Windows 10 is about to arrive on computers around the world. But while it’s almost certainly worth upgrading, it’s also a big moment for your PC – and it’s important to make sure your computer is ready for the update.
Actually signing up for the update is very simple. A little button should have appeared in the bottom right hand corner of your screen – you can click that, check that you’re eligible and compatible, register yourself, and then Microsoft will automatically download the update when it decides your computer is ready to receive it.
But there are a few things you should be sure to have done before you actually install it.
First, you’ll want to ensure that all of your drivers are up to date and ready for the new operating system, so that accessories like Bluetooth speakers and keyboards can communicate with your updated PC. Doing this is absolutely key, because if something breaks you might be left unable to control your computer or connect to the internet.
30 years in the making: Windows through the ages
30 years in the making: Windows through the ages
1/9 Windows 1.0, 1985
Announced in 1983 and shipped two years later, Windows 1.0 was Microsoft's first move away from the command-line input system of MS-DOS. Drop-down menus, scroll bars, icons and dialog boxes are ll introduced and users can multi-task in different...windows.
2/9 Windows 3.0, 1990
With its successor, Windows 3.1 (released in 1992), Windows 3 sold 10 million copies. 16 colour graphics were introduced for the first time, as were games including Solitaire, Hearts and Minesweeper. A sample advert: “Now you can use the incredible power of Windows 3.0 to goof off.”
3/9 Windows 95, 1995
Windows 95 sold a record-setting 7 million copies in its first five weeks. It introduced users to the Start button (adverts used the Rolling Stones hit 'Start Me Up') and, more importantly, the internet, with built-in internet support and dial-up networking.
4/9 Windows 98, 1998
The first version of Windows designed specifically for consumers, released at at time when computers were becoming more common at home and at work. DVDs and USBs were supported for the first time .
5/9 Windows ME, 2000
Windows ME (or Millenium Edition) introduced a number of notable features, including many aimed at multimedia (such as as Windows Movie Maker). However, it was an incredibly unreliable system and was widely panned after its release.
6/9 Windows XP, 2001
Windows XP triumphed where ME had stalled. It was fast, easy to use and most importantly it was stable. 400 million versions were installed in the first five years, and despite Microsoft's attempts to move forwards, for many people XP is still the most-important OS, used on around 30 per cent of machines worldwide.
7/9 Windows Vista, 2006
Vista was most likely a victim of XP's sucess. Users had got so used to the smooth-running of the previous OS that the 2006 update became a magnet for citicism, especially from IT specialists who deemed it 'bloated' and 'virus-prone'. How easy was it to poke fun at Vista? Well, Apple introduced the 'I'm a Mac' campaign in response.
8/9 Windows 7, 2009
Microsoft learned from their mistakes, and Windows 7 was put through its pace by 8 million beta testers before general release. The result? An operating system hailed as "what Vista should have done in the first place". However, while Windows 7 was a success, Microsoft was beginning the feel the pressure from Macs and mobile devices.
9/9 Windows 8, 2012
Their response? Windows 8: A total re-imagining of the OS that was suited towards touch-screen devices and especially Microsoft's own Surface tablet-laptop hybrids. It was a bold move and users were not happy: subsequent updates restored the option for the traditional desktop-style layout, but it's still not certain whether Windows 8 is a success or a failure.
The Windows 10 install app will check for compatibility, and should alert you to any problems – if it flags any up, you can head to the manufacturers website to download new versions.
Then you’ll want to ensure that your computer is backed up, so that you can restore all of your files in case anything goes wrong during the install.
Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 all come with a special tool for doing so – head to Control Panel in the Start menu, choose File History and click “System Image Backup”. Follow the instructions to take an exact copy of your computer, which you can save to a hard drive or a DVD and load up again if anything goes wrong.
You can also put any particularly important files – pictures or documents, for instance – into cloud storage for extra security. You can save them Dropbox, Google Drive or any similar free storage service, and get them back again over the internet.
After making sure your computer is ready and backed up, you should be ready to go by following Microsoft’s on-screen instructions for the upgrade.
All of the above steps should make the process safe, as well as simple. It’s unlikely that anything will go wrong – Microsoft is taking care to ensure that computers are compatible before the new Windows is pushed to them – but changing operating system is a big event for your PC, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.Reuse content