On 29 July 2015 Microsoft released Windows 10 to the world. Unlike previous OS releases this was going to be different. For a start many people were going to get it for free. It was well trailed across every medium how users of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 were going to get Windows 10 at no cost. Next it was going to be pushed out via the internet with no need to go to a store and buy a DVD or visit a website and download. Prior to release many people will have had an application (Get Windows 10 app) appear in their system tray through which they could “reserve” their copy of Windows 10.
Let’s not for a moment underestimate the challenge that Microsoft had set itself. From 29 July it was going to distribute a full, major OS over the internet to a large chunk of the world’s population. The technical aspects of this are probably worthy of a book that no doubt someone will write. But that’s what it chose and the media coverage (which has been going on for months) would have people believe that if they had any version of Windows above 7 then Windows 10 was coming their way.
As a Windows user running many different systems I thought that it would be interesting to document my experience of the Windows 10 upgrade process. This is purely my individual experience and is not meant to reflect anything more widespread. It is also not meant to reflect on Windows 10 as an OS or the challenge that Microsoft faced in pushing it out. I commend Microsoft for taking this approach with Windows 10 and there are very few companies that could even contemplate such a thing. These are early days.
In all I have 5 systems (4 physical machines and 1 virtual) to upgrade. None of these machines came with anything less than Windows 8. Here is each system’s story.
Acer Iconia W510 (2013) [No Upgrade]
This is my primary machine and I use it every day whether in the UK or travelling. I received the Get Windows 10 App some time ago and saw from the compatibility report that the machine was all good for the upgrade. I reserved my copy via the app. On 29 July I checked the app again and the report had changed to say that the display had not been made compatible by the manufacturer and so it was unable to run Windows 10. The message referenced Intel (Graphics Media Accelerator) as the offending manufacturer. I checked Acer’s website where it had a list of machines that it was supporting Windows 10 and the Iconia W510 was not listed. I emailed Acer but have not had a reply. Despite this when I checked Windows Update I saw that the machine had attempted to install Windows 10 multiple times and that it had failed, citing error code 80240020. This machine is currently still running Windows 8.1 and showing the Get Windows 10 App icon.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (2014) [No Upgrade]
This is a very well spec’d machine and I use it fairly regularly to run certain tasks that require the extra power. I received the Get Windows 10 App well in advance of 29 July and checked the compatibility report which at that time was not available. I could still reserve my copy of Windows 10 and so I did. On 29 July the report was still not available. On 30 July the report appeared saying that everything was fine. I checked Windows Update and saw that the machine had attempted to install Windows 10 a number of times but had failed with error code 80240020. This machine is currently still running Windows 8.1 but is still attempting and failing to install Windows 10 in the background.
Asus VivoTab Smart (2013) [No upgrade]
This machine gets very occasional use. I had not run it much before 29 July and so did not have the Get Windows 10 App. I had to run many system updates when I started it up. However I did receive the app on 29 July which had no compatibility report available but I could still reserve my copy. On 31 July I received a report which said that the display had not been made compatible by the manufacturer and so it was unable to run Windows 10. The message referenced Intel (Graphics Media Accelerator) as the offending manufacturer. I checked Windows Update and there have been no attempts by the machine to install Windows 10. This machine is currently still running Windows 8.1.
Samsung Slate PC Windows Developer Preview (2011) [Upgraded]
This was the device given to attendees of Microsoft Build conference in 2011 when Windows 8 was first previewed. It is currently my main machine at home and so gets used every day (I am writing this on it). I received the Get Windows 10 App well in advance and the report said that everything was fine and I reserved my copy. On 29 July there was no update. On 30 July I checked Windows Update and saw that multiple attempts had been made to install Windows 10 (in the background) but had failed with error code 80240010. As this has always been something of a test machine I thought that I would investigate this problem further. I found numerous references to the error code online and most cited the same potential fix:
- Delete everything found in : C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionDownload
- Run command prompt (as Administrator) in c:windowssystem32 and type in wuauclt.exe /updatenow
- Then check for updates again
Kudos to whoever figured this out so quickly but it did not work for me despite repeated attempts (giving the same error code). I therefore resorted to the next option which was manual install. On 31 July I used the Windows 10 Download Tool found here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 to upgrade. This worked first time and the machine is now running Windows 10 seemingly fine.
Windows 10 Technical Preview (Virtual Machine) [Upgraded]
This got only occasional use as I incrementally tried out new builds of Windows 10. It is a VMWare image running on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 referenced above. There was no Get Windows 10 App for the technical preview. On 29 July I was still running preview build 10130 and received no upgrade. But it had switched to the TH1 branch in Windows Update, which is the new branch created by Microsoft to push the final version of Windows 10. On 30 July the machine upgraded itself to Windows 10.
31 July (2 out of 5 upgraded)
This is just my experience and these are early days for Microsoft and Windows 10. The company has said that it will take weeks to get everyone upgraded and so I shall continue to wait. However, out of a very small sample of 5 systems only 1 has so far upgraded without intervention and that was from a preview build of Windows 10. The other upgrade was manual. 60% of my systems have not upgraded for various reasons. 40% (50% if one excludes the TP system) of systems cannot be upgraded according to the Get Windows 10 App.
There are rumours that this situation may change and that machines not currently supported may be later (awaiting OEM testing and potentially new drivers). However, nothing is officially telling me this and therefore despite having two machines that have been running Windows 8 happily and are relatively new (3 years max) they cannot be upgraded. Both seem to have the same issue relating to the display and it is unclear who is responsible for this, whether it is the manufacturer (Acer or Asus), Intel or Microsoft.
That the Get Windows 10 App compatibility reports were initially saying that everything was fine and then changed to saying that the system was not compatible is a definite fail in the process and will be confusing for users. I have already read other people reporting this as well. The fact that one OEM (Acer) is currently saying that they will not support a relatively new machine is not good. Perhaps most concerning is the Surface Pro 3 which is Microsoft’s own device and less than 1 year old. It seems to be experiencing a technical issue with the update and it is unclear how or if this will be resolved.
Other people seem to be reporting the same problem where Windows Update is showing multiple failed upgrade attempts. The Surface Pro, Samsung and Acer all experienced this. The exact cause is not clear and hopefully Microsoft will resolve it. Some are saying that it is a result of the load on Microsoft’s servers which should reduce over time. Certainly one cannot expect people to spot the issue in Windows Update history and then look up the solution (cited above) and try it. The upgrade needs to be as easy as promised. Major credit is due to Samsung, given that its machine was created purely for previewing Windows 8 4 years ago had no compatibility problems like Acer and Asus.
Reading various forums there appears to be a few common issues regarding the upgrade process such as the one I’ve experienced. Hopefully Microsoft will sort these out but in the interim some official acknowledgement might be helpful and avoid any negative coverage. Given the scale of the task and how this is early days I think most people would be forgiving at this stage.
Where the upgrade ran it was a good experience. I felt well informed throughout and it was relatively quick (for such a major update). There were no awkward or confusing questions and very little interaction required during the process (a good thing for anyone who just wants to set it running and go away). It is still an exciting time to be a Windows user and I’m looking forward to getting Windows 10 on the Surface Pro.
I will update when applicable.
I do not have any further system updates but Microsoft have been clear that it may take some time for everyone to get upgraded. Latest figures suggest that 14 million people have received an upgrade but that is obviously small compared to the potential total. With regards to error code 80240020 in Windows Update I did find an “official” Microsoft response to this on the Microsoft Community site [http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/what-does-error-code-80240020-mean-for-win10/40ccab8a-4948-44fa-9f0c-5ac2e99f58ec] which essentially says that this behaviour is normal and will be resolved and to wait for the Get Windows 10 App to notify you when the upgrade is ready. There is also some information on the official Windows 10 Q+A site (linked to via the Get Windows 10 App) that suggests compatibility issues are still being worked on. Which means there may be hope for my two systems that are currently showing as being incompatible.
In addition I received the following advice from Microsoft via a contact:
Our top goal is for all of our customers to have a great upgrade experience. With all of our ecosystem partners, we have been actively working on device compatibility. In our testing of millions of systems, we’re seeing full compatibility today with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems. We will continue this compatibility work every day as part of our ongoing commitment to Windows as a service.
While the vast majority of our customers will be able to seamlessly upgrade, some device incompatibilities may exist and will decrease over time. If for some reason you run into an issue, Answer Desk offers one-on-one support from Microsoft. You can schedule an appointment or connect immediately with a dedicated expert via chat, phone, or in a retail store to get the personal help you need. Answer Desk offers free up and running support from real people.
7 August (3 out of 5 upgraded)
Surface Pro 3 upgraded this morning via the official upgrade process. Did not see the notification that is supposed to appear on the desktop. But did notice that the Get Windows 10 App did not load into the system tray on start-up. When I noticed it had appeared I opened it (curiosity) and was told that my upgrade was ready. Upgrade process was very fast (much faster than the Samsung), perhaps 10 minutes. System seems to be running well. Great to have Windows 10 on the Surface.
1 September (4 out of 5 upgraded)
Acer Iconia upgraded this morning via the official upgrade process. The Get Windows 10 App had been showing that the system was not compatible with Windows 10 since 29 July (having previously shown that it was). The problem was said to be with the Intel Graphics drivers and had been reported by other users on various forums. Exactly who was responsible for addressing this (Intel, Microsoft or the system manufacturer) was a point of confusion and debate. However, today the app notified me that the upgrade was ready. I selected to install and it informed me that something had gone wrong and to try again later. I repeated this a few times with the same result and then left it for about 15 minutes. The system then began the update and appears to be running Windows 10 quite happily. My Asus is still showing the same incompatibility issue with regards to Intel Graphics Media Accelerator that the Acer has been until today.
My other Windows 10 systems have been performing well with only the odd quirk but nothing that a restart hasn’t fixed.