Operating System Upgrade

I had an interesting experience yesterday, one I’d never had to deal with before. When I opened my computer, I found an offer for a free upgrade to Windows 11. After looking into the pros and cons, both by checking online and by querying an IT person (or at least someone who is more knowledgeable than I am), I decided to go ahead and do the upgrade. There’s less than three years left for support of Windows 10, so the upgrade would extend the life of my computer, at least the Windows part.

According to the prompt, the upgrade was supposed to take twenty minutes, but the minutes dragged on and on, and an hour later, the download and installation still weren’t finished. I’m sure part of the lag was due to my internet service. I used to have a variable speed, with mostly fast speeds that were incredibly fast, but somewhere along the line, the internet provider divided the speeds into two separate categories, and since I could never find out what the cost of the higher speed would be (it was one of those deals where you had to pretty much sign your life away before you’d get to find out the new rate), I kept what I had. For the most part, the internet is fast enough, but until yesterday, I haven’t had to download any huge files since the change.

Whatever the reason, the whole process took so long that I had plenty of knuckle-biting time.

[Weird aside. Knuckle-biter was once common slang for something that caused anxiety or suspense, but when I Googled the term, looking for a less trite way of saying the same thing, all I could find were myriad articles about dermatophagia, a condition where people compulsively eat the skin on their knuckles and fingers. The only reference I found to “knuckle-biter” meaning suspense is a “Polish knuckle biter,” which is a left-over Polish joke meaning that there is no suspense.]

But back to my upgrade. So, there I was, not literally biting my knuckles, but beginning to worry about all the things that could go wrong. I know nothing is a “piece of cake” except, perhaps, a piece of cake. And I know the answer to the blasé rhetorical question, “What could go wrong?” is that anything can go wrong and often does. The only other time I upgraded an operating system, it was done by an IT specialist who needed to install the new system so he could fix something else that was wrong with my machine, and he “forgot” to uninstall the previous operating system, which caused an enormous number of problems. (I think it was Trend Micro who, in looking for the reason why their program hogged all my CPUs, discovered the mistake and unistalled the old operating system for me.)

As more minutes ticked away, I worried about all the things that could go wrong. I didn’t care about my files so much since most are backed up, but I did worry about their messing with MS Word since I had such a difficult time getting it purchased and installed in the first place. (Not surprisingly, MS doesn’t want to sell the program — they make a whole lot more money by selling subscriptions.) Although I wasn’t worried about learning the new system — using a computer has always come easy to me — I did wonder about possible changes.

As it turned out, despite my concern, the only problem with the upgrade was the length of time it took for the new system to install itself. As far as I can see, everything I need is still in place and working well. Although there might be major differences under the hood, so to speak, for me, most of the changes seem cosmetic.

So perhaps it wasn’t such an interesting experience after all.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.