Microsoft has begun its major push for Windows 10 on billions of PCs. If you’re running Windows 7 or 8.1, there’s a good chance you’ve had alerts for the new OS — on your system.
The mighty Microsoft marketing system is taking an entirely new approach to introducing the next Windows. Here are the facts, not the hype.
By now, most Windows users know that Microsoft has instituted a reservation system for downloading Windows 10, once it formally starts shipping this July 29. Getting Windows users to reserve a place at the Win10 launch table is a novel concept — as was the Technical Preview program that’s been in place for the past few months. Although there are some good aspects to the reservation system, it also has problems and is simply unnecessary.
As you probably know by now, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for all qualified Windows systems — i.e., mostly personal and “genuine” Win7 and Win8.1 machines — for a full year after its July 29 release. That’s not exactly a short window for deciding whether you want the free upgrade. (Reportedly, if you miss that one-year window, you’ll have to pay for the OS. And if you haven’t updated from Win8 to 8.1, a necessary requirement for Win10, you’re way overdue to do so.)
Contrary to some rumors, there will not be any sort of subscription fee after you upgrade. Microsoft will send free updates for the life of the OS.
Possibly the one useful aspect of the Win10 reservation system is that it runs a check of your system to see whether it’s ready for the new OS. The “Get Windows 10” application that suddenly appeared on many Windows systems earlier this month includes a “Check my PC” option. As long as you’ve kept up on patches in Windows Update, updating to Win10 should be relatively uncomplicated for most current PCs.
There are numerous other, more minor changes (detailed in the Win10 Specifications page). For example, during the upgrade process, your anti-malware app will — in theory — be uninstalled and later reinstalled with the latest version. (It’s unknown what AV apps this will work for.) The “Check my PC” function will also test whether third-party apps are compatible with Win10.