Just after Windows 10 debuted in 2015, we suggested that most tablet users wait to upgrade. A year later, it’s time for anyone still holding on to a previous version to make the switch to Microsoft’s latest.
The most obvious reason is that the offer of a free upgrade to everyone with Windows 8 or Windows 7 expires on July 29. But it goes beyond that: this new version is better than either of these two earlier ones, both for those who have a traditional tablet and those who use a 2-in-1.
UPDATE: Although Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer is technically over, the company still allows anyone who needs to use the assistive technologies built into in this operating system to install it at no cost. All that’s necessary is to visit a page on Microsoft’s website and assert “Yes, I use assistive technologies and I am ready for my free upgrade to Windows 10.”
The cost of a non-free free upgrade to Window 10 Home is $119.99.
What a Difference a Year Makes
When it launched last summer, Win10 had a lot of potential but also some definite problems. The timing of the debut was controlled more by getting new computers with this version in the hands of students at the beginning of the school year than waiting until it was really ready.
Among the most notable issues was that the new Microsoft Edge, the web browser that supplanted the venerable Internet Explorer, was little better than a beta back then. Fortunately, this software has matured considerably over the past year, to the point where it can do the jobs most consumers and businesspeople need, which isn’t to say some people aren’t going to prefer the rival Chrome browser.
Beyond that, this new operating system was definitely buggy when it launched. While nothing as huge and complex as Windows can ever be bug-free, version 10 is now quite stable enough for average users to work with every day.
And It’s Getting Better
A compelling reason to embrace Win10 is that some of the best 2-in-1s and tablets on the market today require it. Anyone who is stubbornly holding onto Windows 7 is passing up on the outstanding Surface Pro 4, Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, and the new Huawei MateBook, just to name a few.
Also, Microsoft isn’t resting on its laurels. On August 2, Windows 10 Anniversary Edition will launch with new features for users of touchscreen-enabled devices, including Windows Ink Workspace that will build sticky notes, a sketch pad, and screen sketch into the OS. In addition, changes are being made to the app launcher so that it functions more like the Start Page in Windows 8.1 did.
Plus, there will be improvements in the Anniversary Edition for everyone, including adding support for browser extensions like ad blockers to Microsoft Edge. This will be a free upgrade next week, but only for people already running Win10.
A Windows 10 Refresher Course
Windows 7 was developed for laptops with mice and keyboards and so isn’t a good fit for tablets. Version 8, on the other hand, was written for touchscreens and isn’t well suited for laptops or desktop that don’t have one. Microsoft learned from each of these earlier versions and merged many of their best features into its current operating system.
This reflects how the market for mobile computers is going as well, with consumers increasingly forgoing traditional laptops and slate tablets for 2-in-1s that combine the best features of both. Microsoft makes some of the top hardware in this class, and Windows 10 is the best software this company has ever made to power them.
It does this with a mode for each type of computer. The default is for the device being used like a laptop or desktop, so the traditional Start Menu is featured, and applications run in resizable windows. Anyone familiar with a Microsoft product going back to Windows 95 shouldn’t have much of a learning curve.
There’s also a Windows 10 mode especially for tablets that emphasizes touchscreen control. The Windows menu expands to fill the whole screen, and so do applications, though two or more can be displayed next to each other. Switching into Tablet Mode is as easy as detaching a 2-in-1’s clip-on keyboard.
Any computer that qualifies for the free upgrade has been reminding its owner that Win10 is available for months. It’s time to make the jump, because the opportunity to move to Microsoft’s best OS at no cost won’t last forever.