Upgrading a Dell Venue 8 Pro to Windows 10

If you’re unable to get the automatic upgrade for Windows 10 to work with your Dell Venue 8 Pro, try using the Microsoft media creation tool to get there.  Depending on how much free space you have, an SD card may be required for the download to be stored.  The media creation tool will prompt you if you’re short on space for this operation.

For my upgrade, I opted to have the media creation tool and Windows 10 setup wipe everything so I could start fresh.  Since all of my important files, pictures, etc. are sync’d online, I wasn’t concerned about the loss of any local content.  This is probably not the case for most people, so back up your files before you start.  Note that although this was written with the Dell Venue 8 Pro in mind, this process works on an activated Windows 8.1 setup as well.  The key is it must be an activated instance of the operating system, or the tool will prompt you for the appropriate product key.

Important PSA: Once you do this process, there is no going back to Windows 8.1 unless you have some full system image of your Venue 8 Pro before you start.  So proceed with caution and at your own risk.

I’ll walk you through the process. Let’s get started:

1. Download the 32-bit Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/media-creation-tool-install.  Be sure to use the Windows 10 version in this link, not the Windows 8 version.

2. Start the media creation tool from where you downloaded it.  It will run through a few things to get it “ready”.

3. When prompted for “What do you want to do?”, select “Upgrade this PC now”, then click Next. (side note: The Windows 8 version of the media creation tool only lets you create a DVD or thumb drive, not upgrade/downgrade.)

Wait patiently while it downloads a copy of Windows 10 to your Venue 8 Pro.  Before this process starts, it will tell you if you have enough space to proceed, or if you need to find somewhere else to put the installation files.

4. Review the license terms, click Accept.

The setup will check for some more updates; be patient.

It might check one more time to really make sure it’s ready.

5. It’s ready to install now.  At this point, you can change what to keep (apps and settings, nothing, etc.).  It defaults to do an upgrade and keep your personal files and apps.

If you click the “Change what to keep” link, you get this:

6. I wanted a fresh slate, so I chose “Nothing” as my option, and then clicked Next.  Because you changed that option, it will check again to see if it’s ready to install and bring you back to the “ready to install” screen when the check is complete.  From there, you can click Install.

Now it’s going to start installing Windows 10.  As it says on the screen, it will reboot several times.  Now you can wait patiently some more while you Venue Pro 8 turns itself into a super productive Windows 10 machine.

If you are new to the Windows 10 setup process, when it does reboot, it shows you a different screen with the setup status.  This will give you a good idea of how far along you are.  It will go through copying files, installing features and drivers, and configuring settings.  This part can take a bit to complete.

7. Once the setup is complete, you’ll be greeted with a blue screen (not the bad kind, that will walk you through some of the personalization.  when complete, click Next.

8. “Get going fast.”  This is where your only choice is the “Use express settings”.  Cause that’s what you have to do to get going fast.

9. Provide your Microsoft account username and password so you can link it to your machine.  You also have the option to skip this step or create a new Microsoft account, but I’ll complete it this time around.

10. Set a PIN.  I like this change in Windows 10.  Although most company group policies won’t support it, I like the easy of having to only enter a PIN vs. my 16 character with 12 special requirements type of password.  You have the option to skip this step as well, or you click the button to “Set a PIN”.

11. Cortana is here.  Just click Next.

At this point, you’ll see the familiar screens (similar to Windows 8 setup) as it puts the finishing touches on the installation.

Bam!  The installation is complete and brings you into the Windows Desktop.

You just used the Microsoft media creation tool to upgrade your activated Windows 8 installation on the Dell Venue 8 Pro to Windows 10.  Going through this process, I also learned a few new things.  Here are some pointers:

  • I found that my Dell Venue 8 Pro BIOS version was A2.  This is pretty old as the current released version is A11 (7/21/2015).  It is most likely a good idea to upgrade that before doing your Windows 10 upgrade.  As a side note, it appears that Dell has rev’d the BIOS from a number of their products, specifically those which are certified to work with Windows 10.
  • There are a number of driver updates for the Venue Pro 8 which are specific to Windows 10.  You can find those here.
  • Make sure you have your Venue Pro 8 on a charger during this entire process, especially if you’re doing BIOS upgrades.
  • I “kept nothing” when I started the upgrade which left me with around 9GB of free space once everything was said and done.  You can free up another 1GB or so if you remove the “Windows.old folder, which requires some work to go (it’s not a simple “delete” from Windows Explorer).
  • Tablet mode is on by default.  (see below)

A note on Windows 10 Tablet Mode.  Remember that Windows 10 is designed to work with non-touch PC’s and touch devices, like a tablet.  When you upgrade the Venue Pro 8 to Windows 10 and you go into the desktop, it will most likely default to tablet mode.  How you can tell is when you touch the Start button the screen, it brings you to the tile layout so you can touch what you want to do.  This is the tablet mode aspect of it.

If at first you weren’t expecting this, and you are anti-Windows 8, this might upset you.  But it’s easy to change.  Just click on the notification icon in the tray (it looks like a caption bubble), and click the “Tablet mode” button at the bottom of the Action Center to turn it off.  You’ll notice that the color of that button will change.

Once you turn off Tablet mode, you’ll get more of the expected result (a normal Start menu) when you click the Start button.

 

  • Rusty Simon

    Thank you so much for this. I was growing increasingly frustrated that all devices except Venue 8 were upgraded. Windows 10 upgrade still not ready automatically. When I tried to use the Media Creation Tool it sounded way too complicated. Today while looking for alternatives I found this online and you made it sound very simple from start to finish with good explanations (may have to add an sd card) and photos along the way. I did it! No problems, no surprises. I am very appreciative. Thank you.

  • Ross

    I just upgraded my dell venue 8 and it seemed all good, but now when i turn it on, and then now the power button will turn off the screen as it always did before, but when i try to turn it back on all I get is the lit up but black/blank screen. Only fix is to hard shut down and restart, but then persists.

    I tried changing the button options to ‘do nothing’ but then the button just did nothing.

    Any advice?

    • Hi Ross, part of the reason why I wanted to get to Windows 10 on my Venue was to see if some of the weirdness like you’re mentioning goes away. I had been experiencing the “dark screen of terror” after the Windows 8.1 update on my Venue. I’d make sure that your BIOS is up to date, and also make sure that all the current drivers have been installed from the Dell Support website because Dell did release updated drivers for some of the components for Windows 10. Doing those two things has made my Venue pretty solid. I do notice the occasional issues with the screen, but it usually does come back. Good luck!

  • Joe

    Is the upgrade to Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro?

    • Justin Braun

      Windows 10 Home.

      • Joe

        Thanks Justin! I was wondering why I ended up with home, sounds like that was the deal.

  • Janardhan Gade

    Thanks a lot. Your article helped me very much to upgrade to windows 10. I made many attempts using other sources but was not successful. Thanks again

  • Thank you for the post. You really made it look simple. Worked like a charm for me.

  • BrandonG777

    Worked like a charm, except I missed the bios update before upgrading and my screen wouldn’t wake after locking/sleep. Made it a bit of a pain to keep the screen throughout the bios update but works perfect after the bios update, wife approved.

  • Ruud Schmeitz

    Thanks for the upgrade instructions .

    I tried to upgrade my Venue 8 Pro this way , but when I clicked the ‘Next’ button in the ‘What do you want to do?’ window , I got a new window saying :
    “8GB of free disk space needed on (C:)
    Remove files you no longer need or use Disk Cleanup to free up space, and then try again.”

    There’s no option to choose another (external) drive , only a ‘Close’ button .

    How did you manage to get 9 GB of free space ?
    I uninstalled almost every app , and I’ve only got less than 4 GB of free space .

    You wrote : “I “kept nothing” when I started the upgrade (…)” .
    What do you mean by that ?

  • Ruud Schmeitz

    I managed to uninstall some more apps , and then the upgrade to Win10 was very easy .

    Thanx again for the detailed instructions !