Since it’s release in July of last year, Microsoft have been working extra hard this time to get users to upgrade. Hoping to avoid the decade it took Windows XP users to move on, Microsoft have even waived the fee to upgrade in an effort to get everyone on board with Windows 10. Now that’s all changing! Ahead of it’s anniversary update on August 2nd, the free upgrade of Windows 10 will come to an end on July 29th 2016. At the time of writing, users have one more day before the free upgrade period ends. If you’ve been deliberating over upgrading your system, now might well be the time!
Why are Microsoft so eager to have users upgrade, more so this time than any other?
Having most Windows users on the same operating system means less money they have to spend on customer service and multiple OSs that can be quietly discontinued, as was the case with Windows XP recently. Windows have also stated that Windows 10 will be the last version, moving forward, there will be no new operating systems released, just improved versions of 10. All the more reason to want everyone on the same system!
Given Windows 10’s synergy with the Xbox One, Microsoft’s tablet and mobile devices, and of course HoloLens, they’re clearly banking on the quality of life that could come with a unified operating system experience. As we stated above, Windows 10 is a free upgrade until the 29th July 2016. Past that date, Microsoft will start charging for the upgrade and it will be no small fee: around £99 for the basic Home edition, and £190 for the fully featured Pro edition.
Aside from avoiding the price, Microsoft may also be hinting that it’s necessary to upgrade, as it’s entirely possible they could end support for Windows 7 and 8 at a moment’s notice. Operating systems that have their support ceased typically are more susceptible to virus attacks. We even saw this recently with Adobe Flash and Apple’s Quicktime, which quickly became deathtraps for users after their support and updates were stopped for good.
While Windows 10 has accrued a record number of users since it went public, there are still many people out there looking to stick to the tried and true Windows 7, and even the slightly unreliable, yet stylish Windows 8. But why would some refuse a free upgrade to a technologically superior operating system?
In truth, Windows 10 is not so overwhelmingly superior to previous builds. To this day, it’s plagued with several niggling bugs, and the horror stories many have told about losing vital data in the switch point to simply too big a risk for some. Not to mention the plain fact that many users just feel at home with the older operating systems; it’s what they’re used to and they don’t feel like they need to change.
So, should you be upgrading to Windows 10?
While some of the issues reported on Windows 10 may be cleared up by now, or are due to be cleared up on the anniversary update next week, If you’re still on the fence about upgrading to Windows 10, then, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help you make your decision.
- Xbox One/Windows 10 integration
At E3 2016, Xbox announced their range of Play Anywhere titles. In a nutshell, this means you only need to buy one copy of a game to be able to play it on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. This is a very consumer friendly move by Microsoft as it saves them from essentially buying the same game twice, and naturally is a huge plus for the evolution of Windows. This goes for desktops and laptops. For example, if you’re playing Forza Horizon 3 at home on your Xbox One, but then have a meeting to travel to, you can carry over your progress to a laptop and play while you’re on the train!
- Guaranteed customer support
Official support for Windows XP has ended; while it was a superb operating system, it was starting to show its age around the time Windows 7 was released. Though like the situation we have now, many users were more than content staying on XP, because it just worked. Now we know that this won’t be an effective practice in future: support for Windows 7 will eventually end as Microsoft shift their focus onto Windows 10.
- Future hardware will be built with Windows 10 in mind
Look at anything from graphics cards to HoloLens and you’ll see that in future, they’ll be built with the latest operating systems in their consideration. This could eventually mean that newer hardware becomes incompatible with older operating systems.
- Software improvements
With Windows 10 comes some much needed updates of Microsoft-developed software. First and foremost is Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer, and thank god for that. Edge, while still not quite on par with the likes of Chrome and Firefox, is a huge, huge improvement over its clumsy predecessor. Then there’s Microsoft Office which sees its flagship software receive some nice updates, too.
Then there’s all the little improvements such as “alt-tabbing” now showing larger previews of all the programs you have opened, allowing for quicker navigation. Windows Explorer is more organised, Command Prompt is simply easier for beginners to use. File Explorer is better than it’s ever been, with more options for organisation and navigation. The list goes on, and despite Windows 10’s flaws it’s already making a case for itself as a fantastic operating system.
- Potential future strong-arming from Microsoft
Microsoft’s upgrade strategy for Windows 10 has been widely criticised. Despite it being a free upgrade until the end of July, the company has been accused of misleading its customer base into mistakenly upgrading. From the constant pop-up reminders to the nigh-on farcical “press X on a pop up prompt to upgrade” controversy, their strategy has unfortunately given Windows 10 a bad reputation. If Microsoft are willing to get away with this now, what’s to stop them from pulling similar acts in the future? It absolutely could happen, just in a different form.
- Potential loss of data during the switch
Those horror stories we mentioned at the start of this post? We weren’t making that up. A quick Google search is evidence enough that Windows 10 has either relocated or outright deleted files that were present before the upgrade. Make sure you backup before you switch, just in case!
So, do the pros outweigh the cons for Windows 10? Really, it depends on who you ask. If you’re a PC gamer that likes to be on the bleeding edge of the industry, Windows 10 is for you. If you run a business that needs its documents, spreadsheets, presentations or otherwise stored in a safe and organised manner, we believe Windows 10 is for you, too. On the other hand, if you’ve yet to upgrade but aren’t interested in the new features or are a more casual PC user, we see no reason for you to upgrade right now. Just bear in mind, depending on which version of the OS you’re using, Microsoft will more than likely pull the plug at some point in the future!