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Upgrading from Windows 7 to 10: tips from IT supporters

last modified Oct 23, 2019 04:39 PM
Windows 7 will become increasingly vulnerable to cyber security threats after 14 January 2020, when it reaches end of life. We're urging everyone to upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible, and have gathered some handy tips from IT staff who have taken the plunge already.

Meeting the requirements

Check Microsoft's Windows 10 system requirements page to see if your machine meets the specifications for installing Windows 10. Note that these are the bare minimums to get Windows 10 running on a computer and don't necessarily mean you'll have a good experience. If your PC has a hard drive of 100GB or less, or less than 4GB of RAM, you should probably consider upgrading your hardware or PC before installing Windows 10.

Back up your data and bookmarks

Before upgrading, make sure you've saved any work and backed up any data that's stored locally on the PC, rather than on a University network drive. Depending on whether you perform an 'in situ' upgrade or clean install of Windows 10, your data could be wiped from the PC during the upgrade.

If you use the Firefox or Google Chrome web browsers, remember to back up your favourites or bookmarks. Instructions are available on Firefox and Chrome help pages (at the bottom of the page in the latter case). You don't need to worry about this for Internet Explorer because they're saved in your user profile and will be carried over.

Make a note of additional and shared mailboxes, as well as printers

Remember to make a note of any printers you have installed that you wish to continue using in Windows. You'll need to reinstall these. Your local IT support team will be able to help you with installing printers in your institution.

You'll also need to re-add any additional and shared mailboxes to your account if you're using Microsoft Outlook or Exchange Online, so make a note of these before you upgrade. We have instructions on how to add shared mailboxes to a variety of email apps.

'In situ' upgrade or clean install?

You can upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 'in situ' using 'Windows Update', which is available in the Control Panel under 'Systems and Security'. This is the easiest way for users to upgrade PCs themselves, and can be much quicker for those who are struggling to find the time.

You can also perform a clean install, but the only way to do this is by manually downloading Windows 10 installation files. This gives you a fresh start, which could result in better performance. Note that a clean install will wipe your hard drive, so you'll need to reinstall all of your applications and data.

Replacing old incompatible software

Some older software can't be carried over from Windows 7 to 10 because it won't be compatible. We've seen a lot of requests for new versions of:

  • Adobe software, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, which you can order from our reseller, Academia
  • Microsoft Project and Visio (which aren't included in the University's EES agreement), which you can order via the UFS Marketplace.

How we can help

Institutions that are participating in the University's EES agreement are entitled to a free upgrade to Windows 10. For details on how to get this, please visit the Software Distribution site.

In addition, if you've adopted our Managed Endpoint Protection Service, you can use McAfee's ePO dashboard to identify Windows 7 machines in your institution and track your progress towards upgrading or replacing them.

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