Lately I have been getting questions from people about whether they should do the upgrade to Windows 10. When Windows 10 was released at the end of July 2015 it was offered as a free upgrade for one year to users of Windows 7 and 8. That year is coming to an end, so people who have been holding out have to decide soon if they are going to do the free upgrade, or just stay with what they have.
For some of you it will be a happy day when the nagging notification in the task bar stops trying to convince you to upgrade to Windows 10. But so far Microsoft’s campaign has been pretty successful, upgrading over 300 million computers in the last 10 months. They are now warning people that an upgrade will cost $119 for Windows 10 Home, so free is nice. (I think it is very possible that Microsoft will renew the free upgrade offer in July, but it is not certain.)
So, should you upgrade? I have actually been very impressed with Windows 10 and have been encouraging many people to upgrade. It does depend on your situation though. Below are a few different scenarios.
Are you on Windows 8? Absolutely! Windows 10 has all of the features of Windows 8 and fixes almost all of the annoyances. Don’t even read the rest of this post (except for the part about being in the middle of a project), go do it now.
Does your computer have a touch screen? Yes! Chances are really high that if you have a touch screen you are already running Windows 8. If you are running Windows 7 the answer is still yes. Windows 10 does a really great job of handling mouse, keyboard, and touch screen simultaneously to the point that I would say you are missing out if you are not running Windows 10.
Are you buying a new computer? Yes. Most people only upgrade their version of Windows when they actually buy a new computer. It is just an easier time to switch. Note that Windows 7 mainstream support already ended last year, and extended support will end in January 2020. That is a little less than four years away, so if you are buying a new computer you will probably have to do the upgrade sometime while you own it. Do it now while it is free to upgrade, and before you have everything set up.
Are you on Windows 7? Are you really happy with your computer right now and don’t want to change anything? That is fine, just keep chugging along as you are. If you like what you see with Windows 10 though, go ahead. I have done quite a number of upgrades and they have all gone smoothly.
Are you on a slow or metered connection? Windows 10 does use more data than Windows 7 (but not really more than Windows 8) so it is something to consider. I have a blog post that addresses how to limit the amount of data that Windows 10 uses: https://pafederwitz.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/limit-data-usage-on-windows-10/
The instructions for the upgrade below support a situation where somebody on a good internet connection can download the installer and send it to somebody who is offline.
Are you in the middle of a project? No. The upgrade has always gone smoothly for me, but it is never a good idea when you are working on a large project to make a major system change. Wait till you are done, hopefully before July 29th, 2016, and then do the upgrade.
Do you use special software? Double check that it works with Windows 10. As a rule, most software that works with Windows 7 should work with Windows 10. The key problem would be if you are using very old software. If it was written for Windows 95 or before it may have a problem with a newer 64-bit computer.
How do you upgrade? I have written up instructions for how to do the upgrade at https://pafederwitz.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/how-to-upgrade-to-windows-10/
Are you tired of getting the upgrade notifications? Windows 10 is worth the upgrade, but Microsoft’s campaign to get everybody to upgrade could be considered malware. It is not only annoying, but deceitful in how it presents the option to not upgrade. If you have decided to stay with Windows 7 or Windows 8 and don’t want to be bothered anymore, here is a tool that you can run on your computer that will disable the notification: https://www.grc.com/never10.htm