Should you upgrade to Windows 10? If you’re not sure if you should take the Windows 10 upgrade plunge, we’ll help you make the right decision
On the one hand, the fact that Windows 10 is free for everyone (well, Windows 7 and 8 users) is a brilliant thing; on the other, if you’ve just got your computer set up the way that you want, a brand-new operating system won’t necessarily make things better. If you’re not sure what to do, don’t worry, as this article will help you make the right decision based on which operating system you’re currently running. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, there are two important things to remember before you do anything:
You don’t have to upgrade
Not being forced to upgrade may seem obvious, but what we mean is that you can register for your free Windows 10 upgrade whenever you like, but you get to choose when you actually install the operating system. Our advice is to register straight away, following our how to upgrade to Windows 10 article.
You can roll back Windows 10
When you perform an in-place upgrade, Microsoft saves the old version of your Windows on your hard disk. Provided you don’t clean these files up, you can roll back Windows 10 to the previous version of Windows. This means you can try the new operating system practically risk-free. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you back up your computer first.
For most people, the answer is Yes
With those important details out of the way, the simple answer for most people is that, yes, you should upgrade to Windows 10. Our current impressions are that it’s more stable than Windows 7, gets rid of all of the annoying interface mistakes that Microsoft made with Windows 8, and it’s the future of the Windows platform. There are a lot of new features in there, too, which we won’t go into now, but you can read about in ourBest Windows 10 features article.
While we think, on balance, that upgrading is the way forward, nothing is simple and there are some reasons why you may not want to upgrade. We discuss these below.
Stability and early days
If there are going to be any major problems with Windows 10, they’re going to come in the first few weeks of it being launched. It comes down to a simple question: do you want all the new features immediately, or do you want other people to find the bugs? We’re pretty confident that everything’s going to be fine, but if you’re reliant on your computer and can’t have it out of action, our advice is to wait for a couple of weeks while any problems are ironed out.
Windows Media Center
Although Microsoft has removed some features in Windows 10 that were there in Windows 7 and 8, most of them can be brought back: see how to replace the six features missing from Windows 10. However, Windows Media Center is the one thing that’s really hard to replace with other software. If you’ve got a Media Center PC, save yourself the hassle and don’t upgrade it.
Windows XP and Vista
If you’ve got Windows XP or Windows Vista, you don’t qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10, so you’ll have to buy the software. Whether or not this is worth doing will really come down to how fast your computer is and if it can cope with the new operating system. Our section on performance (below) will show you what to read, but the likelihood is that your computer may be a little too old to run it smoothly.
An additional problem will be finding drivers for older hardware, while your existing software may not work properly. Before you do anything, then, you’ll need to check if there are Windows 10 drivers for your computer, and that your software is compatible or has an patch available for it. In truth, it may just be time to buy a new computer.
Performance and upgrades
Windows 10 has the same minimum requirements as Windows 7 and Windows 8 (see below). Effectively, if you’ve already got a computer that shipped with either Windows 7 or 8, you’ll be able to run the new operating system properly.
|Windows 10 minimum requirements||Processor: 1GHz or faster,
RAM: 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit), Free hard disk space: 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit), Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics
However, if you have an old netbook running Windows 7 Starter, it may struggle to run Windows 10 as smoothly as you’d like. As a very rough rule, we’d say you want a minimum of a 2GHz dual-core CPU, plus 4GB of RAM. It’s a rough rule, as some new mobile chips run at speeds lower than 2GHz, but can boost to higher speeds when they need to. Again, the rule of thumb is that if your computer runs Windows 7 or Windows 8 well, Windows 10 should be fine; if your computer is struggling a little now, don’t upgrade.
If you’re running old hardware, you may run into problems with Windows 10 not supporting it. When you request your free upgrade, the Get Windows 10 app will show you any potential problems with your existing hardware. The simple rule here is, if you get a compatibility error with a bit of hardware you can’t live without or replace easily, don’t upgrade until the compatibility problems are fixed.