Windows users are in for something new this week when Microsoft releases Windows 10, the latest and, Microsoft says, the last version of Windows. Eight things to know:
▪ It will be the operating system on Windows devices sold starting Wednesday, the official release date. And that’s all types of devices — PCs, tables, smartphones and even the Xbox gaming console.
▪ An upgrade is free for a year for devices running the Pro versions of Windows 7 and 8.1, but not the Enterprise versions, or earlier Windows versions such as XP. Microsoft estimates three-fourths of the 1.5 billion current Windows devices are eligible.
▪ If you need to buy it, Windows 10 Pro lists at $199 and Windows 10 Home at $119, though they can be found for less online.
▪ You don’t have to upgrade and might not want to upgrade, especially if you have to pay. As with any new operating system, there will be glitches. Windows 10 automatically installs updates, for example, and Gordon Kelly of Forbes noted some big hangups with that. And Jason Cipriani of Yahoo Tech found eight reasons not to upgrade.
▪ But if you’re adventurous and want to make the jump on your current PC or other device, reviewers have generally had good things to say about Windows 10 features such as its Start menu, voice assistant Cortana, higher quality apps and enhanced security. Its Edge browser, however, hasn’t matched up favorably with Chrome or Firefox in many estimations.
▪ Microsoft stores — there’s one in the Kansas City area at Oak Park Mall — are holding explainer events. A 90-minute breakfast pitched to small-business owners will be at 8 a.m. Wednesday, and a general session will start at 10 a.m. Details here.
▪ Microsoft says this is the last version of Windows, because it will just keep being changed and improved on the fly.
▪ This is a big shift for Microsoft, which is giving up some of its Windows revenue in return for getting people to use its operating system instead of Apple’s or Google’s. Windows runs on less than 3 percent of smartphones sold globally, but Gartner estimates PC sales this year at 300 million, and mobile phone sales at 1.9 billion mobile phones.
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