Finally, the anticipated Windows 10 which Microsoft has advertised on Windows 7 and 8.1 for several months will be released July 29, 2015.
Windows 10 will be a free upgrade, assuming your computer runs Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1. And as long as you upgrade to Windows 10 within the first year, you won’t have to pay a dime. You can continue using Windows 10 and getting updates for the “supported lifetime of the device.” It’s a full copy that will continue to work.
However, If you have an older computer running Windows Vista or a previous version of Windows, you won’t get a free upgrade. You may resolve to buying a new computer if you fall in this category of users anyway. If you have a pirated (“non-genuine“) copy of Windows, you may be able to upgrade — but you’ll continue to have a “non-genuine” copy of Windows 10.
How to Upgrade
Microsoft rolled out a “Get Windows 10″ application that prompts you to “reserve” your copy of Windows 10, and you’ll be seeing those notifications in your system tray on Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 computers.
While the upgrade process shouldn’t erase your personal files, it’s always important to have backups. If you have hardware or programs that won’t be compatible with Windows 10, the upgrade application will inform you of any possible problems you might experience.
Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be a worthy upgrade to both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. It builds on Windows 8’s base, offering its desktop improvements and security features.
Here are few highlights:
1. One OS To Rule Them All
Microsoft wants to get all recent Windows machines on the same operating system, providing a standardized Windows platform and pushing the “universal apps” offered by the Windows Store.
“Windows 10 will run on the broadest amount of devices. A tailored experience for each device,” said Terry Myerson, Microsoft Executive VP of Operating Systems. “There will be one way to write a universal application, one store, one way for apps to be discovered, purchased and updated across all of these devices.”
2. The Start Menu returns
Microsoft has finally decided to bring back the Start Menu. It will combine both aspects of the classic Windows 7 start menu with apps from the Metro/Modern UI of Windows 8. Essentially its layout can be customised so apps can be removed or resized. Searching within the Start Menu will now perform a web search as well.
3. Edge Browser
With Windows 10, Microsoft is introducing a new browser called Edge, which is aimed squarely at consumers. The focus is on speed and ease of use, getting rid of functions like ActiveX controls and basically making the internet a less stressful place to be.
Edge includes a number of nice features like a button that allows you to convert any web page into an easy-to-read format, removing adverts and sidebars and allowing you to focus on the core content such as text and pictures. Users can also customise the colour of the background and the size of the font to improve the reading experience.
Windows 10 will still come with Internet Explorer pre-installed, for people who want access to a richer set of web tools. However, Edge will become the default browser on Windows 10.
Microsoft is also pushing the Windows Store for desktop users in Windows 10, as those fancy new “universal apps” now run in desktop windows and could actually be a bit useful.
With Windows 10, clicking on one of the live tiles in the start menu does not take you into the mobile interface. Rather, it launches the application within the desktop environment, in a window that can be resized, maximised, minimised and closed, just like any other Windows program.
5. Desktop Notifications
Tech users have become fairly used to having notifications popping up on their smartphones and tablets, but Windows 10 also brings them to the desktop. If you are using a keyboard and mouse, an icon will appear on the taskbar to alert you to messages and events you haven’t seen.
Clicking on the icon will bring up a notification centre with more information, as well as shortcuts to the relevant apps. Users can also turn WiFi on or off from within the notification centre, or adjust ‘quiet hours’ and battery saver. If you’re using a touch interface, you can just swipe from the side to bring up the notification centre.
Windows 10 includes a range a new security features, including support for biometrics. A new feature called Windows Hello allows you to unlock your desktop either by looking at the screen or using your fingerprint.
The facial recognition feature requires an infrared camera. The camera scans your face in 3D and compares it with data stored on the computer to determine whether or not you are the validated user.