It’s been 5 days since windows 10 was made available, with over 14 million users in first 24hrs, now we see if you really need to upgrade to it? For Microsoft it is arguably the most important Windows release of all time. After 30 years, the company wants to change the game: new business model, new release strategy, new controls over updates. Everything changes.
All of which asks the question: should you upgrade to Windows 10?
Given the biggest headline about Windows 10 is it is FREE logic suggests this should be an easy answer. But it isn’t. I have used Windows 10 since the first beta back in October 2014 and I received an advanced press copy of the finished product and the costs come elsewhere.
Furthermore choosing whether to upgrade will prove a deeply personal question based on your own needs and concerns. So here is a breakdown of everything which has impressed me and everything that has left me with reservations. I’ll give you my own conclusion after that.
The Good Stuff
Yes, you read that correctly. Windows 10 is free. Microsoft waited until July 17th to clear this up, but its lifecycle support page now states users Mainstream Support (adding new features) will continue until October 13, 2020 and Extended Support (security updates) will last until October 14, 2025.
This is great news. These time spans fall in line with previous paid editions of Windows and whatever Microsoft has planned for ‘Windows as a service’ in future (subscriptions perhaps?), users can sit on Windows 10 until the end of Extended Support in 2025 without any worries.
The caveat: you can only upgrade to Windows 10 free if you do so within 12 months of release (that’s July 29th 2016). Upgrade outside this period and you will have to pay the standard retail costs: $119.99 for ‘Windows 10 Home’ and $199.99 for ‘Windows 10 Pro’.
One Windows To Rule Them All
Apple famously bragged about building iOS on the core of OS X, but Microsoft has now taken this one step further: Windows 10 is what runs on all desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. Yes, the user interfaces may vary, but it’s the same codebase.
This brings a lot of advantages, perhaps the best of which is ‘Continuum’ – Microsoft’s equivalent of Apple’s ‘Handoff’. This lets you pick up from exactly where you left off on one device and continue it on another.
In truth Microsoft is catching up here as Handoff and many of Google’s Cloud-based products like Docs, Sheets and Maps let you do something similar but Continuum also takes it one step further: a Windows 10 designed apps can run on any device. There’s no such thing as phone apps or PC apps, they are the same thing.
Obviously legacy programs are excluded from this. You won’t be running Office 2007 on your phone, but Office for Windows 10 can do this.
Moving onto specific Windows 10 tentpoles, the biggest is arguably Cortana.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone voice assistant and Siri rival is now baked into Windows 10 so you can ask whatever you like and have the answers returned to you in seconds. Cortana also handles core commands like opening a browser, creating a new email, setting reminders or calendar appointments, etc.
Like all voice assistants Cortana is far from flawless, but – for those not too embarrassed to talk to their computer – she’s a great addition and is only going to get better.