Windows 10 is here. It’s available to download. And for the vast majority of users, it’s FREE.
On July 29, 2015, Microsoft released Windows 10 to the general public. You may have seen the notification in your system tray in the weeks leading up to the launch date, and now it’s time to upgrade.
Microsoft admits that “we got some things wrong” with Windows 8. Not exactly big news to those of us out there who had to struggle with a new interface, but it’s always nice to see a big company admit a mistake and move to rectify it.Not only is Microsoft moving forward, they’re allowing users to upgrade to Windows 10 for FREE. The free upgrades will allow Windows 10 to be installed on as many devices as possible – and should help to ease the frustration of many users with the Windows 8 interface.
Windows 7 Users
Chances are, you resisted Windows 8 when it came on the scene and you probably feel pretty smart about that. Make no mistake, though, Windows 7’s days are numbered, and you would probably be wise to go ahead and make the switch to Windows 10. The good news about this is, you can skip the painful learning curve of Windows 8, for the most part.
To get the Windows 10 upgrade, you’ll need to be sure your operating system is ready. This means you will need to have all the latest updates installed. If you haven’t seen the Windows 10 icon in your system tray at the bottom of your screen, you may not have the most current updates; simply go to Control Panel > System> Automatic Updates and make sure everything is checked to update. Once everything is updated, reboot your computer and you should see the Windows 10 icon in the system tray. From there, you can trigger the upgrade.
Windows 8 (and 8.1) Users
It’s taken some time for you to get used to the way Windows 8 operates, and while you may have become accustomed to toggling between different interfaces, you’re probably more than ready for the upgrade that Windows 10 promises. Just as Windows 7 users might not have seen the Windows 10 upgrade in their system tray, if you haven’t seen it pop up it may be due to not having an updated system. Go to Settings> Change PC Settings> Update and Recovery; following the update, reboot your device and the Windows 10 icon should appear in the system tray, at which time you will be able to trigger the upgrade.
Pre-Windows 7 Users
Sorry, you’re out of luck. If you’re still using Windows XP (or any other operating system prior to Windows 7), you’re playing Russian roulette with your online security and personal information. Upgrading to Windows 10 is the least of your concerns.
Mainstream support of Windows 7 ended in January 2015, and extended support is set to end in January of 2020. Basically, you’ve got five more years to use Windows 7 before Microsoft stops providing security updates. Yes, there will be something of a learning curve in adjusting to a new interface, but if you’ve had occasion to examine Windows 8, you may find that Windows 10 is a much more user-friendly change. The fact is, the way you interact with Windows is changing, and it’s better to begin making that change now than be forced into a completely new and different operating system in 2020.
Tech writer David Pogue posted a review of the new Windows 10 interface, and in it, he explains some of the changes and improvements that come with the upgrade. As you’ll see, Windows 10 is a lot more user-friendly than the much-maligned Windows 8, and there are some exciting features, too.
Why Can’t I Get the Free Upgrade?
Some users will find that they aren’t able to upgrade to Windows 10. The reasons for this include:
- Your device is not running a genuine Windows product
- Your device is running Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, or Windows RT/RT 8.1
- Your device is part of a managed school or business network
If it’s either of the latter two reasons, speak with your IT administrator. If it’s the first reason, you’ll likely have to pay for Windows 10 – but with that price comes mainstream support for five years as well as extended support for five years beyond that, and in this day and age, that’s worth quite a lot.
How Long Does the Free Upgrade Last?
You only have one year to take advantage of the free upgrade. After July 30, 2016, you’ll have to pay for Windows 10; the pricing for Windows 10 at that point will be $119 for the Home edition and $199 for Pro. All the more reason to upgrade now!