice before clicking on a link, especially in email; hover over the link, and check its going where it says.
If you need more reassurance I'd be happy to check your PC security and advise on how to stay safe.
Other alternatives - Linux
You dont HAVE to use windows at all. If you mainly use your PC for browsing the web, online activities e.g. shopping or banking, Office applications like word or excel, or managing photos you can do all this just as well, and often better, with Linux Mint. Best of all it runs fast even on older machines, is natively malware resistant, and its all FREE. You can even try it out without installing it! I have several clients who have moved from Windows to Linux Mint and wont change back.
Alternatives for Windows 10 installed apps
Many of the apps that come by default with windows have limited functions. In many cases there are much better free "open source" applications you can easily install. Here are some suggestions.
Important: Your Microsoft Account
By default you will log in to your PC using your Microsoft account as username and pasword. This means you will not need to log on seperately for Onedrive, Email or other applications. If you don't already have a Microsoft account you will be offered a chance to get one when W10 installs. If you prefer, you can sign up for a Microsoft account here. However..
Recovering a lost Microsoft Account can be VERY difficult - or even impossible.
Your details are protected VERY securely. So do make sure you keep a record of the EXACT username (email address) and password that you use for that account. Write it down, make sure its clear which are numbers, letters, upper & lower case etc. and keep a copy with you.
If you lose access to your Microsoft account it could make your computer unusable, and there may be no way to access your files - documents, music, photos, etc..
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