If you’re running Windows 7 or newer, you’ve probably decided you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10, just because of being inundated with all those requests to upgrade. There is a way to get rid of those notices — besides actually upgrading. But it requires playing with the Windows registry. If you’re still on an older version of Windows, you’re probably one of the many who get a computer for a few specific tasks and are quite comfortable that way. It also means you’re not likely to want to mess with registry entries. And that’s fine. So, we’ll skip that one.
Every new version of Windows has done more than previous versions. And, starting with Windows 8.0, Microsoft stopped making Windows more hardware hungry to give us all those new features. By Windows 10, we got a whole new animal that could take on the newest hardware, yet breathe new life into older hardware. I have a couple of netbooks that were never this responsive with the Windows XP and Windows 7 they came with. But the public got a real shock with Windows 8.0.
Windows 8.0 completely changed how PC owners interacted with Windows. That might not be so bad, except there was no real warning. What few pictures there were couldn’t possibly have prepared us for how different things would become. The result was a lot of negative reaction, and as a result Microsoft was fairly quick to bring out Windows 8.1. But, even though it was smoother and friendlier, it was still a variation of Windows 8.0.
Along came Windows 10. It was more like older versions of Windows, but folded in the features of Windows 8.x in a much more user friendly way. And Microsoft wants to see people make the switch, and as such anyone with Windows 7 or newer was given a year to upgrade for free. We’re already 6 months into that year. Personally, I recall a Windows Vista PC that had a period where I could upgrade to Windows 7. I’m still kicking myself for not paying closer attention. But there just might be an even more compelling reason why you may want to upgrade to Windows 10.
Everything tech has what’s called an EOL date (end of life). There comes a time when it’s just not economically feasible to continue supporting hardware or software whose user base rapidly grows smaller and smaller, when they could be supporting more customers with that same staff. When an operating system, like Windows, has an EOL, it means there will be no more problem fixes and no more security patches. So, what about the various flavors of Windows?
Microsoft has a 10 year support cycle, well beyond most other tech support cycles. But Windows XP and earlier versions are already dead. Windows Vista has till early April 2017. Support for Windows 7 goes until mid-January of 2020. Theoretically, Windows 8.0 should be good until October 2022. But that’s not the case. It turns out that the upgrade to Win 8.1 was considered a service pack, which can be delayed only two years. With this month’s Patch Tuesday, which is January 12, support for the base version of Windows 8.0, that is Windows 8 without the Windows 8.1 “service pack,” ends. Windows 8.1 has support till early January 2023. And Windows 10 is covered into October 2025.
So, Windows 8.0 users want to upgrade ASAP! And it’ll get rid of those upgrade notices. But which way should you upgrade — Windows 8.1 or Windows 10? I’ve been a Windows 10 beta tester, since it first went to public beta. And I’m still testing beta versions, before they go to the general public. My particular choice is Windows 10. Here’s why:
- Windows 10 includes improvements beyond Windows 8.0/8.1.
- It brings back functioning the way most of us are used to from older versions of Windows.
- It pulls in the best of Win 8.x, giving the user the best of both worlds.
- There’s the longer lasting support cycle for both fixes and security patches.
- Upgrading to Win 8.1 is different, requiring going through the Windows Store, instead of the usual update process.
- The Win10 upgrade is free till late July of this year. There’s definitely something to be said for freebies.
Whether you upgrade — and which version you upgrade to — are things you’ll have to decide. But, assuming you don’t want to be an easy target for hackers, the second choice is probably the one you’ll wrestle with. In either case, be sure to leave yourself plenty of free disk space. Neither upgrade is small.