Windows 10 Upgrades? Take your time
Windows 10 is due to launch on July 29th and is being offered as a limited time free upgrade for windows 7 and windows 8 users. Windows Insiders have been testing Windows 10 for many months now, but that does not mean that everyone should rush out and download the update immediately.
There are quite literally an infinite combination of hardware and software components installed on Windows machines across the globe, and while Microsoft has been working hard to provide a smooth upgrade path to its customers - it is quite likely that incompatible hardware and/or software components will turn up which throw wrenches into the upgrade procedure.
Case in point, the say "day one" patch for Windows 10 is a 500MB download. That patch contains fixes and improvements from the "final" version that was shipped to Windows Insiders just a few weeks ago. It is safe to assume that we can expect several such patches in the weeks and months to come as users discover new bugs and Microsoft issues updates to address them.
While Microsoft will likely address the most common issues over time - do not let yourself be one of the day one guinea pigs. Microsoft is letting Windows 7 and Windows 8 users upgrade until next year, you have plenty of time to see how the upgrade procedures pan out before you dive in yourself. I would imagine the nightly news on Thursday could make for interesting viewing if the upgrades go awry.
Microsoft has stated that the Microsoft Answer Desk will be available for one-on-one support however I would imagine they will be pretty busy for the next few weeks so be sure to pack a lunch.
If you decide to ignore all of the above and take the plunge, make sure you have a system image backup available using your backup software of choice. If the upgrade leaves your machine in an unstable state and your computer cannot be restored from an image backup - a clean install of Windows may be your only recourse.
Windows 10 has being touted as "what Windows 8 should have been", much like how Windows 7 was "what Windows Vista should have been". Again, there is no need to rush into the upgrade. Microsoft is not going to "run out" of Windows 10. It will be available as a free upgrade until July 29, 2016. If you truly need Windows 10 on day one, you might consider picking up a brand new machine with Windows 10 preinstalled.
What is all the fuss about anyway?
The jury is out on this one. Windows 8 was not a very popular product, so Microsoft has a lot riding on this release. Over the past few years following the release of Windows 8 Microsoft has undergone some major changes in management and restructuring. In February of 2014, Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft CEO from Steve Ballmer who had been CEO since Bill Gates stepped down more then a decade ago.
Also relevant is the departure of Steven Sinofsky in December of 2012 (just 4 months after the release of windows 8), Steven was the former President of the Windows Division. Terry Myerson, took over the newly restructured Windows and Devices Group in March of 2015 after leading the development group responsible for Windows 10 and Windows Phone.
One of its most publicized features is a redesigned Start Menu which many Windows 8 users will find to be an improvement over the full screen start menu that originially shipped with the Windows 8 operating system.
Windows 10 will ship with Microsoft Edge, a new web browser with a new rendering engine. Internet Explorer will still be available as a seperate download.
Xbox users may recognize the name "Cortana" as a charactor from the popular Halo game series, however in Windows 10 Cortana is being advertised as your personal digital assistant. A microphone is needed to take advantage of Cortana voice recognition abilities, and for those that are not interested in this feature - you can always turn Cortana off if desired.
If you do not have the space on your desk for multiple monitors? Windows 10 offers native support for virtual desktops. This feature has been available on Windows previously via third party tools, and has been available on other operating systems as well - but with Windows 10 this feature has finally been added directly into the operating system.