It’s finally official! Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 will launch on July 29.
It is the full version of Windows and will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users – an offer available for one year from the time it is launched.
If you are a Windows 7 or 8.1 user, you should by now have seen a notification pop up in the lower-right corner of your screen informing you that Windows 10 is coming. If you click on the pop-up, you will see a presentation explaining the benefits of Windows 10, after which you will be able to enter your email address to pre-order your copy.
(Some users have commented the unexpected appearance of this pop-up led them to believe they’d been infected with malware. So, if you’re unsure, or if the notification doesn’t pop up, go to the Control Panel and click on the Windows Update menu).
Once reserved, the files you need for the upgrade will be downloaded to your PC – this will make sure the final installation runs more quickly. Then, after July 29, you’ll receive a notification which will allow you to start your upgrade. (It will be possible to download and install a free copy of Windows 10 without pre-ordering, however it won’t have been pre-downloaded in the background).
According to Microsoft, the Windows 10 download will be approximately 3Gb in size and will take about 20 minutes to install for higher spec PCs and, possibly, one hour-plus for older ones.
A word of advice – do back up your important files before starting the upgrade. By default, your files will remain on the hard drive. Microsoft has confusingly stated that “Applications, files and settings will migrate as part of the upgrade, however some applications or settings may not migrate.”
So, what are the best features of Windows 10?
START MENU: The beloved Start Menu will return! It has updated graphics and can optionally go full-screen. Half of the menu looks like it did in Windows 7, but with the addition of Live Tiles from Windows 8. It has powerful search capabilities which can trawl through your entire PC as well as through web results.
CORTANA: The digital assistant, where you speak a command or question and it searches the Internet for your requested information, has been available on Windows Phones for a while and will now be available on PCs and tablets.
To sum up, and it’s hard to explain in just a few words, I think that Windows 10 just works.
It’s intuitive and comfortable to use but if you need to see it “in action”, pop into the shop and have a look at our demo PC.