If your PC or laptop is currently running the Windows 7 (service pack 1) or 8.1 operating system you may have noticed the windows icon pop up at the bottom right of your screen. This icon is offering a free upgrade to the Windows 10 operating system.
If you’re still running Vista or an earlier Microsoft operating system this offer won’t apply to you, you will need to purchase the upgrade.
Before you click the icon to accept your free copy – run through the checklist below!
- Check with the vendor/developer of specialist or bespoke software you run that it is compatible with Windows 10 operating system.
- Check your hardware specifications.
- Check you are running Office 2013 or Office 365 (or if you use an alternative, that it’s compatible).
- Make sure you have important data and software backed up.
What will change?
The Windows 10 operating system looks like Windows 8.1 with some significant usability updates. Microsoft has addressed some of the bigger PC user issues from Windows 8, for example Windows 10 will have a start menu similar to Windows 7 and Windows XP. The icons you see on your desktop will look slightly different to the current Windows 8.1 icons, however, the look of the interface still remains vastly different to Windows 7.
Windows 10 isn’t available for your phone or tablet yet and Microsoft hasn’t set a release date for the mobile version of the operating system at this stage.
Windows media player does not come bundled with Windows 10, this means you will need to download the Windows Media Player separately to be able to play or watch DVD’s on your computer.
Compatibility with existing software
If you’re still running Microsoft Access databases on anything earlier than Office 2010 it’s time to upgrade the databases (whether or not you choose to upgrade to Windows 10).
Office 365 and 2013 are officially supported by Microsoft on Windows 10. During beta testing users noted Office 2007 and 2010 as working. As these aren’t officially supported we’d suggest an upgrade to Office 365 or Office 2013.
Ask your software vendor or developer if specialist software is compatible before you reserve your upgrade. Our best educated guess is older versions of software (MYOB and Quickbooks) won’t be compatible with Windows 10 operating system.
Gamers, check your games websites for compatibility before installing the upgrade.
If your software provider doesn’t specifically say their product is compatible with Windows 10 then assume it isn’t.
Is my PC/laptop fast enough?
If you are currently running Windows 8.1 efficiently you will be able to run Windows 10. The initial part of the install process will check your PC is able to run Windows 10, if your PC doesn’t meet the minimum requirements the installation will not continue.
These are the absolute minimum specifications to run the Windows 10 operating system, using anything less will result in a slow and clunky user experience.
- 1 GB processor or faster
- 1 GB RAM (32 bit) or 2 GB RAM (65 bit)
- 16 GB free hard disk space
- Graphics card requires DirectX 9 with WDDM driver
- A Microsoft account and internet access
How to take advantage of the offer
Hovering over the icon at the bottom right of your screen will give you the message ‘Get Windows 10’. Click and follow the prompts to reserve your free copy of Windows 10.
Windows updates will automatically download a 3GB file for the 29 July. This file will not automatically install, you will be prompted to run the install process.
For those of you with more than one PC (or laptop) in your home or business this is a 3GB download on each machine. If your internet connection isn’t the fastest and/or you have a data limit with your ISP you may want to stagger the Windows 10 download for each PC over a period of time.
If you love the Windows 7 look and feel the bad news is support from Microsoft for both Windows 7 and Office 2007 officially ended last April. While extended support for these products will continue to 2020 we will begin to see usable functionality in these products erode as future products are released (Office 2016 has already been announced). If you don’t want to follow the Windows upgrade path it’s time to start planning an alternative.
We think this is a great deal from Microsoft and believe the usability issues they’ve addressed goes a long way to making this a viable operating system for your PC heading into the future. The offer of the free upgrade is available for 12 months; there’s plenty of time you won’t miss out if you don’t accept the offer today.
If you have any questions or you’d like our assistance with backups, upgrading to the Windows 10 operating system or deciding an alternative upgrade path give us a call on 04-528-7524.