Windows 10 launches July 2015

Get Windows 10

Have you noticed a new icon appear on your task bar? The Get Windows 10 icon is now being displayed on machines running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1. By clicking on it, you will be invited to reserve a ‘free upgrade’ to Microsoft’s latest operating system (OS) – as long as it is done within a year of the launch date.

The new software is available from July 29th 2015 and, if you have reserved a copy, will be installed automatically as part of a Windows update. Once you’ve claimed the upgrade, it’s permanent, and Microsoft will keep you updated for the supported lifetime of the device.

Why is Windows 10 free?

Many Windows 8 users have not been impressed with that particular operating system, prompting happy Windows 7 users to stay put on that OS. However, while Windows 8 received a lot of criticism, it seems Windows 10 appears to be the real successor to Windows 7 without sacrificing the good parts of Windows 8.

Making Windows 10 free is designed to spur more users into embracing a modern Microsoft operating system.  Supporting multiple versions of Windows is costly and time consuming. Windows XP is already no longer supported. By migrating users from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10, app and software developers can concentrate on modern features that the brand new operating system brings and not worry about backward compatibility. The downside is, with Microsoft going down a very different business route, you may find – like most Google products and services – Windows 10 serves up nags and prompts in relation to ‘other’ paid for Microsoft services.

Should I install the update?

Within the Get Windows 10 app, there is a menu in the top left hand corner. Clicking on the menu lists several items, one of which is ‘Check Your PC’. Click on this and the app will do a system analysis, highlighting any problems that may occur; for example, I use three Dell D630’s and I have received the message:

“These devices are not fully compatible with Windows 10. Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset family. You’ll experience problems with your display”.

Will I personally upgrade?

Well, I’ll try it on one machine, but not before imaging the existing operating system so I can restore back to the previous state independently. I’ll make sure any work that isn’t already backed up, is backed up. The second bit is a bit of belt and braces as all my documents are on a separate drive to my operating system anyway.

The system requirements for upgrading are fairly low, so as long as your PC passes the check, you should be OK: 1Ghz or faster processor, 1GB ram and 16GB disk space for 32-bit or 2GB and 20GB for 64-bit Windows, and at least Direct X 9 with a 1024×600 display.

Points to note:

The upgrade will remove Windows Media Centre, as well as applications on a “list with known issues”, according to the specifications. Windows 10 will not play DVDs without additional software. Windows 7 desktop gadgets will be removed.

You will also see some changes to Windows games and accessories. Old versions of Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts will be removed, though Microsoft has free app versions of the first two of these games.

How do you upgrade?

As long as you are happy that your system is compatible with Windows 10, it is a very easy process. Just accept the terms and conditions of the Windows Update, and it is all done for you.  If you are not happy with Windows 10 you should be able to uninstall the update and roll-back to your PC’s previous state; however, as already mentioned above, I would suggest imaging your existing OS drive and backing up all your important data beforehand in case the installation corrupts or does not work as intended.

Why bother to upgrade when we are happy with the system you have?

If you are running Windows 8.1, I feel you can only benefit from installing Windows 10. Windows 7 users, it is a little more tricky. On January 13th 2015 Microsoft’s mainstream support for Windows 7 Service Pack (SP) 1 ended. This does not mean Microsoft has stopped issuing security fixes for Windows 7 (“Mainstream support” is the period during which Microsoft provides for free security and non-security updates and telephone support for its products). Extended support (the period during which Microsoft continues to provide for free security updates for products) doesn’t end until January 14, 2020. So you are still good for another five(ish) years, by which time your device running Windows 7 would probably have expired. Personally I will upgrade for free all the PC’s that I have that are compatible with Windows 10. I tend to make the jump every ‘other’ OS…. Windows 98, not ME, Windows XP, not Vista, Windows 7, not Windows 8. Whether you do is up to you…..