Many of you will have noticed a strange new windows icon appearing in your Windows taskbar recently and wondered what is going on. Well Microsoft have started rolling out the new Windows 10 to customers and good news – if you have seen this icon then it means that you will be entitled to a FREE upgrade of your operating system! Due to the changing landscape of Google Andriod and Apple IOS, Microsoft have realized that customers are no longer willing to spend money on a new operating system and in a bid to keep the faltering PC/Laptop market alive they are hoping that by giving Windows away for free that all PCs won’t be abandoned in favour of the tablets and smart phones.
Whilst this maybe bad news for Microsoft’s profit margin it is good news for us because Windows has come on in leaps and bounds since the dark days of Windows 98 and Microsoft’s operating system continues to grow in terms of stability, functionality, and performance.
If you have Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 installed on your computer (and it is a genuine retail copy!) then you will be entitled to the free upgrade. If your computer has Windows XP or Windows Vista, or if you previously upgraded from an older version of Windows then you may not be entitled to a free upgrade and will have to purchase Windows 10
Assuming you are entitled to a free upgrade then the first step is to register you interest with Microsoft that you want to upgrade. To do this simply click on the Windows icon in your taskbar (bottom right corner of the screen) and follow the on-screen instructions. Alternatively if you can’t find the icon then you can follow the same steps on the Microsoft website here: www.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/windows-10-upgrade
Note that this process will not upgrade your computer straight away, it just lets you register your interest. Once your update is ready Microsoft will send you an email to let you know that you can download the update and from there you can set the process running.
Once you’ve downloaded the update then it’s time to get going. A few points before you start:
The update will take approx. 30 – 90 minutes to complete depending on the speed of your computer so schedule plenty of time to do it.
It will require about 7 gb of free space on your primary hard disk (the one where Windows is currently installed) but we recommend you have at least 10 gb free space just to be sure
The update can be run from inside Windows so you don’t need to do any complicated rebooting or make discs or anything like that, just run the update and go make a cup of tea.
From our initial testing the update picked up all our old drivers and settings straight away but just to be on the safe side you might want to make sure you have the driver discs handy for your printers and hardware etc. just in case there is a problem. Also make sure to backup all important files and data before you start.
And that’s it, just run the update and away you go
If you were previously using Windows 8/8.1 then most of the changes are cosmetic and you will feel right at home on Windows 10. The biggest change is that Microsoft has scrapped the controversial full-screen “Metro” (“Start”) interface and also made the Metro “Apps” behave a lot more like normal Windows 7 applications so the whole thing doesn’t feel quite so schizophrenic any more. Window 10 has returned to the old start menu although with a distinctly Metro twist which in our opinion is nice compromise.
The stupid “Charms Bar” on the right has been ditched too along with the old Windows 7 Action Center and both have been replaced with a snazzy new notification panel (as per Android/IOS) which looks a lot cleaner and works a lot better.
The last major tweak is the Cortana search bar which replaces the old Windows 7 search bar and the Metro search from 8. You might have seen Cortana being advertised on TV where you can ask her a question and she’ll give you an answer. Whilst the finished product is not quite as slick, the function does work quite well and the ability to switch between Web or Desktop searching is very fluid and has so far produced good results in our brief testing.
Windows 10 is essentially the next major service pack to Windows 8 and so it’s more of an evolution than a revolution. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it means that all the bugs from Windows 8.1 have been ironed out and what you’re getting is a stable platform from the off (think Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista, it’s exactly the same situation).
Windows 10 has also been built for multiple devices and architectures so moving forward it is better equipped to changing conditions in the PC or laptop market.
No, the upgrade is done in place and all your old files and settings will be transferred over. Although that’s not to say that some bits won’t be different, especially if you’ve upgraded from Windows 7. The new file explorer is a small departure from the old Windows 7 explorer and the shortcuts/favourites are a little different so if you’re using lots of custom shortcuts then you might want to take a note of these.
Also the start menu has obviously undergone a major revamp so whether you are a Windows 7 or a Windows 8 user you will have to set this up again with all your shortcuts and Apps. Although don’t panic, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds and you will quickly get used to the new (improved) way off accessing your applications.
If you’re a Windows 8/8.1 user… then Windows 10 is basically the next major update for your operating system and so there are no real drawbacks to making the leap. The new interface is unarguably better than the old Metro interface and even if you are a Windows 8 purist there are settings to make the new start menu feel more like the old Metro start screen. Also with all the new fixes and updates under the covers Windows 10 is better polished and more stable than Windows 8.
If you’re a Windows 7 user… then you have a slightly trickier decision. Windows 10 is certainly an upgrade for your current operating system but there is a greater risk in this case that some old or legacy applications might not handle the change quite so well so for business customers especially you should check with all of your software suppliers that their application will still work in a Windows 10 environment. We would certainly recommend upgrading to Windows 10 at some point in the future but it would certainly be sensible to wait for 12 – 18 months until the major vulnerabilities and bugs have been ironed out before you switch over.
If you’re still not sure whether Windows 10 is right for your business then doesn’t hesitate to contact us or leave a message in the comments below and one of us will get back to you!
For more information on the best Windows 10 features you can also check out our most recent article here: https://lennox-it.uk/the-5-best-new-features-in-windows-10/