Windows 10

My current advice, as of Wednesday, February 17, 2016:

If you currently have Windows 8 or 8.1, I recommend the free upgrade to Windows 10.  There might be problems after the update that need to be fixed.  Those problems can vary wildly, and some may need a computer tech to fix them.

If you currently have Windows 7, I don't recommend updating to Windows 10.  Windows 7 works very well, and if you update it to Windows 10, the changes and new problems may cause you a headache.

The free upgrade to Windows 10 is valid for one year (until the end of July, 2016).

The good news is that in general, Windows 10 seems to work better "out-of-the-box" than previous versions of Windows did when they were new.  The bad news is that after updating to Windows 10, there will probably be problems that need to be fixed, and the average person won't know how to fix them.

If you don't use the "metro" apps and use the desktop mode like Windows 7, then once Windows 10 is working properly, then it seems to work much like Windows 7 (except for a different Start Menu).  Thus, those with Windows 7 are better off not updating to Windows 10, while those with Windows 8 will appreciate how Windows 10 has reintroduced the features that had been taken out of Windows 8 (like the Start Menu).

Updating to Windows 10 takes a long time.  A long time to download, while you can use the computer, then a long time installing during which you cannot use the computer.  Patience is in order.

Microsoft seems to be very confident with Windows 10.  Since 2015-Jun-01, they have added a Windows icon down in the "Notification Area" (beside the digital clock in the bottom right of your screen).

 

Let's see, Windows 7, Windows 8, and now Windows 10? What happened to Windows 9?

Microsoft says that Windows 10 is so great that they decided to skip over "9".  In reality, it is just a marketing ploy to make customers think that Windows 10 is great, so they don't switch to Apple or Linux.  After using Windows 10 for awhile, it is clear to me that it is just an update to Windows 8 to fix the problems that were in Windows 8.

 

Can my computer upgrade to Windows 10?

If your computer originally came with Windows 7 or 8, then probably YES.

If your computer originally came with an earlier version of Windows (like XP or Vista), but now has Windows 7 or 8, then MAYBE.

If your computer still has an earlier version of Windows (like XP or Vista), then probably NO.  The hardware in the computer is probably too old to run Windows 10.  Plus, the free upgrade to Windows 10 only applies to those computers that have Windows 7 or 8.  You are better off buying a new computer with Windows 10.

New operating systems generally have trouble running on old hardware.  Nothing is certain, though, which is why I use the word "probably" above.

For more details on what Window 10 needs in a computer, check out Microsoft's official Windows 10 Specifications.

 

Notes about "Microsoft Account"

Luckily you don't have to have a Microsoft Account.  You can use a "Local Account", for logging into Windows 10 on the computer.  A "Local Account", works like Windows log-ins in Windows 7 and before.

But, if you don't use a Microsoft Account for logging into your Windows 10 computer, you won't be able to use most of the new "apps" that are in Windows 10, including the new browser, Microsoft Edge.

If you are going to use a Microsoft Account, get create one before you update your computer to Windows 10.  If you already have a Microsoft Account, make sure you know the password, and test logging into it before you update your computer to Windows 10.

Click here to learn about Microsoft Accounts, and how to get one.

A word of warning.  Make sure the password you use for your Microsoft Account is very difficult to guess!  If not, then you will be leaving your computer more open to hackers.  You can create a login PIN later, to log into the computer with, which will be easier to remember than the long, complicated password I hope you use for your Microsoft Account.

 

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