Windows 10 is due out July 29th. This means many of us (including me) will be upgrading your Surface very soon.
However, if you haven’t tried the Tech Preview Version and/or you’re a bit paranoid (I can’t blame you there) about upgrading your Surface to Windows 10, then you should take these few extra steps before the upgrade.
Don’t get me wrong, the experience with upgrading to the Tech Preview versions of Windows 10 have been overwhelmingly positive and there’s no reason to believe the “real” upgrade process will cause problems. But, from personal experience, it is better to be safe than sorry… right?
To that end, below are 5 things you should do BEFORE you try to upgrade your Surface to Windows 10.
Upgrade Surface to Windows 10: Wait 2 Days
Microsoft has already said that they will be rolling the release out in stages and that they are doing this, in part, so that they can make fixes along the way.
So, why not let someone else find any big problems before they impact you?
All you have to do is be patient and wait a couple of days before allowing your Surface to upgrade and come back here, to Love My Surface, to check for update progress. We’ll be keeping a close eye out for widespread Windows 10 installation issues and will update folks as the Windows 10 roll-out progresses.
Upgrade Surface to Windows 10: Create Windows 8.1 Recovery Drive
Get yourself a spare USB drive that has – at least – 8GB of capacity. It needs to be one you won’t need for a while.
Use it to create a Windows 8.1 USB recovery drive for your Surface. You can use these instructions for making it from Microsoft: Create a USB Recovery Drive
After you create it, boot from it just to make sure it works then put it somewhere safe and don’t use it for anything else until you’re sure the upgrade to Windows 10 went well AND you’re happy with it. This is your insurance policy. Treat it as such.
Upgrade Surface to Windows 10: Backup Your Data And Sync Your OneDrive
Make sure you have good backups of your data and that your OneDrive files are synced up. In fact, I would just plan on moving any pictures, documents, videos, etc… to your OneDrive – just in case.
That way, it’s not only backed up but if something goes wrong and you need to wipe your Surface, all of your data will automatically sync back down to your Surface from the cloud.If you’re not sure if you’re OneDrive is synced, just go to your desktop and look at the OneDrive Icon in the system tray. If it looks like the example to the right, if it’s all synced up.
If it doesn’t, mouse over it and it will give you a popup message telling you what’s wrong and then you can take the appropriate action to correct the issue.
Upgrade Surface to Windows 10: Manage Your Applications
Upgrading your Surface to Windows 10 is an excellent opportunity to do some cleanup of old apps you don’t use anymore – uninstall anything you don’t use.
It is always a good thing to do this before a major upgrade because it’s possible that an installed app could cause an update failure (because of a weird incompatibility problems). Getting rid of apps you don’t care about minimizes your risk and, as a side benefit, frees up space on your Surface.
In addition, you should Install and Use Crap Cleaner (ccleaner). If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a great little tool that “cleans up” old files, temporary files, and the Windows registry.
Use it after you uninstall any applications. If possible, you will want to do this before the Windows 10 files are downloaded to your Surface just to make sure it doesn’t accidentally “clean up” the Windows 10 upgrade files. However, if the files are already downloaded, just make sure NONE of the Advanced cleaning options are checked when you do the cleaning operation.
Upgrade Surface to Windows 10: Chkdsk and SFC your Surface
Believe it or not, it is common for your Surface to have some corrupt files on it but still be running fine. This is because modern computers are pretty fault tolerant. If they weren’t, as complex as they are, they would only run for about 3 seconds before crashing due to a minor error.
That said, you don’t want to tempt fate by having these errors on your Surface during the upgrade process. So, make sure you run a Check Disk (chkdsk) and System File Checker (SFC) against your Surface before you do the upgrade.
You can find guidance for doing both in this article: Issues with Surface Tablet? Try These Fixes.
Upgrade Surface to Windows 10: Conclusion
For the most part, the suggestions above can be done in any order but I would suggest performing the Chkdsk and SFC last.
These steps will help ensure your Surface upgrade to Windows 10 goes smoothly and, if something does go wrong, you’re in a position to do something about it.