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Better upgrade to Windows 10 while it’s still free (and time is almost up)

Windows has been pushing those helpful little notification on Windows system to upgrade; if you don’t heed those notifications by July 29, it will cost you to upgrade to Windows 10.

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Don’t risk the costly upgrade

If you’re using a Windows operating system, chances are you’ve encountered those persistent message to upgrade to Windows 10. While upgrading does take a little bit of time and patience, the upgrade itself to Windows 10 is free, or rather it has been up to this point. Unlike Apple, which allows users to upgrade at any point, to the newest operating system for free, Windows is taking a different approach and if you’re a procrastinator, you could be in trouble.

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If you haven’t upgraded your system to Windows 10 by June 29, 2016, the upgrade will cost you $119. If the thought of upgrading right now is more than you can handle, there is another option to keep you from having to pay the hefty fee and still keep Windows 7 or 8 on your machine. What you’ll need to do is “reserve” your copy of Windows 10 before July 29.

Reserving your copy

To “reserve” your copy of Windows 10, you’ll want to go ahead and act on that notification to upgrade. Once, you’ve completed the upgrade, you can roll back to Windows 7 or 8, keeping the original verson, but “reserve” your Windows 10 license, while it’s still free.

Your version of Windows 7 or 8 must be genuine or you will not be eligible to upgrade for free.

Have questions about this? Check out this article, or if you need help determining your eligibility, check out this article.

How can you have two versions?

When you receive a notification to upgrade to Windows 10 from your PC, Microsoft knows you’re running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8 (also known as a digital entitlement). Microsoft notes this on their servers and knows you can download Windows 10 for free. Once this is noted, you can install and reinstall Windows 10. It will remain active, since it’s noted on the Microsoft servers, without the product key. Since it’s noted on the servers, this allows you to install a different operating system (like Windows 7 or 8), while still maintaining your Windows 10 eligibility and activation.

There are a couple of caveats here, however. The upgrade is tied to each PC, so you’ll need to repeat this process for each eligible PC. Also, if you upgrade the motherboard, or install Window 10 on another PC that didn’t receive the digital entitlement mentioned above, it will not work. This differs from previous upgrades, because once you bought the upgrade with the product key, you could use it on any machine.

How to install and roll back

Before making any changes to your computer, you should back everything up to the Cloud, or an external hard drive, USB, or other storage medium. This ensures nothing gets lost forever. When you’re ready, the easiest way to begin installation and roll back is to use the built-in roll back feature. Be warned, however, some programs may be removed during the upgrade and you’ll need to reinstall them.

To get started, click on your upgrade notification, or click here, to get started. You’ll need to run the tool and agree to upgrade. After you’ve gotten Windows 10 installed, click the “Start” button and then navigate to “Settings.” Find “Update & Security,” then “Activation.” Double-check and make sure you see “Windows 10 on this device is activated with a digital entitlement.” (Remember, this is how the server knows you’ve activated). If it does, you’re good to go; if it doesn’t, you may need to wait while the Microsoft server updates before you roll back.

If you’re activated, click on the “recovery” tab and then you’ll see “get started” under “go back to Windows 7/8.1.” Click the appropriate option and Windows 10 will automatically uninstall itself and restore your old Windows system.  Once roll back is complete, make sure you double-check for missing programs and reinstall those. Then, you’re all set.

Alternative (but not better) options

There is another method to keep your programs in place, but it is more complicated. It involves created an image of your existing Windows operating systems, but to do so, you need an external hard drive with the same amount of room as your computer. You can use CDs, but the process can take nearly a day and you have to be in front of the computer to switch out the disc as they fill up. As long as you know which programs you’re running, and have the product keys to re-install them, the option above is your best (and easiest) bet.

If you don’t want to be out the money for upgrading at a later date, July 29, 2016 is your deadline.

#FreeWindows10

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Count Iblis

    June 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Windows 10 doesn’t work on my computer. After installing it causes internal power error, the computer constantly restarts. The fixes for this involve installing new drivers, but these new Windows 10 compatible drivers are not compatible with the image processing software such as ImageJ that I use. They cause the error ” LoadLibrary failed with error 87: The parameter is incorrect”, and the program quits. A later attempt to upgrade drivers (within Windows 8.1) led to unexpected shutdowns immediately after a cold start; the second start did work, but then it would take a long time for the computer to boot. I had to do a system reset to get rid of that problem (the option to roll back the drivers didn’t work). So, I’m going to stick with the old drivers that are only compatible with Windows 8.1.

  2. Debbie Cerda

    June 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I’m a bit wary of upgrading to Windows 10 as well. What’s the general consensus for making the move?

    • Lani Rosales

      June 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Good question – all of the PCs here are upgraded, and it’s actually a slightly better iteration than 8.1, seems faster and less glitchy. Plus, get it while it’s free and you can always revert if you hate it. 🙂

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Quickly learn the basics of UX and UI (for free!)

(TECHNOLOGY) For the all-time low price of—well, free—Invise gives you the option of learning a few basic UI and UX design techniques.

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Woman browsing web, made easy with UI/UX

There’s no denying the strong impact UI and UX design has on the success of a website, app, or service—and, thanks to some timely altruism, you can add basic design understanding to your résumé for free.

Invise is a self-described beginner’s guide to the UI/UX field, and while they do not purport to deliver expert knowledge or “paid courses”, the introduction overview alone is pretty hefty.

The best part—aside from the “free” aspect—is how simple it is to get a copy of the guide: You enter your email address on the Invise website, click the appropriate button, and the guide is yours after a quick email verification.

According to Invise, their beginner’s guide to UI and UX covers everything from color theory and typography to layout, research principles, and prototyping. They even include a segment on tools and resources to use for optimal UI/UX work so that you don’t have to take any risks on dicey software.

UI—short for “user interface”—and UX, or “user experience”, are two critical design aspects found in everything from websites to app and video game menus. As anyone who has ever picked up an outdated smartphone knows, a janky presentation of options or—worse yet—a lack of intuitive menus can break a user’s experience far faster than slow hardware.

Similarly, if you’re looking to retain customers who visit your website or blog, presenting their options to them in a jarring or unfamiliar way—or selecting colors that clash for your landing page—can be just as fatal as not having a website to begin with.

The overarching problem, then, becomes one of cost. Hiring a design expert is expensive and can be time-consuming, so Invise is a welcome alternative—and, as a bonus, you don’t have to dictate your company’s vision to a stranger and hope that they “get it” if you’re doing your own design work.

It may not be the best year to break the bank on design choices, but the importance of UI and UX in your business can’t be overstated. If you have time to read up on some design basics and a small budget for a few of the bare-bones tools, you can take a relatively educated shot at putting together a modern, desirable interface.

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How to safeguard your small company’s data without distrusting staff

(TECHNOLOGY) Even a tiny company has valuable data that can be stolen from inside – without adopting a policy of distrust, you can take preventative action

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data theft

Data breaches are scarily common in today’s digital world, and even gargantuan businesses can easily be brought to their knees should a wayward phishing attempt (or a disgruntled former employee) succeed in making off with valuable information.

While your small business probably doesn’t have all of the same calibre of worries as your more monolithic counterparts, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your data can’t be stolen to devastating effect, even if you think the data you have is irrelevant and not worthy of being stolen (you’re wrong).

Cloud storage and increased collaborative tool use means that things like sensitive documents and files are at increased risk of theft. Small businesses are especially susceptible to this due to a lower likelihood of advanced security usage, so it pays to know what kinds of things you might be at risk of losing.

According to MUO, employees are most likely to steal collaborative documents, consumer databases, and any resources devoted to research and development.

Safeguarding these items can be tricky due to their relatively high-traffic use, so a preventive strategy is your best defense.

It should be noted that trust in your employees is crucial, and treating them like they’re poised to steal from you at any moment is not a particularly effective management strategy.

However, it’s important to be aware of the following reasons – and possible preventive measures – for employee theft of data.

Firstly, corporate espionage (as dramatic as it sounds) is still something you have to worry about as a small business owner. It isn’t uncommon for competitors to bribe (or even simply persuade) current employees to share data, even if your competitors are relatively small themselves.

Your employees should know that data is sacred (and confidential), but employing things like intrusion systems and holding trainings for recognition of espionage can help prevent this problem.

Those competitors might also try to snag some of your employees, and not just for their work ethic. Employees may save their own copies of documents that they think will be helpful in their new workspace; in doing so, they can unwittingly aid your competitor with much more than their skillset. Again, reminding your employees that all work documents are both confidential and property of your brand can cut down on accidental data theft in this category.

Non-Compete agreements and NDAs can also prevent this kind of theft, intentional or otherwise; if an employee chooses to leave your business, making sure they are aware of their contractual obligations is key. Perhaps the worst competitor you can have is a former employee who launches their own business in your field, though, and this is a situation in which data theft can be intellectual. Once again, Non-Competes and NDAs are helpful in mitigating damage in this context.

Finally, angry employees can find themselves doing a myriad of dumb (and harmful) things, up to and including data theft.

As mentioned earlier, early prevention is the best way to keep your data on your servers and out of your departing employees’ hands. Restricting employee access to files and folders can limit the number of possible breaches, and the aforementioned Non-Compete and Nondisclosure agreements are absolutely crucial in any business that deals in data–just make sure you’re discussing the terms of those agreements with employees as they come and go.

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Twitter bid on hold, Tesla stock plummets: What’s next for Musk?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The surprising bid of $44B coming in for Twitter from none other than Elon Musk is now on hold and Tesla stock is down. Is Musk in hot water?

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elon musk offers to buy twitter

In the largest corporate privatization deal in U.S. history, Twitter has accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy 100% of Twitter for 44 billion.

Musk plans to privatize the company and do away with ads, a nearly 5-billion-dollar revenue source for Twitter, which accounts for 90% of their total income. Musk’s plan to do away with ads was nothing short of strategic. Musk is a free speech absolutist – or someone who believes that free speech should be unrestricted at all costs.

Advertisers are the main reason speech is restricted on social media platforms. For social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter who rely on advertisers buying space on their platforms, as well as sponsored content, to make most of their profits eliminating this revenue stream is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Without these restrictions or community guidelines, advertisers would not advertise on social media, and the sites could not generate much of their revenue.

But, when your pockets run as deep as Musk’s, I suppose revenue doesn’t particularly matter.

Some changes Musk plans on making are as follows: He claims, that despite the lack of advertisements, he will quintuple Twitter revenue by 2028. He plans on doing this while cutting Twitter’s reliance on ads to less than 50% of the total revenue. He also plans on growing the platform’s user base. He claims by 2025 there will be 69 million users on Twitter (however, considering 69 is his favorite number I’m not sure if this is accurate or another one of his famous trolling stunts). He also plans on offering a paid service, Twitter Blue, which will allow users to customize their Twitter experience for only $3 a month.

However, advertising is not the only hurdle to free speech on a social media platform.

Now Musk will face a barrage of questions and restrictions from government watchdogs, regulators, and activists. Twitter could even end up being banned in other countries if Musk attempts to skirt regulations. Musk wants to strip back content moderation rules and stop the censorship of new organizations; he has also not answered questions about how he plans to go about this, only stating that he’d only allow free speech that “matches the law”.

However, several European countries are changing their laws. New laws in the United Kingdom and The European Union (which comprises 27 European countries). The EU, for example, has enacted the Digital Services Act and The Digital Markets Act which aims to create a safer digital space, while protecting the rights of users and leveling the playing field for businesses. These acts extend to social media. The acts, in part, heavily fine companies that refuse to curtail illegal content on their platforms. However, as of May 9th, 2022, EU Industry Chief, Thierry Brighton, met with Elon Musk in Texas and they have reached an agreement regarding free speech and The Digital Services Act. Yet, the pair has not gone into detail about what exactly their agreement entails. When asked, Musk simply stated that it “totally aligned with his thinking”.

Musk may have circumvented the largest spanning cyber laws, but that does not mean he’s out of the woods regarding governmental regulation of Twitter around the world.

Now, the decision for Musk to purchase Twitter, and go public was a polarizing one and was met with mixed reactions. People did not hold back, and many roasted Musk for his decisions.

Some of my favorite reaction tweets are:

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Okay, but they make a good point. He’s been heralded as a “Real-life Tony Stark” and there’s nothing technically stopping him from being Iron Man.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Live your dreams I guess, Elon.

Disgruntled Tweet about Musk Bid.

Disgruntled Tweet about Musk Bid.

Sure some people are disgruntled by the whole ordeal, but there’s really not a way to boycott this. In fact, the user base is only projected to grow for Twitter, with Elon at the helm.

Elon Musk Meme

And, in true Musk fashion he trolled Twitter users, critics and fans by tweeting a series of Tweets detailing which companies he was going to buy next.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Musk then said would buy America’s most popular fast-food chain, and fix the most common complaint. I have to admit, I kind of want him to follow through on this one.

First, he threatened to buy Coca-Cola and put the cocaine back in, referring to the inception of the popular soft drink, when it first contained cocaine.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Lastly, the new Twitter CEO threatened to shut down the entire platform altogether, so that all the users go outside.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

UPDATE:

As of Friday the 13th (spooky), Musk announced his Twitter bid of 44 billion dollars is currently on hold.

He claims he still plans on following through with the acquisition, and he will owe Twitter a one-billion-dollar breakup fee if he does not follow through. However, if he can afford to spend 44 billion on a social media website, I have to assume one billion dollars isn’t much of a deterrent for him. The bid could be on hold for multiple reasons.

He could be trying to negotiate a better price for Twitter, the deal could be falling apart or he could simply be walking away. One issue is that he was going to borrow against his smart car company, Tesla, but Tesla stock has been plummeting as of late. A part of me wonders if this is some kind of bizarre stunt in order to get media coverage and attention prior to unveiling a new concept at either Tesla or SpaceX. After the frenzy the news of Musk purchasing Twitter has caused, the deal may not even go through, and once again, the future of Twitter remains uncertain.

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