Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?
Windows 10 is finally here. You’ve seen some of its best new features , even heard what it’s like to use every day. But you might be wondering if you should upgrade. For some, it’s free, a great update, and a foregone conclusion. Others are better off waiting or thinking about other options. Let’s see where you fall.
You might think that the update would be a fix given that Windows 10 is a free update for many people . But not so fast! We’ve learned from past OS X updates that free doesn’t always mean “good,” and with something as serious as updating Windows, you should still consider if the update is right for you before clicking “Start Install”.
Remember: if you are eligible for a free upgrade, you have a full year to get it.
Many of you will see (or have already seen) that “Windows 10 has finished downloading: Install now?” dialog box on your desktop and click instantly. You may even now be looking online for ways to get your turn in line early. This is fine, but keep in mind that if your PC qualifies for the free upgrade, you have a full year to make money on it.
This means that if you haven’t done what you should have done before installing the new operating system – back up your data , update your drivers, and make sure your applications are compatible – you have plenty of time. Plus, if you find that any of your favorite apps, games, drivers, or hardware just won’t work on Windows 10, you can wait for the manufacturer or developer to take a look at it before proceeding with the update. In short, take your time just because it’s free, or simply because the installation package is on your computer, right here, waiting for you to double-click on it.
We haven’t heard of anything that doesn’t completely work in Windows 10, but that doesn’t mean that something is wrong there. Even if one obscure tool you are using has not been updated, it can ruin your workflow. Do your due diligence and make sure you are prepared. Plus, if you have a reason to wait, you just don’t like being first in line, or you prefer others to shake out bugs, Microsoft has deliberately given you this full year. Take as much or less time as you need.
Who can probably upgrade now
Once you’ve got your computer ready, there are people who needn’t hesitate if you don’t want to. Customization creators, frontline enthusiasts, people who have used the beta or technical preview: you can all update right now. For the rest of us, here’s a general list of people who should definitely install Windows 10:
- Windows 8 / 8.1 users : We’ve never been at the height of our hatred of Windows 8 , but it’s also unfair to say that everything went smoothly . Well, if you like Windows 8, Windows 10 improves on almost every aspect. It also brings back some things from Windows 7 that you had to install third-party tools to get. This will be an evolutionary update for you, packed with features you find useful but not transformative or hard to get used to. The only Windows 8 users who might want to wait are those who have paid for (and are using) Windows Media Center as Windows 10 does not support it and will actually uninstall it during the upgrade.
- Windows 7 users looking to embrace the change : If you’ve worked with Windows 7 and are interested in some of the new features Windows 10 has to offer (Cortana on the desktop, virtual desktops without third-party tools, vastly improved Aero Snap, all-new Action Center for notifications and more) – not to mention the ones that came with Windows 8 (like blazing fast download speeds, tons of security enhancements, or tighter integration with your Microsoft account, OneDrive, or Xbox) – update as soon as possible as you’re ready. Your hardware and drivers, PC games and applications will continue to work (again, nothing serious hit our radar, just broken). Best of all, your update is free, as opposed to the hundreds of dollars Microsoft wanted for Windows 8. However, again, if you rely on Windows Media Center, you’ll lose it, so keep that in mind.
Let’s just open it up: Windows 10 is a worthwhile upgrade for most users and most PCs that can support it . We’ve been testing it here for several months, both in technical preview and beta. As with any new OS, it takes a little getting used to, and some of the things you might be familiar with have been moved around. In terms of stability, it is solid. In terms of functionality, it definitely has its quirks and inconsistencies, as well as some things we’re missing out on, but nothing major, you should avoid it entirely.
Who should wait and come back in a few weeks or months
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re eligible for the free upgrade, you have a year to see people get a hands-on, long-term experience with Windows 10 before you decide to join them. If you wait after July 29, 2016, you will be stuck paying the retail price. There are people who will have to pay the retail price anyway (I’m looking at you Vista and XP users). Either way, many of you will be better off waiting to see how things change.
- Windows 7 users who are skeptical or hate change : If you are a die-hard Windows 7 user, hate Windows 8, or hate change in general, waiting is your best bet. The time and additional research may interest you. If you’re eligible for a free upgrade, you can take your time and take the time to upgrade and tweak your PC afterwards. You just have time to get your bearings and do your homework. See how quickly others are migrating to Windows 10 and make your call.
- Anyone expecting software updates or new drivers : This might go without saying, but if you have critical hardware for which the manufacturer is planning an optimized or updated driver that’s compatible with Windows 10, wait until you get one. If you have an important app that for some reason works on Windows 7 or 8, but has problems on Windows 10, wait until the developer updates it. Most of the developers we’ve seen have taken advantage of the lengthy technical preview and public beta period to test and update their apps and drivers, but there are probably some laggards.
- Anyone who wants to wait for one or two patches or get rid of bugs : some of you may even want to wait to see if others are reporting bugs first. You know the “don’t beta test Microsoft for them” mindset (which doesn’t really apply since the beta is over) and all that. Let other people fix the problems and then install them after a few fixes or service packs become available. Lots of people have reported quirks and issues, things that come with any new OS that affect how they work, but their experience may not be the same. your. For example, Ars Technica believes that this is the best OS from Microsoft at the moment … or will be when the bugs are fixed . Their opinions are not alone. Most reviewers, including us, think Windows 10 is great, and a few fixes and updates will make it even better. You can wait for these updates.
If you got something from the above list, then don’t rush to update . Wait and see how things shake things up and install a patch or two while Microsoft fixes the bugs and quirks people are discovering. For example, Microsoft removed DVD playback from Windows 10. It’s not a problem and there will be an update coming soon that will bring it back, but our favorite Windows video player , PotPlayer, and reliable VLC will handle it just fine. Now. Maybe you like Windows Media Player and want to wait for this update.
If you’re skeptical, wait and see how other people’s experiences go. Try it yourself on someone else’s computer, or head to a Microsoft store or electronics store to try it yourself. For people with older computers that are not eligible for a free upgrade, you have all the time in the world as you will have to pay for Windows 10 anyway. Don’t get us wrong, we think if you hit one of the points above , you will eventually want to update, but perhaps not right away .
Who might not want to update at all
Of course, with every new operating system, there are people who shouldn’t bother with it at all. In this case, the people who really consider Windows 10 fall into a few simple groups and probably already know who they are:
- Anyone Relying on Windows Media Center : As we mentioned above, Windows 10 marks the end of Windows Media Center. If you already had it, you will lose it, so if you rely on it, you can just stick with Windows 7 or Windows 8 with the WMC add-on. There are of course alternatives, including Kodi (formerly XBMC) or Plex , but neither handles things like live streaming in the same way as WMC, and if your setup is built on WMC, you probably want to do yours. homework, choose the alternative that works best for you, and proceed at a time that is convenient for you, if at all possible.
- Windows Vista users : Windows Vista is a lot like Windows 8.1. By the time the hype died down and several service packs were released, it was pretty solid. Vista users can look forward to support from Microsoft, including patches and security updates, in 2017, and given that Vista systems aren’t eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10, you might want to take your time instead of dropping the $ 119 retail price. Particularly if you put money in and set aside to buy a new Windows 10 PC , as PC World notes .
- Windows XP users : If you are still using Windows XP, there is probably a reason for this , and you know it. However, there is no guarantee that an XP machine will meet the Windows 10 system requirements, and coupled with the fact that the upgrade will cost you the full price, we hesitate to tell you about the upgrade. If you’re still running XP on old hardware, it’s time for a new computer. If that’s not an option, we have other suggestions .
Of course, there is another group of people who will not want to upgrade to Windows 10: people who are completely and completely happy with what they have now, either do not use Windows or leave Windows completely. We’re sure some of you are using Windows 7 but will never upgrade for any personal or aesthetic reasons. Likewise, if you’re not a fan of the direction Windows has taken and are planning to move to OS X or Linux, obviously Windows 10 isn’t for you either.
Bottom line: Reliable update for almost everyone
After all, Windows 10 is a major upgrade. We’ve tested it and think it’s an improvement over Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Updating is easy. If you’re using Windows 8, it’s almost hassle-free, although Windows 7 users should be prepared for a longer, albeit still simple, experience. There is nothing to stop you working, but there may be some bugs and quirks to get used to. Of course, if you’re skeptical, take your time and make the decision to upgrade yourself based on your own research, experience, and the apps you run.
Our friends at Gizmodo kept a daily log of their Windows 10 experience that is worth checking out. They discuss the setup process , day-to-day use and problems they face , and even the possibility of using a Windows 10 PC at a local network party and the gaming experience of the PC .
It helps that Microsoft made Windows 10 available so early in tech preview and beta, and that so many people played with it. All this time has given us time to tweak it, tweak it, and highlight issues. Chances are, any issues you run into were solved (or at least documented) by someone else, and the developers had plenty of time to get their software ready for release. Aside from the problems that come with any new OS and the many fixes we’ll see in the next few weeks, there should be relatively few surprises. As always, before taking the plunge, make sure you have a backup of all your data.