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Windows 10: Five Things You Need To Know

Saturday, January 31st, 2015 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Windows 10, Windows 8

We’ve been fielding a lot of questions about Windows 10. Some of them we’ve got answers for and for others, it’s just too soon to know.  But here’s a quick overview of what we know so far.

1.  It’s a free upgrade.  You will be able to upgrade your Windows 7 and 8.1 devices to Windows 10 for no additional charge.  Yep, they are going the way of Mac and offering free operating system upgrades.  The catch is that the upgrades will need to be done within a year of the release of Windows 10.  What I can’t tell you yet is if this will be a service-pack type upgrade like going from Windows 8 to 8.1  where your files remain intact or if it’s going to require you to back up all your important files and do a clean install of the new operating system. And in case you were wondering, Microsoft says the upgrade is good for the life of the device, so don’t expect a catch where you have to pay later.


2. It’ll be available in its final version to the public sometime in 2015, probably during the summer.  No exact date yet on when you can do that upgrade. If you’d like to try out a preview version of Windows 10, you can. But I’d only suggest this for the technically savvy and I would consider running it in a virtual machine or as part of a dual boot. Remember, they are still working the kinks out of the system. Click here to learn about the technical preview.

3. The Start Menu is back! The much-missed Windows start menu is back, but they are also keeping live tiles from Windows 8 as well. You’ll be able to customize the Start Menu to use live tiles for apps if you choose and control the content of the start menu.You can also ditch the live tiles all together and return to the classic Start Menu look.


You can even turn your start menu into a full-sized start page if you choose.


4. There’s a virtual assistant called Cortana.  You can simply say or type what you’d like to search and Cortana will perform the task for you.  Cortana will open programs at your voice command and even allow you to dictate and send e-mails. Plus, if you choose, Cortana will use a feature called Notebook to compile information about you and the things you’re interested in to better help you with your searches and give you alerts to things like weather.


5. A brand new browser! It’s called Project Spartan and Cortana is integrated into the browser to help with better searching. You’ll also be able to use a stylus or your finger to make notes on web pages with Spartan on an touch screen device and easily share pages or portions of pages.  Microsoft says Internet Explorer will still be available.


Questions I don’t have the answer to yet:

The exact date the Windows 10 upgrade will be available.

Which Windows 7 programs will work with Windows 10 or will all Windows 8 programs be compatible.

If Windows 10 will be an update or a clean install.

What the exact specs are for a PC to run Windows 10.

~ Cynthia


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7 Responses to “Windows 10: Five Things You Need To Know”

  1. Jadesqr says:

    Hey Cynthia,
    Thanks for the Windows 10 update. As someone who has crutched through with a ‘Vista’ machine awaiting a new OS better than 8.1, only to find 10 is going to be ‘Free’, who knew it was to be ‘Free’ and when did they know it? Passed up a lot of good deals from HP and Dell. Now I don’t know whether to buy now, or wait for a Windows 10 dedicated machine. Really miffed.

    • cynthia says:

      Well, there was speculation that 10 might be a free upgrade from the time it was announced. But it was not officially announced until late January. Now remember, it’s a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1, not a free operating system. Users will already have to have a copy of 7 or 8.1 installed.

  2. Kevin says:

    I just hope 10’s Start Screen let’s you move the tiles around. the *’s use that horrid zigzag auto arrange feature. Move one, and everything moves to fillt he dreaded gap. And rows are a no no. I spent 30 minutes setting things up right, and a week later had to remove one tile, and there went everything. I’m stuck on the smallest tile size to create some semblance of order. It’s my screen. I should be able to order my tiles my way. Not Microsoft’s preferred way. Order and effiencey. Not hodgepodge and time wasting.

  3. rc primak says:

    Is there yet anything firm on whether Windows 10 consumer editions will allow you to skip unwanted MS Updates? Some sites are saying Microsoft has said thst you will no longer be able to refuse even the optional and driver updates.

  4. Ali Mohammed says:

    what about windows phone? are they going to provide a free upgrade?

  5. MultiMan says:

    hi, is it possible to disable the auto arrange function?
    I liked in XP and Vista, that I could move and set my icons in a folder anyway I wanted and was quite annoyed by win7 (and 8), that there’s no way of disabling auto arranging. Sure you can find on the internet that registry changer, that disables it, but it’s kinda buggy.. so I wondered if Win 10 brought it back?

  6. Karen Ravencroft says:

    Please…. since upgrading to Win 10.. there is no control over my cursor. Tried all the mouse settings, tried uninstalling mouse and touchpad. But still if I pass over a window it disappears. If I try to enter the window it is gone. What setting am I missing??????
    This is a Gateway laptop formerly running Windows 7…

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