There are two primary ways to upgrade to Windows 10. Wait for Microsoft to tell you it’s ready and follow the installation process or do it yourself. Windows 10 offers a variety of changes for Windows users, no matter what version of the OS you’re used to using.
Whether you skipped out on Windows 8 entirely or have held off upgrading from 7, Windows 10 is sure to change the way you think about Microsoft’s flagship product.
We’ll show you how to do both methods but in the meantime, what can you expect when upgrading to Windows 10? Let’s look at what Windows 10 has to offer Windows 7, 8 and new users.
Windows 10 Upgrade Paths
Depending on what version of Windows you’re using, you may follow a different upgrade path:
- Windows 7 Start, 7 Home Basic, 7 Home Premium and Windows 8.1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Home
- Windows 7 Pro, 7 Ultimate and Windows 8.1 Pro will upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
- Windows Enterprise editions, along with Windows RT, are not eligible for upgrade to Windows 10 at this time through traditional upgrade paths.
Windows 10 Home vs. Pro, Enterprise and Education Editions
Here’s a difference in features you can expect depending on your upgrade path. Remember, you can upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro. If you’re looking for Enterprise or Education versions of Windows 10, you’ll want to consult your tech department.
|Group Policy Management||X||X||X|
|Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer||X||X||X|
|Assigned Access 8.1||X||X||X|
Windows 10 Home, as you can expect, gets the core Windows 10 experience without all the frills. You’ll also be forced to make Windows updates whether you want to or not, whereas with Windows Pro, Enterprise and Education, you have more control with how Windows updates roll out.
The upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro is $99, which is a good price considering the free update to Windows 10 in the first place. The only true features Windows 10 Home users are losing in all of this is control over Windows updates, as most Windows users don’t go near group policy management, BitLocker or device encryption.
Windows 10 Price If You Aren’t Eligible for Upgrade
If you aren’t eligible for a Windows 10 upgrade or fall to do so before the year deadline, here’s what you can expect to pay:
- Windows 10 Home: $119
- Windows 10 Pro: $199
- Home to Pro: $99
Windows 10 Minimum System Specs
If you used the Get Windows 10 App, you’ll know what’s compatible or not when upgrading to Windows 10 so you can prepare for a software or app swap if necessary.
Here’s the minimum system specs to run Windows 10:
- RAM: 1 GB for 32-bit, 2 GB for 64-bit
- Hard Drive: 16 GB for 32-bit, 20 GB for 64-bit minimum
- Graphics: DirectX 9 support with WDDM 1.0 driver support
- Display: 1024×600
Certain Windows 10 features require additional minimum system specs, such as:
- Cortana: Only available in specific regions at launch, such as the US, UK, China, France, Germany, Italy and Spain
- Windows Hello: Requires finger print reader and/or infrared camera
- Client Hyper-V: 64-bit system with SLAT and 2 GB of added RAM
- Device Encryption: InstantGo and TPM 2.0 support
What You Lose When Upgrading to Windows 10
There’s several things you lose out on when upgrading to Windows 10. Most of these items have been discontinued by Microsoft, some for a long time, so it shouldn’t come as shock.
Here’s what’s gone from Windows 10:
Windows Media Center may be making a comeback in one way or another, at least Microsoft has hinted at such. Until then, you’ll need to find another solution for managing multimedia on Windows 10.
The same thing goes for DVD playback, although Microsoft has said it won’t reintroduce a way to do this natively. We recommend VLC Media Player, which can play all sorts of media files, along with DVDs in Windows 10.
Desktop Gadgets actually went away with the release of Windows 8 but some crafty Windows power users figured out how to use them anyway. With Windows 10, this functionality appears to be gone for good even with the old workarounds. We’ll see if someone comes up with a workaround for this, too.
Windows Updates have changed, too, as you’ll no longer have access to the old functionality through the Control Panel that you’ve known for over a decade. Instead, Windows Update is located in the Settings app.
Windows Live Essentials will no longer be supported on Windows 10. However, we’ve made note that several Essentials still work, such as Windows Live Writer. This may be short-lived or taken away in a future Windows update but for now, some Windows Live Essential programs do work so you may have to figure out which works for you.
Windows 10 brings many changes to those who’ve come to grow up on Windows. Whether you gave Windows 8 a shot or not, are still stuck on Windows XP or simply want to see what Windows 10 is all about, there’s something for everyone when upgrading to Microsoft’s latest OS.
Make sure you know what to expect, be prepared for upgrading and get ready for a wild ride with the future of Windows.