You may have noticed your Windows PC recommending that you upgrade to Windows 10. It is becoming more prevalent and even pushy as Microsoft keeps rolling out updates encouraging users to install the latest version of its popular Operating System (OS). This article discusses some of the pros and cons to installing the upgrade.

The Windows 10 upgrade was released in July of 2015. Microsoft had decided to offer it as a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If you are currently running Windows 8, don’t worry, you can upgrade to 8.1 for free as well. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a catch. Microsoft will always encourage you to run their latest, most secure OS and these later versions send more information about usage to them, so you can bet they are using this to their advantage. No worse than Google, Adobe, or any other software company out there would.

Now, to the real question “Should I upgrade?”. My recommendation varies per situation, but here are some ground rules.

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’ve long stuck to this adage. If you are running Windows 7, your computer came with it, and everything is working good, why mess with it? Windows 7 is a stable operating system, highly compatible with current hardware and software packages, and will be supported for a few years yet. I wouldn’t bother upgrading to 10.
  2. Windows 8 is broke. Since its release, I haven’t found anyone who likes it. The start screen and Metro Apps were a failure and there were no other useful features to speak of, unless you were running on a touch screen computer or tablet. For this reason alone, I would recommend the upgrade to Windows 10. They have brought back the pop-up start menu, yet kept the look and feel of a more modern, touch friendly OS. The upgrades to 8.1 and 10 take a while to install, but are usually successful and don’t cause many issues.
  3. New computers are already shipping and selling with Windows 10. Windows 7 was released in 2009. It won’t be long before new software packages and updates are out that are incompatible with Windows 7, and currently you have the opportunity to upgrade for free. It is planned that in July of 2016 Microsoft will stop the free upgrade offer, and Windows 10 will be available on new PCs, or as a paid upgrade only.
  4. They are offering an option to uninstall the Windows 10 upgrade, if you don’t like it. This is the first OS upgrade that Microsoft has enabled an easy-to-go-back feature, which actually works. Keep in mind that, although it seems to work, we techie types don’t recommending switching back and forth between Operating Systems without expecting problems.

Windows 10

You should also know that Windows 10 seems to use the same drivers and fundamental core software rules that Windows 7 and Windows 8 have used, so most peripherals, drivers and software packages seem to be compatible. We haven’t seen many incompatibility issues. Another thing to consider is the age of your PC. If you have an early released Windows 7 PC with 2GB of RAM, compared to last year’s model that came with Windows 8.1, there is a large difference in hardware performance. The latter would probably much more suited for running Microsoft’s next Operating System for the next few years.

So what are your thoughts on this upgrade topic?