[This article originally posted August 2015 has been updated May 2106 due to the increase in recent Windows 10 installations before Microsoft's free offer ends]

As you may be aware, Microsoft is providing free upgrades for all Windows 7 and 8 users to the new Windows 10 until July 2016, so we wanted to provide some helpful information about upgrading, as well as alert users to one step needed afterward for 3D Inspection System software.

 

If you don't know much about Windows 10, you may find these and other third-party articles helpful.
Review overview: http://www.cnet.com/products/microsoft-windows-10/
Performance Information: http://www.cnet.com/news/windows-10-performance-numbers-story/
Prepare for upgrading: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-prepare-your-pc-for-windows-10/

What improvements Windows 10 brings over Windows 7: 

http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/computing/why-windows-10-is-superior-to-windows-7-11364001699871

http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/do-you-use-windows-7-dont-be-stubborn-upgrade-to-windows-10/

http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/22/technology/windows-10-review/index.html

Only a few days into its release, Microsoft already upgraded millions of consumer computers to the new Windows 10, but is still rolling out the upgrade to millions more, and has made it a recommended upgrade for Windows Update so users won't be upset if they miss out on the free deal.  So if you are upgrading soon, or recently upgraded, we want to make sure you are duly prepared.
 

Before Upgrading Windows

In addition to the tips in the above article about preparing for upgrading, don't forget to make a precautionary backup of your 3D data files using File > Backup All files from inside 3D, since this backup would contain more custom 3D information than a general backup of folders or items made on your computer may contain. More information can be found here: http://www.3dinspection.com/Tips-and-Tricks/safeguarding-your-important-3d-inspection-system-data.html
To keep backups small and fast, we'd recommend archiving and moving any older inspection reports more than a year old out of your data folder (a good idea to save space and clean house while making future backups smaller), see http://www.3dinspection.com/Tips-and-Tricks/how-can-i-archive-and-remove-old-reports-from-my-hard-drive.html

Be sure to store your 3Dbackup zip file along with your program installer on a removable drive or in cloud storage for safe keeping, as good practice dictates that you always store important backups off the hard drive of the computer you are using. These backup items should not normally be needed after upgrading unless something unexpectedly and catastrophically were to go awry. As the adage goes, one is only tempting fate by not maintaining current backups.

Also it is a good idea to finish up any pending inspections or deadlines first, before choosing to start the installation, since one may not know how long downloading and upgrading windows may take on a given computer as it records the prior setup.
 

3D Inspection System Compatibility

The current version 12.2 series of 3D Inspection System has been tested in-house on fresh installs of Windows 10 as well as existing computers upgraded to Windows 10, with no compatibility issues noted.

Note that we do not test old versions, but would not expect any version prior to 11.4 to be compatible, since those were not compatible with windows 8. Thus if you are still using an older version of 3D Inspection System software, we strongly recommend upgrading that first, prior to upgrading Windows.  Use Help > About3D in your 3D Inspection System software to verify your installed version number.  Don't wait too long, since Microsoft's free offer will expire and mainstream support has already ended for Windows 7 and earlier.
  

After Upgrading Windows

If 3D Inspection System was previously installed, after upgrading to Windows 10, you will need to reinstall the PDF driver used by the software: https://www.3dinspection.com/forums-discussion/10047-installation-and-upgrading/463-restart-sql-services-in-windows-10

That should be all that is needed for 3D Inspection System software after upgrading, however a handful of folks experienced a SQL connection error when SQL services hadn't automatically restarted after upgrading windows.  If you experience this, you may find it can be resolved by restarting windows a couple times to allow any final updates or settings windows needs to complete, or you may restart SQL services manually: https://www.3dinspection.com/forums-discussion/10047-installation-and-upgrading/463-restart-sql-services-in-windows-10

If you have any issues with your mouse not working as expected after upgrading, this topic may help: https://www.3dinspection.com/forums-discussion/10046-general-and-computer-hardware/467-mouse-not-working-right-in-windows-10

Finally, it's worth saying (this applies to any version of Windows), when something goes wrong with your computer or something isn't working properly, restarting is the first thing you should try. In fact, you should be restarting your computer periodically if you don’t shut it down each night. This allows windows updates to properly finish installing, which could be holding up other processes or tasks and impeding normal operation.  Although it may be waiting to prompt you to restart later at a more convenient time, it may be worth restarting sooner if something isn't working properly as expected.

Here are some other general tips after upgrading.

BROWSER: If you want to use the new fast and lightweight Edge that sets itself as the default browser, you may import prior favorites from IE: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/import-favorites-in-microsoft-edge  Or if you prefer Internet Explorer over Edge, you may want to add a favorite to it to your task bar: Click into search bar, type "Internet", right click Internet Explorer and choose to pin to taskbar.  Other browsers may likewise be located and pinned to the taskbar for convenience. 

SYSTEM PROTECTION: Newer versions of Windows are easy to reset or refresh should a problem occur.  However more options offered by System Protection (formerly System Restore) is turned off by default in Windows 10. If you wish to turn it on again, open a File Explorer window, right-click This PC in the left pane and choose Properties. Select System Protection in the left side, then highlight your C: drive and click Configure. Choose Turn on system protection. You may need to set the space used by system restore to the first notch past 0 bytes.

PERSONALIZATION: For a custom Windows 10’s appearance, right-click an empty part of the Desktop, select Personalize and adjust options for the Background, Colors, Lock (login) screen and the Start menu.   You may also clean up your Start menu of unwanted items (perhaps games or other items you won't use), after tapping Start right-click and uninstall or unpin. 

UPDATES: Updates are important for security, but you don't want them unduly inconveniencing you.  In the Advanced update section within Settings, select Advanced Windows Update options. Then, in the drop-down menu at the top, choose “Notify to schedule restart.”  This way, your computer will still restart regularly whenever updates are installed, but you’ll get a warning first.

For those who haven't upgraded to Windows 10, the clock is ticking for old versions of Windows. If you wait too long, it will cost you more later on, and security updates will finally cease for Windows 7 next year.  Scared of change?  Take some time to review some of the links above in the article, watch videos about Windows 10, or visit your local computer stores to play with the interface and learn a little more.  We anticipate Microsoft's plan to consolidate most computers to the same current version of Windows will make it easier to provide streamlined steps and other features in the future.