You may have noticed (or maybe not) a little Window icon in the tool tray, next to the clock on your taskbar. This is you invitation to participate in a FREE, totally free, really really free upgrade from the operating system you have now (Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) to the exciting new world of Windows 10. This icon was delivered via Windows Update, so if you can’t find yours, try running your updates. Windows 10 will be released on July 29th, 2015
I know I sounded a bit insincere in that first paragraph, but Microsoft is giving users of Windows 7 and 8 an opportunity to upgrade to the new Windows 10 operating system for free, zilch, nada, zip during the first year of it’s release. After that you will just have to pay for it. Vista and remaining XP users (just breath deeply and let go…), you are out of luck, you will need to buy a new PC or laptop.
For users of Windows 8 who have been laboring under the absence of the traditional Start menu, you will be glad to know that Microsoft has admitted that the colorfully tiled “Metro style” Start Screen just never caught on. For Windows 8 users, Microsoft is making amends. So my recommendation – take the upgrade! Unless you are one of the 1.5% of Windows 8 users that actually like the new user experience, this will be an easy decision for you.
For Windows 7 users, perhaps not so much. Windows 7 is truly my favorite operating system of all time, and yes that includes Linux distros and Apple OSX as well. Many other Windows users feel the same way, and may be reluctant to upgrade, but my advice, tentatively for now, is to plan on upgrading as well. You don’t want to leave yourself in the same dead-end box canyon of technology that some Windows XP users just finally left (for Win 8 unfortunately for them).
I have my invitation on Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Home, Win 8.1 and 8.1 Pro, so it looks to me like business users, at least those running simple workgroup style networks, will be able to take advantage of this offer as well. I am not sure what the situation is for Windows 7 or 8 Pro users on Microsoft domain environments. Microsoft has advised their Enterprise clients that “Enterprise customers with active Software Assurance subscription in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer.” So to me that says unless you have Software Assurance, it ain’t gonna be free.
However, I am advising my clients to wait on this until I have had a chance to go through the upgrade process and find out for myself just how easy and user friendly it really turns out to be.
- Click on the icon and register for the upgrade. It will be delivered to you via Windows Updates. You DO NOT have to install it immediately, and I would advise against it in any regard.
- See if your computer can run Windows 10. When you register, click on the menu stack,and then Check your PC. This should tell you if your computer can
- Wait to hear some early feedback. You most assuredly will find that here, but it will be everywhere on the blogosphere, so do your research and due diligence.
- When you are ready to go, BACKUP YOUR PERSONAL FILES FIRST! Sorry for the ALL CAPS shout out, but I cannot urge you enough to protect your digital goodies from any that may go wrong with your particular upgrade. Get an nice external drive, go to C:\Users, find your user profile, and that of anyone else who users the computer, and just copy the whole thing to the external drive.
- Upgrade. In an upgrade, one of the advantages is that you will not have to reinstall all of your applications over again, and your personal files, the ones we just collected, should all be there as well.
Here are a few other articles where you can get the dope on what Windows 10 is bringing that is new and/or compelling, like Cortana, the virtual personal girlfriend, or the new web browser, Edge, or just how the new menu is going to look and work.
- PC World Windows 10 preview
- Microsoft Windows 10 How to Upgrade for Free
- Microsoft windows 10 Upgrade FAQs
- Lifehacker: Quickly Check Windows 10 Compatibility