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Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

Support for older systems less than satisfactory

Comment As your humble HPC correspondent for The Register, I should probably be running Linux on the array of systems here at the home office suite. But I don't. I've been a Microsoft guy since I bought my first computer way back in 1984.

You, dear readers, can rip me for being a MStard, but it works worked well for my business and personal needs.

I've had my ups and downs with the company, but I think I've received good value for my money and I've managed to solve every problem I've had over the years.

Until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday was the day that I marked on my calendar as "Upgrade to Windows 10 Day." We currently have four systems in our arsenal here, two laptops and two desktops.

The laptops are Lenovo R61 and W510 systems, and the desktops are a garden variety box based on an Asus P7P55D Pro motherboard. The other desktop is my beloved Hydra 2.0 liquid cooled, dual-processor, monster system based on the EVGA Classified SR-2 motherboard. These details turn out to be important in our story.

The first problem arose with the Asus desktop. Windows 10 was supposedly choking on trying to upgrade while Acronis backup was installed. Even though we removed Acronis, removed all registry entries, used a cleanup utility, and even performed a quick exorcism – Windows 10 still said it was there. Same problem on the Lenovo laptops.

This prompted us to bring Microsoft tech support into the loop. We quickly got past first line support and were promoted to second line – now we'll get the answers we need.

Well, yes and no. We got some answers, just not the answers we wanted. According to Microsoft, since there weren't specific Windows 10 drivers out there for the Asus board and R61 laptop, it would be impossible to upgrade them to Windows 10.

(This didn't explain the Acronis error, I repeatedly pointed out, but this was never addressed in our text chain, and later, in our phone call.)

"Impossible? What the hell?" was my response. Travel faster than the speed of light is impossible, sure, but doing this upgrade certainly doesn't fall into the impossible category.

The bottom line from Microsoft tech support is that if there isn't a Windows 10-specific version of the bios for your particular PC, you're sh*t out of luck when it comes to Windows 10.

It's the drivers, according to the third-level support person I managed to get on the phone. But what about the generic drivers that every version of Windows includes? "Microsoft doesn't write drivers" was the response from him. Huh? Of course they do.

So now three out of four of our PCs are suddenly obsolete in the Windows world. But what about the fourth? That's a different story. Hydra hasn't had a bios update in years, but it still took Windows 10 without a problem – even without a "Windows 10-specific version of the bios."

Admittedly, all of these systems are fairly old, so I wouldn't necessarily expect the manufacturers to spend time/money to build new bios versions for these boards.

But Microsoft could fix these problems by putting more backward compatibility into the Windows 10 code base. They did it with other versions of the venerable OS – why not now? From using Windows 10 on Hydra, it seems more of an evolution of Windows 7 than something completely new and different.

Sure, there could be different, non-Windows 7-like things happening under the hood that I don't see, but that stuff can be translated via software routines in order to make it run on older hardware.

I predict that legions of users are facing the same problems as I saw today, and that they won't be happy to see their free upgrade hopes dashed.

Hm, maybe I should investigate this Linux thing. ®

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