When Microsoft launched Windows 10 nearly a year ago they offered it free to all eligible clients (Basically anyone running Windows 7 or higher) for a 1 year period.
The free upgrade ends Friday, if you decide to do the upgrade Saturday morning you will need to pay Microsoft. The home version starts at $119 and goes up from there depending on the version of Windows you are upgrading.
This offer initially generated a lot of confusion, in many cases people thought this meant that if they upgraded now they would have to send Microsoft a cheque after 1 year of use. Microsoft did a sub-optimal job of communicating with their clients, something they were known for before CEO Satya Nadella took the helm.
The reality is if you upgrade before the deadline Windows 10 is yours free for the life of the computer.
I've heard a few people complain about the upgrade being difficult to use, or being incompatible with some really old software they had. Let's address both issues:
1) Windows 10 isn't really hard to use. There is a very small learning curve to understanding the new "Start" button if you're currently a Windows 7 user, but you should be comfortable with it pretty quickly.
If you're using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 the new "Start" button should bring you a welcome sigh of relief. Removing the start button in Windows 8 can safely be filed under "Worst Ideas Microsoft Had", next to Windows Vista and Microsoft MOM.
2) Old software: Well yes, some old software isn't going to run well (or at all) under Windows 10, but most reasonably recent software should be fine. Personally I haven't experienced any problems other than having to replace my old anti-virus software, which you can do for free.
You don't have to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue offering security updates for Windows 7 until January 14th, 2020, but you may find new software doesn't run well with your older operating system.
Personally I've upgraded 3 laptops and a desktop at home and had no issues, the upgrade process was surprisingly smooth and easy. If you haven't had the nag box pop up to help you upgrade you can manually start the process by clicking on http://www.microsoft.com/en-
If you're considering upgrading I'd suggest you do it before Friday, because Saturday morning you're going to have to reach for your wallet.
-The Home Geek
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