Upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 10 is a no-brainer, but what about if you’re happily using Windows 7? We look at what Windows 10 will offer you.
We’ve written at length about how Windows 10 is a vast improvement over Windows 8 and how anyone still using Windows XP should seriously consider coughing up for the new operating system. But what if you’re still happily using Windows 7?
Windows 7 is widely regarded as a more modern version of Windows XP — fast, stable and with nothing that really needs fixing. That makes the upgrade to Windows 10 a tough sell. Here are some reasons why you should give Windows 10 a chance regardless.
It makes multitasking easier
PC users have been running two or more apps side by side since Windows 1.0, but while window management has improved immeasurably since 1985, Windows 7 is still fairly simplistic in this regard.
Windows 10, on the other hand, makes it much easier to juggle multiple open windows when you’re working. Not only does Aero Snap now offer both half-monitor and quarter-monitor sizes when you drag a window to one part of the Desktop, but it will also offer other open windows to fill any open space automatically.
Better still, press [Windows] + [Tab] or the button on the Taskbar and Task View shows a much clearer thumbnail overview of your open windows, which makes Windows 7’s take look primitive in comparison.
Best of all, Windows 10 supports multiple Desktops, which makes working with full-screen windows much easier when you don’t have multiple monitors — or even if you do.
It’s always up to date
Much has been made of the way in which users can’t opt out of Windows Updates with Windows 10, but that’s hardly a bad thing. While a rogue update can certainly cause problems, these are minor when compared to the benefits this new approach brings.
With Windows 10, it’s no longer possible to forget to run Windows Update, which means you’re much less likely to miss a critical operating system patch that fixes a serious security problem.
Even if you’re on the ball with security, other Windows users won’t be. People who switch off Windows Update in Windows 7 because they find it ‘annoying’, for example, pose a major security threat.
By forcing all Windows 10 users to stay up to date, everyone’s online safety is improved, since it reduces the risk of a PC being compromised by a hacker and becoming part of a botnet that could be used to attack your PC.
It’s more secure
Speaking of security, Windows 10 also improves the safety of your PC in other ways. Its alternatives to a simple password, such as using a familiar picture, make it much harder for anyone to sign into your PC without your permission.
Windows 10’s new PIN system also means you can protect your Microsoft account with a long, strong and very secure password, but still use a simple PIN code to sign into your PC — and it only works on your PC.
Switching to a Microsoft account also means any settings and saved passwords are also synced automatically to any other Windows 10 PCs you sign into using the same details. That means once one of your Windows 10 PCs is set up to your liking, your others will be too.
It’s the only way to enjoy new Windows features
Windows 10’s built-in support for things like Skype, but also its new web browser Edge.
Digital assistant Cortana is gradually improving with every update, while the Action Centre is a neat and tidy place to keep all your notifications.
While we appreciate that not everyone reading this will be interested in games, but don’t discount the new gamer-friendly features in Windows 10 just yet. It will be the only version of Windows that will work with Microsoft’s new HoloLens, for example, and if you’ve seen the demos of that new virtual reality headset, you’ll understand what a big deal it will be when it launches.
Parents with an Xbox One games console in the living room will also appreciate Windows 10, since it allows games to be wirelessly streamed and played using a PC in another room. That means no more clashes with your kids when you want to watch a programme — or that you can play your favourite games on a laptop in the garden.
It’s faster — mostly
Performance tests have shown that Windows 10 is faster across the board than earlier versions of Windows. Windows 10 boots, goes to sleep and wakes from sleep marginally faster than Windows 10 on a PC of the same specification, which means less waiting around when you want to do something.
Application performance is more of a mixed bag, with tests showing Windows 10 to be faster than Windows 7 with some apps and slower with others. Bear in mind that Microsoft will update Windows 10 regularly, though, while Windows 7 is now essentially frozen in its current state after ‘mainstream’ support ended in January 2015.
There’s no doubt that Windows 10 will get faster once developers learn how to exploit its new features and optimize their software, too. Windows 7 won’t get this sort of attention for much longer, of course, not least since developers have already wrung out every drop of performance from this six-year — and two versions — old operating system.