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Microsoft Windows sent out more news to its user community this past weekend updating it about its latest release, and as so often happens with new releases, users are bound to become utterly confused with all its changes, which will necessitate a simple guide. While this latest announcement added more information about where to turn to for Microsoft support, including frequently asked questions (FAQ), product specification lists, and support pages, it is helpful for people looking to upgrade their version to know exactly what they will need to do.
System requirements for the latest release of Microsoft Windows, Windows 10 were initially posted in March, but now they have been made official by Microsoft. At minimum the PC will require a processor or SoC of 1 gigahertz or faster. Random-access-memory (RAM) should be a minimum of one gigabyte (GB) for a 32-bit processor and two gigabytes for a 64-bit processor. Along with memory, available hard drive space for the 32-bit operating system (OS) should be a minimum of 16GB and for a 64-bit, 20GB. The graphics card should be DirectX or a later version with a driver with WDDM version 1.0, and support a display of 1024 x 600 resolution.
As for software requirements, the earliest OS release required for the upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10 is Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1. This means if a user has an earlier release of either operating system, he or she will need to run several instances of Windows updates in order to be current enough to upgrade to Windows 10. Earlier versions of Windows like XP and Vista will require users to buy the full version of Microsoft Windows 10. Users may be utterly confused and in need of a guide when it comes to what firmware to have when upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10. To address this concern, the Get Windows 10 app will come in handy.
Of course the lowest price for Microsoft Windows 10 is the free upgrade, in which Microsoft announced back in January it would roll out for a year to users running Windows 7, Window 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1. With the launch date set for July 29, 2015 users will have only until that day to take advantage of the offer to upgrade for free. Once it is upgraded on a given device, the OS will be permanently free for it. For users who are not eligible to upgrade or who miss the upgrade date, Windows 10 Home will be $119, Windows 10 Pro will cost $199, and the Pro Pack which allows users to upgrade from Home to Pro will cost $99.
Upgrading from Windows 7
The confusion that arises typically when each new release of Microsoft Windows comes around is exactly which edition of that given OS to purchase. The simple way to figure it out is by what the machine is currently running. For machines running Windows 7 Starter edition, Home Edition, and Home Premium, Windows 10 Home is the edition one needs to purchase. For Windows 7, the Professional and Ultimate editions, one should purchase Windows 10 Pro.
Upgrading from Windows 8.1
For Windows 8.1 users, Phone edition users should upgrade to the Mobile edition, and Windows 8.1 users should upgrade to the Home edition. For Windows 8.1 Pro both the retail and student editions, users should get the Pro edition. Most applications and settings should migrate over to the new OS unless they system generates a message that a given application or file will be lost, so users are advised to back up their current systems.
Reserving the system and installation
Although users are not required to reserve their copy of Microsoft Windows 10, it does add to the ease of installation. Users receive a notification through a button on the task bar on their screen. When they click, this launches the Get Windows 10 app. This brings up a dialogue box, in which they click an option that says “Reserve your free upgrade,” and asks for their email address if they wish to receive an email with a confirmation. During the interim period between when the copy is reserved and the upgrade takes place, Microsoft Windows will make sure the files required are downloaded to the user’s workstation, and then notify the user when he or she can start the process, which would be after July 29, 2015. The upgrade should take at least 20 minutes and at most about an hour.
What will be lost
As with previous upgrades, certain features of Microsoft Windows will be rendered obsolete and no longer available to users. This includes:
- Windows Media Center
- DVD playback software – Microsoft has announced that it will add a new version of this at a later time.
- Desktop gadgets
- Deferred updates for Home edition users – these updates will happen automatically while Pro and Enterprise users will still be able to defer updates.
- Older versions of Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts. The first two games will be replaced by newer versions.
- USB floppy disk drivers which will need to be replaced by newer versions.
- Windows Live Essentials version of OneDrive, which will be replaced by the newer version of OneDrive.
To help alleviate the feelings of panic for the utterly confused, Microsoft will continue to communicate with its users updates and news in order to guide them through their transition to Windows 10. With the Microsoft Windows newest version soon to become available, users can be sure that they will be getting the support they need as well as an exciting user experience.
By Bill Ades
VentureBeat – Microsoft Prompting Windows 7 and 8 Users to Reserve Upgrade
Venture Beat – Everything to Know About Upgrading to Windows 10
Forbes – Microsoft Making a Big Change With Windows
Photo courtesy of See-Ming Lee’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License