On July 29, 2015, Microsoft started to release the Windows 10 upgrade. Since the volume of Windows PCs around the world is so large, you need to reserve your free download with Microsoft to get in the queue. Instructions to do so are provided below. The first question that may come to your mind is: Should I bother to upgrade, my currant Windows works just fine? YES, YOU SHOULD. Reading this article should convince you to do so for several key reasons.
Why upgrade to Windows 10 now?
An operating system like Windows is a mammoth size set of instructions that makes your PC do what it does. It takes years even decades to develop and refine an operating system. During that time newer computing technologies emerge and Microsoft has to constantly adapt.
Just like your house or a commercial building, over time to answer newer requirements you have to make modifications and additions to suit your needs. After a while, patching just doesn’t cut it anymore. People build a new house or factory the better answer their current requirements. With the speed at which computing technologies evolve, you can imagine that Microsoft needs to rebuild major parts or the whole operating system from time to time to answer newer requirements or support newer technologies. For example, each time computer processors have evolved from 8 to 16 to 32 and to 64 bits, major parts of the operating system had to be rewritten. Going from DOS to Windows was a major rewrite. The last major Windows rewrite was for adapting it to mobile computing with Windows 8.
Unfortunately Microsoft, which was far behind Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS at the time, made a big mistake in its approach. By trying to go too fast to catch up, Microsoft did not provide a smooth transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8. The market reacted vigorously and Windows 8 did not succeed as Microsoft it would have liked. Windows 10 is set to correct this mistake.
Microsoft’s previous CEO, Steve Ballmer who was responsible for Windows 8, was replaced in February 2014 by Satay Nadella. Nadella adopted a totally different approach which is to work alongside Android and iOS products. This is why Microsoft Office is now available on Android and iOS. This means that your Android and iOS smartphones and tablets can now work in conjunction with Windows 10 to provide you with a compatible computing environment. Windows 10 further implements this new Microsoft market approach.
Here are some key reasons why you should convert to Windows 10:
1 – Windows 10 is a major Windows release
Windows 10 represents a major integration of the PC, the mobile and the Cloud technologies which provide an easy to use integrated computing platform. It repairs Windows 8 shortcomings. It’s the new foundation for all of Microsoft future developments, for example: the Internet of Things and new hardware such as HoloLens. It is as significant, in my view, as the initial Windows release or Windows 7. Microsoft’s ultimate goal with Windows 10 is to unify the Windows operating system across multiple Microsoft product families, including PCs, tablets, smartphones, embedded systems and the Xbox One gaming console. As you can see, Windows 10 is a major release, therefore you should not hesitate to download Windows 10 as soon as you can.
2 – It enhance your computing security
Microsoft is making security a priority with Windows 10. New security features include Device Guard, which protects against zero-day attacks by blocking apps that are not verified by the enterprise, software vendors or Windows Store.
In an effort to eliminate the need for traditional passwords, Microsoft has developed biometric security measures, such as Windows Hello, which lets users scan fingerprint, iris or face to launch Windows 10 devices. Passport, another password-killer, will verify you are using your device before allowing passcode-free entry to websites, apps and networks.
One of the biggest security updates in Windows 10 is the use of virtualization as a means of preventing identity theft and distribution of malware.
One key reason you should always keep up to date with the latest Windows releases is that they incorporate the latest software security patches. Once a flaw is detected, Microsoft corrects the flaw and issues an update. If you don’t automatically update your PC you leave yourself opened to these flaws. Not recommended from my point of view!
3 – It provides an easy transition
Windows 8 was NOT a smooth transition from Windows 7. Windows 10 is! It brings back the familiar Start menu in addition to introducing new and more powerful functionality for an easier transition. It improves compatibility with your Android and iOS mobile devices through Office Mobile.
4 – It brings the Cortana virtual assistant on your PC
As mentioned in previous articles, virtual assistants represent the latest ease of use functionality. They easily provide you with verbal answers to normal everyday requests. The market leading virtual assistants include: Google Voice with Google Voice Search, Google Now & Google Translate for Google Chrome and Android smartphone and tablet users. Apple Siri, for Apple iPhone and iPad users and Microsoft Cortana for Windows mobile smartphones and tablets users, and now Windows 10 PC users.
Windows 10 Cortana‘s capabilities go far beyond search. The assistant’s interface displays a personalized snapshot of your schedule and interests. You can catch up on local and world news, view recommendations for local restaurants, and track the weather for your area. Cortana will also scan your messages to provide travel alerts and other updates.
NOTE: As of August 3rd, 2015, Cortana is only available in a limited number of countries, including the USA and France, but not Canada. To access Cortana in English in Canada, please adjust your region settings to USA and language settings to USA English.
5 – It incorporates Edge, the new Microsoft web browser
Edge replaces the outdated Microsoft Explorer web browser. Edge is meant to compete with the current leading web browsers such as Google Chrome which I currently use and strongly recommend. Personally, I will continue to use Chrome until Edge becomes a proven contender.
6 – You can more easily personalize Windows 10 to suit your needs
With Windows 10, Microsoft wants to reconnect with PC users and consumers at large by focusing on the human element of the operating system’s capabilities. To that effect, Windows 10 offers the ability to personalize features and services to better suit your needs. You can pin go-to apps and content, such as contacts from the People app. You can also arrange items into groups, move and resize tiles, and even change the size of the Start menu itself.
Below is a picture of my personalized Windows 10 main screen showing:
- In the background, a picture of my fishing boat “Reel action” and my desktop Apps icons, all customizable to suit your needs.
- On the far left side, is the opened NEW Start Menu listing all the installed Apps. It allows you to scroll down to start whatever installed App you want.
- On the right of the Apps listing, the “Life at a glance” active Apps provide you with a one click access to whatever might interest you at any time: calendar, emails, the Edge browser, your photos, the weather, twitter, … all customizable to suit your needs.
- At the bottom, on the right, you find the Cortana window to either type or verbally ask a request to the Cortana virtual assistant.
- At the bottom, in the center, you find the taskbar icons to initiate a task with one click, customizable to suit your needs.
- At the bottom, on the right, you find the system status icons to inform and notify you on the status of your computer, also customizable to suit your needs.
As you can see, the new Windows 10 is highly customizable to address anyone’s needs and increase your ease of use and productivity.
7 – Windows 10 brings multi-tasking in the front-row seat
Windows 10 offers features like Action Center, Task View and Snap Assist. These features are designed to improve multi-tasking capabilities. Action Center puts notifications and key settings in one view. Task View provides a simple way to see open apps, docs, and files in a single view. You can use Snap to arrange windows side by side, which can be especially helpful when comparing two documents or when moving files from one place to another.
8 – Windows 10 brings games to your PC
Gaming fans will be pleased see Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App added to Windows 10, giving gamers the ability to capture, edit, and share gaming moments with Game DVR, and to play new games with others across devices. Xbox fans can also play games on their PC, streamed directly from the Xbox One console to Windows 10 tablets or PCs.
9 – Finally Windows 10 is FREE for all Windows 7 & 8.1 users
Windows 10 is FREE for one year for all current Windows 7 & 8.1 users. For those without the two previous versions of the OS, the Home version of the software will cost U$119, while the Pro edition will retail for U$199. After the free upgrade period, you will most probably be required to pay for the upgrade. Why wait?
How to get your Windows 10 free upgrade
First go to Upgrade to Windows 10 for free, then follow the instructions to reserve your free download.
- To reserve your free Windows 10 upgrade, click on the Windows 10 icon located in the lower right side of the system tray (bottom right corner of your Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 screen). Don’t see the Windows 10 icon? First, try running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 updates and install any available required and recommended updates for your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC. Still don’t see the icon? Click here
- Once you have clicked on the Windows 10 icon, a “Get Windows 10” pop up will appear. Click “Reserve your free upgrade”.
- Enter your email to get an email confirmation of your reservation. You can cancel your reservation at any time.
- Microsoft will download Windows 10 in the background on your device (just like automatic Windows upgrades) and will notify you when it’s ready to install.
- When Windows 10 is ready to install, just follow Microsoft’s install instructions.
Installing the Windows 10 upgrade
If you are familiar with and have done major Windows operating system updates successfully in the past, you can venture and proceed with the Windows 10 download and installation directly without waiting for Microsoft to download all the necessary files for you and invite you to update. If you choose this route, plan on spending between 4 to 6 hours to complete the whole process.
Otherwise, wait to get the Microsoft notification to inform you that the necessary Windows 10 update files have been downloaded and you are ready to update. This should cut the installation time and complexity dramatically. This is the recommended approach for most people.
Learning what Windows 10 can do for you
To help you get a quick look at what Windows 10 can do for you, Microsoft has produced a set of short videos that demonstrate the newer functions available on Windows 10. It’s called Windows 10 Preview – What would you like to do? Click to open this hyperlink to access these short videos. This should be your starting point to learn and start benefiting from the newer functionality available with Windows 10.
I hope the above has convinced you to download and install Windows 10 on your PC as soon as practical. It will require some adjustments on your part but the benefits will outweigh the efforts, in my view. Best success with the Windows 10 installation and use!