James has an interesting question about upgrading to Windows 10. “I just read with interest your article on users with Windows 8 needing to update to Windows 8.1 (and then 8.1.1) If windows 8 users have to jump through so many hoops to get to windows 10 how can windows 7 users update to windows 10 more easily? You would think windows 7 users would have even more work to do to get ready for windows 10. Unless going from 7 to 10 means somethings will not be useable in 10 if you upgrade from 7. Do you have any knowledge of this.”
Interesting question James. First you have to understand that Windows 10 is a brand new operating system. It is overwriting the current operating system on the device. It will preserve files and programs, but when it comes to an operating system, you are starting over.
Some items that are built-in to Windows 7 such as Media Center and the included games will be gone. They are part of the operating system, and that’s being overwritten.
In order to make the complicated process of upgrading simpler, Microsoft needs every computer that’s going to upgrade to be in the same place when it comes to certain things. All Windows 7 computers need to have SP 1 installed and Windows 8 computers need to be updated to Windows 8.1 with all of its big updates.
The reason those still using Windows 8 have to “jump through hoops” is that they’ve avoided doing a lot of big updates for more than a year. The updates to 8.1 and then 8.1.1 were a big improvement to the O.S. and were also free. Windows 7 users who’ve somehow managed to avoid updating to SP 1 would have a few hoops to jump through themselves.
It’s important to get the Windows 7 and the Windows 8.1 computers in the same place for the big upgrade, because that way you only need to have a few versions of the updates than enable the upgrades: Windows 7 and Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro. The updates that enable the transition to 10 are not simple ones, and Microsoft crafted them to work with computers that are fully up-to-date. Installing a new operating system while preserving your files, programs, and settings is a heck of a challenge from a technical standpoint. Unlike Apple, where there’s only a few devices to install OS updates on, Windows is running on a huge variety of devices. If the update that permits the upgrade would install on any device regardless of which updates had been applied, they’d need a lot more versions of that update. It’s a bit like needing to have a surface washed, scraped, and sanded before applying paint. A clean, smooth surface will need less work before you start painting.
But to answer your original question, Windows 7 and 8.1 users shouldn’t see any difference in the version of Windows 10 they get when they upgrade. Now it is possible that your Windows 8.1 PC may be faster than your Windows 7 PC after it’s upgraded. That’s because 8.1 PCs do tend to be newer than Windows 7 PCs and may improved hardware capabilities.