With just days to go until the release of Windows 10, it’s fair to say there is a fair amount of pressure on Microsoft to get this right. Do we think they have? In a nutshell, NO. There are still too many questions on what happens in a year’s time once the opportunity to grab it for free expires. There are various rumours floating around the internet. We’ve taken a look at some of them.
Is Windows 10 Free? – It will be free to obtain for the first year if you are upgrading from Windows 7, or Windows 8.1. Microsoft have stated that the license will be free for the lifetime of the device. Although there is no official word on what they class on a reasonable device lifetime. My thinking is, if you change a major component, i.e. motherboard or CPU, then you will need to purchase another copy of the OS, as you technically would not be eligible for your existing license (in the same way that the current OEM licensing for Windows works
I don’t run a genuine copy of windows – do I get an upgrade? – Well, this is another grey area. Microsoft had originally announced that you would be able to use Windows 10 upgrade path, however it would not change the activation status on Windows (so if you were non genuine, or not activated) then your shiny new OS would remain the same.
However we’ve done some testing (which we can’t go into too much detail) – We tested both a licensed and unlicensed copy of Windows 8.1 (The unlicensed version, was showing as activated via the known of a well documented application) and then tried to apply the Windows 10 RTM (currently build 10240) on both and were surprised at the results.
BOTH versions of Windows 8.1 allowed me to upgrade to Windows 10 (and activated before the release date too). The unlicensed version is now licensed without the use of a 3rd party product. Which although might be good news if you are using an illegal version of Windows. I don’t know how long this loophole will exist for, or what Microsoft really plans on doing with those running non genuine copies of Windows. Many in the community think that Microsoft really doesn’t care as they are trying desperately to get everybody onto the new OS.
After the year’s up will I have to pay? – If you are using the same hardware in a year’s time, then in theory, no you shouldn’t have to. However this is going to be the last full release of Windows (as we currently know it, it’s meant to carry on in the way of major updates, kind of like how Mac OSX does). However there is a lot of uncertainty over what Microsoft are planning on doing. Take a look at Office 365 as an example, they already have a subscription model in place, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar was to eventually happen. Although it is common knowledge that Microsoft would like everyone on the same platform (Windows 10 for home, phone, XBOX One) etc. If you’re like me and are continually upgrading, then yes ultimately you would need to purchase a new license. However I’d be surprised again, if there aren’t ways around this. Who knows what “free for the lifetime of the device” actually means?
The fact Microsoft haven’t been 100% open on the matter, has made me doubt that it has consumer interests at heart, and it’s the same for a lot of people on the internet. I’ve read a lot of people saying that they are considering other operating systems, such as Linux, or staying with what they are currently using.
Windows 10 Updates Automatically – But why? – Automatic updates are not a new thing, but they are new for Windows 10. It will automatically download and install any updates that are waiting to be processed – without a way to stop it. The idea behind this is to ensure every machine is kept up to date and thus in turn reducing support costs and the likelihood of viruses and malware spreading because your auntie hasn’t updated her machine in a year.
Now this is one thing I don’t like, updates being forced down your throat and it isn’t going down too well in the community either, with some Nvidia users already encountering issues with automatic driver updates where Windows Update has it’s own newer driver that is conflicting with the existing Nvidia driver already installed manually. We’ve seen before where a rouge Windows Update has taken machines offline and I pray that eventually Microsoft will retract on this and allow users to again chose for themselves when they want updates automatically. But at the moment this doesn’t appear to be the case.
Is the start menu back? – It is, but not in the old format that we are used to, you still get some pretty tiles to look at each time you open it, for me this is still a bit off putting and I hope there is a way to permanently disable this (especially in a corporate environment). However you’ll be pleased to hear, Classic Shell supports Windows 10, so if you were using this before, you can continue to use it on the new operating system.
Where is Internet Explorer? – It’s still around, but it’s now known as ‘Microsoft Edge’. However the thing we noticed that upon installing the RTM release, when run for the first time, it is still asked me to set up “Internet Explorer 11”, and going in the help section it still identifies itself as Internet Explorer 11. Good job Microsoft…..
DirectX 12 – Those of you who are big PC gamers, will undoubtedly get excited when a new version of DirectX gets released. Version 12 is going to be a Windows 10 only release. So again it feels like another 2 fingers up to to the community, so if you have a card that supports DX12, to get the most functionality out of it, eventually you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 to take advantage of the newest version of DirectX.
So in a nutshell we are just going to have to wait and see exactly what Microsoft plans to do with the Windows franchise. But at the moment it’s not looking too promising and I for one look forward to the growth in alternative operating systems such as OSX and Linux. With Valve continuing to work on SteamOS, will they (or any of the various flavours of Linux) be able to bring something new to the table that will finally encourage users to switch? Only time will tell. For now, go forth and grab the upgrade
Are you going to be upgrading to Windows 10, or will you be staying with what you already have, OR will you consider making a switch to the likes of Apple or Linux if Microsoft forces a subscription model? Let us know your comments below, or on social media.