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Windows 10 is coming on July 29, and free upgrades are being offered to a lot of existing Windows users. But what exactly does Windows 10 offer and is it a worthwhile progression?

With increased support for gaming, a clever personal assistant, free updates, and more, Windows 10 is looking to be the best – and apparently final – version of the operating system.

If you have any more reasons to add to our list below, please head into the comments section to sound off and let us know what features you’re looking forward to.

Free for Many

For many people, the upgrade to Windows 10 won’t cost anything Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More . If you’re running Windows 7 or above, you should have a notification in your taskbar Can't See the Windows 10 Upgrade Notification? Here's How to Enable It. Can't See the Windows 10 Upgrade Notification? Here's How to Enable It. Are you also not seeing the Get Windows app on your Windows 7 or 8.1 devices? Let us show you how to enable the upgrade notification or cancel the upgrade in case you changed your... Read More that allows you to reserve your upgrade for free, which will be available for a whole year. If you don’t have a legit version of Windows, or are on an older system, it’ll be priced at $119 for the Home version. No matter when you upgrade, you’ll never have to shell out additional costs.

windows 10 matrix

Rather than having everyone spread out over different versions of Windows, Microsoft hopes the enticement of a free upgrade will be enough to get the majority of customers running their new operating system. This will mean that applications can be developed specifically for Windows 10 and Microsoft will be able to provide added value to their ecosystem, which includes services like Office 365 An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? Office 365 is a subscription based package that offers access to the latest desktop Office suite, Office Online, cloud storage, and premium mobile apps. Does Office 365 provide enough value to be worth the money? Read More and OneDrive.

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The Final Windows

Windows 10 will, apparently, be the last version of Windows Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Microsoft is sick of you not upgrading, and has a solution: Windows 10 will be the final "version" of Windows. Ever. This could mean that you will never again have to buy Windows. Read More . This is because Microsoft is moving their operating system into more of a service, which sees continual upgrades over time, while still retaining the same product name. Think of an online service like Facebook or Gmail, which changes in appearance and adds new features fairly regularly, but it’s still the same thing.

Windows 10 Build 10074 Desktop

Unlike current versions of Windows, all updates will be compulsory. This will allow Microsoft to ensure that everyone is running the exact same version, which makes it easier for developer compatibility and keeps all systems equally secure. Theoretically, this means Windows 10 could be constantly evolving and adapting to add new features.


Cortana is an existing feature on Windows Phone, but now it’s coming to Windows 10. Put simply, Microsoft wants Cortana to be the first truly personal assistant. It can provide you with traffic updates, recommend the best places to eat nearby, inform you about the latest news, and much more. Commands can be spoken or typed to Cortana, like asking for a reminder to be set or to bring up the weather forecast.


Intriguingly, Microsoft has equipped Cortana with a personality Cortana Talks Back: Laugh, Cry & Love With Windows Phone's Digital Assistant Cortana Talks Back: Laugh, Cry & Love With Windows Phone's Digital Assistant Bored with no one to talk to? Why not strike up a conversation with your Windows Phone? These cues will make Cortana talk. Read More , like being embarrassed if she can’t answer your question. Accessible from the Taskbar, Cortana is the assistant that will always be around to lend a hand. If you’ve ever used Siri or Google Now, then you’ll know what to expect. Be sure to check out our hands-on with Cortana Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Is Microsoft's intelligent digital assistant as competent on the Windows 10 desktop as she is on Windows Phone? Cortana has a lot of expectation on her shoulders. Let's see how she holds up. Read More .

Snap Assist

Snapping your windows to quickly resize and reposition them on your screen has been around since Windows 7, but it’s received some enhancements with Windows 10. You can snap your windows vertically and horizontally; when doing so, you’ll be prompted to select what window you want to snap into the empty space. It’s a small touch, but one that helps make for a smoother experience.

Of more note is the ability to snap four windows into a 2×2 grid. You can use keyboard shortcuts Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide With so many shortcuts built into Windows and its software, it might seem impossible to learn them all. Here's the ultimate guide to the most useful keyboard shortcuts. Read More to do so or just use your mouse. Of course, you don’t have to have four windows to use this mode. You could have one window snapped vertically and then two stacked horizontally on the other side. For those who often have a lot of windows and apps open, this will definitely help speed up productivity.

Microsoft Edge

It’s an understatement to say that Internet Explorer doesn’t have a great reputation. Once the dominant browser, it’s fallen by the wayside due to competitors like Firefox and Chrome offering better compatibility. Microsoft’s solution? Edge, previously codenamed Project Spartan Project Spartan: a Lean and Unfinished Browser for the Modern Web Project Spartan: a Lean and Unfinished Browser for the Modern Web Spartan picks up the fight with browser competitors like Chrome and Firefox. Will it live up to the ideals of Spartan soldiers? We've put this first version to the test and were not impressed. Read More , a brand new browser, is being bundled with Windows 10.

microsoft edge

With this being an entirely new browser that’s still being developed, it’s currently lacking some features that we might take for standard elsewhere, like incognito mode Incognito This: Turn Private Browsing On & Off With A Single Click (Chrome) Incognito This: Turn Private Browsing On & Off With A Single Click (Chrome) Read More . However, it comes with some neat tools out of the box, like an address bar that gives you search results directly and the ability to add written notes to a webpage. It’s also quite lightweight and doesn’t put a strain on resources – hopefully it can stay this way.

Cross-Platform Apps

Windows once used to just run on desktops, but those days are long gone. You can find it on tablets, phones and, with Windows 10, even the Xbox. With the release of Windows 10, all these devices will all be running more or less the same version of Windows. Not only is this great for them because it’ll tie everyone into their ecosystem, it’s great for us, too.


Windows apps can now be developed for one system and work across all of them. Something developed for the desktop can automatically be scaled down to a mobile device, for example. That way, there won’t be a disconnect between devices and all your favorite programs can be accessed wherever you are, as long as it’s a Windows 10 device.


One of the major criticisms levied upon Windows 8 was how touch-orientated the entire experience seemed to be. The Start page, with its huge tiles, was clearly designed with tablet users in mind, and many rejoiced when the standard Start menu 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How To Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How To Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now Windows 8 won't get a native Start Menu after all. But why wait on Microsoft? Here's how you can help yourself with third party tools like Classic Shell or Start8 and other workarounds. Read More was reintroduced. Microsoft has clearly learned from their mistakes, With Windows 10 now offering a feature called Continuum.

Continuum allows Windows to adapt to both desktop and tablet views on the fly. Disconnect the keyboard from the tablet and it’ll ask if you want to optimize the system for touch use, like providing tiles on the desktop. Vice versa, connect the keyboard and you can go for the more traditional desktop experience. You can customize if these prompts appear, along with letting the system do it automatically, which should hopefully make for a fluid experience whatever platform you’re using.

Refreshed Start Menu

While tiles weren’t universally praised in Windows 8, that doesn’t mean the Start menu doesn’t have room for improvements. So while the Start menu is back in Windows 10, it is really a combination of the two systems, with tiles appearing next to the conventional program lists.


Don’t fear if this doesn’t sound good to you, however. Customization is the order of the day. If you want, you can ditch all of the tiles and stick to the Start menu that you’re used to. You could also go in the opposite direction and have it full screen to offer a more application-focused experience.

Xbox Compatibility

Microsoft has repeatedly said that gaming is important to them on the PC, but nothing ever seems to come to fruition in the long-term. You only have to look at Games for Windows Live to see the failure. However, with Windows 10, Microsoft is taking a new approach by bringing the benefits of the Xbox One to the computer Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 With Windows 10, Microsoft is bringing PC gaming and the Xbox One together in a big way. Find out what to expect once Windows 10 arrives. Read More .

The Xbox app will come with Windows 10, giving you an activity stream that displays what your friends are playing and sharing. You can also send messages across the systems. Most excitingly, Xbox One games can be streamed to your computer, meaning you can play console exclusives straight from your computer. Some games, like Fable Legends, will even support cross-platform multiplayer, and hopefully other developers will support that in the future.

DirectX 12

DirectX 12 will be exclusive to Windows 10, a fact that Microsoft hopes will bring hardcore PC gamers to the operating system. It apparently halves the power consumption over its preceding DirectX version and gives a better frame rate when playing games. Those running the insider preview of Windows 10 can actually try this out right now.

nvidia gtx970

Modern and more powerful graphics cards will support DirectX 12, with only a driver update How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? First, don't fix it if it ain't broke! If drivers do need updating, though, here are your options. Read More required. Although some graphics cards might not be able to handle every single feature that DirectX 12 brings to the table, chances are that if you have a higher-end card then you’ll be good to go with the new version.

Full of Features

Windows 10 is full of great new enhancements, like Cortana and Xbox support, but it also iterates on existing features with the revamped Start menu and expanded snap utility.

With the public release just over a month away, and Microsoft continually developing the operating system, who knows what Windows 10 will look like or offer in the future?

Which of these features sound most exciting to you? Have we missed any that you think deserve a mention?

  1. Jake Blazsek
    August 31, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    The reason people are buy Chromebooks is the cost.

  2. James Van Damme
    August 20, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    OK, I read through the list and got zero compelling reasons.

    Somebody needs to write an article titled "Reasons not to 'upgrade' to Windows 10 and switch to Linux instead". Starting with Microsoft's intrusive snooping policies. Then, Linux's rational update procedure, which lets YOU be in control (and updates ALL your apps, besides). Configurability, where you choose among the dozen or so desktops for those that suit your taste and workflow.

    Windows is the reason so many people are buying Chromebooks.

  3. John E Reese
    July 14, 2015 at 5:25 am

    I been using Windows 10 now over a month on my main computer, no blue screens (by the way the new blue screen has better info about the error and no in some geek talk.), it's fast on many fronts, the icons are more modern looking. Other reason to upgrade to 10 is anti-virus or malware or junk protection. The new Edge the replacement for IE is simple and no tool bars, the web site has larger viewing area of any browsers. But Edge still needs some work like Ad ware blocker. The learn curve for 10 is small, if you have used 7 or 8. Going from XP to 10 more of learning curve. The reason for no change of 10 just small adjustments is for the larger companies because of training for new OS. For game players, you will like the 4k support if you can afford the GPU and CPU to drive the 4k monitor.

  4. Nate W Thibodeau
    July 13, 2015 at 12:56 am

    No Media win 10 for me. I use Media Center every day with my network cable card tv tuner. HD HomeRun Prime. Media Center is the best TV/DVR software out there. I don't even use a regular tv. Just fine with sticking with 8.1. Do miss the idea of Cortana though.

    • Joe Keeley
      July 13, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Hey Nate, try checking out our Windows Media Center alternatives article and see if it helps:

      • Nate W Thibodeau
        July 13, 2015 at 11:53 pm

        As a few comments on that link already mention, there is no replacement for DRM cabe encrypted channels. My tv tuner is specifically designed for Media Center. Plus, the xbox extender support.

        I have tried all other tv tuner softwares, including the ones listed in that article. They may be good for streaming stuff from online sources, and for certain tv tuner cards may work fine, but for cable card, Media Center is the easiest and most feature rich. It jsut TiVo. Those other software, I never could get to work with my hardware.

  5. Zoran
    July 7, 2015 at 10:42 am

    "Which of these features sound most exciting to you?"

    To be honest - none! That is why I don't plan to upgrade to Win 8 or 10.

    • Joe Keeley
      July 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      That's fair enough, Zoran! Is there something that Windows 10 lacks which, if added, might convince you to upgrade?

      • Zoran
        July 10, 2015 at 9:02 pm

        Well... I guess not :) I will upgrade only if I HAVE to (ie. if I need some program, that doesn't work on XP anymore... but even than, I would prefer Win7, because it looks so much better).

        Ok, now I get it: if Microsoft adds "Win7-like" UI to Win10, I *may* think about upgrading :) So, no flat, material etc. design!

  6. bk11t763
    July 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I don't trust free things, and even less from Microsoft.
    It is very suspicius to me what they make this upgrade free. Why they (or any other corporation) choose dont to make billions of dollar? Suddenly they became altruist.
    I would upgrade eventually but not right away I wait at least 6-8 months.
    And before upgrade I would make a 1:1 image of my Windows 7 install just in case.
    Call me paranoid but hey! as Andrew Grove say: Only The Paranoid Survive.

    • Joe Keeley
      July 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Microsoft definitely aren't giving Windows 10 away for free out the kindness of their heart. They want everyone on the same platform because it'll make it easier to tie everyone into their ecosystem, with services like OneDrive and Office 365. It'll also make things easier from a development point of view, because the bulk of the Windows user base will all be using the same OS and version.

    • Jake Blazsek
      August 31, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      Windows 10 isn't free. You had to purchase Windows 7 or Windows 8 to be eligible to upgrade for free. XP ans Vista and Corporations have to pay for it. If you have to pay for it for your trust it's available for 200.00 for the retail version. Well MS wants to get everyone on 10 to cut the support costs and earn revenue on Store purchases. Window 8 did have the store but alot of the store apps are now fine tuned for WIndows 10. MS has 90% of the computer market give it away for free won't push them to 99%.

  7. Colonel Angus
    July 1, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I will upgrade the Win7 and Win8.1 boxes at some point, but not right away. I'll wait and see how buggy 10 is and how long it takes to iron those out.

    I won't be letting Windows anywhere near my Linux machines!

  8. Katharine Wood
    July 1, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I probably will eventually upgrade, but I plan to wait at least six months or so after the official release just to see how it goes with everyday users and bugs and such. I have Windows 8.1 so I'm entitled to the free upgrade, and I have a year to do it, so there's no harm in waiting awhile.

    • Joe Keeley
      July 2, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      I suspect a lot of people are going to do that too, Katharine. Although Microsoft are keen to get everyone upgrading soon, hence putting the notification in the taskbar and making it free. Though it's been through a lot of testing, it's perhaps not unwise to hold off a bit until the average user comes into play.

  9. DonGateley
    July 1, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    If this is the last Windows version how are they going to keep to the tradition of completely changing operation so that everything you know about using it becomes obsolete and you have to learn a whole new operating system user interface? Won't customers miss that ritual experience after this last one?

    • Joe Keeley
      July 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Heh! Well, we'll have to see how drastically the operating system gets changed down the line. Maybe if the future changes are more gradual then people will find it easier to get to grips with.

    • Jake Blazsek
      August 31, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      They didn't say there won't be new features. What they mean by last version is they won't be upgrades or new OS clean installs. The features will come periodically. If you have to do a clean install the updates will be added to get you current.

  10. Alan Wade
    July 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Well, reading through your "Compelling" list this is what I think

    Free For Many - is that really worthy of a place on the compelling list?

    The Final windows - yeh righty oh, I will just download the ESD or ISO then and put it in a cupboard for my grand-sons 90th birthday.

    Cortana - might be a "Compelling" reason if it worked on my system, sadly it dosnt - yet.

    Snap Assistant - oh thats new on your system then?

    Microsoft Edge - Now your talking, when they finally get it working in all languages it will, without doubt, be a browser to beat.

    Cross-Platform Apps - Hmm Whats That?

    Continuum - Can I have two please?

    Refreshed Start Menu - Yep, no argument here I think it is great!

    Xbox Compatibility - Dont have one!

    DirectX 12 - DirectX is well, DirectX - isnt it?

    Full of Features - Give you that one, Microsoft, in my opion, excelled themselves this time.

    Oh and your artical header states TEN reasons, isnt it ELEVEN?

    • Joe Keeley
      July 2, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hey, Alan! Thanks for the comment. If you give the article another read then you'll see that things like Snap have been enhanced, DirectX 12 offers performance improvements, and cross-platform apps are those that will work across all your Windows devices instantly.

      And the final heading is just a closing statement, not another reason, which makes for a list of ten.

      What troubles have you run into with Cortana?

    • Jake Blazsek
      August 31, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Snap assistant was in Windows 7 but only snapped 2 screens Windows 10 does 4 i actually prefer 2. DirectX 12 is Directx but not 11,10,9 etc. just like Windows 10 isn't Windows 3.1. Cross platform means Android, iOS, Java and even Win32 apps are being designed to run as Windows 10 modern apps. Edge uses HTML5 and is designed for websites that use the new technology. If a site doesn't display you just hit open in IE. If you install Windows 10 I would use the ISO for a clean install as they will only work on the machine that was upgraded.

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