Windows 10: What you need to know
After years of waiting and months of teasing, Windows 10 is finally here for Kiwis to use.
Microsoft have bet big on Windows 10, promising users that the problems and issues that plagued Windows 8 are long gone. For now Windows 10 will only run on suitable computers but soon it will be available for tablets and phones, allowing Microsoft to offer a seamless experience on its devices.
There are seven versions of Windows 10, but for this guide we are focusing on the Home edition.
SHOULD I UPGRADE?
The short answer is yes. If you have a compatible computer then you should plan on making the shift.
However, you don't need to do it right now. For anyone who is a bit cautious, then it's OK to wait a few weeks, or even months, for the first batch of bugs to be fixed.
Another reason to wait is if your favourite apps are not yet available on Windows 10.
Eventually you should upgrade to ensure you have the best features and security updates for your Windows computer.
When you do decide to upgrade, make sure you back-up your computer first.
HOW DO I DO IT?
The software update is downloaded from the internet. It's 3GB, so it may take a while if you have a slow broadband connection.
You will not be able to get Windows 10 on a disc or USB.
The easiest way to get it is to use the Get Windows 10 app. To do this you'll need to have the most current version of either Windows 7 or 8.1.
If you're not sure what version you have then this page will tell you.
Once you're up to date, the Get Windows 10 app will appear on the bottom of your screen. Open the app and follow the instructions.
Microsoft says it may take a day or two for the download icon to appear, as thousands of people will be trying to access it at once.
When you've downloaded Windows 10 it will take between 20 and 60 minutes to install, depending on how fast your computer is.
IS MY COMPUTER GOOD ENOUGH?
Microsoft says your computer will need the following specifications:
- Processor: 1GHz or faster
- RAM: 1GB for 32-bit, or 2GB for 64-bit
- Space: 16GB for 32-bit, or 20GB for 64-bit
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later
- Display: 800x600
To check the specs on your computer go to the Control Panel and click System.
If you have either Windows 7 or 8.1, you can click on the Check my PC feature in the Get Windows 10 app to find out.
WILL IT BE ON NEW COMPUTERS?
If you are planning on buying a new computer in the next few weeks then make sure you ask if Windows 10 is installed before handing over your money.
There will be a lot of stock with Windows 8.1 floating around so it may be worth seeing if any of these will be reduced if you're after a bargain. Since you're buying a computer with Windows it won't cost you to upgrade.
WHAT CAN 10 DO THAT 8 OR 7 CAN'T?
Microsoft has described its new operating system as being the best of WIndows 7 and 8.
The most obvious improvement is the return of the Start Menu, which Microsoft has expanded to allow access to your most frequently used apps, Windows settings and space to add live tiles.
Another change is Microsoft Edge, a new web browser that replaces Internet Explorer. Features include a reading mode and the ability to annotate, either with a keyboard, pen or finger.
There are also universal apps which make it easier for anyone using more than one Windows device. A bundle of apps including Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, Mail and Calendar will look and feel the same across different devices.
However, New Zealand doesn't get the best new feature, Cortana. This is only available in a few countries for now, but when it does arrive the digital assistant will make it easier to interact with your computer by using voice commands.
WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE IT?
Microsoft was said that you will be able to revert back to Windows 8.1 or 7 within one month of Windows 10 being installed.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
Windows 10 is free if you upgrade within one year of availability. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.
If you miss the window, it will cost US$119 (NZ$180).
WIN A SURFACE TABLET
To celebrate the launch of Windows 10, Stuff has a Microsoft Surface 3 tablet to giveaway. To enter, fill in the form below before 5pm on Sunday, August 2. The tablet will be mailed to the winner.