Microsoft on Tuesday made Windows 10 a "recommended" upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1, making good on its promise to push more users onto its latest version. Cautious business users are expected to make the jump in 2016, but now is also the time for consumers to consider upgrading.
Since its July launch, Microsoft has released a slew of updates, and the software is now more stable than it was before. While more people are now using Windows 10 than Windows XP, 52.47 percent of PCs worldwide are still running Windows 7. Here's six reasons why it's time to ditch the old operating system and get Windows 10.
This is possibly the most important point. Windows 10 is free for Windows 7 and 8.1 users, but not for long. The offer expires at the end of July, and anyone caught short will have to cough up $119.99 for Windows 10 Home or $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro.
Secure Is Paramount
Microsoft is fully committed to releasing frequent Windows 10 security updates. The company intends the release to be the last ever version of Windows, so all updates from here will download and install automatically to your PC. Those updates will patch holes and flaws that data thieves can use to steal sensitive information.
This isn't an imagined threat. Just last month, Microsoft cut off support for Windows 8, forcing those users to upgrade to 8.1 to keep their PC secure. For peace of mind, it's better to upgrade now and stay secure.
Windows 10 also comes with a new authentication system, Windows Hello, that ties together multiple login identities into a simple, secure sign in process. Hello works with a password, or with the right hardware a user can scan their iris or fingerprint to log in. The future is here.
Voice Activated Personal Assistant
Those used to Siri and Google Now on their mobile will appreciate Cortana. The assistant lives in the taskbar next to the start button, always ready for commands. Either say "hey Cortana" or start typing in the search box, and Cortana will begin searching for a response to the question.
The software can handle most expected commands like "what's the weather like tomorrow?" but it can also handle more complicated requests. For example, Cortana can say how long it will take to complete a journey based on current traffic data. Anything Cortana knows about the user is accessible from a "notebook," which also has a delete option for any data the user would rather Cortana didn't have.
New PC Not Required
Microsoft asks the same of Windows 10 PCs as it does of computers running Windows 8.1. In fact, Windows 10's system requirements are only slightly higher than Windows 7, so a PC running either operating system will likely work fine with the new version.
Don't worry about using up space, either. Windows 10's storage footprint is minimized by new compression technology. Windows 10 can reduce its own size by up to 2.6 GB, enough to store nearly three feature length films.
Runs More Apps
Windows 10 apps use a new universal platform that lets them run on almost any Windows 10 powered device. For example, a Windows 10 game purchased on a Lumia phone could run on the desktop at home, with only one payment necessary.
There's one caveat. Those apps only run on Windows 10, so older versions will be out of luck. More and more developers are creating apps with these new tools, and the best way to avoid missing out on a new release is to install Windows 10.
Easier To Use
Windows may seem pretty straightforward as it is, but Microsoft's made some adjustments that make it a little bit easier to work with. The software has a new "Continuum" feature that adapts the interface depending on whether the computer is in touchscreen mode or keyboard and mouse mode.
When using a touchscreen, buttons grow in size, the start menu fills the screen and new gestures are enabled. The system will reverse these changes when the user switches back to a mouse, so more information can fit on the screen and the interface is easier to navigate.