More than one of our readers has asked why they should bother to upgrade to Windows 10. As one put it, “If I’m happy with my operating system, why should I upgrade?” That’s a fair question. Certainly, you don’t have to upgrade now. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But I think there are some advantages to upgrading. I’ll warn you that I’ve been up to my eyeballs in a Windows 10 preview for months, so it no longer seems like a new operating system to me. Sometimes I try to use Windows 10 features on a my Windows 7 computer. Let me tell you, talking to a PC that doesn’t answer gets you some looks in the office.
Here are what I think are some of the reasons to consider an upgrade:
It’s free! If you are currently using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 as a home user, it won’t cost you a penny to upgrade to the new system. Plus, your files and programs will remain intact. You’ll have until July 29, 2016 to download and install your upgrade. This will save you around $100.
You extend your support. Microsoft is guaranteeing security support for Windows 10 for 10 years. That means if you have Windows 7, you’re getting an extra 5 years of security support. Mainstream support for Windows 7 (which means no new features) has ended, but you’ll have mainstream support for at least another 5 years if you switch to Windows 10. For Windows 8 users, you’ll get an additional 3 years of security support.
You hate 8. If you’re one of those who didn’t get along well with Windows 8, you’ll very much appreciate the upgrade to 10. The Start Menu is back on the bottom left and is actually more functional than ever before. I actually liked 8 fine, but I did have a convertible with a touch screen. It could be frustrating to use with a mouse. Windows 10 is completely mouse and keyboard friendly.
It’s cool. There are some seriously kick-butt features in Windows 10. My favorite is Cortana. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching Star Trek and always wanted to be able to say “Computer, do this!” or “Computer, show me that!” You have to say Cortana and not computer, but the personal digital assistant will write e-mails, open programs, search the web, put appointments on your calendar and a lot more. All you have to do is ask.
Microsoft is listening to your feedback.
I’ve been participating in the Technical Preview of Windows 10 for a few months. As we’ve gone along, the company has taken a lot of feedback from millions of users and made changes to the OS accordingly. They plan to keep up the practice once it goes into general use. They’ll take feedback from users and then make gradual changes to the operating system to make it more user-friendly.
Most of you are well-aware of the downsides to getting a new OS. There’s the dreaded learning curve. However, I don’t think it will be too much with this OS. It might look slightly different, but it feels familiar. And that was truly the flaw with Windows 8 and 8.1. The system did what previous operating systems did, but it didn’t FEEL like Windows. This system still feel like Windows.
Another objection that many of you have, is the update policy for Windows 10. Updates are not optional. You’ll only be able to choose when to install and restart your PC. I can see why Microsoft did this. Many critical updates never got installed on PCs. There have been bugs running around for decade that could have been nipped in the bud if everyone had the current security updates. But some users prefer to keep tighter control on their computer updates.
Some of you have called me out before for being pretty gung ho about news operating systems and new tech. And I’ll admit it, I get excited about it. I’m a tech writer, that’s what I do. I’m also a problem solver, so I tend to focus on how to make new stuff work instead of whether or not there should be new stuff in the first place. But I like Windows 10 and I think you will as well.