Thursday, July 30, 2015

Windows 10 alternative installation

So if you're like me and prefer to pick your own time to take the Windows 10 plunge then you're probably going to need some help when you finally push the go button.

That's because unlike most who'll take advantage of the free upgrade, disabling the automatic upgrade process requires a little more effort but no more than installing any other OS. It's still an upgrade so you still get to keep all your old apps ( so long as they're compatible.)

I haven't changed my position and the tight integration with Microsoft's ecosystem is ever present in Windows 10 but you can get around it.  In fact I'll be doing a series of videos in the near future on just how to minimize the amount of information you share.  

Microsoft may be taking a page from Apple's book with this latest version of the "one Windows to rule them all" mantra but for now it's more of an inconvenience than an Apple-like mandate.  

The reality of tech in the 21st century is that the more convenience you demand the more of your life you'll be asked to expose.  With Windows 10 it's still mostly your choice of how wide to open the Kimono but you need to know what you're buying into.  

For the most part, Windows users have gotten off easy with privacy but with an OS that's more connected than any previous version, it's high time we stop taking privacy for granted.  Look, if it's got a chip in it  somebody can hack it.  That's just the world we live in.  So make sure to clean up your act before upgrading to Windows 10.

That said, you may need some help when you finally do the upgrade.  That's what the series of videos below will show you.  I'll walk you through creating media for a manual install then using it to upgrade a Windows 7 Ultimate PC.

Check them out.  You'll find them a bit irreverent but likely similar to your own experience when you do upgrade.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Windws 10 is almost here, Know what you're getting

No long form posts this time just a bit of reality.

The wider web is just waking up to the fact that with the impending launch of Windows 10 things are going to be a bit different.

The most obvious, of course, is that for most people the "upgrade" will be free unless you happen to be an enterprise customer.

What IT pros have known for a couple of months now is that Microsoft's definition of "Free" as it pertains to Windows 10 is less like "Free Beer" and more like "Free vacation" as in those awful timeshare sales pitch weekends.

As an IT pro I'll tolerate a lot of things if nobody's in my wallet but I'm always mindful that somewhere down the line there will be a price exacted.

And so it is with Windows 10...

I'll cut to the quick.  The most important thing to know about Windows 10 is that it's more than a better Windows 8.  It's the cornerstone of a sales platform which is why they can afford to give it away.

Which is also why things like mandatory updates are in your future.  Like it or not if Microsoft wants to change something you have nothing to say about it. 

That's problematic because the Redmond guys don't have the greatest track record with updates.  Any IT pro can probably think of at least half a dozen that ruined their day.

It's also wise to be suspicious of motives when a company hides its true intentions in seemingly innocuous descriptions like " an update to the update. "  (KB3035583)

As such you'd be well advised to treat the new OS like one of those Internet Kiosks you used to find in the airports.  In short, it's an access point but it's not personal. 

So what does all of this really mean? 

Windows 10 is the first real version of Windows to enforce a EULA that's been around since Windows 3.1.  I.E. Wake up kiddies, you don't own the software and for whatever ills Windows 10 may cure you're essentially granting them root access. 

There are changes under the hood that go beyond a fresh interface to include updates, licensing and authentication. Things you may not see but nonetheless should be aware of.

It's simple, Microsoft is interested in building a tightly walled garden much like Apple but without the huge investments in hardware. 

It makes sense.  Why reinvent the wheel when there's so many willing and eager to do it for you?

If you're ok passing everything through Microsoft's sanity filter then this probably isn't a problem for you and 90% of users will gladly give up a little more control for a free copy of a "Windows" OS.

However, If you're at all interested in security and privacy then I'd start interviewing Linux distros and secure offline storage.  I'd also be wary of any project that embraces MS recent change of heart about open source. 

Nothing's free and to be fair they have a right to control their OS but you have a right to be in exclusive control of your data.

I know, it sounds like we're venturing into the realm of conspiracy theory but stop for a moment and think about just how much of your life lies within those bits. 

Of course if you have nothing to hide then you don't have a problem right?

Yes, yes we do...