Are you still running Windows 8 or earlier? Perhaps you’re comfortable with your good old operating system and aren’t accustom to change or, like many of us, worry that updating your OS might lose your data and leave you staring bewildered at an unfamiliar, alien interface.
Rest assured this is not the case, Windows 10 has a familiar feel and various features that add to its easability of use. As for data, a simple manual backup prior to upgrade will ensure for every eventuality.
With the OS market rapidly changing, now is the time to upgrade.
How is the Windows OS market changing?
- Windows Vista support is ending. This means that after April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft. If you continue to use Vista your PC might become more vulnerable to security risks/viruses, plus a lot of apps/devices will be incompatible with your OS.
- Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 in 2020 and Windows 8 in 2023.
- Once you have installed Windows 10, it will be updated free for the life of your device. There will (probably) never be a Windows 11, because Microsoft is now producing two small updates each year instead of one big update every three years.
What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 is the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, following on from Windows 8 which was released in August, 2012. Windows 10 was initially offered free-of-charge to members of the public who wished to upgrade, however this update window closed July 29th last year. Since then, it has been available to buy online in two versions, Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. The free upgrade window has however been extended for users of assistive touch technologies.
Apparently, Microsoft chose to jump straight from Windows 8 to 10 (missing out 9) to suggest discontinuity with earlier versions. 10 was, and is, a new chapter in the history of Windows.
What’s new in Windows 10?
Windows 8 made the controversial move of eliminating the Start menu and opting instead for a separate Start screen. Although this Start screen did offer several benefits, many users will be glad to hear that the Start menu is back in Windows 10, incorporating live tiles within.
Microsoft has built its own personal voice assistant, Cortana, to sit within the Start menu. She allows you to perform web searches for quick answers by simply pressing the Windows key and typing a question. She can also be used to set reminders or add calendar events if you sign in with your Microsoft account.
In Windows 10, Microsoft Edge replaces Internet Explorer. This new browser has several unique features including a text-only reader mode (Reading View), an annotation tool (Web Note) and Cortana integration.
Central Notification Center:
Microsoft has added a central notification area to Windows 10. You can click the notification tray icon in the lower-right side of the screen or press Win-A to open it up. Here, many system notification show and you can access links to various useful features like the Windows 10 Settings app, VPN settings and quick toggles for things like location and Quiet mode. There’s also a button to switch quickly between desktop and tablet modes.
Add Multiple Desktops:
In Windows 10, Microsoft has added the ability to create and manage multiple desktops. You can add new desktops, quickly move windows between them, and jump between desktops by pressing Win-Tab.
Continuum allows for alternative touch/desktop modes, dependent on the device you are using:
With Windows 8, a lot of customers complained that Microsoft had tried too hard to make desktops behave like tablets; customers found this to take away from the usefulness of the operating system. In 10, Continuum and Universal Apps bridge the gap between touch and desktop devices. If you have a tablet or touchscreen, you can now enable a touch mode to make your device behave like a tablet. If you add a keyboard and mouse, you can switch to desktop mode. At the same time, Microsoft is championing the creation of ‘universal’ developer apps that automatically adjust to touchscreens when necessary.
As explained previously, users of Windows 10 will benefit from biyearly updates. The first of these updates, the Anniversary update, was rolled out in August this year. It saw improvements and updates to Windows Ink and Cortana. More desktop apps and games available in the Windows Store. A plethora of new theme options, and Microsoft Edge began supporting browser extensions, pinned tabs and web notifications – among various other updates such as those to Windows Hello, Defender, Skype etc.
As of April 11th, the next big update, the Creators Update, will be available. This new version is packed with new changes, such as:
- New Paint 3D app
- Support for mixed reality with Windows Holographic
- Microsoft Edge introduce support for e-books and a new tab management system
- Beam integration for in-game broadcast and a new Game Mode to improve gaming performance
- Windows Defender Security Center as new dashboard to control malware protection, system performance and security
- Various visual and under-the-hood tweaks
The update will download and install automatically, however it might take a few weeks for all devices to get access as the update is planned to go progressively. if you can’t wait, you can try to prompt the upgrade by going to Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Check for updates. Another option is to download the Windows 10 ISO on April 11th via the Media Creation Tool and upgrade that way.