Windows 10 is Here, Almost...

Category: Windows-10

It’s time to get serious about Windows 10. Microsoft has announced a firm release date of July 29, 2015. In addition, most systems running Windows 7 or Windows 8 will get Windows 10 for free. So let’s take a look at what home users stand to gain (or lose) by upgrading to the last version of Windows…

Windows 10: The Last or Latest Version?

Yes, Windows 10 is the last version of Windows. There will be no more major releases every few years. Instead, Windows will be upgraded continually. There will be no more upgrade fees, and no steep learning curve as hundreds of new features hit your desktop at once.

I've been running pre-release versions of Windows 10 for a few months, and the good news is that pretty much everything people hated about Windows 8 is history.

The beloved Start button (and Start menu) are back, and the annoyances of the tiled/Metro/Modern interface are gone. Bottom line, if you like your Windows 7 setup, you'll enjoy a smooth transition to Windows 10.

Updates will be distributed to users based upon which edition of Windows they have. There will be three “servicing branches” or policies. Home edition users have only one option, called the “Current Branch” or CB. Security patches, fixes, and new features will be pushed out automatically. Home users will not have the option to delay or forego any updates. This will vastly improve the worldwide security of Windows and the Internet. There will not be millions of Windows users who have switched off automatic updates, leaving their systems vulnerable to be being exploited against the rest of us.
Windows 10 Desktop

Buyers of Pro and Education editions will be able to choose between CB and CBB (Current Branch for Business). CBB allows users to delay updates temporarily, until they are validated by “millions of Insiders, consumers, and customers,” as Microsoft calls its guinea pigs.

Microsoft “Insiders” are early adopters who have volunteered to be guinea pigs, or beta testers as they’re politely called. “Consumers and customers” are those who choose the CB updates scheme, including all Home edition users. The Insiders will probably weed out most of the glitches before updates are released to consumers and customers. Pro and Education edition users can delay updates until they see how the latest updates shake out.

Windows 10 Hardware Specs

The hardware requirements of Windows 10 are the same as those for both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM memory: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit PCs; 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit PCs; 20 GB for 64-bit
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 1024x600

Note these are MINIMUM requirements, and it's nice to see that they haven't changed since Windows 7 was released in 2009. But a computer with a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a 16GB hard disk would be hard to find these days. It might boot up Windows 10, but it would probably also demand to be put out of its misery. Most modern PCs will offer at least 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard disk.

The “Get Windows 10” Icon

The upgrade to Windows 10 will be free for most people running Windows 7 and Windows 8. (See Windows 10 - Will it Be Free?) Still running XP or Vista? No free Windows 10 for you. If you want to upgrade those systems to Windows 10, you'll have to purchase a copy ($119 for Windows 10 Home, $199 for Windows 10 Professional) and do a "clean install" of the new operating system. That means formatting the hard drive, so you'll also need to re-install your software, and load your personal files from a backup.

Beginning June 1, many Windows 7 & 8.1 users discovered a new icon labeled “Get Windows 10” in the notifications area of their task bars. Mine appeared yesterday, and I didn't even notice it for half the day. Hover the cursor over that icon and you’ll see an option to reserve your free copy of the Windows 10 upgrade. When July 29 rolls around, the Get Windows 10 app will automatically download and install Windows 10 for you.

What’s really confusing is that not all users are getting that icon. The reason is that Microsoft, via Windows Update, determines whether a system is eligible for a free Windows 10 upgrade; if not, no “Get Windows 10” icon will appear before July 29. Microsoft says this gives you an easy way to tell whether your PC is eligible, and plenty of time to get it ready for Windows 10. Reasons a PC may not be eligible include:

  • Your device isn’t up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
  • Windows Update is turned off or is not set to receive updates automatically.
  • Your device is not running “genuine” Windows, but a pirated copy.
  • You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality. There are instructions for doing this because, apparently, some people are paranoid about the “Get Windows 10” icon.

I have heard from users who have not received the “Get Windows 10” app even though their machines meet all of the eligibility and hardware requirements. I have no idea why. But after July 29, they’ll get the app and can attempt to upgrade to Windows 10.

This upgrade may take a while. The download file is 3 GB in size, which will take 4-5 hours on a slow (1.5 Mb/sec) DSL connection, but under 10 minutes on a fast (50 Mb/sec) high-speed cable or fiber line. For those on dialup or satellite connections, I'd advise waiting until Microsoft offers a CD/DVD-based upgrade.

After it arrives the Windows 10 installation process may take hours. But once it’s done, you won’t have to install a new version of Windows ever again. Of course, there's no need to rush into Windows 10. The free Windows 10 upgrade offer is good for one year, starting on July 29, 2015. Windows 7 will be supported until at least January 2020, and Windows 8 until January 2023. If you're not anxious to try it out, just ignore the "Get Windows 10" icon in your taskbar, and stick with the status quo until you're ready.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Windows 10 is Here, Almost..."

(See all 69 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

03 Jun 2015

I've been running a Windows "X" preview since one has been available in a VM. (The new icon in the system tray is labelled 'GWX' - Get Windows X.)
As far as I'm concerned the start menu is still broke: no folders, just a very, very long list of every icon that would appear in a Windows 7 menu without any organization. You can alphabetize it – which helps not at all in looking for that CD burning program which you can't remember the name of.
I was one of those that liked Windows ME. And I liked Windows Vista. I don't like Windows 10. If there was one thing that I say to Satya, it would be, "I use a computer, not a tablet."

Posted by:

Ray Marsh
03 Jun 2015

Hi Bob, having used all MS operating systems over the years, can say that in my opinion Windows 10 is the easiest system produced to use. It is light and easy and am sure that when people read more about the system and decide to try the OS that they too will be won over, cheers, Ray

Posted by:

Susan H.
03 Jun 2015

Hi, Bob- I just bought a new HP desktop last week after my old one died. I was getting into learning Windows 8, but I do have the "Get Windows 10" icon in my taskbar. In your opinion, should I jump in an go with Windows 10 or wait? You were pretty neutral in your description of the new system, but I couldn't tell if you are actually using it. Love your blog, btw. Thanks!

EDITOR'S NOTE: I would recommend Windows 10 for anyone with Windows 8. The downside is that you won't get it until July 29th, or thereabouts.

Posted by:

Rich Pasco
03 Jun 2015

The same icon appeared on my Windows 7 desktop today, and I went to great lengths to get rid of it, as unsolicited and unwanted advertising.

I am clinging to my Windows 7 system as the last decent version of Windows and the last thing I want to do is to let Microsoft slip a piece of junk onto my system in its place, automatically, just as I'm working on an urgent project with a tight deadline.

In my belief, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." My Windows 7 ain't broke, and after Windows 8, I really don't trust Microsoft enough to blindly install any new version of Windows.

Posted by:

03 Jun 2015

How will Win 10 handle Win 7 Startup that some netbooks use?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium editions will upgrade to Windows 10 Home. WIndows 7 Pro anbd Ultimate will upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

Posted by:

03 Jun 2015

Hi Bob
Why would anyone not use automatic Windows updates (and thus not be elogible for Win X) - maybe like me they are fed up with Windows updates messing with installed programmes, especially Firefox which is in competition with MS. Only today, Windows update wiped out my Firefox settings (again) and has cost me a good two hours of time getting back to where I was before I pressed the "install updates now" button.
WIndows X? I'd sooner go through the pain of moving to Linux so I'll stick with VII for now and keep auto updates firmly off ...

Posted by:

03 Jun 2015

...6. MUST be logged in as Administrator of the machine before the white windows request icon appears in the TaskTray.

Posted by:

Old Man
03 Jun 2015

"The beloved Start button (and Start menu) are back, and the annoyances of the tiled/Metro/Modern interface are gone. Bottom line, if you like your Windows 7 setup, you'll enjoy a smooth transition to Windows 10."
Does this mean the not-metro Start Page will no longer available for those of us who actually use and like it?
I find it much more efficient and easier to use than the Win 7 Start Menu. For me, that would be a reason NOT to upgrade to Win 10.

Posted by:

03 Jun 2015

Hi Bob,
I can't seem to find anything regarding my mail programme, which is Windows Live Mail with W7 ultimate 64 bit. I am assuming my email programme and folders will remain untouched.

Thanks for your brilliant articles, I really look forward to your emails and enjoying sharing them with friends.

Best wishes,

Posted by:

03 Jun 2015

Should I update to Windows 10 and decide a year or more down the line, do you think I could restore my computer back to Windows 7 without issues? I'm concerned about future subscription issues with Windows 10/ Windows.

Posted by:

Dennis Foster
03 Jun 2015

I have Windows 7 Pro. How do I check my graphics card specs?

Posted by:

04 Jun 2015 the icon on the task bar on both my 8.1 laptop and desktop.

I've had no problems with Win 8.1 and I use StarDock software's Start8 app which gives me the Win 7 desktop screen and traditional appearance. So, at my age, I'm wondering if I really want to take the time and effort to get used to a new OS. Would it be worth the trouble and headaches?

Posted by:

04 Jun 2015

Thanks for the breakdown of the new Windows 10.

It sounds great for me, but I am concerned that my Mom, who doesn't like and cannot cope with change, will not be able to (safely) stay with Windows Vista, and also keep using her old printer that won't work with later OS.

Is this the death knell for updates for Vista?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Vista will remain in Extended Support until April 11, 2017.

Posted by:

Bob S
05 Jun 2015

"Yes, Windows 10 is the last version of Windows. There will be no more major releases every few years. Instead, Windows will be upgraded continually. There will be no more upgrade fees, and no steep learning curve as hundreds of new features hit your desktop at once."

I note that no one has speculated that because of the "free" issue there will be an annual fee to keep it working. After a year of use, you are firmly hooked into Win10 and can't go back to Win7 or Win8.1.

Posted by:

06 Jun 2015

Bob S has a more than valid question. Is MS guaranteeing free updates for the "life" of WX???

If not why not - any information??

Posted by:

Ally O
14 Jun 2015

Admin/Bob R. is it true what Bob S. posted "after 1 year we can't go back to W7-8"? How long would you guess we can continue using W7? P.S. I enjoy your humor :)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Win7 will be officially supported until January 2020. If you make an image backup of your Win7/8 system, I don't see why you couldn't reload it at any point in the future.

Posted by:

Ray Bobo
17 Jun 2015

Since you have used the Windows 10 beta, may I ask if it will include all the "extras," or will we still have to buy security programs, backup programs, etc.? I ask because some of my malware, antivirus, etc programs are due to renew; should I pay or wait until July to see what Win 10-10 has to offer?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Windows 10, like Windows 8, will ship with a backup program and an antivirus program. Both can be replaced with other free alternatives if you choose.

Posted by:

12 Jul 2015

Hi, have you seen the recent Forbes article questioning just how "free" Windows 10 will be? Have you heard anything further?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I can only echo what the article says: "So what’s the answer? Frustratingly, infuriatingly, mystifyingly we have no way of knowing..."

Posted by:

Craig Davies
06 Aug 2015

Hi Bob, I discovered the Win 10 icon in the taskbar, but when I tried to install it came back and said I couldn't install it because my BIOS was 'unsupported'. So unless I can upgrade it, I will need a new machine to run Win 10 - not good. My machine is about 5 yrs old.

Posted by:

John Turner
07 Mar 2016

An update to my comment and Bob's reply dated June 02, 2015: Well I finally upgraded my Win7 Pro 64bit desktop to Win 10. It said I had no issues. Still backed up my important files! Now I am finding out my Virtual PC/XPMode is not there! Seems I should have done more research before the upgrade!

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