If July 29 crept up on you — and we’re guessing it did, since it’s August now — you may have missed out on the free Windows 10 upgrade from Microsoft. What can you do to ensure continued computing?
A couple of weeks ago, as I was fixing my dad’s hacked email account, he asked me if he should upgrade to Windows 10. Yeah, I said, it’s free. Was it easy to upgrade? Was using it just like using ‘the old Windows’ (Windows 7)? Yes to both.
How long does it take? At your download speeds, several hours.
So let’s do it next week.
Needless to say, next week came and went, and Dad’s laptop was still running Windows 7.
And really, that’s not a problem. Here's what to do if you find yourself in the same situation.
1. Don’t Panic.
If you missed the Great Windows 10 Deadline, there’s no need to throw your computer out or do anything drastic. According to Microsoft, you can still expect basic support (i.e. security patches) for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 until January 14, 2020. Windows 8.1 users can last until January 10, 2023. (Mainstream support, which includes product fixes and patches, expires earlier for both versions.)
In other words, sit tight. No computer apocalypse is impending.
But what if (like me) you couldn’t stand Windows 8 and didn’t think 8.1 was good enough?
2. Buy Your Way to Happiness.
In that case, you should consider biting the bullet and paying for a Windows 10 upgrade. Yeah, it’s a bummer that you couldn’t get it for free. In my opinion, though, the upgrade price of $120 (home version) or $200 (business version, with bells and whistles) is worth it.
Speaking from my own experience, there’s little to be afraid of in an upgrade. With the Start button back and the unfriendly all-app Metro screen gone, Windows 10 is easier to navigate. I had no problems whatsoever with programs being incompatible with the new version. It was a bit like rolling the clock back to the blessed days of Windows 7, stability, and knowing where to find things.
Suppose, though, you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10 and you hate Windows 8?
3. Well, You Could Downgrade. Maybe.
To Windows 7, that is. If you’re using Windows 8 Pro, which supports the downgrading process.
What if you’re using a different version of Windows 8? It’s complicated, but the long and short of it is that you should consult professionals like Techsperts. Even then, you might be out of luck. At best, you’d still have to buy a copy of Windows 7. Plus, you’d likely have the hassle of making sure all the software and hardware on your PC will play nicely with that. Potentially, this is a knotty problem.
So, what’s the takeaway here for someone who missed the free Win10 giveaway? If you’re okay with your current system, I’d leave it. You’ll still get several years of support. But if you’ve got the Windows 8 blues, the upgrade is worth it. At least in my book.