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Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer will end on July 29, 2016. After that date, Windows 10 will be priced at its regular rate and you’ll be stuck using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1
There are still millions of holdouts who haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 – despite Microsoft’s best efforts to persuade them.
Should you consider upgrading to Windows 10 before the free upgrade window (no pun intended) is over? Or should you stick to your guns and continue using your older version of Windows? Today, we’re going to explain the pros and cons of upgrading to Microsoft’s newest operating system before July 29, 2016.
It Stops Being Free After July 29, 2016
Windows 10 is currently a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. It’s been that way since July 29, 2015, which was the day Windows 10 was released to the general public.
Windows 10’s upgrade will stop being free after July 29, 2016. After that, you’ll need to pay the full price to upgrade to the OS:
-Windows 10 Home: $150
-Windows 10 Pro: $250
That’s a lot of money for a new OS. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 already have scheduled dates when they’ll stop being updated. Windows 10 does not currently have a scheduled date. Eventually, your time on Windows 7/8.1 will run out, and then you’ll need to pay the full price for Windows 10 (or risk running a non-updated OS).
You Can Roll Back Any Time
Microsoft has taken a lot of criticism for how it has forced Windows 10 on users. But the truth is, Microsoft has also made it really easy to roll back to previous versions of Windows. Immediately after upgrading, you can roll back to your old version of Windows with only a few clicks (assuming you haven’t deleted your windows.old folder).
You’ll be surprised at how easy this process is. All of your apps and user data transfer seamlessly between Windows 10 and Windows 7/8.1. Most of the time, it works perfectly (although you may still want to make a separate backup just in case).
It’s Not As Different from Windows 7 As You Might Think
Most Windows users are still using Windows 7. Many of these Windows users refuse to upgrade to Windows 10 because they feel it’s too similar to Windows 8 – which was notorious for its tablet-focused interface and confusing design.
The truth is: Windows 10 is closer to Windows 7 than Windows 8/8.1. The only real “Windows 8-like” part of Windows 10 is the right side of the Start menu, which features customizable tiles. Aside from that, most of the Windows 8 features have been thrown out. You even get a full-fledged Start button and Start menu. What’s not to like?
You Don’t Need a Microsoft Account
There’s also some misconception regarding a Microsoft account with Windows 10. You don’t actually need a Microsoft account to setup Windows 10. However, you’ll need to sign up if you want to take advantage of embedded features like OneDrive. But if you just want the base OS with no Microsoft services added on, then no Microsoft account is required.
It Has Genuinely Useful New Features
Here are some of the cool features you get with Windows 10:
-Virtual desktops, letting you create multiple workstations on your PC and switch between them like they were on different screens
-Snap Assist, which lets you snap windows to either side of the screen or to the four corners of the screen
-Cortana search and personal assistant
-Edge browser, which is a genuinely useful Microsoft-made browser that replaces Internet Explorer
-DirectX 12 and Xbox One game streaming
There are hundreds of new features, but these are the core features that have made a big difference in my life since the upgrade.
Yes, There Are Privacy Concerns
There’s quite a bit of controversy over Microsoft’s data collection. By default, Microsoft’s Windows 10 collects a surprising amount of data about you – most of which is related to improving the effectiveness of Cortana.
However, you can turn most of these settings off. Just open the Start menu search bar and type in Privacy settings, then toggle each switch off.
The real issue with Windows 10 is that we don’t know which other private data Microsoft takes from you. As PC Advisor explains, “We certainly can’t say that you can prevent 100 percent of your data from being sent to Microsoft.”
Ultimately, most of this data is used to improve your life – but it’s still a little worrying.
Check Your Hardware Requirements
Windows 10 has surprisingly low hardware requirements. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into optimizing their system for low-end rigs, and that means even older computers should run Windows 10 without issue.
Nevertheless, you should still check the complete list of Windows 10 hardware requirements to ensure your system meets the minimum specs.
What’s the Bottom Line? Should You Make the Switch?
Windows 10 is a superior operating system to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1. As Microsoft’s flagship operating system, Windows 10 will receive the latest security updates and will be supported for further into the future than any other Microsoft OS to date.
You have a month left to get Windows 10 for free. I don’t know why you wouldn’t take advantage of that upgrade offer – especially since the Windows 10 Anniversary update is incoming in a couple months.