Uncle. Sort of. If you've been waiting to install the Windows 10 upgrade on your Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 7 computer, you've probably been wondering when - or if - to let the upgrade install.
Now that Microsoft has confirmed they really will start charging $119 to upgrade to Windows 10 after July 29, 2016, the question becomes more compelling. This does not mean "they've worked out all the bugs and now it's safe to upgrade". There will always be "bugs" in software - your Windows Vista/7/8/10 and MAC computers install updates and patches every month, if not more often. Here's how to decide whether to go to Windows 10 or leave well-enough alone.
1. Know that you never have to change from Windows 7 (or Windows 8/8.1) if you like things the way they are. Microsoft will support Windows 7 into 2020, and 8.1 into 2023. All that means is after the cutoff date there will be no more (supposedly) security updates created for that operating system. Your computer will not just stop working. Working well, is the question.
2. Over time the applications and hardware on an older computer will become less-compatible with current software and Internet standards. This means that web pages will load slower, and possibly wrong or not at all. Web pages and browsers change all the time - technology moves forward - and no one browser nor any individual web page will always work perfectly at any point in time, even now.
NOTE: When you get an error on a web page, try going to that page in a different browser before pushing the panic button. When the battery is dead on the Ford, get in the Chevy and go to work.
3. If your computer is more than 2 or 3 years old, it may not have the hardware to allow the Windows 10 upgrade to install or run properly. Stick with what you have or buy a new computer.
4. If you're using Windows 8 or 8.1, you'll probably like Windows 10 better. If you're using Windows 7, you may or may not like Windows 10 better, but it will be more compatible with software, web sites and hardware down the road. After a week you won't notice a difference.
5. If you're using Windows XP or Vista, there's no free upgrade to anything for you. It's time to buy a new computer. Your old, reliable computer is running on borrowed and dangerous time.
6. Know that if you DO change to Windows 10 and really don't like it after giving it the old college try, you can still go back to your old operating system within 30 days. Reason enough to give it a try.
If you've decided to stay with your current operating system, stop worrying about whether or not you should upgrade. Microsoft said they will stop prompting to upgrade after July 29. You will simply use what you have, as you've done since you got it, until you decide to replace the computer. Congratulations, and please check your data backups.
If you've decided to plunge ahead and take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade, there are a few things to do before installing.
UPGRADING TO WINDOWS 10
1. Check to be sure your computer can be upgraded. Right-click on the Windows 10 icon in your System Tray, then click Check My PC.
2. Back up your data (anything you don't want to lose). Twice.
3. Find the installation files and license numbers for any software you want to use. (Microsoft Office, Quicken, QuickBooks, Photoshop, etc.) Anything you've installed will need to be reinstalled after the upgrade.
4. Find the Recovery media you created when your current computer was new, or make it now.
5. Remove any add-on security software you've installed (Norton, McAfee, Microsoft Security Essentials). And consider using the included Defender in Windows 10 instead of buying 3rd-party security software. It works great, and there's nothing out there that protects us from us. You'll still need tools to remove adware, spyware, trojans and worms that appear out of nowhere. That's a different post.
6. Follow the prompts and let Windows 10 install. It will take some time, and there will be things to configure when it's done (I'll post about this later). Oh, and if you don't like Microsoft's new Edge browser you can still use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or just about any browser you want. You'll just need to install them, or run the Ninite updater if you have it.
Microsoft has made the upgrade process as easy as possible, but it's still a daunting task and takes hours to complete. If Windows 10 sounds like it's right for you now, and would like it to just appear with all the updates and new Recovery Media and your data in the right places, I can help.
Cathy Contant 315-573-4905 firstname.lastname@example.org