Starting July 29, 2015, Microsoft is offering a FREE upgrade to Windows 10 editions for current users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Should you be interested in making the switch, our team has compiled all the information you need to know about upgrading to Windows 10 in one place!
Windows 10 offers mobility across your devices and will be capable of interacting with the user via speech, touch, digital ink and holograms. Its features promises to provide a user-centric experience that is fully customizable.
Versions of Windows 10 Available
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Mobile Enterprise
Features to Expect
- Start Menu: It’s coming back! Your most frequently used apps will be stacked in a visually appealing column. Window 8’s Live Tiles will look familiar in this upgraded version and will also display the latest news and social-network updates.
- Virtual Desktop: Have multiple, independent work spaces. Create one desktop for all of the applications you use for work, another for gaming, and yet another for anything you want.
- Cortana: Windows 10 Virtual Assistant (who is always available by using the shortcut key: Windows Key+ “C”) can tell you the weather, dictate messages, and remind you of appointments. It will learn your preferences and provide relevant recommendations. Interact with Cortana by speech or typing on any of your devices, including your smartphone. Microsoft claims that Cortana will be better than competitors’ current offering (think: Siri) and the experience will come closest to interacting with a real person. “She” will understand follow-up questions to your initial inquiry, and can keep track of the context of a conversation.
- Continuum: A device specific interface that scales from device to device has been designed to enable smooth transitions between notebooks and tablet interfaces. For those who travel, or work from hotel rooms or convention centers, Continuum will allow the user to connect to a monitor (or hotel room TV), mouse and physical keyboard to make your phone work like a PC. Microsoft previews its functionality with your mobile device here.
- Microsoft Edge: (Previously known under its code name: Project Spartan.) Edge is an all-new, faster preforming browser designed to explore and engage with the web in new ways. The Edge browser will replace Internet Explorer completely and offers many new features. Users will be able to comment on the web- via typing or digital ink annotation. You can then send your notes and clip sections to OneNote, your email or to your social media networks. If you are using Edge with Cortana integrated, Edge will offer quick results and content based on your interests and preferences. The sharing functionality within the browser allows you to share comments, and read sites much faster and easier. When in reading mode the browser will hide everything but the text and images within the article or page. All other advertisements, annotations or distractions will be hidden, making the reading experience much easier. The reading mode also has several themes with varying background and text colors, that can be set to bright, medium, light and dark. The reading lists feature will allow you to add content to a list to read at another time. Within it you can build the list by adding content, and of course edit the list to change or remove content.
- Windows Store: A universal store for all Windows devices. Purchase apps, games, music, movies and TV shows all in one place. The store will not only benefit software developers (they will be able publish universal web apps through the store) but also benefit organizations as administrators can browse and acquire apps in bulk. Log in without a password-think biometrics—your access is instant, and more secure. The Store will also now permit organization-controlled identities, making it easier to acquire and access apps through your organization.
- Windows Hello: Biometric authentication will replace your PIN or password and allow you to gain instant access to your Window devices by scanning your face, iris, or fingerprint. While this feature will only work with new Windows 10 devices, Hello will support existing fingerprint readers. Security measures have been taken into account; Microsoft will never transmit images of your fingerprint or iris over the web. They will use asymmetric encryption keys to authenticate users remotely, and have built in ways to prevent hackers from using pictures to defeat the facial security.
What you will need to run Windows 10
If you are currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, then chances are you meet the minimum requirements. But we have listed out the requirements here to satisfy the curiosity of your inner geek:
- Processor: 1 GHz or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
- RAM: 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Free hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
- Microsoft account and Internet access
- PC needs a screen resolution of at least 1024×768 in order to access the Windows Store
Making the switch to Windows 10 will mean leaving behind some features you may have become accustomed to.
- Windows Media Center, the card game Hearts, and the Windows 7’s desktop gadgets will no longer appear in the newest Windows version. Microsoft warns that watching DVDs will require separate playback software as well as a new set of drivers for any USB floppy drives you plan on still using.
- As for any future software updates, they will be addressed differently going forward. Windows 10 Home edition users, will be updated automatically. Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise users, will have the option to turn the automated update feature off, and only download them as they see fit.
- Some Windows 10 features are region specific. For instance, Cortana (initially) won’t be available in every country. Media (music and video) apps will have the usual restrictions due to licensing agreements.
When making updates to your devices there will likely be a learning curve and adjustments that need be made before beginning to accurately critique its productivity. While not mandatory, running Windows 10 on a PC that supports touch will allow you to get more out of this version. Windows 10 promises to be a fast, streamlined, personal operating system that the end user can control and customize. If you decide to upgrade and are later regretful, Microsoft will enable you to revert to your previous operating system. We advise backing up your old system before installing a new one. Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- If you’re running software that is vital to your operation, then make sure that it is still being supported. If you’re relying on something that hasn’t been updated in years and you find that it doesn’t work right under Windows 10, it may never be updated, leaving you stranded.
- Anticipate numerous updates and fixes for Windows 10. If something isn’t working right for you now, then keep an eye open for a fix down the line. Specifically with Cortana, which has been designed to get significantly smarter as people use it.
- Starting this fall, the ongoing innovation and security updates to Windows 10 devices will begin-offering more advanced security and management capabilities for businesses.