Microsoft’s Windows 10 became available on July 29, and we’ve helped several clients who have purchased a new computer or upgraded their existing computer from Windows 7 or 8/8.1. On older computers Microsoft’s notification invites users to register to download a free upgrade to Windows 10 – an offer which will be good until July 2016. But just because it’s free doesn’t mean that you should do the upgrade.
The Good: Windows 10 is an improvement over Windows 8/8.1. It brings back a “Start” menu that is more like what Windows 7 had. It also brings back the Windows 7 Backup & Restore feature. New to Windows 10 is improved search capabilities, and a new voice powered virtual assistant, Cortana, that you can speak with if your computer has a microphone. Though it’s fun to use for a little while – it’s likely that many will rarely use the feature.
The Bad: If you want to use the virtual assistant or Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud file sync service, you must register for a Microsoft account (if you don’t already have one). Using your computer with a Microsoft account requires you to enter a password or PIN each time you start your computer. Also Windows 10 still has two different user interfaces for adjusting settings which can make things hard-to-find and confusing. The icon for Microsoft’s new Edge web browser looks very similar to the icon for Internet Explorer – which is now hidden by default. If you decide to use the Edge browser, any website that requires a plugin – such as Flash Player or Java – will not work in Edge.
Microsoft has included the Microsoft Solitaire Collection card games in Windows 10, and playing the games also requires that your computer be signed into your Microsoft account. But unlike the version included with Windows 7, it now displays advertisements. You can remove the ads for $1.49/month or $9.99/year.
The Ugly: If your computer has Windows 7, Windows 10 is a dramatic change to what you are used to using. Some manufacturers will not be releasing drivers for Windows 10, which means things like your keyboard, printer or video card may not work properly or at all.
Should you upgrade to Windows 10? If your computer has Windows 7 – we recommend that you don’t install Windows 10 and just stay with Windows 7 until the year 2020. If you’ve got Windows 8/8.1 – don’t upgrade to Windows 10 yet. Let’s wait a few months for Microsoft and hardware manufacturers to get some of the glitches fixed, drivers released and upgrade process smoothed out.