Microsoft’s Windows 10 offer was one of the most unprecedented offers Microsoft made in the past few years. Typically, Microsoft would offer Windows updates to users via servicing packs and patch updates for free for the lifetime of the OS, then give consumers the opportunity to pay for updates to the new OS. Of course, most consumers typically stuck to the old version of the OS with updates only happening when people got new PCs/Tablets when their old one broke.
With Microsoft’s Windows 10 update, all that’s changed. Now the new update is being offered for free to users on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. Over 300 million have already upgraded to Windows 10 and use it daily, so Microsoft’s off to a good start. With the free upgrade period coming to a close on July 29, some users of Microsoft’s older OS may be unsure of what to do.
Unless your PC is more then 3 or 4 years old I would take Microsoft up on their offer and here are a few reasons why.
Windows 10 Apps
Typically people who are against upgrading to Windows 10 often cite this as a reason not to update. Some believe that “apps” are useless and should be confined to the realm of the smartphone or tablet. After all, the browser can do everything for you, with little or no fuss. That may be true to some extent, but Universal Windows apps offer value for users who choose to use them.
I use the USA Today App everyday and the Netflix, Hulu, WatchESPN ESPN & NFL apps are top of the line. The Windows 10 App Store does have a way to go – but it is a far better experience then what we had with Windows 8. I look for this to continue to improve.
Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 integrated heavily with Windows Phone , sharing tabs in internet explorer, apps in the app store, theme colours, and more. In Windows 10, not only is Microsoft deepening the integration, but they are also adding in support for more phones on other operating systems. Take an iPhone for example, if you add Cortana, OneDrive, Groove Music and the office apps to it, you can share data between your devices quickly and easily. An Android phone can be even more easily integrated, allowing you to share text messages and notifications through the cloud using Cortana. If you don’t particularly care which phone you use, a Windows phone offers near the same functionality as a Windows 10 PC would provide you in the new universal environment. In essence, you get a great amount of compatibility between your phone and your PC that no other OS offers.
Windows 10 comes with the promise of more free updates from Microsoft as long as your device can handle it. Microsoft defines Windows 10 as an OS that is never really “finished” in terms of features and stability fixes. For example, Windows 10 launched in July and received a huge update in November 2015 (The November Update), it is due another update in July (The Anniversary Update) and will most likely end up with a cycle of 2 major updates a year. That’s two updates that add more features to your computer for free. If you update to Windows 10 today, you don’t have to pay for any other Windows updates – if you don’t, you do.
Microsoft’s Cortana is an experience that debuted on Windows Phone 8.1 devices about 2 years ago. Shortly after that, the firm began work on migrating the Cortana experience to Windows 10 PCs and other devices. Cortana provides on Windows 10 a well-rounded experience, allowing you to type or speak commands into it through the search box experience.
As someone who predominately uses Cortana by typing, it is very much like a command line interface for those who don’t like using the command line. The best thing about Cortana is that it remains synced between all your devices and actively works to tie your devices together allowing you to send text messages via Cortana, make cross-device reminders or even sync your notifications.
New is Good
Let’s face it, Windows 7 looks dated and Windows 8.1 has a very divisive user interface. With Windows 10 for PCs, Microsoft draws inspiration from their much-lauded (design wise) mobile OS. There’s a new action center which handles all your notifications, a unification of the Windows 10 universal app with “classic” Windows apps via use of “windows” and a more standardized design language.
There are more customization options like the native Windows spotlight service which you have a different lockscreen wallpaper everyday and apps like Dynamic theme having the ability to pull down background images from the service of your choice.
If Windows 10 is slicker, prettier, freer and just better than older versions of Windows, why are people still resisting the update? Now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Windows 10, as with any other OS, there are concerns about updating the OS. People may just dislike the changes, Microsoft’s new integrated servicing model may tick power-users the wrong way and Microsoft’s heavy-handed tactics in downloading the Windows 10 update on older PCs may have turned some people off.