Windows 10 will be released on the 29th of July as a free download for anyone running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. The free update will be available for a year.
Starting up Windows 10 at first glance it looks a lot like Windows 8, the task bar and icons are at the bottom of the screen, the Windows 8 tiles appear on the desktop but select the Start button and the magic returns. You will be greeted with the familiar Start Menu. Your most frequently used programs are stacked in a column. Press the “All Apps” button and you will see an alphabetically sorted list of all of your applications. Alongside this all too familiar Start Menu are the Windows 8 animated live tiles. Some would say the best of both worlds.
New Modern Apps open as classic windows apps (not full screen). You can now snap these apps to 1/2 the display, a full display or resize, minimize and maximize at will.
Microsoft Edge replaces Internet Explorer. Edge browser revolves around a new rendering engine that speeds up performance, and offers new functionality. With Cortana (Microsoft’s Virtual Assistant) is built right into the browser, and it’ll chime in as you’re performing searches or browsing the Web. The most striking feature is the ability to annotate Web pages directly: you can draw right on Web pages, type notes and clip sections of interest to OneNote, share them via email or pass things along to friends on your social networks.
Many Windows 10 Apps will be the next generation Universal Apps designed to work seamlessly on PC, Tablets and Phones without a reduction or change in the user experience.
Should I / Can I Upgrade
If you are currently a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 user then your upgrade ‘should’ complete without any problems. I would always recommend a full system backup; make sure that you have the license keys and installation media (or download site) for your programs and are prepared to spend some time to complete the upgrade.
If you are currently a Windows 7 user then I would recommended that a full Windows 8 / Windows 10 readiness check be performed prior to attempting the upgrade. There are specific hardware requirements that have to be met in order to upgrade a Windows 7 PC.
Microsoft has added a number of features to Windows 10 to improve the user experience (most notable is the return of the Start Menu), the new Edge Browser and although still an infant we see the new Cortana personal assistant.
Today it seems the choice is yours. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users can upgrade mostly risk free (no upgrade is without some risk), Windows 7 users will most likely find your hardware lacking and you wont be able to upgrade.
However, for Windows 7 users this is a rare opportunity to upgrade your operating system free of charge if your hardware is up to the game.