Microsoft has started pushing the Windows 10 Creators Update (also known as version 1703) to individual PCs as an automatic update. That is dangerous for your data!
I know — three of my computers updated successfully. However, one of my computers failed to update completely. At that point, got stuck at 99% updated — and stayed there at least 8 hours. My only choices for that computer turned out to be (1) to restore it from my backup image (and try again) or (2) to do a clean install of Windows 10 Creators Update. Upgrading was no longer an available choice.
So, back up now — make an image backup of your hard drive. Or, at least back up the hidden System boot partition and the Windows C: partition. Make the image file to an external hard drive, or on another hard drive in your computer, or even on another computer across your network. Just don’t risk all your programs, configurations, and data files.
Even if you choose to do a clean install of Windows 10 Creators Update, wiping all your programs and data (sometimes, that’s your only choice!), you can get your data back from your backup.
Since Microsoft has said that they will be pushing the Creators Update out across several months, I decided to keep control of the change myself.
I chose to back up and then upgrade — at a time of my choosing, so I knew that I had a good backup and knew when the upgrade was taking place. I sure didn’t want to go to use my computer, only to find it tied up in upgrading (that happens often enough!) or having stopped because of an error.
I prefer to use Acronis True Image for my backups because of its flexibility. I’ve used its versions since at least 2009. Windows 7, 8 and 10 also have a built-in image backup utility, but it’s much more limited.
Instead of waiting for Microsoft to "get to me" (in multiple meanings of the phrase!), I downloaded the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant to do it myself on two computers. But, I had to download the whole upgrade twice, once onto each computer. Not a bad approach, but the download process was dreadfully slow.
Now, that option seems to have been removed. The Windows Media Creation Tool is now the tool for both upgrading an individual computer and for creating a DVD, ISO file, or USB flash drive to be used to install or upgrade one or more computers.
So, for the other two upgrades, I chose to go download the Windows 10 Creators Edition (full version) onto a USB flash drive. This was much faster, plus I didn’t have to download the upgrade multiple times, once from each computer.
This USB drive can be used for a clean install of the Windows 10 Creators Update edition by booting the USB drive. Or, it can used to upgrade to the Creators Update by starting Windows from the hard drive, and then running Setup from the USB drive.
If you want to keep your applications (programs) and data on C: drive (or whichever drive Windows is installed on, usually C:), you need to go the option of booting Windows from your hard drive, as usual, then inserting the USB flash drive and running Setup (Setup.exe) from the USB drive.
There’s not a lot to say about the Windows information screens during the upgrade. Watch them if you’re bored, nor not. After you complete the update, Windows 10 Creators Update will have a series of privacy options for you to set (about information to be shared). Defaults were all Yes. I chose all No on my computers.
- Windows Media Creation Tool
- USB Flash Drive, 8GB
- external hard drive, desktop
- Acronis True Image 2017
If you use Windows 10, you will be upgraded to the Creators Update. It’s best to prepare for the upgrade (back up) and do the upgrade on your timing, so you don’t lose all your files, if the upgrade fails.