Many have been counting down the days. July 29th. Microsoft Windows 10 is now available. If you have Windows 7 or 8.1 on your computer, you may have even clicked on the notification and ‘reserved’ your copy. But July 29th has passed now and many are wondering – What shall I do?
First off, I want to say that I’m generally a big fan of Windows 10. Unlike the roll-out of Windows 8 which had a lot of people unhappy with the new operating system, Windows 10 looks like it’s going to be a big hit. Microsoft is bringing back the familiar Start Menu, increased security, added a bunch of features and generally will have very good compatibility with all of your existing software and hardware (for the Windows 7/8.1 users, that is).
Although Windows 10 became available on July 29th, Microsoft is not upgrading everyone on that date. They are on a staggered release schedule that will let you upgrade in the days or weeks after, depending on when you made your ‘reservation’. You can click on that tiny little Windows 10 icon in your system tray and it will tell you when your computer has automatically downloaded the new software and is ready for the upgrade. Keep in mind that the upgrade will NOT happen automatically without you starting it.
So…Why SHOULD I upgrade to Windows 10?
It’s free…for now. Until at least July 29, 2016, Microsoft is giving away the operating system free to all users with a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8. Not only that, but Microsoft is going to continually update Windows on a gradual basis, unlike previously when they release a new Windows version every few years. So if you get Windows 10 now, you should always have the latest version of Windows on your computer.
Increased Security. Any software that ‘touches’ the Internet should be continually updated to protect against the latest security threats. Windows 10 will literally be years ahead of Windows 7 and 8 in terms of security. It includes new technology like Windows Hello – a bio-metric authentication system integrated into Windows 10.
It’s Smarter. Microsoft has included features like Cortana (the voice-activated personal assistant, kind of like Apple’s Siri) in Windows 10. A new feature called Wi-Fi Sense will automatically allow your friends to connect to your WiFi network without giving them your password (I just scared some of you). Windows 10 was built to provide a unified operating system that can run across your multiple devices such as PCs, tablets and smartphones. The Windows Action center that provides notifications and buttons for common tasks …and more.
Why should I NOT Upgrade to Windows 10?
If it ain’t broke… Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for now are very good, supported operating systems. There is no major compelling reason for most people to upgrade to Windows 10 right away.
Compatibility. All of your hardware and software you have now is compatible with the Windows version you have now (7 and/or 8). Although MOST hardware and software will also work fine with Windows 10, there may be some compatibility issues. Will your scanner work after you upgrade from Windows 7 to 10? Will your accounting program still function? Maybe your video card will have issues after the upgrade… Compatibility issues have been one of the major pains for virtually every new version of Windows.
Something Happened! Messages like this (very helpful, don’t you think?) have been reported by some people upgrading their computers. For most users, the upgrade will happen without any problems, but for a small percentage, you may get errors, or worse…upgrading may turn your working computer into something less (and force you to do a fresh load of Windows). You do have a good backup, right?
It’s Different. OK, Most people really like the new Windows 10 interface. I think it’s the best of Windows 7 & 8 combined, but there are differences nonetheless. Are YOU ready for it?
Can my computer handle Windows 10?
Generally, if your computer can now run Windows 7 or 8.1 well, it should be fine to run Windows 10. If you now have Windows 8 (not 8.1) on your computer, you will need to update to 8.1 before upgrading to 10 (Click in the ‘Store’ icon on the Windows ‘Tiles’ screen and install the free update). If you have an old Windows XP computer, you are not eligible for the free Windows 10 Upgrade (and if it’s several years old, the hardware may not work with Windows 10 anyway).
How do I upgrade to Windows 10?
If you have ‘reserved’ Windows 10 from the ‘Get Windows 10’ icon in your system tray, you should get a notice like this when your computer has downloaded Windows 10 and is ready to upgrade (you may have to click that icon in the lower right corner of your desktop):
If so, just click on ‘OK, let’s continue’ button. It will go through a couple easy steps, ask you when you want to upgrade and do the upgrade for you with very little user interaction needed. Keep in mind that is is NOT a simple program install, it is an operating system upgrade, so the upgrade will take more than a few minutes and you will NOT be able to use your computer while the upgrade is going on. So you may want to wait until later to do the upgrade.
If you haven’t gotten the ‘Ready’ notice from Microsoft and you’re anxious and ready to install Windows 10 now, you can download the software manually from Microsoft. Go to this website and you can download their tool to Upgrade your computer (you can also use the tool on that website to just download the software and burn it onto a DVD or USB drive).
If you upgrade and Hate it (or find things that don’t work)!
The good news is that Windows 10 will let you “Recover” back to your previous operating system (Windows 7 or 8, whichever you had before the upgrade) for a limited time (about 30 days) after you do the upgrade. Just go to your ‘Settings”, then ‘Update & Security’, then select ‘Recovery’. There are also some 3rd party ‘GoBack‘ (link to ‘System GoBack Free’) programs that will allow you to ‘Downgrade’ back to your previous version of Windows.
Other considerations for Windows 10:
BACKUP – As always, you should backup your computer BEFORE you do any major operation on it. Generally, the upgrade will not cause any data loss, but better safe than sorry. The best backup in this case may be an ‘image’ backup. An image backs up your ENTIRE drive (including Windows, programs, data, etc), so if something bad happens or Windows 10 doesn’t work for you, you can ‘re-image’ your drive and put your old system back the way it was.
Windows Media Center (WMC) is gone in Windows 10. Microsoft basically discontinued WMC years ago, but it will be removed before upgrading to Windows 10. For those computers that do the upgrade and have WMC installed, the upgrade will install the Windows DVD Player app. If you do a ‘fresh’ (not upgrade) installation of Windows, the DVD player will not be installed, so you need to install or buy a DVD player if you plan on playing movie DVDs on your computer (see my downloads section for some free DVD playing apps if needed). If you love WMC, don’t upgrade or find an alternative.
You can NOT opt out of Windows Updates in Windows 10. For Windows 10 Home users, there is no longer any option to NOT download and/or install updates. They will just happen and can happen at any time (not just on ‘Patch Tuesdays’).
Overall, approach with caution, but it looks like Windows 10 will be a winner and I plan on recommending it to most people. As always, if you need any help installing Windows 10 or any other technical needs, give us a call or bring your computer by to Discount Computer Service.