Ask LH: Should I Upgrade To Windows 10?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m trying to toss up whether it’s worth upgrading my laptop from windows 8.1 to Windows 10. I’ve heard mixed reviews and don’t want to make the wrong decision! Should I take the plunge? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Andy

Image: iStock

Dear Andy,

The decision on whether or not to upgrade to Windows 10 will depend on a range of factors, including the age of your machine, the type of software you regularly use and how attached you are to the Windows 8.1 interface.

Windows 10 should run fine on any store-bought Windows 8.1 laptop. However, it’s still worth checking whether your specs are up to snuff: click here to see Microsoft’s minimum recommended hardware requirements. (Also make sure you have 16 GB of free hard disk space.)

Similarly, the majority of software that is compatible with Windows 8 should work fine on Windows 10. The OS is very similar to its predecessor so you shouldn’t experience any of the headaches sometimes associated with Windows upgrades. The exception to this rule is pre-Windows 7 applications that require old drivers: think Windows XP-specific software and games with outdated DRM requirements.

Other than the above caveats, it basically comes down to personal preference. (You can read cases for and against Windows 10 here.) We think the upgrade is definitely worthwhile — it irons out many of the quirks in Windows 8 and comes with the digital assistant Cortana. This guide breaks down some of the best new features that are worth checking out.

If you do decide to give Windows 10 a shot, be sure to do it before July 30 to take advantage of the free upgrade — otherwise, you’ll need to pay the full retail price. It’s also worth noting that you have a 30-day window to roll back to Windows 8.1 if you decide Windows 10 isn’t for you. Click here for details.

We’re keen to hear what readers think on this. Has anyone held off from upgrading to Windows 10? Did anybody regret upgrading and go backward? Let us know in the comments.


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