Microsoft Windows 10 free upgrade revisited: three of your questions answered

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I upgraded from Windows 7 to 10 and it looked like everything went fine, even though it changed my home screen saver and where the icons were listed.

The one thing I cannot get to work is our HP OfficeJet 7310 All-in-One device, which functions as a printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine. Now the printer function is the only one that works. Steve

New operating systems usually require new drivers, and for full functionality, this usually means drivers provided by the manufacturer. If these aren’t available, Microsoft will install generic drivers. Perhaps that’s what’s happened here, by mistake.

Fortunately, HP does provide 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10 drivers for the HP OfficeJet 7310. To find out which you need, right-click the Start button and select System. Look under “System type”: it will say something like “64-bit Operating System”.

To change the screen-saver, go to the Start menu and select Settings. Next, click Personalisation, then Lock screen, and look for “Screen saver settings” at the bottom of the page. After that, the options look much like the ones in Windows 7.

Desktop icons are now discouraged. The Start menu shows your most-used applications, and for faster access, you can pin your favourite apps to the taskbar – as in Windows 7.

Either way, your icons may still be there. Right-click on the desktop, select View, then go to the bottom of the menu where it says “Show desktop icons”. Clicking the text will make them instantly appear or disappear.

If you want to add a missing icon, find the program in the Start menu (eg in All apps) and simply drag it to the desktop. However, note that desktop icons are just shortcuts: they don’t update like Live Tiles.

Finally, go back to Settings/Personalisation, select Themes, and click where it says “Desktop icon settings”. This lets you add or remove old system icons such as This PC (aka My Computer), User’s Files, Network and Recycle Bin.

Keeping manufacturers’ software

I have upgraded my Sony Vaio SVE15129CN to Windows 10 and everything is going fine. If I run into problems later, and I decide to use the Windows 10 Installation Media, the Microsoft website says that the apps that my PC manufacturer installed will be uninstalled.

Although I hate many of the Sony apps, some of them are quite useful. I want that they should be installed again after a clean reinstallation of Windows 10.

If I do a clean install after the one year of free upgrade availability (ie 29 July 2016), will my copy of Windows activate then also? Nikhil

The Windows 10 in-place upgrade is pretty much a clean installation. Windows 10 is installed, your old stuff is copied across (which sometimes misses a few settings), and then the old operating system is stored temporarily in a separate folder. This is necessary in case you have problems that can’t be solved by a system refresh (Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset the PC) and you want to revert the upgrade.

As you say, you can do a clean installation from DVD or USB using the Windows 10 Installation Media. Of course, this download does not include include any PC manufacturer’s bundled software. Indeed, that’s often the main reason for doing a clean installation. So, before you do one, check the Vaio web pages to make sure that you can redownload any bundled software and drivers you need. Examples include the Windows 10 Upgrade page, Windows 10 How-To & Support, and Drivers, Firmware & Software.

Bear in mind that Microsoft supplies all its PC manufacturers with generic Windows code. It has no control over what they add to it, and no way of knowing how they customise Windows to their hardware.

However, because you have already done an in-place upgrade to Windows 10, your activation key is now stored online. If you do a clean installation, it should activate automatically, irrespective of the date.

Will my old Office work?

Will my Excel and Word 2000 work with Windows 10? Bruce

The main components of Microsoft Office seem to work in Windows 10, and Microsoft’s Gabe Aul – a VP in the Windows team – tweeted a screen shot of it running Office 95 from 1995. The application that seems most problematic is the Outlook email and organiser program. However, as with any program, you can always try Compatibility Mode. To do this, right-click on the program and select Properties from the drop-down menu. Tick the box that says “Run this in compatibility mode for:” and then select a version of Windows from 95 to 8.

Windows 10 should retain your Office programs, but this can go wrong. Ideally, you should have your original Microsoft Office DVDs and a copy of your product key so that you can re-install it. (A program such as Belarc Advisor will retrieve the Office and Windows product keys from your PC: make absolutely sure you know both.) You must also have backups of your data, and it’s wise to back up your whole PC before doing a major upgrade.

However, Office 2000 is an antique. It was launched in June 1999, and Microsoft stopped supporting it with security patches 10 years later, in 2009. This could leave you open to so-called macro virus attacks, though so few people use Office 2000, I doubt that any malware writers are still targeting it.

Personally, I’d buy a new, vastly improved copy of Microsoft Office, or use the free online Office programs in your OneDrive. Once you have upgraded to Windows 10, you can also install the free Word Mobile and Excel Mobile apps from the Windows Store. These would allow you to do some work offline.

However, since you’re roughly 16 years behind the current level of Microsoft Office, you could probably side-grade to LibreOffice 5.1. It’s free, so you can check to make sure it loads your files correctly. Also, the LibreOffice 5.1 user interface is much closer to Office 2000 than it is to Office 2016, because Microsoft introduced a new ribbon-based interface with Office 2007.

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Your questions about upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10, or vice versa.

Have you got another question for Jack? Email it to Ask.Jack@theguardian.com

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jack Schofield, for theguardian.com on Thursday 11th February 2016 09.04 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010