Saturday, August 1, 2015

Family Tech: More information on the rollout of Windows 10 - July 31,2015

Windows 10 is here, arriving a couple days ago on Wednesday.

When Windows 8 appeared, the world seemed to ask. “Do I want to upgrade to 8?” And in fact, many users did not do it, instead staying with Windows 7.

For those who have read about Windows 10 and downloaded the trial version, most are eager to make the move. There are many good things about 10.

First of all, if you are a home user of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, then Windows 10 is free. That is always nice.

I wrote about the new features of 10 in June. Check to read it again.

What I did not stress enough then however is that Windows 10 is a new concept for Windows Operating Systems. It is no longer an application you purchase. It is now a service.

That means once you download it, it automatically updates itself whenever Microsoft makes an improvement, adds features or patches a bug. The changes download and install on their own.

Many of the security problems on home PCs are from users not keeping their PCs updated. It does not do us any good for Microsoft to fix a bug in Windows that exposes our data to the outside world, if we do not apply those patches to our installations of Windows. Windows 10 takes care of that for us.

And it should mean an end to installing a new Windows every few years. Some say Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows because it will constantly be enhanced. We’ll see how that actually goes, but it should simplify things for users over the next several years.

Windows 10 won’t so much be upgraded, as it will evolve over time.

This is not the first operating system to be delivered as a service. Devices running Google’s Chrome OS have always updated the OS silently and behind the scene, essentially invisibly, for the user. The concept works well, and I am excited to see how that will work for Windows.

Its Office 365 works on that concept, but costs an annual subscription. While Windows is free for now, it may one day be an annual subscription, but if it means a constant stream of security updates and new features – that is a good thing.

The big advantage of Windows 10 is that if you are comfortable with Windows 7 or 8, you’ll be just fine with Windows 10. There will not be an appreciative learning curve. You can be up and running quickly.

If you are running XP, your computer was made between seven and 14 years ago. It is time for a new PC. New ones will likely come with Windows 10 already installed.

Since I wrote about Windows 10 in June, more features have been added or announced.

The gamers in the family will love the new Windows. It is tied closer to the Xbox network for a more unified gaming experience. It will allow streaming games, live recordings of gameplay and more.

The DirectX 12 capabilities will make Windows 10 faster for games. Unless you have a serious gamer in your home, you may not realize the absolutely spectacular graphics some games now use. Gamers can play mind-blowing games and play with other gamers from around the world, all by the games being networked over the internet.

While performance of high-end PCs has been good so far, Windows 10’s inclusion of DirectX 12 will enhance the graphics capabilities even more.

An advantage for developers is the ability to create universal apps that will run on Windows 10 whether running on a PC, laptop, tablet, or Window Phone. Developers of apps for the iPhone and Android devices can adapt their apps to run on Windows 10. That should mean a greater variety of apps and capabilities for users.

For weeks now, you may have seen notifications on your Window 7 or 8 machines to reserve your copy of Windows 10. If you did reserve a copy, then sometime on or after July 29, Microsoft will send Windows 10 to your PC in the background. When the entire installation setup has finished downloading, you will be prompted to install. The installation will be an upgrade to your existing setup. You won’t lose your data and should not have to reinstall your applications.

There has been a massive public testing effort for months now, so Windows 10 should be safe to install as soon as you get it but there is no hurry. Free users have up to a year to do the upgrade. I’m going to upgrade my laptop as soon as I can. I’ll upgrade others in the house afterwards. A stepped rollout is prudent.

Check for those details that will only became apparent on the July 29. Remember, there is absolutely no hurry to install.

Links for this column are here.

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