Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. July 29 is on the horizon; the final countdown has begun. Windows 10 information is flying around in abundance: some golden, some a mish-mash of hearsay and mayhaps. I’ve spent a little time accumulating the best of the golden information as it has come to light, and now is the time, dear reader, to share my wares with you.
Read on for a wealth of Windows 10 information to guide you through the upgrade and onto calmer shores.
Much has been made of Windows as a Service. It’s a term we’ve encountered countless times since October 2014, when Windows 10 entered our lives. But until very recently, this was a misnomer. It stood for the things we thought Windows 10 could be; it could’ve been ever so bad.
As Microsoft updated the Windows licensing agreement, many were worried they were about to fall victim to a massive bait’n’switch. Redmond was gearing up to make a billion of us look like fools. Of course, that isn’t the case, and it would be one way to irrevocably damage customer relations, but Microsoft isn’t like that anymore.
The new licensing agreement certainly reflects Windows 10 change in emphasis from a straight-up Operating System to an ‘As a Service’ model, but there are no nasties lurking in the small print. Here are some of the biggest changes you might have glossed over:
- Automatic Updates: Primarily affecting consumers and small businesses. Windows 10 delivers automatic updates with no options for delay or reduction. This can be somewhat mitigated in Windows 10 Pro, but only slightly. Business owners will have more control over company-wide IT updates with the choice to move “mission-critical” devices to a Long Term Servicing Branch, receiving only security updates and patches, rather than full feature updates.
- Activation and Licensing from a Non-Genuine copy of Windows: There was a brief public flirtation with a controversial idea: pirates would also be upgraded to Windows 10, receiving a free version. It was too difficult to moderate the pirates, so just get them all on board. We now know that isn’t true. Yes, they’ll be offered the upgrade. No it won’t be legit. They’ll still be pirates, only Microsoft will be more aware. The new agreement features this clause: “Updating or upgrading from non-genuine software with software from Microsoft or authorized sources does not make your original version or the updated/upgraded version genuine, and in that situation, you do not have a license to use the software.”
- Downgrade Rights: The terminology has been slightly changed. You can downgrade your operating system to either of the two earlier versions, so long as Microsoft still actively supports that version. This means 2020 for Windows 7, and 2023 for Windows 8. Downgrading is covered by the license, and is your right, so do it if you want. This includes all OEM purchases, too.
The rest is as to be expected and reflects the licensing agreements of yore. Nothing crazy, nothing to trip us up later on.
Exploring Windows 10 [Broken Link Removed]
While Windows 10 isn’t a sea-change from Windows 8, there are numerous little features to become accustomed to. Microsoft has wisely issued this document ahead of time to allow users to acclimatize to the new operating system while having a handy guide on call. Certainly worth a read through for anyone new to Windows 10.
Lenovo has released a 17 page Windows 10 help guide detailing a number of user-friendly tidbits of information. As an OEM, and a company striving to make amends following an infamous tech-blunder–see Superfish--it is refreshing to see the company reaching out to its end-users with this document.
Preinstalled, Lenovo offers an out-of-of-box experience to end-users: when you switch your new computer on, you follow a predesigned list of actions. The Lenovo guide advises its users on this process, but the rest of the guide features some handy information for first time Windows 10 encounters, including espousing the benefits of a Microsoft account. A guide it isn’t. Handholding basic, it is.
ZDNet’s Ed Bott has written a pretty comprehensive preview for Windows 10, designed to educate IT Professionals who are unsure of when to make the big switch.
Less hints, tricks, and tips, more details of new features with emphasis on topics of importance for IT professionals across the board. Ed Bott is a well-respected voice within the Microsoft community, and his being asked to compile this document reflects this. Equally, his experience with Microsoft is reflected in the writing on offer. Any IT Professional should give this a read before July 29, though it is likely to be updated and extended in the near future.
Preparing Your Enterprise for Windows 10 as a Service
Ever useful Microsoft Virtual Academy strikes again! These live virtual sessions are aimed at IT Professionals and Enterprise owners looking to get a little post-Windows 10 release information about what Windows as a Service actually means to your organization, and whether the new operating system can offer the IT mobility you require.
YouTube: Windows 10 Previews
YouTube is full of Windows 10 preview videos. A downside to the highly successful Insider Program is the sheer volume of videos curated with outdated preview builds. Many of the most popular videos come from the early 9xxx builds. Same operating system, but the latest 10xxx builds really are streets ahead.
One video I want to share with you is a handy guide to preparing for the upgrade, how to reserve your copy, and how to check your system specs. It finishes with a nice overview of Windows 10 Buld 10158/10159 including some use of Tablet Mode, so worth the 12 minutes of your time.
I’m proudly tooting the MakeUseOf trumpet, but I think we can be regarded as a good source of Windows 10 information. We’ve been covering Windows 10 since it was only Windows 9, and most of us have Windows 10 installed, or have at least had a solid play-around with a preview build.
Each of our Windows authors are passionate about Microsoft and the operating system, so feel free to contact us with any questions! You can also chat to some of us in the Windows 10 channel of the Grouvi App [Broken URL Removed]. Come and say hi!
We’ve focused on the best free material available, and between these guides and the MakeUseOf Windows section, most, if not all of your questions, should be covered. Windows 10 draws ever nearer, and I for one am looking forward to moving from an Insider Preview Build to the real-deal.
Do you have any Windows 10 questions I can help with? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll answer as well as I can.