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Tech Talk: Windows 10 is an actual upgrade
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Not one to jump at invitations, I surprised even myself when I opted to upgrade from Windows 7, which I have been more than satisfied with, to Windows 10 when it was released recently.

My system needed work, as it was getting sluggish again, so I figured, “Why not?” I could spend a few hours cleaning it up, or the same time putting on a newer operating system.

The task took the better part of an afternoon, but little did I know that it would merge all of my existing programs, data and settings with the new version of Windows. The ton of stuff and customizations I had remained intact; I did not lose a thing.

Initially, my mouse didn’t work and I had no printer, but after a reboot, the mouse driver was recognized and I downloaded a new printer driver from the (in my case) HP website. If you have an older peripheral device, check online for its compatibility with Windows 10; it may not function under the new operating system.

I have dozens of programs and many hundreds of photos, lots of music and videos, so your time will no doubt be less. Still, I’d allow a couple of hours. I was warned that my antivirus app may not work, but to my surprise, it did.

The only thing I lost was time, but time well-spent. Unlike my displeasure with its predecessor, I am pleased with the upgrade.

Depending on your hardware, your experience may differ from mine. My upgrade from Android 4 to 5 on my mobile phone was a nightmare, but the transition to Windows 10 was smooth and flawless.

Even if your upgrade goes smoothly, I still suggest you visit your computer manufacturer for new drivers. I found one that extended my laptop’s battery life under the new operating system.

If you have Windows 7 or 8.1, the upgrade is free and will be until late July of next year. If you have XP or Vista, it’s about $100, unless of course you buy a new computer that will have it preinstalled.

Should you decide to maintain your existing version of Windows, fear not. Microsoft will continue to issue security patches for Windows 7 until January 2020 and for Windows 8 until January 2023. Even Vista has until April of 2017, so you’re under no pressure to upgrade unless you want to.

Considering that I may not like Windows 10, I reinstalled Windows 7 to a partition on my hard drive, so now I can boot to either one. Even if you don’t want to go through the trouble to do that, you have a month from the date of installation to revert the system back to its original configuration.

That said, I would still back up all of my data before proceeding with the upgrade. Not that I don’t trust Microsoft, but it’s a computer, and anything could happen.

According to Microsoft, in order to run Windows 10, you’ll need a system with at least a 1 GHz processor and a minimum of 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit systems; twice that for 64-bit systems.

If you recall my past writings, I am by no means a Windows advocate. My phone and tablet both run under Android. I downgraded my wife’s new laptop from Windows 8 back to 7 the day we got it. I stayed with XP on another machine long after Vista came out, but I like this upgrade.

It was a rough road for Microsoft, but I believe they have read the writing on the wall. This is a better operating system. It has been in development for quite some time, and I believe many of the kinks have been worked out.

Windows 10 is like a hybrid of the past two Windows versions. They have fixed what was bad and brought back what was good. The start button and the start menu both have been revived (huzzah!). Gone are the overbearing tiles.

This version has a highly customizable interface, including the start menu. The settings are as easy to get to as opening Control Panel.

What is gone, aside from the awkward user interface, are the games and the gadgets. They also did away with Internet Explorer. No great loss with any of those as far as I’m concerned. They have also done away with XP (compatibility) Mode, which allowed older programs to run. Oh well.

Cortana is Microsoft’s version of Google Now. It resides in the task bar and you can “Ask it anything,” according to my task bar. I asked it for directions, but found I was unable to print them. So I’ll stick with my phone’s Google for now.

Just when I thought I may have an Android operating system (Linux) on my next laptop, Microsoft comes out with a decent solution. Go figure. I guess it was about time. Just about every other version of Windows since the turn of the century has been a bad one.

This one is good.

Arthur Glazer can be reached at glazer.tech@gmail.com.

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