Microsoft is readying to launch its latest version of Windows on July 29, 2015. This time, upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8 systems to Windows 10 will be free. Microsoft will do this for even pirated copies of earlier versions of 7 or 8 although the upgraded version will still be an unauthorized copy. This seems to be a change from their general practice of generating large revenues from each release of Windows.
You may already have received a notice about this, or see a tell-tale sign but have not recognized it yet. If you see in the system tray on the lower right corner a 4-pane window, slightly tilted that tells you that you can reserve your copy of the free upgrade. If you do not see that icon in the system tray, that indicates that there are Windows updates that have not yet been done, so check the updates, here is how:
- On Windows 7 systems, click on the Start button, type in the search window at the bottom Windows Update
- On Windows 8 systems click on the search icon, a magnifying glass, and type Windows Update in the field
- When you see the search results, click on Windows Update
- If there are updates, install them, including the optional ones
- If there are no updates, click on Check for Updates to get the latest report and install the updates
- The particular update that adds the Windows icon in the system tray is KB3035583
When you see the icon, click on it to launch the small application, you will see the window on the left. If you have not made your reservation to get the free upgrade you will see a clickable “Reserve Windows 10”. Click on it and enter your e-mail address.
After that, you should check the state of your computer to assess its readiness for Windows 10. There is a menu icon on the top left corner of Get Windows 10 app you see on the left, when you click on it a panel will slide in and give you links to learn more about the process and show whether your PC is ready for Windows 10 or not. If you see “Check your PC” under “Getting the upgrade” heading there, it will indicate that there are some potential issues. They may be significant or minor. Some features of Windows 7 or 8 will not be available on Windows 10. For instance, if you got and installed Windows Media Center, that will be one of the warnings that it would not be available on Windows 10. For most, this will be a minor issue. I have some issues on my desktop computer but they do not concern me much, see my issues screen on the right. But if you click on the check your PC and notice some display or other system drivers not being compatible you should update your drivers. If necessary, contact the manufacturer for assistance.
After you make your reservation, you can cancel it any time if there are still issues unresolved. Even if you do not cancel your reservation the upgrade will not automatically install without your approval, they say. As it is released, the upgrade watcher will download the necessary file(s) in the background, about 3GB, and when ready it will inform you that it can proceed with the upgrade. When you give the go ahead, it will install the latest version of Windows 10. The upgrade will be to a “like-version”. If you have Windows 7/8 Home, you will get Windows 10 Home, if you have professional you will get professional.
I do not have a first-hand experience with Windows 10. However, what I have read indicates that it is a solid upgrade with new features and will bring an old feature that disappeared on Windows 8, The Start Button! Some features will not be available in all countries, like Cortona the voice controlled assistant.
I reserved my copies on all my computers but will install them one at a time, who knows …
Here are some official pages to get more information from the horse’s mouth so to speak!
Windows 10 Specifications