Monday, August 31, 2015

Technology tune-up - Windows 10 is here and its free - By Bob Bean

This is an ongoing series of articles related to today’s technology, computers and internet use, as well as standard safety and security practices. Remember, use common sense and follow your instincts. Any changes that you make to your computer are ultimately your responsibility.

Welcome one and all, to the most acclaimed and profound technology article that you may ever read. The talk of the towns, where the rubber hits the road, and the cat’s meow… It’s Technology Tune Up Time! 

Though it has been a long while in development, as of July 29, Windows 10 was finally available on new systems. It has also been released to the public as a free upgrade through Windows Update. I will get to the free upgrade, and how you can get yours, but let’s first take a quick look back, to see what brought us to this point.

On August 1, 2012, Windows 8 was RTM, “Released to Manufacturing.” This release was part of an assuming and progressive vision by Microsoft. Their thinking was to create one operating system that would run on all device types; computers, laptops, tablets, game consoles and phones. They predicted that there would continue to be a push toward touch devices and their growth in popularity. They also assumed that mouse and keyboard users, would adapt or gracefully fade out into the past. There are basically two types of device users, creators and consumers. Touch is okay for the general content consumer, but a keyboard, mouse and desktop is optimal for content creators. 

With the release of Windows 8 came a major push back from consumers. This operating system brought confusion and complexity. What really got the attention of Microsoft, was the same push back and disappointment from business and enterprise clients. They would never consider this as a reasonable upgrade path. Windows 8 was received as a mongrel with a personality disorder. Two worlds colliding. Half touch and half desktop operating system, each complicating and clashing with the other.

Though Microsoft said that this was their vision and they were sticking to it, they in time saw the writing on the wall and made a partial reversal. Microsoft recalculated their futuristic vision. October 17, 2013, Windows 8.1 was available to the general public. These changes to the OS made it more usable, but it was not nearly enough and it was far too late. Windows 8 was to go down in history as being an even bigger failure than Windows ME or Windows Vista. 

Microsoft has since gone through some major business restructuring and has in many ways been born again. It has decided to once again listen to its user base and create an operating system for the people and for the future. This new OS has to be attractive to their most important clients as well, business and enterprise. Code named Threshold, Windows 10 is the result. A mixture of what was good about Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 mixed with a wealth of feedback, from a community of Windows Insider Program, Windows 10 testers.  

I am a member of the Windows Insider Program and have been running Windows 10 for some time now. Windows 10 is a good upgrade and I recommend it. I will use this OS as my primary on all my machines. All people owning a device running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be offered this upgrade free, for one year. It is the opportunity to upgrade that lasts only a year, not the operating system itself. Once you have this Windows 10 upgrade, it’s yours to use free for the life of the device on which it is installed. That is a big deal! 

Now more about your upgrade path. You may have noticed a white flag in your system tray alongside your clock somewhere. If you click on this flag you have the option to upgrade. The upgrade push began on July 29. The upgrades will likely be rolled out in waves. If you don’t have the reservation flag showing in your system tray, no worry, you still will eventually be offered the upgrade through Windows Update. 

It is not unwise to wait a bit to see how this rolls out. If you have only one computer, and you are reliant on it, it may be a good idea to consider holding off for a bit, to see if early adopters have any trouble. Also, it is always recommended, that if you have a choice, it is always better to do a clean install, as opposed to an upgrade. This may be more than the average user wants to take on. If your system is more that a year old I would recommend a clean install. If you want advice or help with this upgrade give a professional a call.

Until next time, keep trusting and keep believing!

Bob is the owner and operator of Computer Mechanic, a Creative Technology Business located in Gray, Maine. His services include: Computer Repair both PC and Mac, Virus Removal, Advanced Data Recovery, Website Design and Hosting, Photo Repair and Restoration as well as Tutoring. He offers Onsite Service and Remote Connect options for your convenience. He is always available for Consulting. You can find more information on Bob, his business and contact info by searching for “Computer Mechanic Gray Maine” anywhere on the World Wide Web.

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