If you seriously want to get Windows 10 for free on your computer, you might want to get started by mid-July, 2016. When I went to upgrade my newest brand-name laptop from its factory-installed Win 8, I had to fight with it for several weeks. Here are things to consider:
- If you are happily running Windows 7 or 8.1; consider keeping it. Microsoft will continue to support them for another 3-1/2 years and you won't have to worry about missing drivers or other quirks.
- Will your computer take the upgrade smoothly? In my experience, what Microsoft considers "adequate" hardware has always been very optimistic. It was very happy to install Win10 on my netbook with 1 GB RAM and a 1 GHz Atom CPU. I am telling my clients they need a minimum of 4 GB RAM and a 64-bit multi-core CPU. (2)
- Is your computer at all old or non-standard? Even if the hardware is capable, your manufacturer may not provide 64-bit or Win10-compatible drivers for components more than 2 or 3 years old. The same goes double for any non-factory components you've added or peripherals like printers or scanners.
- Perform a full-system image backup to facilitate a roll-back should you have any problems. Even better, clone your hard drive to a new one and upgrade the disc that hasn't already got several years usage on it. Then your old drive is your backup.
- Get the resources from Microsoft to install Win10 from a DVD or USB; even if you intend to allow the automatic upgrade. (3)
- Verify you can boot from your external media. I found the Secure Boot feature of new computers would not allow me to do so. These two steps alone took me a week to complete.
- Back up your data again. (4)
- Finally say "OK" to the nag you've been getting for months. I recommend you choose the "download now, install later" option to ensure a clean, continuous download. The entire package is 3-6 GB.
(1) Share these notes here: http://fromthehelpdesk.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-second-thought-on-upgrading-to.html
(2) Find this information in Control Panel > System. If you have 32-bit Win7, but a new computer; the app at https://www.grc.com/securable.htm will determine your CPU's capability.
(4) Naturally, I recommend you buy Carbonite backup software from me: http://goo.gl/CXqBsB.