Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beat the Drums for Windows 10

Windows 10 is due for release on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015.  Are you ready? Do you care?

Windows 10 looks to be a good upgrade and Microsoft has been working hard to make its introduction a success.  They are betting a big chunk of the company store on the new version of Windows.  In fact, Windows 10 is a free upgrade to any licensed Windows 7 or 8 or 8.1 device (yes, PCs, laptops, tablets and even phones) - - as long as these devices have the right hardware.  And most do, but the real litmus test is whether a device will run Windows 8.

And there is a test for that at the Windows Compatibility Center. Click on Scan your computer.

This upgrade will be available, per Microsoft, free for a year.  So you do not have to upgrade immediately.

The Reservation
Microsoft had put a Get Windows 10 app on most PCs with Windows 7 or 8 as an advertisement and enticement to get the free upgrade.

The Get Windows 10 app wants you to reserve your copy NOW!  So many people may have reserved a copy either on purpose or by mistake.

Again, no need to upgrade immediately.  All computers and devices that qualify for the upgrade (details below) have a year to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

To Cancel the Reservation

  1. Go back to that Windows icon, click on it (or right-click and choose Check your upgrade status)
  2. click on the hamburger [=] in the upper left hand corner and choose View confirmation
  3. then click Cancel reservation on the left side
  4. and again, on the box that says Cancel reservation

Want to Know More? Curious?
It is no big surprise that, while I am confident that Windows 10 will be a good upgrade, I recommend caution before and during this upgrade.

I have been evaluating the Windows 10 Technical Preview for months.  There is much that I like but there is some stuff that is different.  Enough stuff that I recommend delaying the upgrade to Windows 10. But not forever.  Sometime within a year.

More Details
But wait, there's more!  As with every major upgrade, most every feature remains but some look, feel and are located perhaps a bit differently than what you're used to.

Anyone whom has dealt with Windows 8 can tell you this.  The Start Button had been removed and the Start Menu along with it.  The Start Button returned in Windows 8.1, but it still was not anything like Windows 7 or XP or before.  And that was the biggest issue and complaint against Windows 8.  Really, it was a great operating system (see More Details at the bottom)!

Windows 10 brings back a Start Menu that is more familiar and provides the access that many demanded of Windows 8.

The Windows Account
Anyone who has an iPad, iPhone, or any Android phone or tablet should know that an account is necessary to create or log into for a new one.  Many of us forget that account user ID (now an email address) as well as the password for those devices.  And many of us (yes, me included) have struggled with different accounts.

In any case, Windows 8 introduced the Windows Account.  It was not required for Windows 8 and probably not for Windows 10, either.  Setting one up is not difficult  - but if you want any apps from the Microsoft Store, you will need one.  And you will need to put the password in every time you boot up the computer or have multiple users on the PC.

Anything Missing?
Microsoft did announce that Windows Media Center will not be offered in Windows 10.  That may have changed by now.  But for those of you with TV tuners in your PC and connected to get broadcast & cable programming, you may need other software to play that content.

New & Improved
So Windows 10 will come with a new big "e" for Edge.  It replaces Internet Explorer, but I guess many will just click on the big blue "e" icon and simply continue to browse the Internet.

The Taskbar also features a search box with a microphone for speaking your queries, a la Siri and "OK Google!"  I haven't been terribly impressed but all of these personal assistants want to peek at your Contacts, Calendar, and decide what & where you're looking for an answer.