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Getting to Know Windows 10 – Part 1

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With Windows 10 set to be downloaded to millions of devices in less than three weeks, I propose to focus on this momentous period for Windows users everywhere during this time. Momentous for a number of reasons.

Firstly, this is the largest free download to the global market in history. All computers running Windows 7 or later will have access to this upgrade. And it is definitely free – and whilst it will also download onto devices running pirated operating systems (of which we have a fair share in Malawi due to poor regulatory activity in country), in the interim – I am not sure what plans Microsoft have for enforcing compliance in the future. But I am sure the plans are there. Secondly it is capable of running on devices often considered to be past their sell by date – unfortunately we also have more than our fair share of these in country.

The official minimum specs remain 1.0 GHz processor, 1.0GB Ram (32bit) or 2.0GB for 64bit machines, 20GB hard drive space and a minimum resolution of 800×600. Tests on old machines show surprising efficiencies – not least because of Microsoft’s work to ensure that the software runs on the wide range of tablets, netbooks and other devices, which run on minimal hardware for cost and mobility reasons. Mobile phones will require even less to run – 512Mb Ram, 4.0GB storage and 800×640 resolution. If not technical – all you need to know is that if your devices is less than 6 years old – when Windows 7 was first released – you do not need to worry with hardware updates or replacements.

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This upgrade is also momentous as all information points to the fact that this will be the last Windows version ever. Goodbye, XP, Vista, 7 or 8. Future developments will be used to enhance the existing operating system as upgrades. So, probably no Windows 7 ever – which I am sure is welcomed by most users who have struggled with the continuous upgrades from XP – anyone recall Vista headaches?

Now to the actual download process, due to commence on Wed 29th July. Would you believe that there have been people attempting to sell this version on Facebook recently in Malawi? Do not be conned. To re-confirm, this update is FREE. However, bandwidth download costs will be incurred from the local ISPs, if carried out online – and for those of you who have already reserved your copy – you will be automatically notified once the deadline is reached. However, you can just as easily upgrade from a USB flash drive – this will be quicker than a DVD, and cheaper for many personal users.

There is a link to a Microsoft tool (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/ windows-usb-dvd-download-tool) that will allow you to create an installation package on a USB flash drive. This can then be used to instal on numerous devices, and will probably be an option for large enterprises who are seeking to standardise their operating systems, as well as personal users.

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I believe that Microsoft may well start selling this OS in the near future on a flash drive. Not sure why this has not been an option with many of the applications we purchase. Flash drives are reusable, robust, not as bulky, as and at least ten times faster than optical drives.

To recap, with this release, Microsoft is signalling its aim to position itself, and Windows, as a service rather than a product – focussing on an incremental path to ongoing improvements, rather than numbered launches. This is much advantage in this business model, in view of the increased access to the internet worldwide. Users will no doubt be looking forward to the staggered launches of innovative technology such as HoloLens and Edge (the all new Internet Explorer replacement).

In the next two weeks, I will outline in more detail why I believe the Windows 10 upgrade is a “must do” for all users, and attempt to allay users fears on the new upgrade.

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