If you’ve been wondering whether to accept the ‘free’ upgrade to Windows 10, time is running out!

The free upgrade opportunity to Windows 10 from Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 will expire on July 30, 2016. After that time, you would have to pay to purchase the Windows 10 upgrade, or keep your existing version of Windows. If you haven’t decided whether to accept this offer from Microsoft, here are some tips to help your decision.

Windows 10 has been available as an upgrade to Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 for almost a full year. As with all new operating systems, initially, much of the advice suggested delaying upgrading until more was known about the benefits and problems the new system would bring. Windows 10 does bring some concerns about security, but the risk can be reduced.  If your computer’s manufacturer says your computer is supported on Windows 10, it’s probably a good idea to accept the upgrade.

The following key features in Windows 10 make upgrading desirable:

  • A voice search using Cortana, which is similar to the Siri voice assistant on iPhone

  • A new browser called Edge

  • The ability to run Metro applications, which would not be available at all on Windows 7

Metro applications are supported in Windows 8 and 8.1. Microsoft hopes to make them as commonplace as apps for the iPhone and iPad. Staying on Windows 7 means you would have to pay to upgrade, or replace your computer, to get access to an exciting application written for the Metro interface. If you have a desktop computer, you may not benefit as much from the voice search feature as you could from a laptop, since more laptops have built-in microphones that can use it.

More technical reasons to upgrade include better memory management, and more efficient code, supporting multithreading.
— Matt Hoffman

More technical reasons to upgrade include better memory management, and more efficient code, supporting multithreading. Windows 10 is better at getting the most out of your computer’s performance. Upgrading to Windows 10 may allow you to delay paying for new hardware upgrades, such as a faster hard drive or more memory, especially n Windows 7. The older Windows 7 was not as good at using all the performance available in an existing computer. Upgrading from 7 to 10 may make your current computer work faster.

But, before clicking the ‘accept’ button on the Windows 10 upgrade, few things should be checked. First, check your computer manufacturer’s website to ensure that your current computer is supported on Windows 10. If it isn’t, then you should not upgrade unless you have someone technical to help fix any issues that come up. Some computers need special software drivers to make all your computer’s features work. Some older Windows 7 systems don’t have supported drivers on Windows 10. Driver software failures can cause parts of your computer to fail to work under Windows 10, or can make the computer unusable until the old Windows operating system is restored.

If you have a tablet with Windows RT, Windows 10 is not available at all, even as a paid upgrade. A Windows RT tablet will have to stay on Windows RT and continue to use those applications and updates. Fortunately, Windows RT will continue to be supported until 1/10/2023. Several good reasons show that you should not to accept the upgrade. If your computer is not supported, or if you have specialized (most likely expensive) software for your work or business that is not supported on Windows 10, then you may consider not upgrading to Windows 10 yet. On the same note, if you have accessories or equipment that your computer works with that are not supported on Windows 10, then you should wait to upgrade until they are supported. An example includes a 3D printer. 

Some users are concerned about the amount of information Microsoft collects about computer usage in Windows 10 since more is collected and sent to Microsoft than in prior operating systems. For some users, the concerns over the amount of information collected will be a strong reason not to upgrade. It would be a good idea to research those concerns before making a decision. Windows 7 will be supported through the year 2020, and Windows 8 will be supported through 2023. However, it won’t be possible to purchase a new computer with Windows 7 or 8.1 after October 31st, 2016, so after that date, you will have to buy a system with Windows 10. Even if you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10 before July, if you have expensive software or equipment that needs Windows 7 or 8.1, you may want to purchase that new computer in the next few months so you can have a system that supports those older items.

Overall, Windows 10 is proving to work well on older computers due to better efficiency and widespread support from Microsoft and computer manufacturers. You would benefit from being able to use your older computer for a longer time even if it’s handed down to a student or made to be a secondary computer. Windows 10 has almost nine years of support remaining, as opposed to only six years on Windows 7. 

Overall, Windows 10 is proving to work well on older computers due to better efficiency and widespread support from Microsoft and computer manufacturers.
— Matt Hoffman

A new world of applications will be opened through the Metro interface on Windows 10. As a free upgrade, the improvements in Windows 10 probably outweigh the negatives for most home and small business users. 

Matt Hoffman

IT Consultant | AfidenceIT