Windows 10: Should You Upgrade?

Windows 10 was launched beginning in July of 2015, with many, many Insider Builds (preview builds for those registered to receive them) released along the way. It is the most publicly tested version of Windows EVER. Microsoft even solicits feedback directly from the OS in the form of suggestions/comments, and short little surveys. Don’t worry all of that is optional. I am often asked “Chris I’ve got Windows 8 should I upgrade?”, or “I’ve got an old Windows 7 PC should I upgrade?” The short answer is YES. And you might want to act quickly because the free upgrade promotion is ending this summer. Let me walk through these scenarios with you to address any lingering questions or ease any concerns. Since Windows 10 has been out a year I am not going to do a full review – I will review the Anniversary Update next month once that drops.

Upgrading from Windows 7

You’ll receive a notification in the taskbar when your device is ready to upgrade.

Windows 7 receiving the Windows 10 notification

Several times I have had coworkers bring in their personal laptops for me to look at on my lunch or during breaks. I’ve had so much of that in the past that I have become pretty selective over whose laptop I will look at.. Coffee, beer (for after work of course), chocolate, or other bribes help…. Anyways, I digress. On one such occasion I had a laptop come in that was Windows 7, an old core i3 Intel chip with about 4Gigs of RAM. She complained of excessive slowness and other anomalies. I told her I would take a look and see what I could do. I decided immediately it wasn’t worth refreshing Windows 7. I told her she was going to 10. I went to to 10 for a variety of reasons; it’s more secure, faster, same hardware requirements, and the ability to do a pretty good in place upgrade.

I have done several upgrades from 7 directly to 10 with just a few hiccups and most were application hiccups — not data. This being said I STRONGLY urge a backup of at least your documents to an external drive, optical media, or somewhere on a secure cloud storage provider. You may also want to check with your computer manufacturer to see if they have tested Windows 10 on your particular model. I have had a couple computers that just are too old to go to 10- the biggest difficulty being drivers. If you are currently running Windows 7 you probably have already seen the ad-ware type in your face pop-up urging you to go to Windows 10. This is probably the easiest way to get it. Essentially it downloads in the background and will alert you when it is ready to rock and roll.

Windows 7 may be prettier (the whole Aero interface which I wish could be an option in 10) but remember Windows 7 is almost 7 years old. There has been a lot of innovation in hardware and in software in that time period. As with the life of any operating system, Microsoft has switched Windows 7 to maintenance mode. It doesn’t receive new features, or any performance improvements. They will still fix problems for several more years, and provide security fixes but it won’t take advantage of newer hardware. In fact it may not even run in some cases on computers shipping soon (Some Intel Skylake & Kaby Lake PCs). I personally thought Windows 7 was the best OS built by Microsoft to date. I liked it better than XP, Vista, and 8/8.1. I was cautious with Windows 10 as I tried all the different “alpha/beta” releases. Now it is hard using Windows 7. I miss features. I try and do shortcuts that aren’t there. Right clicking on the start button doesn’t give me that awesome menu that was added in 8 and made better in 10. Windows Snap (docking program windows around on your desktop) is great! I can still use it but I’m slower on 7 than I am on 10. For me 10 has become the best OS Microsoft has ever built. I use it every day at work and home.

If you are running Windows 7 and are eligible to upgrade … go for it! Windows 10 isn’t as scary as some make it out to be, and its way more customizable than Windows 8 ever was. You can turn off all the live tiles if they intimidate you or remove the tiles entirely. Back to that laptop I told you about… what a difference Windows 10 made. Your mileage may vary, but when it left my desk that thing worked a lot better.

Upgrading from Windows 8

To me this is a no-brainer. Windows 8/8.1 was a shock to the system for many a user. Full screen start menu, two Internet Explorers, no start button (in the original version), and a goofy Windows Store. I get it. I didn’t dislike it as much as the rest of the world did. I made it my daily driver in the beta stages, and appreciated a lot of the under-the-hood changes that most users would never notice. Things like the power-user menu, new task manager, graphical refreshes, network optimizations. I also wanted the latest DirectX technology for gaming. The “nerdy” reasons aside, I understand where the mainstream consumer was coming from. In fact the OS was so jarring we never rolled it out to our 200+ computers at work. It wasn’t even on our radar. We knew our helpdesk would be overwhelmed with “Where do I find this”, “Where’s the start button?”, and “Can I go back?”. We had 4 or 5 devices that had Windows 8 but they were Surface devices so they

Windows 10 brings the familiar Start menu back but in a new way that allows you to customize it with the things that are most important to you – your favorite apps, people, and files.

Windows 10 Start Menu

only ran Windows 8. We trained up a couple of those users really well and they were happy with it. But one can argue that a Surface was what Windows 8 was designed for. A tablet first a PC second.

 

For some people they bought Windows 8 pre-installed with a new PC and just got used to it. For those of you who did… upgrade!! Windows 10 gives you the best of 7 and 8. You can still get the full screen start menu if you ended up liking that so much, or you can go with a small Windows 7-esqe start menu. Windows 10 improves on every single Windows 8 feature. I can’t think of a place where it regressed at all. Since you are on Windows 8 now you will make that jump to Windows 10 much easier than someone on Windows 7 would. Plus most of your Windows 8 Store applications will transfer over and work just fine in Windows 10. Some may even have new versions specifically for Windows 10.

Final Thoughts

Upgrading an OS has not always been for the typical user. For the most part when people went from one version of Windows to another it was because they bought a new PC and that is what it came with. Windows 10 upgrade still may not be for Grandma and Grandpa but its getting much easier to do by yourself. Backups are your friend. You can always roll back the Windows 10 install if you hate it. Microsoft gives you a few months to make that determination. For me personally I haven’t looked back. I even upgraded my wife’s laptop. I have helped several other people upgrade their own systems at home. Read some reviews, get familiar with Windows 10. You can even start on the Microsoft site (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/features ). Keep checking my site for more information and for the upcoming Anniversary Update.

 

My Most Used Windows 10 Features

  • Cortana
  • Virtual Desktops
  • Task View
  • Snap Assist
  • Action Center
  • New Start Menu Live Tiles

Chris

I have been a System Administrator for 10 years now. I have been an avid Microsoft fan for over 20. From my first 486 with Windows 3.0 to my latest custom rig with Windows 10. I have gone from tinkering, to programming, to managing servers, and virtualization.

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1 Response

  1. July 29, 2016

    […] today is the last day to pick up your free upgrade to Windows 10. If you haven’t done so I recommend you do. The anniversary update is just next week. It includes a lot of new and exciting features for […]

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