Windows 10 Frequently Asked Questions

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Last week I wrote about what to do with the little “Get Windows 10” icon that showed up, and after that I got a number of questions about Windows 10 in general. Lots of people are wondering how it will work, what it will be like, and other details. So here are the answers to some of the questions you might have about the soon-to-be-released Windows 10.

Windows 10


What actually happens when I click to reserve my upgrade?

It might appear that nothing happens. But in the background, the Windows 10 upgrade is downloading in bits and pieces over time. That way, by the time the actual release date gets here, you already have the full download and on that day the only thing left is to actually install it. And even the installation will happen automatically, just like other Windows Update installations. If your computer is on at 3 am, that’s when it usually happens. Otherwise it would be the next time you boot it up.


I clicked it for the reservation but changed my mind. How do I cancel it?

Click the icon again.

In the new window, click the “menu” icon in the top left:

Windows 10


In the new menu that slides out on the left, side, click on “View confirmation”:

windows 10


In the next window, click on “Cancel reservation”:

windows 10


On the next screen, confirm that you do want to cancel. Now it’s cancelled. You can get it back again in the future, and you will still be able to upgrade even though you cancelled this early reservation.


What if I didn’t get the upgrade icon?

There are a few reasons why you may not have gotten the upgrade icon. You might not have the updated Service Pack for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. You also might not have Windows Updates set to install automatically. Or maybe Microsoft just doesn’t like you (not true – they love everyone equally). You could go to Control Panel – Windows Update and run it manually if you want, and see if that brings in the upgrade icon. But the bottom line is, you don’t need that icon right now anyway because it’s best to not click it yet for the “automated” upgrade. You will always be able to get it later. The best thing to do right now is to wait.


How long will Windows 10 be free?

If you’re upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8 or 8.1, you can do that anytime from the day it’s released (currently scheduled for July 29, 2015) and for one year after that, and you will not have to pay anything.


If I upgrade in the first year for free, how much will I have to pay in the second year and following?

Nothing. If you upgrade in the first year, you will have the Windows 10 license and it is good for life. There is no subscription in place at this point. There have been some speculations that Microsoft might make Windows into a subscription-based product (like they have done for Office) but there is nothing to substantiate that at this point.


How much will it cost if I upgrade after the free period?

Microsoft has not yet published the pricing for upgrades after the free year. If you’re running a version of Windows that is older than Windows 7, you’ll need to purchase the full version of Windows 10 (rather than getting the free upgrade). That full version will be $119 for Windows 10 Home, and $199 for Windows 10 Professional. The pricing for upgrades would be less than these of course.


How will Windows 10 be different from Windows 7 or 8?

There will be several differences, and at some point after the release date I will probably do a full blog post on this. But here are some of the basic things that are different:

Start menu – this is probably the one that most people are excited about. The Start button and Start menu are not only back, but greatly improved and expanded.

No charms bar – if you are one of the millions of people that hated that stupid charms bar, you’ll be happy.

New web browser – this replaces Internet Explorer. Earlier, this new browser was called Spartan. Now Microsoft has renamed it the Edge browser. Internet Explorer was really crappy for a long time, which is why so many people switched to Chrome or Firefox. You’ll still be able to use those other browsers, but it will be interesting to see what Edge is like.


Do I have to backup my computer before getting the upgrade?

Technically, no. You are not required to. But the smart users will do a full system image backup before getting any Windows 10 upgrade. You want to be included among the “smart users” group, don’t you? Seriously, I cannot over-emphasize how complex a computer’s operating system is. With this upgrade, you’ll be changing out the current operating system to a whole new one – can you see where there is a potential for things to go wrong? If you have a system image backup, you can just go back to your current version with no hassle and nothing lost. For me, I do a new system image backup on my primary computer every night. So doing one before upgrading the operating system is a no-brainer.


Will I need to have a Microsoft account?

Again, this one is a “technical” no. But I think you should get one and you will probably want one anyway. Just makes everything easier, and it will also give you access to the Windows Store, where you can get all kinds of great apps for your computer. And when you have an account and sign in to it on your various devices, all of your settings and preferences are synced so you don’t have to set up each one of them individually. Just do it – go to and create a new account (it’s free). Make sure you use a strong password (meaning it’s not a password you have used at any other site, and it has no pronounceable words – it should just be a random series of numbers and upper and lower case letter). Keep track of that account login information so you can use it when you need to. If you want to see the other benefits about having a Microsoft account, here’s where Microsoft talks about this.

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Pat Lafaye
June 15th, 2015

Good morning Scott: How does one make an Image Backup (see 2nd paragraph from the last.

Scott Johnson
June 15th, 2015

Hi Pat – You can do this with Windows 7 (it’s a function that’s built in). But I prefer to use a program called Macrium Reflect. I’ve found it to be easier to use, and more reliable if you need to restore an image backup after a hard drive crash.

June 16th, 2015

Hi Scott,
Why would I bother with W10 when W7Pro is so perfect? My desktop and laptop won’t last forever, and when I get new machines, I’ll get W10 Pro. I’m curious but not going to rock my very steady W7 boat.


Scott Johnson
June 16th, 2015

It’s hard to argue with your logic Marge! Windows 7 is perfectly fine.