Upgrading to Windows 10Have you downloaded your free version of Windows 10 yet? If Microsoft did anything right with this version of Windows, it was getting the word out that anyone with Windows 7 or 8.1 would be able to upgrade to the new operating system (OS) for FREE for a limited time. There was great speculation as to the motives behind the move, but regardless, 14 million people switched to the new OS within the first 24 hours of its release on July 29, 2015.

I was not one of those people. If history has taught us anything, it is that the first few months following the release of a new OS are typically plagued by bugs, glitches, and errors. In general, it's best to wait at least a few months to allow these issues to be addressed and remedied. Windows 10 was no exception. However, now that it's been six months since the release, it's worth taking a look at whether or not now is a good time to upgrade to Windows 10.

The first thing you need to consider is what type of machine you are using. Work computers are generally tied to a corporate network, which changes the game significantly. If your company relies on your computer to get work done -- especially if you are using any custom software -- you need to make sure your system is able to adapt to the new OS. If your system is not thoroughly prepared for the update you could experience significant problems, potentially leading to costly downtime as you repair, reinstall, or even revert back to your old OS. Therefore, always wait for direction from your company's IT Manager or Managed Service Provider before making any big changes like this. They will let you know when the system is ready to be upgraded, what to do, and when to do it. This should be a well-thought-out process during which they are available to provide any needed troubleshooting or support to keep your business up and running.

So with the responsibility of your work computer off your shoulders, let's take a look at your personal device.

The age of your computer is an important factor when considering upgrading to Windows 10. Unfortunately, we all know the average lifespan of a computer or laptop is only 3-5 years. Oh, sure, we occasionally hear of someone using the same computer without issue for 7, 8 even 9 years. However, the majority of us find that we've outgrown the capabilities of our computers after about 3-5 years and are ready to replace them with newer technology. With this in mind, if your machine is older than 3 or 4 years old, it might not be worth upgrading for a couple of reasons:

First of all, there have been a number of reports of older computers losing important pieces of software during the upgrade such as printer drivers and video playback capabilities. Windows 10 was designed specifically to work with the latest computing technology. Therefore, if your older computer works fine now, it might be in your best interest to continue with your current OS.

Secondly, just because the upgrade is FREE doesn't mean it's MANDATORY. Windows 7 and up are scheduled to be supported through at least 2020. That means, if you like how your computer functions now, you shouldn't get caught up in the hype and upgrade just because Microsoft is offering it for free. Most new computers and laptops come pre-loaded with the latest version of Windows, and we've already established above that you're probably going to upgrade in the next few years. There's no harm in waiting to make the move to Windows 10 until you upgrade your machine.

If, however, your machine is relatively new and your current Windows OS has notified you that your computer is ready for the upgrade (what to do if it hasn't) you can go ahead and run the update any time. Just be sure to do it by July 29, 2016! I wouldn't recommend doing it at the last minute, either, as you might run into delays as everyone else races to beat the deadline as well.

Lastly, I couldn't write about upgrading to Windows 10 without mentioning that the rumors are indeed true: Windows 10 is built with the capability to automatically collect a ton of data that you many not want Microsoft collecting.  This is especially true if you are using Cortana, the new personal assistant. The data they collect is outlined in their Privacy Policy which you must agree to in order to use the software, and most is set to be collected by default. However, you CAN adjust your settings to avoid the collection of most of this data. Stay tuned for complete instructions on how to modify your settings to reclaim your privacy while using Windows 10.

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