Computers: Upgrading to Windows 10

By Colin Cartmell-Browne

USERS of computers running Windows 7 or 8 may have noticed this little icon on your desktop (right).window upgrade logo

This is the free upgrade to Windows 10 available until 29th July. Taking Microsoft up on the offer is quite simple- just click ‘Upgrade now’ and follow the on-screen prompts. However the question remains as to whether you should, or should not, upgrade.

First you need to consider whether Windows 10 offers you anything you are currently not getting and, more importantly, whether your current programmes will work on Windows 10. The good news is that most applications will work with no problems; however it is still worth checking out first before you start the update.

Let’s look at some of the other reasons to upgrade, according to the information offered:

  • It’s familiar: just because something is familiar is hardly a reason to upgrade (or not) although for what its worth I’ve used Windows 7 and Windows 10 and, from a users point of view, found very little difference between the two.
  • Designed for speed: bit of an exaggeration this one. While it may start up quicker than other versions of Windows it is not going to make your computer run any faster than it did before. If it took a long time to do a task before the upgrade it will not improve any after the upgrade.

New features

  • Cortina: marketed as your own personal digital assistant. Anyone who remembers ‘Mr Clippy’ from Microsoft Word or Siri on an Iphone will know just how annoying, and wrong, these digital assistants can be.
  • Microsft Edge: a new web-browser. This browser is based on Internet Explorer but supposed to be faster. If you currently use Explorer then you may notice a difference but if, like me and many others, you use Google Chrome then this is a totally redundant change.
  • Built-in apps: most of which you will not need as you will have already installed a programme to do these jobs for you, for example Picasa for photo organisation and editing.
  • Windows store for games, apps, movies etc. This seems very similar to ITunes and, I suspect, totally pointless for the majority of windows users.

All this might make upgrading pointless. However it is worth considering that, at some point, Microsoft will stop supporting your current operating system. When that happens getting technical support would be more difficult.

Also, after 29th July, if you want to update your operating system, you will need to pay to get Windows 10. Therefore if your going to upgrade then now would be the time to do it,just remember the following:

  1. Back up your hard drive before you start. You will need a USB hard drive or similar to make a back up of all your files.
  2. Research carefully whether all your current programmes will work on Windows 10. Microsoft do provide a compatibility report as part of the upgrade process but its still worth doing your own homework.
  3. Set yourself plenty of time to carry out the upgrade. How long the process takes will depend on several things including the speed of your Internet connection (to download the new operating system) and how fast your computer is. Realistically you will probably need several hours to do this.
  4. When installing the programme I would uncheck any options which say things like ‘send anonymous statistics to help improve services’.
  5. One feature I particular didn’t like on Windows 10 was how it would have a live ‘feed’ of my Facebook account, and other services such as the BBC news, available on the start up menu. These features are likely to slow down the computer while they are being updated and, for me, it raises privacy concerns should someone else use your computer.

It is possible to uninstall Windows 10 and go back to your original operating system. However this also has its problems. For example I, briefly, installed Windows 10 on my laptop and, due to a technical issue, decided to uninstall it. This has led to a different issue where every once in a while my user profiles become corrupt and need repairing. This isn’t a major problem as I don’t lose any work but it is a pain to have to keep fixing it. Ultimately the decision whether to upgrade or not is up to you. Some users really like Windows 10 while others haven’t seen any particular benefit over Windows 7 or 8.

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