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What You Need To Know About Windows 10

What you need to know about Windows 10

For almost a year, the hype surrounding Microsoft's latest iteration of its Windows operating system has been growing exponentially and, finally, the new OS is ready to be released. 
On July 29th, Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows 10, the successor to the controversially tablet-like Windows 8. With many features being added and changed between Windows 7 or 8 and Windows 10, it can be hard to follow what is changing and how to stay sane during the transition. Luckily, DCSNY is here to tell you what you need to know about Windows 10, including the upgrade process, new features, minimum required system specifications to run Windows 10, and some additional vital information. 

New Features: 

  • Cortana: Microsoft’s digital assistant that learns about the user over time, becoming increasingly personal and useful as it's used. 
  • Cross-platform application synchronization between tablets, PC’s, phones and even Xbox One.
  • Windows Hello: Log into your PC using your fingerprint, your face or your iris. In order to use the face recognition, you need to purchase a 3D infrared camera so the PC can detect heat and read contours on your face. Additionally, you'll need a fingerprint scanner that supports the Windows Biometric Framework to use fingerprint recognition to log in.
  • Phone companion: Windows 10 includes a brand new app that allows you to set up your phone to work with your PC. Works with apps like Skype, Cortana and OnEDRive as well as being convenient for backups.
  • Microsoft Edge: a brand-new built-in browser that not only allows you to take notes directly on webpages, but also allows you to read webpages offline and share those pages with others.
  • Action Center: similarly to the notification center on most Windows phones, Windows 10 improves accessibility by creating the Action Center for notifications.
  • Improved "Snap" Feature for Applications: “snap” up to four apps in place at a time. This feature allows you to see all apps in a single view. 
  • Windows Store: the brand new Windows Store creates a unified experience across every device running Windows 10. Apps are universal and will change it’s interface to suit different screen sizes depending on which device you’re currently working on.
  • Start menu evolution: Improving the full screen Windows 8 start menu, Windows 10 restricts the menu to a single scrolling column. Customizing options, such as jump lists and flight menus, are available. 
  • Improved task switching: easily switch between applications via an improved UI, visible by typing the Windows Key + Tab, or by swiping from the left side of the screen on a tablet or touchscreen PC.
  • Command prompt improvements: finally, users will be able to resize the command prompt window and use keyboard shortcuts.
  • Windows Explorer improvements: quick access lists, easily access recent applications, etc.
  • Schedule restarts: Instead deciding at a whim when to restart your computer to install Windows Updates, Windows 10 allows you to schedule updates. You can also block restarts during certain hours/dates.
  • DirectX 12: the latest version of Microsoft’s graphics API with major performance improvements. It will speed up any Direct3D apps that are written to DirectX 12.
  • Contact Support: with the new support App, find tips/help online or chat with a Microsoft support agent. 

Features Being Removed:

  • Windows Media Center is not available on Windows 10.
    - To play DVD/BluRay media, you will need separate playback software such as VLC.
  • Floppy drive support. If you are looking to use a USB floppy drive with Windows 10, you will need to download the latest Windows 10-compatible driver(s) from Windows Update or from the manufacturer's website.
  • Pre-installed games (like Minesweeper, Solitaire, Hearts) will be removed when you upgrade to Windows 10. New versions of the games will still be available to download in the Windows Store.
  • Desktop gadgets will be removed upon upgrade.

Minimum System Requirements:

Even if your computer is running Windows 7 or 8.1, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10. Check your computers specifications to see if they match Window 10’s minimum system requirements: 

Display: 800x600
Processor: 1GHz or faster
RAM: 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Free hard disk space: 16 GB
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device w/ WDDM driver
Microsoft account and internet access

How to Upgrade:

  • Step One: either reserve a free upgrade via your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 PC from the Get Windows 10 app (visible in the system tray after installing the most recent Windows Updates) OR purchase a new Windows 8.1 device and upgrade it to Windows 10 for free. You can cancel your reservation at any time if you do not wish to upgrade. The OS will download when available. 
    Note: the Windows 10 installation file is at least 3GB; therefore, if you have an internet contract with a data cap, this download may put you over your monthly data limit. Microsoft has not yet provided an alternate method of installation at this time. If you are unsure of whether you have capped internet, check with your ISP.
  • Step Two: install. After July 29, you’ll get a notification once Windows 10 is downloaded to your device. You can decide to install immediately or schedule a time that is better for you. 
  • Step Three: Enjoy your brand new Windows 10 operating system. 

Note: If you’re running Windows Vista or XP, you will first need to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1 in order to receive the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Is Windows 10 Really Free?

The short answer: YES.

  • Users running current versions (7, 8.1) of Windows will get the upgrade for free. Microsoft will be offering this free upgrade for one year. Microsoft will also offer users ten years of free support for Windows 10. 
  • If you decide not to upgrade before July 29th, 2016, or if you’re looking to download Windows 10 on a PC you built yourself, the operating system is NOT free.
    -Windows 10 Home: $119.99
    -Windows 10 Pro: $199.99
    -Windows 10 Pro Pack (enables you to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to 10 Pro): $99.99
  • Small/medium-sized businesses who are running Pro versions will get the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free over Windows Update, the same way as consumers.
  • If you are upgrading from any version of Windows 7 besides Ultimate or Professional, or any version of Windows 8 besides Pro or Pro for Students, your free upgrade will be in the form of Windows 10 Home.
  • If you are running an Enterprise version of Windows 7 or 8, you must downgrade to a Pro version in order to connect to Windows Update to get the free upgrade.