Windows 10 is Here, Almost...
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.
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
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Jun 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Windows 10 is Here, Almost... (Posted: 2 Jun 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved