Sunday, May 1, 2016

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft released its latest operating system, Windows 10, on July, 29 2015. By the end of 2015, Windows 10 was installed on over 200 million devices on the way to Microsoft's target installation of 1 billion devices within 3 years of it's release. So, should you upgrade your PC to Windows 10 now? The absolute, definitive answer is...  "It Depends".
What is an Operating System
An operating system (OS) is the most important software that runs on any computer. It manages and controls the computer's use of memory, processes, and all of its software, peripherals and hardware. It also allows you to communicate with the computer without having to know the computer's actual "language" (e.g. via a keyboard, monitor and mouse). Without an operating system, a computer is useless.

At the end of 2015, this was the estimated PC operating system deployment market share (as per Net
Windows 7:
Windows 10:
Windows 8 / 8.1:
Windows XP:
Apple (all Mac OS):
Linux / Other:


Decision Factors:
  • Windows 10 is a free upgrade to current users of Windows 7 and 8.1. There’s a good chance that your PC is already displaying a new icon in the system tray and prompting you to upgrade. Officially, the free upgrade offer ends on July 29, 2016, 1 year after the original release date. For Windows XP or Vista users, Windows 10 is a paid upgrade, which may be a bigger decision factor.
  • The Windows 10 download and upgrade are automatic. Via the new icon in the system tray or the pop-up prompt, you can have the upgrade run now or schedule the upgrade for a future time.
  • If you are not tech savvy, you can schedule a free appointment at a Microsoft store for a technician to perform the upgrade for you. You will likely need to leave your device at the Microsoft store for a few days.
  • Windows 10 includes "Cortana", the virtual assistant that is similar to Google Now and Apple’s Siri on smart phones. You can control elements of your PC simply by using your voice.
  • For major software you have installed on your PC, it is likely to be a smooth upgrade. However, check with the software provider if you are not sure.
  • For peripherals such as printers and scanners, you may need to download new drivers to ensure they work properly on the new platform.
  • The overall look-and-feel of Windows 10 is similar to Windows 7 and the Windows 8.1 desktop. But, there are some differences that you may need time to adjust to.
  • Windows OS End-of-Support dates:
    • WinXP/Vista: Completely desupported
    • Windows 7: No mainstream support (no product upgrades)
    • Security upgrades through July 2020
    • Windows 8: Mainstream support through January 2018
    • Security upgrades through January 2023
    • Windows 10: Mainstream support through October 2020

If I Upgrade and Don't Like it, Can I Downgrade?
Microsoft has built in a process that only requires a few clicks to have the system roll back to Windows 7 or 8.1, as long as you haven’t deleted the windows.old folder that stores your previous version. Click HERE to link to Microsoft's roll back instructions.

As you can see, the decision to upgrade your Windows PC to Windows 10 depends on several factors. The overall results of upgrading to Windows 10 is that process is fairly smooth, and the platform is stable. However, proceed moving forward aware of the factors listed above to minimize disruption and surprises by the upgrade process.


  1. When I was considering upgrading to Windows 10, the first question I asked myself was why would they give away a new and better operating system for free? (Just saying....)

    1. Thanks for a great question, Rocky. Microsoft, and other software vendors, have done this for years. Foregoing a short-term revenue gain in exchange to maintain (and grow) PC market share. And in this case, since Win10 is a platform also for mobile devices, they are looking to capture a greater marketshare in that space.

  2. As a Windows 7 user, can you advise on one or two major things I may experience as totally different to 10?

    1. Thanks for your question, Linda. Overall, Win10 has a look-and-field similar to Win7. Some new features are the upgraded browser called "Edge". And, "Cortana", the new virtual assistant. Most of your Win7 programs will run in Win10. If concerned about any that may not, you need to consult that software vendor. Here is a link to the Microsoft site that shows the similarities & differences in a table.


  3. Very helpful, David. Thanks for posting!

  4. If you don't have a good, high speed connection to the Internet, then please do NOT upgrade to Windows 10.

    1. Consider running the upgrade overnight. I will guestimate the Win10 software download times are:
      * DSL: 6-12 hours
      * 8 mbps (cable): 60 - 90 minutes
      * 50 mbps (FiOS): 10 - 15 minutes

      Installation time after the download could take 30 - 60 minutes, depending on the device hardware specs.

  5. Thanks for this incredibly helpful post. I've been ignoring the popups from Microsoft but now, with more info, I'm encouraged to do it.

  6. Well David, it is really very nice and informative one...

    Many people out there are still finding it difficult work on Windows 10, but the pros are quite impressive


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