Windows 10 to be Free Upgrade for Windows 7, 8 Users

Microsoft recently held a major Windows 10 press event. Windows 10 is the upcoming release of Windows, intended to replace Windows 8. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Microsoft claims Windows 10 will be a single product across multiple devices. Microsoft says Windows 10 will be a common platform on phones, tablets, desktops, and servers. They also claim Windows 10 will usher in a new era of smaller, more frequent updates to the Windows platform. 

All of this is very appealing, a stable, updated version of Windows built on the framework of Windows 8 with new features, and a return of the Start menu. Microsoft hasn’t had much luck touting Windows 8. Some of this may be due to the recent retirement of Windows XP forcing most businesses to move to Windows 7; or the user revolt over the missing Start menu may be to blame.

Microsoft is determined not to allow this to happen again. They have announced Windows 10 will be free (for a year) for current Windows 8 and Windows 7 users.

We have been testing Windows 10 via the public preview for the past few months. Friday brought a new update to the preview, which adds some of the key features shown off at the press event. Overall, I’m impressed. Windows 10 is clean, stable, easy to use, and marries the features of Windows 8 I like with the functionality of Windows 7. The new Start menu is far better than previous versions, and is a great way to merge the functionality of the metro start screen in Windows 8 to the ease of use of Windows 7.

The idea of getting Windows 10 for free is appealing. While I agree with Microsoft’s decision to give away the upgrade, if they stick to their one year limitation, they are putting an enormous burden on small business. By placing a one year limit on the upgrade, most small businesses won’t be able to fully test software and deploy Windows 10 within that timeframe. 

Hardware Ready?

Consumers typically get a new version of Windows by purchasing a new PC. Very few people actually buy Windows. If Windows 10 is free for Windows 7 users, that could mean computers built in 2009 are eligible for upgrade. A computer that is six years old has no place being upgraded to Windows 10. Consumers will do it, however, and the performance will be poor. Windows 10 will get a reputation for bad performance, because it’s being installed on old hardware which should have been replaced already.

If you’re using Windows 7, your upgrade decision should be based upon your needs and the hardware of your current computer. Microsoft will publish minimum requirements for Windows 10. Your computer must EXCEED each of these items to be a good choice for Windows 10. Overall, if your computer is three years old or older, replace it. 

For more information on Windows 10, check out Microsoft’s page.