Tips for Windows 10 Migration

By CIOReview | Monday, August 1, 2016
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Upgrading to a new operating system is a daunting task for both, individuals and organizations because the task is tumultuous and it needs uncluttered knowledge of the system’s hardware compatibility to avoid loss of time and money. This challenge is now a buzz in the Microsoft landscape with the release of the tech  giant’s news OS Windows 10.

Taking on its previous versions and critics on Windows 8, Microsoft has made a good comeback by building Windows 10. This OS is provided as a free upgrade for devices, which qualify certain specifications, running on Windows 7 or 8. The new operating system features a brand new user interface, a reinvigorated Start menu, Continuum, Cortana voice assistant, Xbox game streaming, and other bold features, which give the OS a new look, though users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 are familiar to few aspects of the design. Also, the OS by Microsoft is a single unit of software—with little modification it can run across PCs, tablets, phones, and gaming consoles.

For all who are curious about migrating to Windows 10, there are a few things you need to know before you begin your quest for installing the new Microsoft OS.

First things first: Hardware Requirements

Whenever you perform a desktop operating system upgrade, there is a likelihood that you will have to upgrade some hardware too. Generally, a system that can smoothly run Windows 7 or Windows 8 will likely be able to run Windows 10. Even then it is important to perform a system hardware examination and compare it with the official hardware requirements for Windows 10.

The minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 consist of:-

• 1 GHz or faster CPU
• 1 GB of RAM (2 GB for the 64-bit version)
• 16 GB of free disk space (20 GB for the 64-bit version)
• A video card that supports DirectX 9 with WDDM 1.0
• A display that supports at least a 1024 x 600 resolution 

The 32-bit and 64-bit version of Windows 10 calls for slightly different minimum hardware requirements. If the migration is in-place, then you can perform a clean upgrade without uninstalling the previous OS. Moreover, if you have a 32-bit version of windows 7 or 8.1 and you wish to upgrade it to a 64-bit version of Windows 10, unfortunately, you won’t be able to perform an in-place upgrade, and you will have to perform a clean install.

Few Windows 10 features necessitate special hardware requirements: Windows Hello needs a special camera, a microphone to use Cortana through voice commands and touch screen to use gestures. Additionally, the video resolution decides on the number of apps that can be displayed on the screen.

Application Compatibility

The most important thing while migrating to Windows 10 is checking if your application inventory in the previous version of the OS is compatible with Windows 10. Generally, the upgrade will leave application and system settings intact, but it does not provide an assurance regarding the functioning of the applications after the upgrade. Few application compatibility issues can be addressed by patching the application prior to the upgrade or updating the software application, if available, after the update.

Upgrade Process Essentials

The first thing enterprises and individuals should consider while upgrading to the new OS is the licensing cost. Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1, but its free for one year only, so eligible users can upgrade only until July 29, 2016–after this date, you must purchase a Windows 10 license if you wish to upgrade. The Windows 10 home edition license will cost $119 and a license for Windows 10 pro will costs $199.

At the same time, few versions of operating systems are not eligible for free upgrade:

• Windows 7 Enterprise
• Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise
• Windows RT/RT 8.1

The edition of Windows that you receive after the upgrade depends on the version you were housing:

• Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic and Windows 7 Home Premium all upgrade to Windows 10 Home Edition
• Windows 7 Professional upgrades to Windows 10 Professional
• Windows 7 Ultimate upgrades to Windows 10 Ultimate.
• Windows 8.1 (the standard edition) and Windows 8.1 with Bing both have free upgrades to Windows 10 Home Edition.
• Windows 8.1 Pro—including Windows 8.1 Pro for Students—has a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
• Windows Phone 8.1 will go to Windows 10 Mobile.

Editions of Windows 7 and 8.1 that are not listed are not eligible for a free upgrade.

Getting the free upgrade

Individuals and shops need to make sure that their patches are up-to-date prior to migration. Make sure your present Windows 10 deployment is activated and Windows update reads your version of OS as genuine. Next step is to run the update process till your system has installed every update launched by Microsoft.

Once the version of Windows that your system is running qualifies for the free upgrade, Windows Update will install a component known as ‘Get Windows 10’ app–on the taskbar in the notification area that looks like the Windows logo. Once you click on the logo, the app will open and provide a set of upgrade instructions, but all you have to do is click on ‘Reserve Your Free Upgrade’. This will reserve your upgrade in the queue for download, later followed by a notification, once Windows 10 is ready for install. You can install it spot on or select a suitable time. The download file size is about 3 GB, so you need to make sure you have enough disk space to accommodate the download and successfully finish the installation process.

If you do not plan to use Windows Update for the upgrade process and are planning to use an image file, then the process involving ‘Get Windows 10’ app is not required.

Why avoid an upgrade

As mentioned earlier, few applications that are compatible with Windows 7 or 8 may not be compatible with windows 10. Specially, if you realize that an application critical to your organization’s line-of-business does not work with Windows 10, it is advisable that you hold off the upgrade until application vendor addresses the compatibility issues.

Another reason for holding off the upgrade is that it is not free for enterprise environments. Organizations that run the Enterprise edition of Windows must pay for the upgrade. Once you plan the cost involved, you can continue with the upgrade.