Windows 10 : Should I Upgrade?

Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows. Should you upgrade or not?

For the first six months or so, I've been advising people to avoid upgrading as Microsoft works out the bugs. We're at the point now where Windows 10 has been in the wild long enough and in sufficient numbers that Microsoft has worked out most of the upgrade issues.

So since early 2016 I've been advising "yes" to the upgrade question.

The free public offer for Windows 10 upgrade expired on July 29, 2016. Fortunately, there's still a way to upgrade for free.

Extended Free Upgrade offer for users of Assistive Technology

Microsoft has extended the Windows 10 free upgrade offer to people who use "assistive technology" with their computers. Assistive tech can be nearly anything that makes your computer easier to use. Microsoft specifically states on the Windows 10 upgrade page that they do not restrict the free upgrade to any specific assistive technology.

So, generally speaking, what is assistive technology? That might be a braille device, a verbalizing screen reader, special mice, track balls, or keyboards, orthopedic gloves for your hands, or even non-hardware solutions that make your computer easier to use. And since Microsoft specifically does not restrict which assistive tech is eligible, then it could mean anything, including something as simple as using "zoom" in your web browser. Clearly, Microsoft doesn't want to limit this extended free upgrade offer.

Microsoft has not yet announced an end date for the extended upgrade offer so if you missed the original end date of July 29, 2016 and you still want to upgrade for free, then you better hop on it. It could end at any time.

CLICK HERE for the Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade

Should I Upgrade

Windows 10 has more advanced exploit mitigation (resistance to certain malware) and a cloud-sourced anti-virus product that offers better protection from threats, at no cost.

Know that Windows 10 changes the user interface yet again, but this time it's a change in the right direction. It's a hybrid approach that combines the best interface features of Windows 7 while still offering the new tiled view. And with a few simple tweaks, Windows 10 can be made to look and behave much like Windows 7 for most of the ways we use computers. Internally, Windows 10 is far superior.

Older versions

Windows XP and Vista are both obsolete and security is dismal without Microsoft's ongoing support. If your computer originally came with XP then it's too old to upgrade. Time for a new computer. Most computers that shipped with Vista are also too old to upgrade, but if your Vista machine was a particularly high-end model, best of the best, then it may still be worth upgrading.

CLICK HERE for advice on specs.

Computers with Windows 7 and higher are eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade. Even though Vista doesn't quality for a free upgrade to Window 10, there are ways to do it.

End of life concerns for old versions of Windows

Windows 8 reaches end of life on January 10, 2023 -- a long time from now. By the time Windows 8 reaches end of life, any computer that was sold with 8 preinstalled will be at least 8 years old -- ready to retire.

Windows 7 reaches end of life on January 14, 2020 -- a little sooner but still a ways down the road. If your retail-purchased computer came with Windows 7, then it's already several years old by now. By the time Windows 7 reaches end of life, your computer will likely be ready for retirement anyway.

But why wait to upgrade to Windows 10? Security is much better and it's still under active development. Go ahead and do it now while Windows 10 upgrades are still free.

Why is Microsoft pushing Windows 10 so hard?

Microsoft is finally beginning to recognize that selling operating systems to end users isn't where the big money comes from. It never was, really. It's far more important and valuable to Microsoft and Windows developers that the majority of their users be on the current version of Windows. And that's a big reason why Microsoft is offering free upgrades to Windows 10. Apple figured this out long ago -- they have not charged for OSX upgrades for years now.

Windows will eventually move to a subscription service, similar to how Office 2016 is licensed . I'm not clear just yet exactly what that will look like but "Windows as a Service" appears to be the future. We may never see "Windows 11". The "10" moniker may eventually be dropped as well as Microsoft moves away from discrete versions of Windows and toward an evolutionary upgrade process. e.g. Recently Apple dropped the "X" (10) from OSX -- it's now simply called MacOS. Expect Microsoft to do the same.

Why no Windows 9?

There's some joking and speculation on the topic. One joke goes like this: Windows is now at version 10 because 7 8 9 -- as in "7 ate 9" -- just read it out loud, ha ha. Then there's the binary joke: There are 10 kinds of people, those who use Windows and those that don't. OK, for the tech-challenged, "10" in binary equals "2" in regular numbers. Nevermind why, it just does.

Another conjecture is that since Windows 8 was such a flop, Microsoft wanted to put some distance between it and the new version. So let's skip 9 altogether, right? Fact is, except for the massive blunder of scrapping the start button and leaving users to figure out the half-baked Metro interface for themselves, Windows 8 internally is a pretty good OS.

Then there's those that believe Microsoft didn't want to name it "9" because Apple's MacOS is versioned "OSX" -- as in "OS 10". Microsoft didn't want to be a version "behind" Apple, even though they are totally different operating systems. Perception is reality, after all.

So pick your reason, one is as a good as another.

Bottom line: You need to be on Windows 10. Either upgrade your existing computer(s) or get a new one.