In just a couple of days time, Windows 7 and 8 users wll have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 for free; an entirely new version of the veteran Windows operating system – a version that is make-or-break for Microsoft. Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 actually feels designed for a PC with a keyboard and mouse. Windows 7 users will be much more at home with Windows 10, but there are still some big changes. With Windows 7 being such a success there was a lot of complacency around windows 8. It drastically misunderstood its users with a different user interface which essentially didn’t make any sense and was hard to get your head round.
The new 2015 Microsoft is much different to the one of old, they have now thought about the fact people will choose other operating systems. Microsoft now wants to make stuff for OS x, Linux, iOS and Android. So it’s now allowing apps from other platforms to be easily ported to windows too. This is excellent news for business users making it easier when juggling around multiple devices for work and at home. Windows 10 will ship with built-in universal apps for Messaging, Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, Videos, Maps, and Music. All have a similar appearance across devices, and content is stored and synced on OneDrive so you can start a project on one device and continue on another.
Among the universal apps supported on Windows 10 there will be those from Microsoft Office. New versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote have been redesigned for touch optimization across devices, good news for employees who juggle smartphones and tablets, or prefer on-the-go productivity. Users can create and edit Word documents, annotate and present PowerPoint slides, and build and update spreadsheets in Excel sans keyboard or mouse. The Office universal apps will be free on smartphones and smaller tablets running Windows 10, and available for download on the Windows Store on other devices.
Another change in Windows 10, Microsoft Edge formally known as Project Spartan is the new minimalist browser. It’s being a replacement for internet explorer, however it will still be available for enterprise compatibility. Some new features that can help with productivity. Edge lets you annotate, save, and share webpages with colleagues, friends, or family, something that would be useful for trip planning but could also work for brainstorming or editing Websites. An improved reading mode eliminates ads on eligible websites for distraction-free reading and lets you build a list of content that can be accessed offline, which is a useful way to store all those articles and documents you don’t have time to read during the workday.
things to consider when updating to Windows 10
Get a Microsoft account
You may already have a Microsoft account without even realising. If you have an Outlook.com account, a Hotmail account, an Xbox account, or a Live ID, you already have a Microsoft account. It’s not a necessity to have a an account however it makes things like synchronizing settings across devices and backing up data and settings to the cloud much easier, and it’s free.
Decide which edition is right for you
If you go for the free upgrade, you will get the equivalent edition to what you are starting with, but you can purchase an upgrade to a more feature-rich version if you wish, or you may be looking to simply purchase a new copy off the shelf. The core experiences are the same across all editions. That includes Cortana, Hello, Edge, Continuum, and Multi-doing. The majority of extra features in the business editions (Pro, Enterprise) and the education edition have to do with features home users won’t use, and which rely upon Active Directory. The one main exception may well be Bitlocker.
Make sure your hardware is up to scratch –
If your computer is running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 today, odds are very good that it will run Windows 10. The official minimum hardware requirements are detailed below
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display: 800×600
- The graphics card is key. If your card is not capable of DirectX 9 or later, Windows 10 won’t run.
In reality however, we would recommenf the following
- Processor: Intel i3 / i5 / i7 Processor or AMD equivelent
- RAM: 4GB mimimum or 8GB preferred (for 64bit)
- Hard disk space: 50GB free space
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display: 1280 x 1024
- The graphics card is key. If your card is not capable of DirectX 9 or later, Windows 10 won’t run
Run Windows Update and patch everything
Before beginning the upgrade to 10, make sure your current operating system is fully patched. The easiest way to do that is run Windows Updates, and install everything it offers, even the optional stuff.
Make sure your third party software is up to date
Just as important is to update all your applications. Historically, some vendors have been slow to update applications to work with the new version of Microsoft operating systems at release. They have had Windows 10 available to them for months, but that is often not enough. If you have any apps that you can’t live without, check the vendors’ support sites to confirm they work with Windows 10 before you upgrade.
Back up your data
Upgrading to Windows 10 will prove to be the most successful and reliable upgrade ever…but it’s still an upgrade. Better safe than sorry is the way to go here, so back up any core data you must have before you begin, just in case.
Make sure you have enough free space
You will need about 3GB of free space to download Windows 10 before upgrading. That may prove to be a challenge for small tablets with 32GB SSDs installed, so check to see what space you can free up before you begin.
Security and precautions
Microsoft has also improved its security and has managed to do so without opening up any new holes. For the most part, after testing the preview build, it’s clear most of the changes are related to usability and solving that Start menu issue for end-users. It’s important that Microsoft point out there security floors from an early stage.
With Windows 10 there aren’t too many negatives that have been spotted in the beta that has been released. However there can be problems with updates which can often do more harm than good. It can damage video file types and also system errors known as the dreaded blue screen. Microsoft will be notified on these problems and resolved but it’s also an inconvenience that users shouldn’t have to go through. While it’s true that the vast majority of current updates go by without any problems, and we perhaps shouldn’t damn the process before we’ve even tried it out, it is slightly concerning. If an update turns out to be botching people’s systems, there’ll be no way for Home users to get out of it unless the update is recalled or patched quickly.
Portions (C) GFI Software. Reproduce with thanks
As both an entrepreneur and an IT specialist, Lindsey offers a blend of deep technical expertise and commercial insight, delivered in language business owners can really understand and trust. She works with clients to provide a full range of services from strategic advice through to project management and infrastructure support.
Lindsey is an accredited Cyber Essentials Consultant