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Windows 10 to Arrive July 29

The date we’ve been waiting for is out there. Microsoft will make Windows 10 available for laptops, desktops and Windows tablets July 29, and it can’t come a day too soon as far as we’re concerned. Yes, it will be free – if you download within a year of its release. Don’t wait. Here’s why you should migrate to Windows 10 ASAP.

Freebie – Well, it’s a freebie for life if you install it within a year. You know our feelings about freebies: they always come with strings attached. The “free” upgrade is for customers running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 running Home, Home Premium and Pro versions. And while it will be free for life, early reports indicate that not all the features will be available July 29. Neither will Edge, the new browser that replaces Internet Explorer, nor Windows phone be available. If you have a really old version of Windows, such as Vista, XP or even RT, you’ll have to pony up the money. Speculation is up to $199 for Windows 10 Pro. Enterprise users will be charged for an on-going service, and that’s where Windows will ultimately head with everyone. As we’ve discussed before, software as a service with automatic updates is a good thing.

Easy Transition – Unlike most migrations to a new operating system, you’ll be able to retain all of your data, drivers and settings if you are using Windows 7 or 8. Microsoft used the analogy of the egg and the yolk, calling your data, drivers and settings the egg and your operating system the yolk. The egg stays while the yolk changes. Let’s hope it’s more like “eggs easy over” and nothing gets scrambled. Once you make the transition, you’ll have 30 days to get used to everything and decide if you want to keep it. We fully expect you’ll make that decision pretty quickly. If you find you don’t like Windows 10, you can revert back to your older operating system with a simple click. To further ease your mind, Microsoft will continue to support Windows 7 until Jan. 14, 2020 – almost five years from now – and support Windows 8 until Jan. 10, 2023.

Return of the Start Button – The Start Button is back, and that might be reason enough by itself to migrate from Windows 8 or 8.1. The big advantage for many users is that it will restore a well-known way to navigate through various application programs. However, it will retain some of the visual cues from Windows 8, and those will be resizable to help you find and launch your key apps quickly and easily. Along with the Start Button, there are also reminders when you install new apps and an alphabetical grid when you click on a heading letter.

New Browser – The Edge will replace Internet Explorer. Names aside, the new browser will load pages faster and display some useful information, such as weather forecasts, in a pop-up menu below the toolbar. Edge will also feature a predictive search engine, which could come in especially handy on a mobile device if you’re looking for a restaurant or a store. This could also be a good salvo against Google for getting more search (and advertising) traffic.

Cortana – This is Microsoft’s personal digital assistant. It will differ from Siri or Google Now by giving you the ability to conduct a single search across your hard drive, as well as the cloud and the web, bundling the results into a single pop-up menu.

Apps – We talked about a photo-editing app in our initial evaluation of an earlier version (build, as we say in the tech biz) of Windows 10, and you should find a lot to like with various apps. The new Photos app will scan your devices and OneDrive account for photos, arrange them into a giant collection and automatically enhance them, such as fixing red-eye. Microsoft will use a unified code for its apps that should work across desktops, tablets and smartphones. A new code base makes it easier for iPhone and Android developers to make their apps work with Windows.

With more than six weeks until Windows 10’s release, you have plenty of time to prepare for the migration. Windows 7 users must be running Service Pack 1 to enable the update, and Windows 8 users must have upgraded to the latest version of Windows 8.1. Your computer should have these minimum system requirements:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for a 32-bit version, or 2GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16GB for a 32-bit OS; 20GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 1024×600

You’ll also need to enable your Windows 10 reservation. Look for the tiny Windows icon down in the right corner of your taskbar, and click it to launch the Windows 10 reservation app. However, even if your PC seemingly meets those specifications, it might not be upgraded. Use the “check my PC” function within the reservation app.

If you are cleared for takeoff, the process could take 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on your computer’s age and networking setup – among other things. It goes without saying that even though the upgrade is expected to be a proverbial “piece of cake,” you should have all of your important files backed up before you start the process.

We can help you make sure your computers are ready for the Windows 10 upgrade. If your computers don’t qualify for the upgrade, we can help you purchase and install the software. If you are an enterprise user, we can help you migrate to the new Windows 10 service. Call us – 973-433-6646 – or email us with any questions you may have about making Windows 10 work for you.