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Windows 10

August 2015

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of Windows 10”.  Not quite, but the arrival of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system on 29th July has a little in common with Alice’s adventures.  Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 to Windows 10; Windows 9 fell down the rabbit hole, I suppose.  If you currently use Windows 7 or 8 you may have noticed a little icon that has magically appeared on your screen (like the Cheshire cat’s smile); if clicked, it will encourage you to reserve a free copy of Windows 10; even though very few of us of us will have much idea what’s going on.  Much like poor Alice.

Apple users are not involved, of course, but for Microsoft’s customers, this upgrade is the biggest event for years.  It’s fairly good news, and is a serious effort to recover from the unhappy muddle that is Windows 8.  But don’t underestimate what’s involved; upgrading an operating system is more complicated than changing the engine in a car, and with many more possible pitfalls.

So how should we react?  For the moment, with no more than an indulgent smile, I suggest.  Windows 10 is a huge improvement on Windows 8, but there is no need to rush and you might save yourself a few problems if you wait.

There is certainly no need to reserve a copy, as they suggest.  If you do, it will immediately be downloaded onto your computer (it’s a big file and might take a while) and then on 29 July you will be asked if you want to activate it.  That will take an hour or more, will transform your computer and put you in the vanguard, but that’s not always the most comfortable place to be.

Remember, updating is not compulsory, and if you are happy as you are, there’s no need to put yourself through it.  Windows 7 will be supported by Microsoft until 2020, Windows 8 will stay alive until 2023; by then we’ll probably all need new computers anyway.

So if your system is working, and if you are not very technical, the incentive to upgrade immediately is pretty slight, in my view.  Windows 10 is good, but your screen will be transformed, and non-techies may be puzzled by the changes.  We become used to our computer’s little ways, and much will have to be learned again in Windows 10.

Anyway, you have until July 2016 to take up their offer of a free copy, if you ever do.  It’s a generous offer, including free updates for life; which life, they don’t say; I assume it’s the computer’s, not yours.  

But please don’t act precipitously.  Some of your non-Microsoft software may struggle with Windows 10, initially; the manufactures will update it, but you need to give them a chance.  What’s more, I have not the slightest doubt that once Windows 10 is released, problems will appear and be fixed.  If you were to wait six months, I’m sure the update process will be less stressful; but consider this: doing nothing might be stress free.

Some further information:


Click here for Microsoft's own description of Windows 10

Click here for Microsoft's instructions for upgrading to Windows 10

Click here for my instructions on how to cancel the upgrade

One of Microsoft's rather sugary adverts for Windows 10: