Windows 10 upgrade, do these things immediately…

You’ve just upgraded to the most recent version of Windows 10. Before you get back to work, use this checklist to ensure that your privacy and security settings are correct and that you’ve cut annoyances to a bare minimum.

For upgrades, the process is considerably simpler. After about an hour (more or less, depending on the underlying hardware), you should be back at work, with most apps and settings migrated successfully.

In either case, clean install or upgrade, use this checklist to make sure you’ve covered some important bases that aren’t part of Windows Setup. Note: All of these steps have been tested with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update and the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

1. Create a recovery drive.

Sure, your Windows 10 installation is working fine now, but if it ever fails to start properly, you’ll be grateful you have a recovery drive handy. Booting from this specially formatted USB flash drive gives you access to the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), which you can use to fix most common startup problems.

You need a USB flash drive. It should be at least 512 MB in size for a bare recovery drive and at least 8 GB if you also want to include Windows installation files.

You’ll find a shortcut to the Recovery Drive desktop app on Start, under the Windows Administrative Tools heading, or you can search for it. In either case, you’ll need to provide an administrator’s credentials to run the tool.

Type Recovery in the search box to locate this shortcut.

Full instructions for using this utility and adding the current Windows 10 installation files to the recovery drive are here: Windows 10 tip: Create a recovery drive.

2. Secure your user account.

If you use a local account, your sign-in credentials are stored locally, and there’s no way to provide a second factor for authentication.


By contrast, signing in with a Microsoft account or an Azure Active Directory account means you can set up two-factor authentication (2FA) that requires external confirmation from an app on your trusted mobile device.

Both types of accounts are free. If you’re worried about privacy, set up a new Microsoft account and use it exclusively for this purpose and don’t associate the address with any other service.

To set up 2FA for a Microsoft account, sign in at There, using the options shown here, you can turn on two-step verification, configure a mobile authenticator app, and manage trusted devices.

(That’s just one of several handy shortcuts for managing a Microsoft account. For more, see Windows 10 tip: Take control of Microsoft account security and privacy settings.)

To manage security settings for an Azure AD account, go to, select Security and Privacy, and follow the links under the Additional Security Verification heading. (To bookmark that page, use this link:

Finally, if you have the hardware to support it, turn on Windows Hello. The options for facial recognition and fingerprint identification are available under Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options.

Finally, if you have the hardware to support it, turn on Windows Hello. The options for facial recognition and fingerprint identification are available under Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options.

3. Configure Windows Update.

The good news is Windows 10 includes automatic, cumulative updates that ensure you’re always running the most recent security patches. The bad news is those updates can arrive when you’re not expecting them, with a small but non-zero chance that an update will break an app or feature you rely on for daily productivity.

If you’d rather let the rest of the world test each month’s security and reliability updates before you OK the install, you should be running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, not Home. With those business editions, you can defer updates by up to 30 days.

After you complete a Windows 10 upgrade, the first thing you should do is go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates. Install any available updates, including updated drivers.

Next, on the Windows Update page in Settings, click Change active hours to specify your normal work hours (a window of up to 18 hours), when you don’t want to be interrupted by updates. Then click Advanced options and set your deferral periods for monthly quality updates. Note that you must be signed in as an administrator to see the options shown here, and these options are not available if you are running a Windows 10 Insider preview build.

On Windows 10 Pro, you can defer both types of updates.

I recommend setting a reminder in your calendar program for the second Tuesday of each month, the day on which Microsoft releases security updates for Windows. When you receive that reminder, you can choose to manually install the updates, or snooze the reminder and perform the task a few days later. Automatic updates won’t download and install until the deferral period you specify has passed.

(I also recommend that you open the Store app and click the three dots in the upper right corner, then click Downloads and updates to install any available app updates. Windows 10 will update those apps automatically, but you can speed up the process by checking manually.)

4 thoughts on “Windows 10 upgrade, do these things immediately…

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