Free upgrades for Windows 7 and 8.1 users to Windows 10 will be available beginning July 29th, 2015. You may be tempted to be first in line. Don’t! Wait at least six months (February 1st, 2016) to do the upgrade. Giving Microsoft’s developers some time to work the bugs out of the system will save you many headaches and heartaches.
If you are happy with your current version of 7 or 8.1, you can remove the upgrade reminder by simply uninstalling a recent Windows update. Keep in mind that Windows 7 will be supported until January 14, 2020 and Windows 8.1 will be supported until January 10, 2023.
You have up to one year to complete your free Windows 10 upgrade.
However, if you just can’t live with Windows 8.1, reserve your upgrade now. I’ll understand.
Does your system meet the minimum requirements necessary to run Windows 10?
The minimum system requirements are just that. This will allow Windows 10 to run but the performance may not be very smooth. The cardinal rule is to take the minimum system requirements and double it.
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC (System on Chip)
* Processor: 2 gigahertz (GHz) dual-core or faster processor
Windows 10 can run on a single-core processor, but the performance is sluggish. Even running the 32-bit version in VirtualBox works better when allowed to access two CPU cores.
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
* RAM: 2 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 4 GB for 64-bit
The minimum requirement is just to run Windows. Additional programs (word processor, media player, games, etcetera) also need a fair amount of RAM.
* Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
If you are upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1, your graphics card or chip shouldn’t be an issue. The drivers, however, may be a problem.
Windows 10 is basically Windows 8.x. Any drivers loaded in 8.x should be compatible with 10.
Windows 7 software drivers may or may not be compatible with 10. It’s best to check with your hardware manufacturer for updated Windows 10 drivers before upgrading.
What’s still in Windows 10?
Long-time Windows power users will find some familiar utilities that are still integrated into the newest version of Microsoft’s operating system.
The Task Manager:
And, believe it or not, a holdover from the dark days of DOS/Windows 3.1x.
Another holdover from the early days of DOS when hard drives were measured in megabytes, usually 512 or less, compressing the drive was a necessity for some users. Today, however, relatively cheap multi-terabyte drives has made this feature obsolete.
There are a few programs and features that past versions of Windows users may find annoying. These can be easy replaced or transferred from Windows XP.
Solitaire can be copied and moved. Spider Solitaire (spider.exe) can be extracted from XP using the same method.
The Start Menu will be the biggest disappointment for those moving from XP or 7 to 10.
Windows 10 is a compromise between those who hate Windows 8.x and those who developed the Metro user interface. The Start Menu is the Metro UI with links to installed programs, apps and functions.
The free solution is to install Classic Shell:
To remove those ugly shortcut arrows from your desktop icons, use Ultimate Windows Tweaker 3. Although this free software was designed for Windows 8, the registry structure of Windows 10 has changed little since its predecessor.
To create an automatic login account, use method one. This will allow you to undo the automatic login if you should ever change your mind.
The Bottom Line:
Windows 8.1 users should strongly consider upgrading to Windows 10.
Windows 7 users who are content with their current operating system should not upgrade to Windows 10. Wait until you need to purchase a new computer before making the switch.
Windows XP users need to buy a new computer as soon as Windows 10 machines become available.
Anyone still running Windows 95, 98, 98SE or ME — what the hell is wrong with you?
Mac users who overpaid for a computer that does less than any other system on the market can rejoice in the fact that they own a useless status symbol.
And finally, Linux users can gloat to their heart’s content since they got it right the first time and don’t have to deal with all of Microsoft’s nonsense!
According to Ed Bott, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1 for free (as of January 5, 2017).
The Windows Media Creation Tool is recommended. User assumes all risk. No guaranties.