Free Windows 10 upgrades finishing soon

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Free Windows 10 upgrades finishing soon

Time is running out to take advantage of Microsoft's offer of a free OS upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1.

When Microsoft released Windows 10 last year it offered free upgrades from non-Enterprise versions of Windows 7 or 8.1.

Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, and Windows 8.1 are upgraded to Windows 10 Home. Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate, and Windows 8.1 Pro and Pro for Students are upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.

But that offer is only open for one year, and it runs until 29 July 2016. After that, Windows 10 will cost $179 (Home) or $299 (Pro) unless you're buying a new device that comes with an OEM licence.

Given the usual stress around the end of the financial year, it's probably a good time to decide whether or not you want to upgrade.

If you're thinking of upgrading, click on the Windows icon in the system tray and then click the 'Show report' link in the resulting window. That will tell you whether your hardware meets the Windows 10 requirements (it usually will, although you may need to upgrade some device drivers) and whether any incompatible software is installed.

Don't take the software report as gospel: it's wise to check with the vendors of any non-Microsoft programs you rely on, as you want to be certain that they are all Windows 10 compatible before you upgrade. We've seen an 'all clear' report on a PC that was running a version of an accounting package that the vendor said needed to be updated to work properly with the new operating system.

If you haven't already done so, it might be a good idea to get a feel for Windows 10 by installing it on a spare PC, if you have one.

Don't think you must upgrade to Windows 10 during the next couple of months. Some of its features (such as Windows Hello biometric login) only work with hardware features that aren't usually found on older computers.

Microsoft will continue supplying security updates for Windows 7 SP1 until 14 January 2020 and for Windows 8.1 until 10 January 2023, so it may be feasible for you to stay with your existing version at least until you buy your next PCs.

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