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Windows 10 is out today, so what do you need to know?

The response to it has been pretty positive so far.

Image: Microsoft

TODAY’S THE DAY that Windows 10 makes its long-awaited debut and for Microsoft to banish the bad memories of Windows 8.

You might not get it straight away – the upgrade will be released in phases, starting with Windows Insiders before moving onto those on the waiting list – but since you’ll be waiting anyway, here’s what you need to know.

How difficult is it to install?

Provided you have the correct version of Windows, the installation process is pretty straightforward. It’s a little time-consuming, and you should back up important data first before you proceed, but it’s straightforward.

There are two ways to install it. If you already own a computer or tablet with Windows 7 or 8.1 installed, you can upgrade for free.

If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, there should be a Windows icon on your system tray. Clicking on it will allow you to upgrade or sign up to the waiting list.

If you own a pro version of Windows, you will be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.

windows-10-get-windows-630x333 Source: Windows Blog

I can’t see this icon. What’s happening?

There could be a few reasons for this, but the main ones are:

- You don’t have Windows Updates turned on or not set to receive updates automatically
- Your device doesn’t have an up-to-date copy of Windows 7 or 8.1.
- You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary update needed.
- You’re running a pirated version of Windows.

If you have an older version of Windows, you have two options. You can either pay for it online or you can purchase a USB drive with it installed.

What kind of PC/device should you have?

These are the general specifications provided by Microsoft. What you need are:

- 1GHz processor.
- 1GB or RAM (2GB for 64-bit devices).
- 16GB of hard disk space (20GB for 64-bit devices).
- A display of at least 1024×600.

If you’re unsure, the Windows icon in the system tray has a ‘test your PC’ option which tells you if your device is compatible. Alternatively, you can find out by going into Control Panel > System and Security > System.

Why is it releasing Windows 10 in phases?

Likely because with all official launches, there will be bugs here and there. No software is ever perfect when it’s first released and doing it in phases gives Microsoft time to react.

The first people to gain access to the upgrade will be those involved with the Windows Insider programme, those who have been using the beta version of Windows 10 for months now.

There are roughly 4.4 million people who have been involved so once they’re out of the way, it will move onto those who signed up to the waiting list and then a general release.

Source: Windows/YouTube

What’s the reaction to it been like?

Very positive. Many were happy to see the return of the Start button and turning it into one main operating system instead the disjointed nature of Windows 8′s desktop and tablet modes.

The Verge praised the update saying it’s “hugely exciting” saying that its decision to make this the ‘last Windows’ is good since it “ends the cycle of good and bad [Windows 8] in favour of something great.”

Windows 10 is hugely exciting. I rarely touch my MacBook Air anymore as I find the combination of some good hardware (like the Dell XPS 13) and Windows 10 is a joy to use. I like the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows 10, accepting feedback and ideas from its customers along the way. It feels like the best way to shape Windows into something people enjoy using, rather than something they have to use.

PC World also praised the update saying it charts a better course for the service, and has done a great job in making Windows 8 a distant memory.

Windows 10 feels like Windows; I made the mental shift from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 during the weeks I’ve spent with it as a Windows Insider. That was a very clever tactic, by the way, to encourage users to overcome their unfamiliarity with the OS as beta testers.So what’s our verdict? Download it, definitely. Not only is it free to the vast majority of customers, it’s a sizeable improvement over both of Microsoft’s prior operating systems. Microsoft, to its very great credit, has assumed a corporate persona of humility and responsiveness that it’s previously lacked. If there are problems—and there are—we have every confidence they’ll be fixed.

While ComputerWorld called it “a dramatic improvement over Windows 8,” saying it worked better as one main service instead of a “Rube Goldberg kludge of two operating systems poorly bolted together”.

Despite some bugs and annoyances (like being forced to accept Windows updates), it will be worthwhile to upgrade from Windows 8.1 before July 29, 2016, when Microsoft’s one-year free upgrade offer runs out. Windows 7 users should consider upgrading as well, thanks to Cortana, Edge and the advent of useful Windows apps.

So should I upgrade?

We would say yes since it’s free and fixes the many problems that Windows 8.1 presented, just make sure you back up your important files first as a precaution before doing anything.

But remember that you don’t have to upgrade straight away. As mentioned earlier, most people have a year to upgrade it for free so if you’re unsure, you can always hold off the decision for a bit while you see how other people fare.

Also, there will always be a few bugs here and there with the first version so waiting a little longer for them to be fixed is never a bad idea.

(Originally published: 20:30 28/7/2015)

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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