On July 29, Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows 10 to the general public. Millions of Windows 7 and 8.1 users will be wondering if they should take advantage of the free upgrade to the new operating system. However, there is no straight “yes” or “no” answer applicable to everybody since the decision to upgrade depends on each individual situation and personal preferences. Nonetheless, there are some general factors that apply and here are some quick thoughts that I think are pertinent. Since touch systems have their own set of considerations, I am primarily concentrating on mouse/keyboard users.
Are you happy with the system you have?
If you don’t have a need for some feature provided by the new system and are having no problems with your current one, maybe an upgrade is unnecessary. It is a variant on the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Are there new features in Windows 10 that are really attractive to you?
If you are a Windows 7 user, the new Start Menu is no big deal, maybe even a step backward. On the other hand, Windows 8.1 users might very well find that the idea of a Start Menu and the return of focus on the desktop is just what they want.
Some regard the digital assistant Cortana as a big attraction and a must-have while others see no particular advantage to it. Personally, Cortana is not a big selling point for me on desktops. Of course, others may feel differently and many are viewing Cortana as a plus for Windows 10. Fellow Gizmo editor Dedoimedo has his own unique view.
And so it goes. Each new feature of Windows 10 needs to be evaluated in the light of individual preferences. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any one article that gives a comprehensive review of Windows 10 features but this reference has a brief description of 20 new features.
Are you ready to deal with any problems caused by an upgrade?
Any upgrade is likely to involve some tinkering with the system and glitches may occur. For example, I upgraded a Windows 8.1 system and it went smoothly but it still took some time to get everything working the way I wanted. I also upgraded an older Windows 7 system and there were driver problems. These problems were resolved but it took some extensive messing about. So keep in mind that any upgrade might take some work and even some technical knowledge.
Although every situation is different, I think there are some reasonably general recommendations that can be made. (These are my personal thoughts and are not official recommendations of Tech Support Alert. Your ideas may differ.)
1. Wait to upgrade
Unless you really enjoy having the newest stuff and like to be on the forefront, you should wait several months to see how things develop before upgrading any production systems. Windows 10 is still a work in progress. Rumor has it that a substantial update will come in fall and I would wait for that. Personally, I will only be using Windows 10 on virtual machines until then.
2. Windows 7 systems stand pat
Unless they are having problems or want to use some new feature of Windows 10, it is my opinion that Windows 7 users should probably skip the upgrade. Also, keep in mind that older machines and peripherals are the most likely to have driver or other problems with an upgrade. I will not be upgrading my Windows 7 workstation.
3. Windows 8.1 systems upgrade
On the other hand, I would guess that most Windows 8.1 users would benefit from an upgrade. If nothing else, the return of the Start Menu is a big plus. I have a Windows 8.1 laptop and I will be upgrading it once Windows 10 has been around for a few months.
And there you have it – some quick thoughts about upgrading to Windows 10. What about you? Will you be upgrading?
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.
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