7 essential tasks to perform before installing Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update

Make sure your Windows PC is ready for the Fall Creator's Update

Microsoft has settled into a pattern of big updates to Windows at least once a year and sometimes twice. A massive update requires preparation to ensure it goes smoothly and to avoid potential problems.

What to do to get your PC ready before installing Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update. The essential tasks.

On the one hand it is great to see Microsoft continuing to develop Windows. New features come along every few months and the operating system is getting better with each update.

Unfortunately, updates are a source of problems for some people and they fail to install. Quite often the update takes an hour or more and fails when it is nearly complete. It then spends the next hour uninstalling and rolling back to the previous installation. It wastes a lot of time.

1 Clear sufficient disk space

These mega updates from Microsoft consist of a 5GB download. Before installation starts, the current C:\Windows folder is copied to C:\Windows.old and it could be as much as 30GB. This means that you need around 35GB of disk space to perform the upgrade.

Is there enough space on the disk? Check it and see. Open an Explorer window and select This PC on the left. All the disk drives are listed and under Windows (C:) is the free space. Make sure there is at least 35GB.

Check the free space on the Windows C: drive

If there isn’t enough space, you can temporarily move files such as photos and music to a USB disk drive or thumb drive.

2 Check the disk structure

Before updating Windows, check the disk structure. Years ago, disk errors used to be common and had to be fixed, but I have not seen one for a long time. However, it is still a good idea to check.

Check the disk for errors in a Windows PC

A simple check is to open Explorer, select This PC on the left, then right click the C: drive and select Properties. select the Tools tab and then click Check. It usually reports that no errors have been found, but ignore the message and click Scan drive anyway.

3 Repair Windows

Windows Update itself is often the cause of update problems and it seems to sometimes get in a muddle. Here is an article that solves Windows Update problems.

To cut a long story short, right click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin). Then enter these three commands:

sfc /scannow
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /scanhealth
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Each one can take up to 20 minutes to run, so be patient. There are more tips in that article.

4 Update drivers

I would not advise updating drivers unless there is a problem because sometimes it can cause problems where there were none. If you definitely know a driver is not compatible or if you try installing Windows and it fails because of drivers, then update them, otherwise leave them alone.

Update drives in Windows PCs using Device Manager

The safe way to update drivers is to right click the Start button and select Device Manager. Expand a section, such as Display Adapters, then right click an entry and select Update driver.

5 Uninstall unnecessary software

Now is a good time to take a close look at the software that is installed on the computer and to remove anything that you do not need. Open the Control Panel and then open Programs and Features. Double click any program you can live without and uninstall it.

This frees up disk space, reduces the likelihood of software problems after upgrading, and gets rid of PUPs - potentially unwanted programs.

6 Back up your files

It is unlikely that any files will be lost during the Windows update , but why risk it? A backup of your files is always useful and one simple way to do this is to enable File History.

File History backup in Windows 10

Plug in a USB disk drive, then open the Control Panel and click File History. Click Select a drive and then turn it on. It stores copies of all the files in your Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos folders, plus a few others.

7 Back up the disk

File History saves backups of your files, but it does not completely back up the disk. This means it cannot be restored if it fails.

For this you need backup software and there are several to choose from. AOMEI Backupper, EaseUS Todo Backup, Paragon Backup & Recovery are three free backup utilities that can create images of the disk and everything on it. There are others.

Don't forget to use the features in these programs to create recovery media - either a bootable CD or flash memory stick. If the computer will not start after Windows Update, they can be used to start it and restore the backup. This puts everything back the way it was when the backup was created.

An external USB drive is needed to store the backups.

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